'Elvis: From King to Legend 72-73'

A Dennis Laverty Documentary

Review by Piers Beagley

This new documentary is a unique in-depth look at the incredible 12 month period in Elvis' career - January 1972 > January 1973 - that is often skipped through in the usual Elvis documentaries.

In two parts, over five hours in total, it has been researched and produced by Elvis super-fan Dennis Laverty.

Laverty explains, “In this documentary you will go on every Elvis tour and Las Vegas season, see short films from every show plus hear interviews from over 30 associates. The film is a positive one and hopefully after watching both parts the viewer will then ask, "What Happened to Elvis" that he could die four short years afterwards."

EIN's Piers Beagley checks it out...

Dennis Laverty has already produced some extremely impressive Elvis documentaries and EIN can recommend all of them. See below for detailed information and reviews

"LIVE 1969" a stunning four hour look in detail at Elvis' all important American Sound Studio sessions, how Elvis came to be at this crossroads in his musical career plus Elvis' first on stage performances in eight years.

‘Behind The Music- Elvis 68 Television Special’ tells the story of the 'Comeback Special' by those that were there examining the How and Why Elvis career came to this creative point. Runs 2 1/2 hours.

'Elvis: The Searcher - Additional Stories': The material that should have been in the DVD Extras. 10 segments that could have fitted into the film. 37 minute video.

"If I Can Dream: The Influence of Elvis on Bruce”: A close look at Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Presley examining the relationship between the two megastars. 75 minutes with lots of rare material.

'Elvis: From King to Legend 72-73' - A Dennis Laverty Documentary

Review by Piers Beagley

Were you disappointed that fifty years after the original ‘ELVIS: ON TOUR’ release to cinemas RCA / SONY still could not get the correct intro of Chuck Berry’s ‘Johnny B Goode’ in the 50th celebration BluRay? Well luckily for all of us Elvis super-fan Dennis Laverty’s new documentary examines the incredible 12 month period in Elvis' career of January 1972 > January 1973 and ‘Johnny B Goode’ kicks off this brilliant film!

Even better it is FREE and On-Line for all Elvis fans. Like his previous documentaries this is a labour of love to help keep Elvis’ legacy burning bright and not some bootleg scam to make money from unsuspecting punters.


Laverty has been working on this documentary for a long time and while the edit was basically finished before the terribly sad demise of Lisa Marie last january he has nicely top-and-tailed this story with a dedication to Lisa Marie.

Once again he has assembled the footage, interviews and memorabilia from hundreds of sources, and his research must have taken months and months. There are interviews I have never seen before – several with Priscilla through the ages - plus fabulous old TV clips and pertinent commentaries from more than 40 of Elvis' associates.

The interviews include Sammy Davis Jr, James Burton, George Klein, Myrna Smith, Tom Jones, Mac Davis, Glen Campbell, Johnny Tillotson, The Stamps Richard Sterban, JD Sumner, Jim Murray, Ernst Jorgensen, Roger Semon, Glen D Hardin, Joe Guercio, Lenny Kaye (journalist), George Kalinsky (MSG photographer), Jerry Schilling and Priscilla Presley.  

The story of these 12 months is told by using contemporary interviews, newspaper articles, archive footage as well as the clever use of extracts from Peter Guralnick’s audio-book of ‘Careless Love’.

Towards the beginning of the documentary there’s a look at Elvis’ January Las Vegas season including some fine fan filmed footage, a Vernon Presley interview and throughout interweaved with clever use of Elvis' extensive interview he did for the movie On Tour.


Elvis’ RCA singles are all nicely featured “Until It's Time For You To Go’ using the on tour outtake recording of Elvis’ Greensboro concert. Similarly some delightful footage of Elvis singing 'For the Good Times'

While Elvis was on great form during this period it is interesting to see a bad review by Robert Hilburn from LA Times included here. Hilburn wrote.. “I found that virtually everything Elvis added this season only compounded my disappointment.... Elvis is merely going through the motions”

This is even more intriguing when you look at all the great fan-filmed footage and know they would have all been fabulous shows to have witnessed.

Elvis’ March 1972 RCA ‘On Tour’ rehearsals are featured extensively and as a lovely section on Elvis is Studio C gospel jam including some lovely old footage of JD Sumner with The Blackwood Brothers.

And that is what makes this documentary so interesting, Laverty has tracked down and included so much fascinating old footage and relevant interviews.

Delights include Glen Campbell impersonating Elvis, Mickey Newbury old American Trilogy clip, JD Sumner talking about his friend Elvis, the Buffalo Statler Hotel rehearsals, the story of 8 year-old cancer victim Denise Sanchez along with extensive use of rare fan footage.

Elvis sings the spontaneous 'I, John' at the Buffalo Statler Hotel rehearsals

Another consideration about this deeply researched documentary is the realisation that all too many of these Elvis acquaintances have now passed away. So it is great to see and appreciate the thoughts of Bill Baize, Ronnie Tutt, Phil Gelormine and others - all who will be missed.

I found it interesting to notice how Col Parker often features in the periphery of this documentary and not in a particularly positive way. While Baz Luhrmann’s 'ELVIS' movie did use Parker as the villain of the piece, this documentary seems to reinforce that rather sad view point.

It is great to see neat little clips of Elvis is on stage performances filmed by fans and I had forgotten that a lot of Elvis’ red 'Burning Love' jumpsuit photos came not only from Richmond but also from Barton Coliseum.

The first part of this documentary takes viewers through to his late June fourteen-date concert tour via Chicago and Tulsa before he starts a well-earned one month’s break in Memphis.

Running two and a half hours there is lots to learn and plenty to enjoy.

Pedantics might comment on minor errors such as RCA’s Hollywood Studio C being flagged as ‘Studio A’ but in the end this is a wonderful journey through these key twelve months when Elvis was working hard, still full of energy and looking splendid in his new jumpsuits.

As Ernst Jorgensen has said, “1972 On tour Elvis was still finding something new.. and was courageous and controlled in his performances. It all comes together for him, for real, in 1972.”

Part two of this documentary, to be published in a few weeks time, takes Elvis all the way to the splendour of Aloha.

Overall Verdict: This is a documentary that I wish I only had enough spare time to research and produce. There is so much here to enjoy as well as plenty of rare and new material that, in the end, it puts the official recent BluRay re-release of ‘Elvis On Tour’ to shame. This is a sensational journey and I can truly recommend that keen Elvis fans take some time to really enjoy this documentary. Hopefully some younger fans that might have discovered Elvis through the recent ‘Biopic’ might also be interested in learning just how hard our rock 'n' roll hero worked in these key 12 months.

Best of all, this is for FREE, for the fans produced by a fan! You don't get any better than that! 

GO HERE TO VIMEO TO WATCH PART 1. It runs 2 ½ hours

Click here to comment on this review

Review by Piers Beagley.
-Copyright EIN June 2023
EIN Website content

© Copyright the Elvis Information Network.

Click here to comment on this review

Dec 3, 2018- ‘Behind The Music- Elvis 68 Television Special’: It was FIFTY YEARS AGO TODAY - that Elvis' stunning 68 NBC Television Special was broadcast in the USA. The programme would become one of the highest rated of the year, Elvis re-discovered his roots, Col Parker was stunned by the reception and Elvis was empowered to choose Memphis' American Sound Studio for his next serious recording session. A string of top-ten Billboard Hits beckoned and his life and ours would never be the same.
EIN contributor Dennis Laverty has compiled a unique documentary called “Behind The Music- Elvis 68 Television Special” to celebrate this great day.
It tells the story of the 'Comeback Special' by those that were there examining the How and Why Elvis career came to this creative point where he desparately needed to do the show. There is discussion of production numbers, sit down, standup shows, the '69 rebirth plus much more.
This special includes ELVIS interviews from 'On Tour'
and features Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, Chris Bearde, Steve Binder, Billy Strange, Tanya Lemani Little Egypt, Anita Mann (choreographer), Bill Belew, Earl Brown plus plenty of old compiled interviews from all too many who have sadly passed away.
Click here to Vimeo. - Sit Back And Celebrate this special day - The video runs around 2 1/2 hours.
(Spotlight, Source;DL/ElvisInfoNet)

"ELVIS 1969" Documentary - EIN Review: Elvis super-fan and EIN contributor Dennis Laverty has produced a new unique in-depth look at 'Elvis in 1968' with this new special, an exclusive two-part documentary focusing on Elvis' stunning year of 1969.
"ELVIS 1969" Part 1 includes rare archive interviews from Chips Moman, Felton Jarvis, The Memphis Boys, back-up singers such as Donna Thatcher and Jeannie Greene, along with Elvis musicians and also includes interviews and scenes from Elvis' last three 1969 era films.
While the 50th Anniversary of Elvis' stunning return to live performances was officially celebrated last year, disappointingly there was no related documentary.
EIN's Piers Beagley takes a look at this unique in-depth four-hour documentary..
(Spotlight; Source;PB/ElvisInfoNet)

'Elvis: The Searcher - Additional Stories' Spotlight: Like all too many serious Elvis fans Dennis Laverty felt let-down by the lack of seventies content in the HBO 'Elvis The Searcher' documentary. Luckily for us he has produced a lovely documentary "Elvis Presley: The Searcher - Additional Stories Not in the Original Film" that anyone can view on Vimeo.
He writes, "I really enjoyed The Searcher documentary, but after watching I wished they would have made it 4 hours. The 1950's skipped what pushed Elvis over-the-top when he appeared on TV, two of his best films and soundtracks (Loving You & Jailhouse Rock), and the backlash he took with his rock and roll Christmas Album. The 1960s unfortunately glossed over American Sound, especially Elvis taking a risk with 'In The Ghetto'.

The 1970s disappointed when nothing was discussed about Elvis' only concept album (Elvis Country), nor 'He Touched Me' (they could have included unreleased Elvis on Tour footage of gospel segment) and finally with David Porter one of the Execs of the film from Stax Records that nothing was discussed about Elvis' returning to Memphis and STAX to record three key albums.
My goal was just to highlight those stories in some way.
Obviously I don't have access to the Elvis archives at Graceland, but I hope you enjoy.
The following are 10 segments that I thought could have fit into the film.
... EIN totally agrees and thoroughly recommends this 37 minute video.
This is the type of material that should have been in the DVD Extras     
CLICK HERE to VIMEO to watch
EIN thanks Dennis Laverty for his input.
(Spotlight, Source;Dennis Laverty/ElvisInfoNet)

Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Presley: Referring to our news item last week, there is no doubt that Bruce Springsteen's key influence was ELVIS.
EIN contributor Dennis Laverty has closely examined the relationship between the two megastars in his documentary 'If I Can Dream: The Influence of Elvis on Bruce.'
Laverty cleverly uses concert footage and previously released interview segments with Springsteen and various rock experts to show just how important Presley was to Springsteen.
It all started with Presley’s first appearance on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' in 1956 “The revolution has been televised!! Elvis was the hip-shaking human earthquake”. It didn’t matter that CBS cameramen tried to keep Elvis respectable by shooting his performance from the waist up. For Springsteen, Elvis represented a cultural change and moment for the USA at that time.
Springsteen says, “He was a showman, an entertainer, an imaginer of worlds, an unbelievable success, and embarrassing failure and a fount of modern actions and ideas. Ideas that would soon change the shape and future of the nation. Ideas whose time had come. - Everything starts and ends with Elvis.”
Springsteen has written a song for Elvis (“Fire”) and a song about him (“Johnny Bye-Bye”). He has covered many Elvis songs in concert, and even invited an Elvis impersonator onstage with him in Philadelphia (dubbing him “The Philly Elvis”).
Dennis Laverty’s 75-minute film covers also all of this and includes lots of rarely seen, electrifying concert performances.
Click here > "If I Can Dream: The Influence of Elvis on Bruce” free on Vimeo
(Spotlight, Source;DLaverty/ElvisInfoNet)

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