Actually, they were probably extremely hot to wear, especially under stage lights while moving their significant bulk around. Elvis' jumpsuits were many and one thing they all sahred was that they were expensive, and became moreso as they grew increasingly ornate. Contrary to popular belief, Elvis' jumpsuits were not made of polyester (which would have been even hotter to wear) but were sewed from imported wool gabardine fabric, which contributed to cost and weight. These are the pick of Elvis' jumpsuit collection as picked by yours truly. Your opinions may vary!
I gathered these images off the Worldwide Web over a long period and have no idea, in most cases, who the original photographers were. When I managed to backtrack and find that information -- and it's rare that the photographers are known or credited -- I credited the photographer (but not the person who scanned the images, many of whom somehow think that allows them to claim copyright) and I present these pictures under the "Fair Use" provision of copyright law. The Crazy Canuck's excellent "Jumpsuit Junkies" web pages— on which he provides photographic credit for many photos, including some that many of us assume were taken by someone else (there's a lot of that going on in Elvis books, and people who claim copyright for a photo on the basis that they scanned it for WWW presentation don't help) — were a great help in my quest to attribute proper creit wherever possible. I have modified a few in small ways because these are drawn from my personal electronic collection of the past few years and I used Photoshop where necessary to improve the image for my own use before deciding to create my own little Web tribute to Elvis' cool stage threads.
I cannot recall where every photograph came from, but the primary sites -- and those I recommend most if you're looking for great Elvis concert photographs -- were:
The Crazy Canuck
Silvester's Elvis Pages
Elvis Presley In Concert
Paul's Elvis Page
As I said, the suits in these photographs are some of my favorite of Elvis' stage wardrobe and I've provided background information on each suit and its context in terms of Elvis' live performances. If you want more thorough and frequently-updated information on Elvis' jumpsuits and other clothing (and, yes, it has often struck me how such a topic could become so fascinating to so many, especially given that the big-time chroniclers of such things tend to be men), these are the two places to go first and to return to periodically -- my little ode to the jumpsuit is a mere fragment against their well-researched efforts:
The Crazy Canuck
Silvester's Elvis Pages
These are the guys who dig up the most obscure photographs, have all of the dates those of us who're into the details of Elvis' latter concerts crave, and otherwise provide excellent information that gradually fills in the blanks in my own concert-data collection.
Anyway...on with the show...
The Black Panther suit. Elvis' jumpsuits were modeled after his karate gis, and the inspiration is evident in these first stage outfits that Elvis wore during his mindblowing return to live performing from July 31 to late August of 1969, in Las Vegas, NV. The suits seem to have resulted from a collaboration by Elvis, Priscilla, and Bill Belew (the designer who put together Elvis' black leather ensemble for his 1968 TV special). These were all two-piece suits and there seem to have been a few different kinds, though they all look pretty much the same to me (except for black vs white, of course): at least one or two in black, one in navy blue (though it's always hard to tell whether such shades are real or not because the same color can look quite different under different lighting or on different photographs), and at least one in white. Regardless, these were the basis on which all future jumpsuits would be built -- the jumpsuits also inspired other musical acts, some of which (e.g., the Osmonds) even came directly to Bill Belew for their clothes.
The Pearl (aka "On Stage") suit. Slightly more ornate than 1969's two-piece karate-based outfits, this one-piece suit featured a yoke around the collar that matched the macrame belt. Elvis wore this in Las Vegas during January-February of 1970 (including on opening night) and again during his three-day stint in Houston's Astrodome in February. This shot is most likely from some time in the Las Vegas engagement (most likely in mid-February) and was "colorized" from the original black-and-white by me one day when I didn't feel like working.
The Fringe suit. There were actually at least two or three fringe suits, but this one is the one you usually see pictures of (it has beads in the chest fringes and no fringes on the arms) and was featured in the documentary "Elvis -- That's The way It Is." This shot is allegedly from the same Las Vegas opening show (August 10, 1970) that is included in the film. I think that this suit was the best-looking of the crop at the time and Elvis also wore it during his 1970 September and November tours, which marked the first real tours he'd embarked on since 1957. Elvis may well have also worn this suit during the January-February, 1971 Las Vegas engagement and possibly even in Lake Tahoe during July-August of that year.
The Concho suit (aka "Silver Rings"). Another suit featured in "Elvis -- That's The Way It Is," this one was also been worn during the January-February, 1971 Las Vegas engagement (perhaps even on opening night?). This shot was possibly taken while MGM and RCA were present in Las Vegas -- if so, most likely dates are the dinner shows of August 11 or August 12, 1970.
The Red Tab (aka "Chains") suit. Another from "Elvis -- That's The Way It Is," Elvis used to have problems with the cross-chest chains coming loose on this suit. Elvis wore this suit during his August Las Vegas engagement and September tour of 1970 and I'm pretty sure that he wore it in January-February, 1971. This photo is from the September 11, 1970 Detroit, MI show.
The Sleek suit (aka "I Got Lucky" suit, after the album cover shot -- "Sleek" is a name many apply to some of the suits from the first Las Vegas engagement of 1970). Elvis may have worn this suit in the Las Vegas or September tour shows that preceded it, but it's most associated with the afternoon show he did in Los Angeles, CA, on November 14, 1970. He may also have worn it during 1971. The November tour was pretty intense and Elvis was nothing less than a wild man on most nights. This shot is from the Los Angeles show.
The "YNWA" (for "You'll Never Walk Alone" -- the title of an album with this suit on the cover) suit (aka "caped fringe" suit). This suit was worn during the evening show of November 14, 1970, in Los Angeles, CA. The show was a real standout and Elvis was really going for it throughout a long concert. The suit was an especially spectacular one -- newspaper reviews of the show all mention the visual impact it made as Elvis moved around the stage -- but Elvis kept getting tangled up in the long fringes and, at one point, Charlie Hodge had to cut him free of the microphone cord (Elvis said that the suit seemed like a good idea at the time). Tradition holds that this Los Angeles show was the only time the suit was ever worn, but the Crazy Canuck recently dug up a photograph from February, 1971 (possible actually from January 29), that shows Elvis in the same suit (with reduced fringes!).
Elvis on stage in pants and shirt. In August, 1971, Elvis sometimes wore a basic get-up of pants and a shirt on stage in Las Vegas (often with various vests or jackets that he'd take off at some point in the show); a pattern he repeated during his January-February Las Vegas engagement in 1972. Elvis finally took the more casual look on the road during the June tour, during which he wore a paisley or light blue shirt with pants and suit jacket with attached cape. Back in Las Vegas, in August, Elvis stuck with the suit and shirt approach until he ripped his pants one too many times -- apparently the separate pants were more vulnerable to tearing than the jumpsuits were -- and switched back to wearing jumpsuits again about halfway through his engagement. This photo is allegedly from the June 20, 1972 show in Tulsa, OK. Photo by Ed Bonja.
The Black Fireworks suit. This one was among the first generation of more complex jumpsuits that Elvis debuted in the latter part of 1971 (along with the Red Lion, Black Matador, and the "Philly" suit, as well as several two-piece suits and jumpsuits Elvis began wearing during his July Lake Tahoe stand and his August engagement in Las Vegas). These suits had round or square "reflectors" and most of the appliques were metallic. With these suits, Elvis usually wore either a broad leather belt with chains attached or his gold and diamond-encrusted "World Champion Entertainer" belt that the Hilton in Las Vegas had given him for setting attendance records. The other new feature was a cape, which most of Elvis' suits made until the middle of 1973 were equipped with. These suits and capes -- particularly the later ones that were heavily bedecked with metal and jewels -- weighed an awful lot and must have been hard to move around in as Elvis did. Elvis wore this suit in Las Vegas during August, 1971, it's not entirely impossible that he wore it earlier, in Lake Tahoe (where he also wore suits from his 1970 wardrobe -- the only time his simpler and more ornate suits shared his dressing room racks), and he wore it on the excellent November tour. I don't know if he wore this suit in 1972, but he may well have in Las Vegas, at least. This shot is from the afternoon show of November 13, 1971, in Dallas, TX.
The Red Lion suit, so named because of the lions' heads on the belt that went with the suit. Elvis wore this suit on the November, 1971 tour through the end of the April, 1972 tour. The suit is featured in the 1972 motion picture "Elvis On Tour" (from his April 18 show in San Antonio, TX). This photograph is from another excellent show Elvis gave in Kansas City, MO, on November 15, 1971. Photo by Sean Shaver.
The Black Matador (aka "Black Lion") suit. This one's basically a black version of the Red Lion suit (see above) that Elvis wore with his gold belt. Elvis may or may not have worn this suit during the January-February, 1972 engagement in Las Vegas -- otherwise, he seems to have worn it only on the sensational November, 1971 tour. This shot is from the Boston concert of November 10, 1971. Elvis was beyond belief on this tour, but was hard to see (unless you had a close view) in this suit and the other black one he wore.
The Philly suit (aka "Spectrum" -- named after the Philadelphia venue where this jumpsuit debuted). Perhaps my favorite suits from the first generation of more complex designs, this studded and fairly basic suit was worn by Elvis during his November, 1971 tour and again on the April, 1972 tour (perhaps also during the Las Vegas engagement that fell between the two tours). The suit is seen, backstage, on Elvis in the movie "Elvis On Tour" -- unless I'm imagining things, there's also a second or less of Elvis in this suit during the "Love Me Tender" sequence (blink and you'll miss it), so perhaps the show was filmed (it would most likely have been the April 15, 1972 afternoon concert). This photo is from the November 8, 1971 show in Philadelphia, PA.
The White Pyramid (aka "White Diagonals") suit. Seen in the 1972 movie "Elvis On Tour," though not during an on-stage sequence, this suit was worn on the April, 1972 tour as well as during the Las Vegas engagement that preceded it. Elvis may also have worn this suit on the June tour (unlikely) or in Las Vegas during August-September, 1972. The suit got a lot of exposure when a shot (from the same show as this one) of Elvis in it adorned the cover of 1972's big-selling audio chronicle of one of Elvis' Madison Square Garden performances. This photo's from the same day as the footage in "Elvis On Tour" -- the afternoon show of April 16, 1972, in Jacksonville, FL.
The "Madison" or "Adonis" suit. I think this was one of Elvis' smartest-looking suits, and it may be no coincidence that the producers of 1979's "Elvis -- The Movie" (starring Kurt Russell) kitted Kurt up in a replica of his suit for the film's final concert sequence. Elvis wore this on tour during June, 1972, at least a few times in Las Vegas during August-September, and once on tour in November. This photo is probably from the first show he gave at New York's Madison Square Garden on June 9, 1972.
The famous Blue Swirl suit (aka "Clover Leaf"). This intricately-patterned and rarely-seen suit was first worn, I believe, during one or two shows on the June, 1972 tour and then again during some of his Las Vegas shows (including the closing show) from August-September of the same year. I don't know if Elvis wore it in the interim, but the last times he donned it were for two dates on the April, 1973 tour, including the afternoon show of April 29 (in Seattle, WA) from which these photos originated.
The "Way Down" suit -- there's got to be a better name out there, but I don't know of it.. I just call it the "black suit" (or "black Hawaii suit" (as opposed to the "Blue Hawaii" suit, I suppose), which is a bit ambiguous, and I've seen it called the "Cisco" suit, which is also the name given to a whole series of 1971 suits that were entirely different). My wife thinks that, in photos where he's spreading the red-lined cape behind him, Elvis looks like a vampire in this suit, though the "Vampire suit" label probably isn't likely to catch on. Finally, I've seen the suit as the "Conquistador" suit, which I suppose is as good as any. Whatver you call it, this nice-looking suit was worn on the November, 1972 tour -- I don't know of any other times he wore it. The photo is from the November 18, 1972 afternoon show in Honolulu, HI. The November tour had an interesting song line-up and Elvis really did some superlative shows, featuring incendiary versions of "Burning Love."
The Aloha suit (aka "American Eagle"). One of the coolest jumpsuits ever worn by Elvis, this one was a work of pop art. Featuring American eagles front and back (and on the cape, the belt, and down the legs and arms), this one proclaimed Elvis' nationality to the huge chunk of our planet's population that witnessed the "Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite" satellite transmission and TV special. Before the show, Elvis gave away one or two models of his cape (and, I believe, his belt) to friends Ed Parker and Jack Lord (the latter of "Hawaii Five-O" fame, the former the "Father of American Karate"), so replacements had to be quickly made and sent to Hawaii. At the end of the actual satellite show, Elvis threw his belt and his cape -- each worth a phenomenal sum of money -- into the audience. Among the many capes made for this suit was a floor-length version that was so heavy that it was basically unable to be worn. Elvis wore the Aloha suit (there were two versions -- one with red leg vents and one with blue) from his live "Aloha" rehearsal show of 1973 through the March, 1974 tour. The front-on picture is from the January 14, 1973 "Aloha" concert in Honolulu, HI. The shot that shows part of the back of the suit was probably taken during one of the rehearsals for the satellite show, perhaps on January 13.
The Orange Superman (aka "Superman," aka "Sunlight," aka "Raised On Rock") suit. Elvis wore this suit during his January-February, 1973 Las Vegas engagement and probably during every tour or engagement through the end of the March, 1974 tour -- he must have liked it. This one's actually only one I think is particularly cool at certain times -- it somehow seemed unflattering to Elvis during his April and June concerts of 1973 and then looked good on him again during his March, 1974 tour (I have no idea why -- except maybe that orange didn't really suit him, or anyone). It's also the suit seen on the cover of "Raised On Rock," which features a great action shot (though the lighting was so red that I'd always believed there was a "Red Superman" somewhere out there) that was probably taken in Las Vegas, during February, 1973, but may have come from the April, 1973 tour. My understanding was always that there was a "Blue Superman" suit (there was -- see below) and a green version, as well. To date, I've seen no evidence of a "Green Superman." These photos -- wherein the suit at least looks good on Elvis -- were taken during the January-February, 1973 Las Vegas stand.
The Target (aka "Blue Superman") suit. I like this one a lot better than the "Orange Superman" (blue's my favorite color, anyway), though Elvis may not have worn it as much. Elvis wore this suit from his January-February, 1973 Las Vegas engagement through his March, 1974 tour. The frontal shot of Elvis is from his August, 1973 Las Vegas engagement (possibly August 23) and the rear shot is from the March 8, 1974 show in Monroe, LA.
The Nail-Studded suit. A relatively simplistic suit compared with some of the others he wore during this time, Elvis wore this suit from April, 1973 to March, 1974. He may have worn it in Las Vegas during the winter engagement of 1973, too. This picture is from the April 27, 1973 show in Portland, OR.
The "Today" suit, named after the 1975 album on which Elvis' cover shot featured him in this suit. This is another of those suits of which few photographs exist, and Elvis didn't wear it that much. Elvis wore this suit during the January-February Las Vegas gig and the April and June tours of 1973 (perhaps also at Lake Tahoe in May), and he may have worn it on the June tour of 1974. The front-on photograph is from the evening show of April 29, 1973, in Seattle, WA. The shot from the rear is from Elvis' Long Island concert of June 22, 1973, in Uniondale, NY. the picture that shows the suit's cape was taken during the Atlanta, GA concert of July 3, 1973, which closed the June-July tour that year (a tour that included several return visits to Atlanta, which was a real Elvis stronghold).
The Nashville suit. As far as I know, the only time he ever wore this bejeweled suit was in Nashville, TN, during his July 1, 1973 concert. It's quite possible that this extremely rarely-seen suit was previously worn in Las Vegas during January-February, during the May Tahoe engagement, or perhaps during the two Las Vegas engagements that followed his Nashville show. Relatively few photos surface from Las Vegas shows and fewer still from Tahoe shows.
The Memphis suit, so named because Elvis wore it in his first hometown performance since 1961 (March 20, 1974 -- an edited version of the concert was released by RCA in 1974). Elvis had been wearing this suit since his August, 1973 Las Vegas engagement, so who know what they called it before he played Memphis (which was, after all, quite possibly the last time he wore the suit -- it may have been worn during his summer Las Vegas gig in 1974). Some people call this the "King" suit. Whatever you choose to call it, this photo of Elvis doing the split in "Suspicious Minds" comes from the March 10, 1974 show in Roanoke, VA. The photo at the top of the page, of Elvis pulling a horse stance during the "Amen" tag to "I Got A Woman," is from the March 20 Memphis show. A densely-jewel-encrusted cape was made for this suit, but -- as far as I know -- Elvis never wore it (he stopped wearing capes after the June-July, 1973 tour). Sean Shaver took this photo.
The famous Peacock suit, said by many to be Elvis' favorite. Elvis wore this from May to October of 1974 -- the front view is from Elvis' Los Angeles evening show of May 11 and the shot that shows the back of the suit was taken during the evening show of October 5, in Indianapolis, IN (later the site of Elvis' last concert on June 26, 1977). You can see that Elvis' hand is bandaged in the October show -- also apparent in the Dragon suit photo below -- which was the result of a fan-induced scratch or bite wound becoming infected. There was a particularly spectacular cape made for this jumpsuit, too, but Elvis never wore it.
The American Eagle jumpsuit. Sort of a coarser approximation of the stellar "Aloha" suit, Elvis wore this one during his May, 1974 mini-tour (most notably during his evening show of May 11 in Los Angeles, which was photographed by RCA and from which this picture originated), during the Tahoe engagement that followed, and on several dates in his June tour. In Lake Tahoe, Elvis said he was wearing the suit because the "Aloha" suit's eagle's feathers fell out. Although it looks to me like Elvis in May and June of 1974 may have been able to fit into the same jumpsuits he wore in March, 1974 (which included the Aloha suit), he may not have been able to -- there's a discontinuity between the March and May tours that he did not cross (as far as I know, for onstage clothing) in that he never again wore a suit that hailed from earlier than the May, 1974 tour.
The Rainbow (aka "Blue Rainbow") suit. This is another suit that looked even better in person than in pictures -- a comparatively simple emroidered design in the context of Elvis' other suits, it was a very clean-looking outfit. Elvis wore this beginning with his May, 1974 mini-tour and then during his May Tahoe engagement, his June tour, and his September-October tour. I don't know whether he wore the suit during his short October Tahoe engagement or his summer shows in Las Vegas, but he picked it up again for concerts during his October, November, and December tours of 1976 and for his 1976 Las Vegas season. This photograph is from his concert in College Park, MD, on September 28, 1974.
The Turquoise (aka "Pale Blue") Eagle or Phoenix suit. This is one of those relatively "rare" jumpsuits that a lot of people have never seen photos of. It was one of a series of Eagle suits (all -- as far as I know -- shown here), most of which are associated with Elvis' 1975 shows. I do not know whether this was the prototype upon which the others were based or if all of the Eagle suits were made at the same time and Elvis only chose this one to wear during 1974. Elvis wore this suit a few times on tour in May and June of 1974 (and probably during his May Lake Tahoe engagement) and at least once in Las Vegas during August-September. As far as I know, he never wore this suit after that point and did not mix it in with his three other Eagle suits that he wore during the following June. I don't know when this photo was taken, but it was most likely on the June, 1974 tour.
Inca Gold Leaf suit. Elvis wore this suit in 1974 and again in late 1976 (the October tour through the end of the year). In late 1976, Elvis seemed to have lost a lot of weight and fit into some jumpsuits he'd last worn in late 1974. The head-on shot's from the October 22, 1976 show in Champaign, IL and the shot from behind may be from the dinner show of December 4, 1976.
The Black Spanish Flower (aka "Flower") suit. This suit was heavily-laden with very intricate metalwork and the only time I know of him wearing it was during the midnight show of September 1, 1974. There was another version of this suit -- with blue stones instead of red -- that photographs exist of but it seems unclear whether he wore it in late August of 1973 or 1974. A "rare" pair of suits, indeed.
The spectacular Dragon (or "Chinese Dragon") suit. This is one of my favorites because it's a dragon motif (I'm a bit of a Sinophile and the dragon is my Chinese birth animal) and because it's quite a spectacular suit -- even moreso in person than in photographs. The Dragon suit and the Tiger suit reflect Elvis' passion for the martial arts -- both animals are central to the southern Chinese styles upon which Elvis' primary karate system was based. Elvis only wore this late in his August-September, 1974 Las Vegas engagement and on the tour that followed (also quite possibly during the few Lake Tahoe shoes he did that October, about which little is known). These shots are probably from the October 4 show in Detroit, MI. Photos taken by Sean Shaver.
The Tiger (aka "Mad Tiger") suit. Among the coolest of Elvis coolest jumpsuits, this one is one of my most favorite. It's a beautifully-done suit and was worn by Elvis in the spectacular ("turbulent" may be a better word) closing days of his Las Vegas engagement of August-September, 1974, including the rollercoaster ride that was his closing night show. Elvis wore this suit again during the almost-as-turbulent September-October, 1974 tour and that was it for the suit. I don't know when these shots was taken, but would guess the first one, at least, was from his October 5 afternoon show in Indianapolis, IN.
One of Elvis' two-piece suits from 1975. Elvis had a variety of these suits made up and wore them almost exclusively during the March-April Las Vegas engagement and exclusively during the following April-May tour. The general belief is that Elvis began wearing these suits to cover his recent weight gain. They aren't exactly my favorite of Elvis stage clothes, but this one -- in particular -- and one or two others actually did look quite good on him. After the Spring tour, Elvis only wore these suits offstage. This shot is from the May 1, 1975 show in Atlanta, GA -- by all accounts, his Atlanta shows were sensational (then again, his concerts during most of 1975 were pretty great, and seemed to get better and better as he progressed through the May, June, and July tours).
The Blue Eagle (aka Black Eagle) suit. I used to believe that there was a
Black Eagle suit because I had seen photographs in which, even in close-up
with abundant light, the suit's ground color appeared black (whereas the
navy blue Blue Eagle suit can actually appear quite brilliantly blue). I
now accept that there probably never was a Black Eagle suit, though you
never know. The Blue Eagle was worn on the May-June and July tours of 1975, the December 1975 Las Vegas
engagement, and for a few shows on the March, 1976 tour. I
love this picture of Elvis with the glasses, taken during the May 30 performance in Huntsville, AL. I don't know which show the other shot's from but it's almost certainly alos from the May-June,
1975 tour (choices are May 30, June 1 afternoon
show, June 2 afternoon show, possibly June 3, June 5, June 7 afternoon show, and June 8
evening show -- Elvis wore it a lot in a short time!).
The Indian suit. If you look at the details, you'll perhaps agree that
this was one of Elvis most finely-crafted jumpsuits -- the embroidery is
very detailed and interesting. Elvis wore this suit during the May-June
and July tours of 1975 and got into it again for the October, November, and December tours
of 1976, his December, 1976 Vegas engagement, and for his February, 1977 tour. This shot -- from his excellent
"homecoming" Memphis show of June 10, 1975 -- is a real
classic and adorned the cover of his second-to-last LP as well as
countless posters and souvenirs after his death. More correctly, an
altered version of the shot is what became a famous icon -- for the LP cover, RCA removed the band from the picture and
unnecessarily trimmed a few inches off Elvis' waist.
The Red Eagle suit, another of the Eagle suits patterned on the same
motif. Elvis is said to have not been too keen on wearing red, which may
explain why he didn't wear this suit too often. I'm no big fan of red,
either, but I think that this jumpsuit was quite striking and wish he'd
worn it more. Elvis wore this during his evening show of May 31,
1975 (Huntsville, AL -- the show from which these shots derived) and
on perhaps one other date on that tour and one date on the July tour. The only other times he wore it was on one show of
the October, 1976 tour and in Las Vegas in December,
1976 (his final Vegas stand).
The White Eagle suit. Yet another in the Eagle series, this one was worn
by Elvis during the May-June and July tours of 1975 and
didn't show up again until worn, for the last time, for Elvis'
deservedly-legendary New Year's Eve concert in Pittsburgh,
PA, in 1976. This shot is supposedly from the June 8, 1975
afternoon concert in Jackson, MS.
The Blue Aztec suit. This dazzling suit was contemporary to the even more
visually-overloaded Gypsy suit (see below) and was worn by Elvis during
the July, 1975 tour and once each during the March and April tours
of 1976. The last time he wore this suit was for
show of the May, 1976 Lake Tahoe engagement (the
last time he played Tahoe). I used to think that this suit and -- even
moreso -- the Gypsy suit were incomparably ugly and unflattering. They
may not have been the most flattering suits he could have worn (especially
the Gypsy), despite the slimming effect of black, and look supremely
uncomfortable, but they sort of grew on me over the years. The detail in
the embroidery is fantastic. This shot is from the afternoon show of July 19,
1975, in Uniondale, NY. Both shows that day were
beyond excellent -- at this show, Elvis did an impromptu gospel jam of "Bosom Of Abraham" and "You Better Run," and that evening he sat down at the piano to play and sing a transcendent
version of "You'll Never Walk Alone" that I hope eventually
surfaces from a soundboard recording. This photo was taken by John
Reggero who, in 1979, published a nice book filled with photos from the
two Uniondale shows and titled "Elvis In Concert."
The Gypsy suit. An extremely ornate outfit that, again, I used to think
was pretty horrible-looking. Although it looks uncomfortable, apparently
(according to photographer Sean Shaver) Elvis liked suits in
which the arms were looser material, because they kept him a bit cooler
than most of this suits. This may partially explain why Elvis alternated
between two puffed-sleeve jumpsuits for most of 1976. Elvis
wore this suit during the July, 1975 tour, the ill-fated August Vegas engagement that followed, and during the December,
1975 "make-up" Las Vegas season. This picture is from
the July 21, 1975 concert in Greensboro, NC
Why did Elvis stick to one or two suits
during most of his last two years?
Back to more Elvis...
The Indian suit. If you look at the details, you'll perhaps agree that this was one of Elvis most finely-crafted jumpsuits -- the embroidery is very detailed and interesting. Elvis wore this suit during the May-June and July tours of 1975 and got into it again for the October, November, and December tours of 1976, his December, 1976 Vegas engagement, and for his February, 1977 tour. This shot -- from his excellent "homecoming" Memphis show of June 10, 1975 -- is a real classic and adorned the cover of his second-to-last LP as well as countless posters and souvenirs after his death. More correctly, an altered version of the shot is what became a famous icon -- for the LP cover, RCA removed the band from the picture and unnecessarily trimmed a few inches off Elvis' waist.
The Red Eagle suit, another of the Eagle suits patterned on the same motif. Elvis is said to have not been too keen on wearing red, which may explain why he didn't wear this suit too often. I'm no big fan of red, either, but I think that this jumpsuit was quite striking and wish he'd worn it more. Elvis wore this during his evening show of May 31, 1975 (Huntsville, AL -- the show from which these shots derived) and on perhaps one other date on that tour and one date on the July tour. The only other times he wore it was on one show of the October, 1976 tour and in Las Vegas in December, 1976 (his final Vegas stand).
The White Eagle suit. Yet another in the Eagle series, this one was worn by Elvis during the May-June and July tours of 1975 and didn't show up again until worn, for the last time, for Elvis' deservedly-legendary New Year's Eve concert in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1976. This shot is supposedly from the June 8, 1975 afternoon concert in Jackson, MS.
The Blue Aztec suit. This dazzling suit was contemporary to the even more visually-overloaded Gypsy suit (see below) and was worn by Elvis during the July, 1975 tour and once each during the March and April tours of 1976. The last time he wore this suit was for his closing show of the May, 1976 Lake Tahoe engagement (the last time he played Tahoe). I used to think that this suit and -- even moreso -- the Gypsy suit were incomparably ugly and unflattering. They may not have been the most flattering suits he could have worn (especially the Gypsy), despite the slimming effect of black, and look supremely uncomfortable, but they sort of grew on me over the years. The detail in the embroidery is fantastic. This shot is from the afternoon show of July 19, 1975, in Uniondale, NY. Both shows that day were beyond excellent -- at this show, Elvis did an impromptu gospel jam of "Bosom Of Abraham" and "You Better Run," and that evening he sat down at the piano to play and sing a transcendent version of "You'll Never Walk Alone" that I hope eventually surfaces from a soundboard recording. This photo was taken by John Reggero who, in 1979, published a nice book filled with photos from the two Uniondale shows and titled "Elvis In Concert."
The Gypsy suit. An extremely ornate outfit that, again, I used to think was pretty horrible-looking. Although it looks uncomfortable, apparently (according to photographer Sean Shaver) Elvis liked suits in which the arms were looser material, because they kept him a bit cooler than most of this suits. This may partially explain why Elvis alternated between two puffed-sleeve jumpsuits for most of 1976. Elvis wore this suit during the July, 1975 tour, the ill-fated August Vegas engagement that followed, and during the December, 1975 "make-up" Las Vegas season. This picture is from the July 21, 1975 concert in Greensboro, NC
Why did Elvis stick to one or two suits during most of his last two years?
Back to more Elvis...