Elvis Week Day 8 - Celebrating the '68 Special

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Elvis Week Day 8 - Celebrating the '68 Special

The 50th anniversary of Elvis' iconic '68 Special was celebrated in style at Elvis Week on Thursday.

The day began with a Conversations on Elvis panel dedicated to the special. Steve Binder, who directed the special, spoke with host Tom Brown about how different sections of the show came together. He talked about how Elvis wanted his bandmates, DJ Fontana and Scotty Moore, with him for the sit-down session, and about how "If I Can Dream" came together. Allan Blye, who wrote for the special, talked about the show's storylines. Musical director Billy Goldenberg talked about arranging the show's music. Tanya Lemani talked about her "Little Egypt" performance and how she ran into Elvis years later in Las Vegas.

That night, those stories came to life in an almost documentary-style, enhanced screening of the '68 Special. Binder, Goldenberg, Blye and Lemani all introduced different sections of the special, and video interviews with Priscilla Presley, DJ Fontana, Mac Davis and Darlene Love added even more perspective.

The Graceland Archives team were also on hand to put Elvis' '68 Special costumes on stage as segments aired. 

The Tennessee Mass Choir took the audience to church as they performed during the gospel segment and "If I Can Dream." 

The powerful event had fans on their feet and cheering for Elvis. You can read more about the '68 Special celebration on Jon Waterhouse's Elvis Week Blog.

Over at The Guest House at Graceland, Italian singer NIKO performed in the theater. While he's relatively still unknown in the States, he has plenty of fans overseas - and he gained an entire theater-full after his energetic and charming show at the hotel. He sang a mix of Elvis hits, a few Italian tunes and classic rock favorites. Get to know Niko better in the interview with him below, filmed a few hours before his show:

Posted by Elvis Presley's Graceland at 3:28 PM
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