Elvis Presley

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Elvis Presley "High Voltage" bootleg from the Birmingham concert

Elvis Presley played only one concert in Birmingham, on December 29, 1976 in front of 18,400 fans at the BJCC Coliseum. It was part of a 5-day tour with stops in Wichita, Kansas; Dallas, Texas; Birmingham; and Atlanta, Georgia culminating in a famed New Year's Eve show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The tour was widely acclaimed as a triumphant return to peak form. The show, during which he wore his "Inca Gold Leaf" jumpsuit, was considered second only to the New Year's Eve event for overall quality, and exceeded it for the vocal quality on ballads such as "Unchained Melody". Presley was more animated and jovial than in previous tours that year. He introduced himself after his second number as "Glen Campbell", then remarked "God this is a big place!" about the cavernous surroundings of the coliseum. The extended show included five more songs than Presley had performed in Dallas, and several others were extended with additional verses or reprises of the choruses. His performances of "The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face" and "For the Good Times", both sung to then-girlfriend Ginger Alden, were his last-ever renditions of those songs.

Audio recordings of the performance were released in 1998 as "Burning in Birmingham" and in stereo in 2008 as "High Voltage! Birmingham '76 Revisited".


Elvis performed more than 30 songs after coming on stage shortly after 10:00 PM

  • "Also sprach Zarathustra" (intro.)
  • "C. C. Rider"
  • "I Got a Woman"/"Amen"
  • "Love Me"
  • "Fairytale" (with extra chorus)
  • "You Gave Me a Mountain"
  • "Jailhouse Rock"
  • "O Sole Mio (It's Now or Never)"
  • "Trying to Get to You"
  • "My Way"
  • "Poke Salad Annie"
  • "Early Morning Rain" (with extra verses)
  • "What'd I Say"
  • "Johnny B. Goode" (followed by band solos)
  • "Love Letters"
  • "School Day"
  • "Funny How Time Slips Away"
  • "Hurt" (with extra chorus)
  • "Hound Dog"
  • "For the Good Times"
  • "The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face"
  • "Unchained Melody"
  • "Mystery Train" / "Tiger Man"
  • "Can't Help Falling in Love"

Other connections

  • The song "Promised Land" written by Chuck Berry and later performed by Presley includes the lines, "And that [Grey]hound broke down and left us all stranded In downtown Birmingham."
  • Birmingham-born former Miss Alabama B. J. Baker sang back-up vocals on Presley's 1961 recording of "Can't Help Falling in Love".
  • Birmingham's Loulie Jean Norman sang back-up vocals on Presley's 1961 recording of "Moonlight Swim."
  • Sandy Posey sang session vocals for Presley tracks produced by Chips Moman in Memphis.
  • Presley's mother, Gladys, was an employee of Birmingham's Britling Cafeteria, at its downtown Memphis location.
  • Three alumni of Presley's TCB Band (Glen D. Hardin, Hank DeVito, and James Burton) later played in Emmylou Harris' Hot Band.
  • The plate and silverware Elvis used during a stop at Power's Cafe in Leeds was displayed by the owners for decades.
  • The 1989 motion picture "Elvis' Grave" was filmed in Birmingham.
  • Photographer Rowland Scherman published a book of photographs in 1993 entitled Elvis is Everywhere.


  • "Elvis Presley concert full of humor, zest." (December 30, 1976) Birmingham News
  • "Magnetic Elvis can still thrill audience." (December 30, 1976) Birmingham Post-Herald
  • Beagley, Piers (April 2008) "High Voltage! - Birmingham '76" review. Elvis Information Network.
  • Baggett, James L. (December 2008) "Elvis has Entered the Building." Birmingham magazine. Vol. 48, No. 12. p. 270

External links

  • Video from the December 29, 1976 performance (Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7)