Elvis Presley’s Songwriter Had About 1 Day to Write a Hit for the “68 Comeback Special’

Elvis Presley performed some of his most famous songs in his ’68 Comeback Special. One of his regular songwriters was asked to write a song for the special in a short period of time. Subsequently, he co-wrote the song in an unusual place.

Elvis Presley playing songs on a guitar in the ''68 Comeback Special'
Elvis Presley in the ”68 Comeback Special’ | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

A songwriter was asked to write a song for Elvis Presley’s ”68 Comeback Special’ looking back at the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s career

Mac Davis was a prominent songwriter. He wrote songs for Elvis such as “Don’t Cry Daddy” and “In the Ghetto.” During a 2019 interview with SongFacts, Davis revealed he wrote a song for the ’68 Comeback Special because Billy Strange asked him to do so. Strange worked on songs by a number of prominent artists, including Elvis, Nancy Sinatra, and The Beach Boys.

“Billy was in charge of the music, and he was very instrumental in introducing me to Elvis and getting that connection going,” Davis recalled. “The special was coming out and they were looking for a song to bookend a section of the show where he went back and did his ’50s hits, the old Sun Studios things, and they wanted it to be about looking back over the years. I had a little over 24 hours to write it.”

What happened after Mac Davis wrote a song for Elvis Presley’s ”68 Comeback Special’ in a garage

Davis wrote the song “Memories” in an unusual location. “I went over to Billy’s and he had an office in his garage,” Davis remembered. “I went out there and sat there all night and wrote the song ‘Memories.’ We did a demo on it the next day, and they accepted it.” Davis and Strange are the credited writers of the song.

Davis discussed the role of “Memories” in the ’68 Comeback Special. “They were actually going to sing part of the song in the first half of that segment, at the beginning of it, and another one like a bookend, but he ended up just sitting down at the edge of the stage,” he said.

The way listeners in the United States and the United Kingdom reacted to ‘Memories’

In the United States, “Memories” became a minor hit. The song reached No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on the chart for seven weeks. “Memories” appeared on the compilation album Elvis: 2nd to None. The album hit No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for 16 weeks.

In the United Kingdom, “Memories” served as the B-side to “If I Can Dream,” another song Elvis performed during the ’68 Comeback SpecialThe Official Charts Company reports “If I Can Dream” hit No. 11 in the U.K. and lasted on the chart for 10 weeks. Meanwhile, Elvis: 2nd to None peaked at No. 4 there and spent 12 weeks on the chart.

“Memories” reached many listeners even though it didn’t take long to write.

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