Gotta Find My Baby!

December 30, 2022

Rock Back the Clock (CD - Straight Arrow, 2007)

Rock Back the Clock
Straight Arrow [SA 2007-8A/B-02]
Double CD
Number of tracks:
Running time:
Type of album:
Linked to:
Unofficial discography
December 31, 1975
September 2007

Rock Back the Clock 
is a work on the bootleg label Straight Arrow, released in 2007. It contains Elvis' first New Year's Eve concert, on December 31, 1975, in Pontiac, Michigan, on amateur audio. The CD still exists on the market, despite being hard to find.

By mid-1973 Elvis was already bored with his routine in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe, places where he had performed about 50 times a year since 1971. In addition, his personal life was experiencing a roller coaster of emotions that would culminate, in the following years, in outbreaks of rage and even hospital admissions. More than anything else, what Elvis most wanted was to be able to tour in different cities - and even internationally - but the Colonel often vetoed the singer's requests to do so, saying they were just "adventures that would not bring in profits".

At the end of 1975, even after a troubled year in which he was twice in the hospital, saw his father have a heart attack and had to cancel two seasons in Las Vegas, Elvis was confident in the arrival of 1976. The December stay at the Hilton had been a success, Linda had returned to his arms, Lisa had accompanied him to several shows; there was nothing to stop the King of Rock from celebrating his "return", so to speak, to the vibrant rhythm of the stage in front of an audience of 60,500 people. And, on the last day of the year, Elvis proved that 1976 was coming with unparalleled surprises.

Elvis had performed at Christmas and New Years in 1954 and 1955, though not as the main star, having enjoyed the experience. In response to requests from the Mafia, family and Elvis himself to change things, in 1975 Parker rearranged his touring schedule and got a contract with the city of Pontiac, Michigan, for a show on December 31.

What follows is the translation of the official review of the event, made by journalist Mike Maza and published in the Detroit News on January 1, 1976. (original article)

Elvis with Pontiac mayor, Wallace Holland, and
Jackie Kallen, from Oakland Press; December 31, 1975
"New York City can keep Guy Lombardo and Times Square. with Elvis at Pontiac Stadium, Detroit has the beginning of a really wild New Year's Eve tradition. ask Nancy Fluegge

The time was 10 pm, New Year's Eve, as Lombardo and his Royal Canadians were warming up for their 45th annual New Year's toot at the Waldorf. Nancy Fluegge was waiting for Elvis - and for the other 27 women ahead of her in line outside a ladies room at the stadium.

The 47-year-old West Bloomfield mother of three pulled a lacy shawl tighter around her backless chartreuse dress. She shivered, and said: "I love it. I love every minute of it. I love Elvis. I love all these people here - how many, 60,000? I just wish they all weren't in line in front of me."

That's the way it went all night. A generally good-humored crowd waiting to see the son of a banana truck driver from Tupelo, Miss, perform for them - Elvis's biggest live audience ever, he says.

There was, of course, the usual traffic jam coming and going to the stadium. It wasn't as bad as some of the football games, or last month's Who concert, Pontiac police said. But inconvenient just the same.

Inside the stadium, there were some hassles over tickets. a few fans complained of duplicated seat numbers. others, most of them$15 stadium floor seat ticket holders who were unprepared for the booming acoustics of the arena, complained about the sound.

Others weren't happy about their distance from the stage, but many Elvis fans seemed content to watch 1976 come in through a pair of binoculars

An unseen announcer said, "A limited number of Elvis souvenirs are set aside for tonight's show, don't be disappointed.." and every 100 feet people lined up at Elvis-item concession booths. they paid $3 for 12-picture programs. Autographed scarves ("available in baby-blue and Southern mansion white," the announcer points out.) went for $5. But the hottest item seemed to be three-inch Elvis picture buttons at $1. Women pinned them everywhere, including on the front of mink jackets.

Presley will be 41 a week from today. but his appeal still appears to transcend age.

Several white-haired women and a 11 year-old boy were among the Elvis fans who shoved programs at John Mole and begged, "Elvis, I love you," or "Please sign this."

Mole, 26, of Brighton, works as a polisher at the Ford Wixom plant. He looks a little bit like the star. So he copied the Elvis outfit and strolled around the stadium in his white jumpsuit dotted with hundreds of gold doodads (it cost him $500, he said) "I've been following Elvis for 20 years - he's my idol," Mole explained "I hope maybe this will get me enough attention so I can get to meet the man"

Wreatha Shook Of Chesterhill, Ohio, said she and her husband, Claude, drove "through really bad fog from Columbus" to see Elvis. "I've been listening to him since I was making mud pies and I'm not about to miss my chance to see him," she said.

George Anson drove in with his wife and two teen-aged children from Evansville, Ind. Randolph Harter and his wife paid $35 each for a bus charter package from London, Ontario.

Presley brought his whole Las Vegas crew along. Starting at 8:45 pm, just 15 minutes late, a comic and contingents of bluegrass, rock, gospel jazz and soul musicians took the stage in succession to warm up the audience.

Elvis and the Coronel backstage; December 31, 1975
Presley hit the 50-yard line stage - a platform 10 feet off the stadium floor, surrounded by speakers and connected to his dressing room by a 70-yard tunnel - at 11:10 pm. Women in glittery dresses and billowing pantsuits joined kids in a rush toward the stage. Lots of screaming. Everything flickered as a generation of flashcubes meets oblivion.

Tossing scarves to the fans between songs. Presley ran through more than a dozen numbers. His oldies got the biggest reaction - "All Shook Up," "Don't Be Cruel," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Love Me Tender" and of course "(You Ain't Nothing But a ) Hound Dog."

Almost midnight: A 10-second countdown ends to cheers ... spotlights swirl and balloons float down from the empty upper tier as Elvis and his fans sing, "Auld Lang Syne"

This is not the first release to feature the December 31, 1975 show. The pioneering album was "Happy New Year From Pontiac 1975", by Quality Music, in 2001, whose differential was also to bring the pre-show. "Rock Back the Clock" omits this part, but gains in significantly improved audio.

Below is a review of the CD.

CD 1

- 1. Also Sprach Zarathustra: The fanfare we're used to.

- 2. See See Rider: Elvis takes the stage and the crowd goes wild. The version heard here is fast and much more upbeat than any other from 1975. Elvis starts singing after 1:30 of the intro and his voice is clear, vibrant and resonating with joy.

- 3. I Got a Woman / Amen: 
Elvis wastes no time and soon begins his familiar "well, well, well" routine before thanking everybody and pretending to leave. In some parts of this rendition, he sounds like he's in 1971 or 1972. The band's accompaniment also draws a lot of attention. "Amen" has the audience screaming in anticipation of seeing the long-awaited "striptease". JD does his dive bombs and the song ends with Elvis throwing his guitar at Charlie Hodge after some quick karate chops.

- 4. Monologue: "Thank you very much. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I need some water... I just ripped the seat out of my pants, do you believe that? 60,000 people saw it, I rippped the seating out of my pants!", observes Elvis (the stage was made up of two levels, and Elvis ripped his pants as he tried to lean between one and the other to greet some fans). "If I appear nervous, it's because I am; this is the largest audience that we've ever played for... and I had to go and rip my pants!", he jokes.

- 5. Love Me:  The version makes women thrill at the chance to receive a kiss or a scarf.

- 6. Trying to Get to You: "This next song is a song that's one of my older recordings and we've been doing it a lot lately," he announces. The rendition isn't one of the best of the year, but it doesn't disappoint.

- 7. And I Love You So: "I hope you're happy with the faillure to communicate with my pants", Elvis jokes. The version of the song that follows is pretty basic, pretty much the same as the others from the period.

- 8. All Shook Up: An excellent version for 1975, with fans screaming as they try to grab a scarf.

- 9. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel: Standard rendition of 1975, starts glued to the previous song and continues the frenzy of fans in search of scarves and kisses.

- 10. Heartbreak Hotel: Without stopping between one classic and another, Elvis sings the song that became a rarity after 1973 to the total delight of the audience. James Burton's inspired solo shows that the change was also welcomed by the band.

- 11. One Night: 
Another 1950s classic and show rarity (it last appeared in 1972) that lifts fans up. It is a standard version, however.

- 12. You Gave Me a Mountain: The strong lyrics and 
Elvis' impeccable interpretation, although on a lower key than usual, bring chills to those who listen and, certainly, to those who were there.

- 13. Polk Salad Annie: 
A powerful version of the song starts right away. Elvis has fun during the rendition and finishes with a few karate moves, as he used to do in 1970. "I have news for you, ladies and gentlemen. This is the best New Year that I've ever had!", Elvis confesses to the audience.

- 14. Monologue: "I've gotta go and change suits, it'll only take me a minute. So, I'd like for the Stamps to sing 'Sweet Spirit,'" says Elvis, before leaving the stage to change his jumpsuit, as his pants had ripped to a level beyond what he could hide during the previous song.

- 15. Sweet, Sweet Spirit: 
JD Sumner & The Stamps interpret the Gospel classic that wowed crowds when it was first seen in the documentary "Elvis On Tour".

CD 2

- 1. Band Introductions: Elvis introduces Jd Sumner & The Stamps Quartet, The Sweet Inspirations, Sherrill Nielsen, Kathy Westmoreland and John Wilkinson.

- 2. What'd I Say: As usual, Elvis introduces James Burton and asks him to play the song.

- 3. Drum Solo: Ronnie Tutt.

- 4. Bass Solo: Jerry Scheff.

- 5. Piano Solo: Glen Hardin.

- 6. Electric Piano Solo: David Briggs.

- 7. School Days: Joe Guercio Orchestra's solo.

- 8. My Way: "This next song, we have a lot of requests for it and we did in on that TV special, 'Aloha From Hawaii'. It wasn't really me, it was my double, you know...", he jokes. Elvis enters the song wrong, but manages to fix it after a few seconds. He screws up again a few minutes later and tells the band to stop before starting again. The rendition is basic but exciting.

- 9. Love Me Tender: "This next song was my first movie song, I'd like to do a little bit for you." Elvis goes back to handing out scarves and kisses to everyone's delight.

- 10. Monologue: "Ladies and gentlemen, it's one minute until New Year's... From all of us up here, we sincerely hope you have a Happy New Year. And if you would, I'd like to ask you to sing with me, when the time comes, 'Auld Lang Syne'. 60 thousand people singing 'Auld Lang Syne'..."
- 11. Auld Lang Syne: Elvis and the audience count down ten seconds and sing the signature New Year's song. "Happy New Year! Happy New Year! Hope we have a fantastic year."

- 12. How Great Thou Art: As usual, Elvis delivers a version straight from his soul. The audience's effusive applause prompts a reprise of the final part of the song.

- 13. It's Now or Never: "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to do, you know, this next song because it was the biggest selling record that I had", Elvis announces before beginning his performance. At that time, Sherrill Nielsen still didn't do his solo at the beginning and Elvis sings a version very similar to the one present in the classic released in 1960.

- 14. America: With the 200th anniversary of the US approaching, on July 4, 1976, Elvis takes the opportunity to pay tribute to the country in a truly unforgettable rendition. "There's a few people that I'd like to thank for making this show possible... but I ain't have time for that!," Elvis scorches the Colonel. "I'd like to thank all of you, ladies and gentlemen, for coming out, because... All kidding aside, I was very nervous, you know, but I came out here and you made it a real pleasure. For that, we thank you very much," Elvis say to the audience. "And this is the largest audience we've ever performed for... And I had a tear on my suit for the whole thing!", he jokes.

- 15. Monologue: Elvis introduces Charlie Hodge, who he had forgotten about in the intros, and thanks his producers. The King of Rock also introduces Lisa and Vernon before proceeding with the show.

- 16. Hound Dog: "What do you want to hear?", asks Elvis. The audience responds with a resounding "Hound Dog!". Elvis' version is short, but it makes the audience vibrate.

- 17. Wooden Heart: The audience also asks for "Wooden Heart", one of the many classics from the film "G.I. Blues", but Elvis can only remember a few lines.

- 18. Can't Help Falling in Love: "Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Until we see youy again, may God bless you, and we bid you an affectionate farewell." Elvis' quick words lead to the beginning of the song that, since 1969, represented the end of his show.

- 19. Closing Vamp / Announcements: The fanfare announces to fans that the performance is really over.


- 20. Elvis Speaks About His New Year's Eve Show in Seattle: Excerpt from conversation with fans at the April 26, 1976 show.

- 21. Elvis Speaks About His New Year's Eve Show in Atlanta: Excerpt of conversation with fans at the June 5, 1976 show.


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