The Chairman and The King: Frank Sinatra and Elvis PresleyPosted by Elvis Presley's Graceland on Dec 10, 2015 | 12 comments
When the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll returned from his stint in the Army, he was welcomed home by none other than the Chairman of the Board.
Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, two of the most beloved and respected artists in music, teamed up for a television special back in 1960, and the show resulted in a truly unique and special duet. In celebration of Sinatra’s 100th birthday on Saturday, December 12, let’s look at this historic “Welcome Home Elvis” special.
It was announced in July 1959 that Elvis would appear on Frank Sinatra’s variety TV show upon his release from the Army. He didn’t have to wait long: He was released on March 5 and returned home to Graceland on March 8, and the show was taped on March 26.
“The Frank Sinatra Timex Show” – the variety show was sponsored by Timex – was filmed at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, Florida. Elvis traveled to Miami on March 21, and rehearsed for several days before the March 26 taping.
He shared the stage with, of course, Sinatra, as well as his daughter, Nancy, who would later become his co-star in “Speedway” in 1968. Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford were also special guests.
On the show, Elvis performed “Stuck on You” and “Fame and Fortune,” the two sides of his first post-Army single.
Jazz and rock ‘n’ roll collided when Frank Sinatra and Elvis sang a mash-up of their hit singles, “Witchcraft” and “Love Me Tender,” respectively. Sinatra sang “Love Me Tender,” while Elvis crooned “Witchcraft.” It’s so interesting to see these two great singers offer such different versions of each other’s greatest hits.
See this duet in the video below.
Elvis was paid $125,000 for this show, an unheard of amount in the entertainment industry in 1960. The special aired on May 12, 1960 with high ratings, drawing an impressive 41.5 percent of the American viewing audience that evening.
While Elvis and Sinatra never worked together again, they often kept in touch over the years. Sinatra let Elvis and Priscilla borrow his private jet in 1967 to go from Palm Springs to Las Vegas to get married, and travel back to Palm Springs for their honeymoon.
Elvis’ personal record collection here at Graceland contains many Sinatra records, and, of course, both men sang powerful versions of “My Way.”
Want to learn more about the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll? Start with a visit to his home, Graceland.