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Elvis Presley‘s ’68 Comeback Special was a career highlight for Elvis. It was also a career highlight of a girl group star. She revealed what it was like to work with the “Heartbreak Hotel” singer.

Elvis Presley worked with Darlene Love on his ’68 Comeback Special’

During a 2023 interview with The Guardian, singer Darlene Love discussed her relationship with record producer Phil Spector. “I was in [girl group and backing-singer legends] The Blossoms when he hired me to record ‘He’s a Rebel’ [in 1962],” she recalled. “I knew it was for The Crystals but I got paid a bundle of money – $5,000 was a lot then. After I signed with Phil and we did ‘Da Do Ron Ron’ and ‘He’s Sure the Boy I Love’ [also credited to The Crystals], I told him my name should be on, but I hadn’t read the contract.” Love would become most known for singing the seminal Christmas song “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” which Spector wrote and co-produced.

The Blossoms were backup singers for the ’68 Comeback Special. She had a strong reaction to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. “In those three or four days that The Blossoms were shooting, I felt like I’d known him all my life. Pure joy. At lunchtime, he’d get his guitar and we’d sing old gospel songs. In the ’68 special, he did those songs real, like you’d do with your friends.

Darlene Love felt Elvis Presley’s vocals were unique

The ’68 Comeback Special became one of the most iconic moments of Elvis’ career, if not the most iconic. Beyond that, it’s one of the most famous comebacks ever, alongside Marlon Brando’s role in The Godfather and Mariah Carey’s megahit “We Belong Together.” Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis chronicled the making of the prgram. The movie portrays the program as a venue for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s creativity after spending years under the thumb of Colonel Tom Parker.

Love was asked about what she thought of the movie. “I haven’t seen it, but I can tell when the music is done by the guy playing him [Austin Butler], cuz of the way Elvis ended phrases,” she said. Love didn’t reveal whether she had any issue with Butler’s singing.


1 of the Songs from Elvis Presley’s Comeback Special Was Inspired by Martin Luther King

How the ’68 Comeback Special’ changed everything

The ’68 Comeback Special went on to have a huge impact on music. One of the songs that debuted in the show, “If I Can Dream,” became a standard. Barry Manilow, Måneskin, Celine Dion, and Puddles Pity Party all covered the track. While Elvis largely eschewed politics, “If I Can Dream” is a stirring tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The show also inspired musicians visually. According to the Alternative Press, the “Guitar Man” sequence from the special inspired the music video for Green Day’s “Father of All…” In that video, the members of Green Day wear some Elvis-style gold suits.

Love is the Queen of Christmas Music and the ’68 Comeback Special wouldn’t be the same without her.