This is something that I’ve thought about before, but especially recently, since I watched that ELVIS FOUND ALIVE dvd. Ignoring all the Right Wing anti-Obama conspiracy stuff in that dvd, what if the basic premise was true? What if Elvis really did fake his death 36 years ago, with the help of the Federal Government, and entered the Federal Witness Protection Program? And let’s say, hypothetically, that now the time was right for him to leave the program, and join the public again? If I were his new manager or agent, how I would I guide his big comeback? That is an interesting hypothetical situation, I think.
First, since this is all hypothetical, let’s make it an ideal situation, and assume that he has spent the past 36 years having completely kicked his dependency on prescription drugs, and has maintained a lifestyle of strict discipline, eating healthy and exercising regularly. So when he returns he is in the best physical and mental shape that it is possible for a 78 year old man to be in. He may not be able to dance like he used to, but he can still sing, play guitar and the piano as well as ever.
So I’d schedule a press conference @ Graceland (where Elvis would be moving back in to live, while keeping the tours open. It would be like the White House, and with him back alive, the tourism should skyrocket), to announce his return to the world. Follow that up with an exclusive televised interview with either Barbara Walters or Oprah Winfrey. Both of them are known for celebrity interviews that get worldwide attention, and are relatively “safe.” I’m kinda leaning towards Walters, even though I think Oprah is a better interviewer, because she could do it on ABC, a major network, as opposed to cable, and I’d want to get the maximum amount of possible viewers. And I know Walters recently announced her retirement, but I’m sure she’d come back for one night, just to interview Elvis.
I’d negotiate a publishing deal for Elvis to write his official autobiography, covering his early life, through his time in seclusion. I’d find and hire the best celebrity ghostwriter in the business, schedule a marathon interviewing session(s) with Elvis, so he or she could get started and finish as soon as possible. We’d want to rush that out, to capitalize on the initial publicity surrounding Elvis’ returning. Then Elvis can go on a book tour, signing books across the country and making the standard interview circuit (Today Show, Tonight Show, Ellen, The View, 60 Minutes, etc.). He could also appear as a special guest judge on American Idol, maybe during an “Elvis Week”, where the contestants sing his songs. Then it will be time to start his music comeback.
Elvis won’t need to sign a traditional record deal. The man’s estate is already worth like a hundred million dollars and, as I said, with his return that should skyrocket. Graceland tours, merchandise, sales of all his old records and films, add all that up and within a year he’ll be a billionaire. So I’d probably set him up with a deal with Live Nation that covers his concerts and any records he chooses to record. Of course, he also doesn’t really need to record new music at all, at least not new solo music. When people go to see him perform again (Which he will, I’ll get to that in a minute), they’re going to want to hear the old classics. Jailhouse Rock, Blue Suede Shoes, Hound Dog, Teddy Bear, Love Me Tender, Suspicious Minds, etc.
So what I’d plan first is a series of DUETS albums, where he collaborates with other singers. To produce the albums and write the songs (because, remember, Elvis himself was not a songwriter) I’d get people like Quincy Jones, David Foster, Babyface, and Rick Rubin and have them come up with songs for Elvis to sing with other singers, and then I’d tried to gather the best and biggest singers still around. I’d start with the most Iconic ones, people who’ve been around for decades, including contemporaries of Elvis, like Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Diana Ross, Little Richard, Garth Brooks, Lionel Richie, Willie Nelson, Shania Twain, Barbara Streisand, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, PRINCE, Madonna, Elton John, Rod Stewart, and people of that caliber. I’d track down Tina Turner and get on my hands and knees and beg her to come out of retirement to record a song with Elvis, if I need to.
When it comes to more modern singers, I’d be looking at people like Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Carrie Underwood, Mariah Carey, people like that. I’d try to avoid pairing Elvis up with anyone that might seem a little too “gimmicky.” For example, Jay Z and Eminem are the only rappers I’d consider having him record with. Elvis and Nicki Minaj would just be silly. And, OF COURSE, he’ll have to do a song with his daughter, Lisa Marie. Really, the possibilities are huge there, there are so many potential good team-ups, I could think about it for hours before I ran out of names. I figure, with the right material, and the right co-singers, we could do at least 2, maybe up to 4, DUETS albums before the novelty wears off.
Then I’d book him on a national concert tour. It probably wouldn’t really be a full tour. I’m still keeping in mind his age, and the toll a long tour could take on his health, plus you don’t want to oversaturate his image too much, by having him appear too many places. But I’d have him do a select bunch of concerts in the major markets across America. Probably start with a “Homecoming” show in Memphis, just because and then move on to places like Madison Square Garden in New York, Atlantic City, Los Angeles, etc. All culminating in a 3-night engagement in Las Vegas, which we would film, then edit down to the best performances, and release as a concert film, titled ELVIS: VIVA LAS VEGAS 2014, on Pay-per-view, then DVD/Download.
Then we’d do a series of concerts overseas, since that’s something Elvis never had a chance to do during his career (allegedly because Colonel Tom Parker had some immigration problems, and therefor didn’t want to leave the country for fear of exposure), so he play some dates in Canada, Europe, Spain, Japan, Germany, France, wherever the public demand is big enough. And when that’s all finished, and he’s had some time off, I’d get him one of those Residency deals in Las Vegas, like Celine Dion has, where he becomes a featured performer on weekends. That would be a nice steady gig for him, for however many years he wants to continue, until he officially retires. Plus, it would leave him with time to film some acting roles, now and then. Elvis always wanted to be taken seriously as an actor, and I think he was very good, but Colonel Parker had him locked into a contract to make all those silly musicals. But now I’d try to get Elvis in some films with other older actors of stature, like Morgan Freeman, Jack Nicholson, Robert Deniro, Al Pacino, guys like that.
Oh well, it’s quite a dream. . .