This 90-minute special tells the story behind the 20 greatest songs ever recorded by Elvis Presley, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and reveals The Nation’s Favourite Elvis Song.
Elvis Presley changed the music world forever and was one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. He holds the record for Most Hit Singles on the US Chart and Most Hit Albums on the UK Chart, and his legacy continues to influence generations.
Mixing rich archive footage and home videos with new interviews, the documentary paints a picture of the man behind the music, telling the story of how these timeless songs came about and what impact they had on the world.
The show features different generations of international pop stars and musicians influenced by Elvis including Michael Bublé, Sir Cliff Richard, Suzi Quatro, Michael Ball, Englebert Humperdink and Cerys Matthews.
Priscilla Presley, Elvis’s ex-wife and mother to their daughter Lisa Marie Presley, is featured exclusively in the documentary, giving a rare interview about the King and his music.
Referring to Elvis’s live performance of Are You Lonesome Tonight, Priscilla says: “I went right to the first time I sat in the theatre looking up at him singing it and I thought ‘I can’t believe this person who I never thought I’d meet is singing this song to me’.”
“I’m really a little bit shy about sharing some of those moments that I had with him. There’s a part of me that savours things that were just him and myself.
“When Elvis sang a song that he loved, he’d get lost. He’d forget people were around. You’re witnessing a moment, you almost feel like you’re invading his privacy.”
Sir Cliff Richard admits: “It wasn’t just that I wanted to be like Elvis, I wanted to wake up and find I was Elvis.” Global superstar Michael Bublé said: “God kissed his throat, truly.” Musical theatre star Michael Ball said: “No one makes a party rock like Elvis.”
The programme also hears from those who worked with Elvis, from songwriters to backing singers and session musicians.
The documentary ventures into Elvis’ former home in Memphis, Graceland, following in the footsteps of nearly 20 million visitors, to see how popular the King remains to this day.
The countdown, narrated by Zoe Ball, includes:
- Heartbreak Hotel, the song that John Lennon, Sir Cliff Richard, and Keith Richards all cited as changing their life
- Hound Dog, the hit that gave him the nickname ‘Elvis the Pelvis’
- Jailhouse Rock, which is often cited as the birth of the pop video
- Always on My Mind, which has been recorded 300 times by the likes of Willie Nelson and Pet Shop Boys
- It’s Now or Never, which sold 20m copies worldwide and topped the UK charts for eight weeks
- A Little Less Conversation, the song that became a global sensation 25 years after his death, giving Elvis his 18th British number one, allowing him to overtake The Beatles as the act to top the UK charts most often.
The 20 classic Elvis tracks featured in the show have been selected in consultation with the Elvis Presley estate, based on record sales, cultural impact and significance in Elvis’s career. The order was voted for by a large, representative panel of ITV viewers from across the country.
All the songs from the programme are to feature on a brand new compilation album, ‘The Nation’s Favourite Elvis Songs’, released on 4 November 2013 from Sony Music.