Sunday 4 December 2016

Boots Elvis wore for If I Can Dream on 1968 NBC TV special up for auction

Published 05/11/2015 | 14:26

A pair of white Verde boots worn by Elvis Presley during his 1968 performance of If I Can Dream
A pair of white Verde boots worn by Elvis Presley during his 1968 performance of If I Can Dream
Elvis Presley

A pair of boots worn by Elvis Presley during his 1968 performance of If I Can Dream is to go under the hammer.

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The white Verde boots are being sold by specialist auctioneer Henry Aldridge & Son later this month and are expected to fetch between £25,000 and £30,000.

If I Can Dream was recorded by Elvis two months after Martin Luther King was assassinated and formed part of his comeback special broadcast on NBC shortly before Christmas that year.

The performance is regarded by fans of The King as one of his "Holy Grails". The song was written by Walter Earl Brown and was notable for its direct quotations of the civil rights leader.

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said: "Elvis Presley is one of the most iconic figures in music history and we are honoured to be offering for sale the white boots that he wore in one of his memorable performances when he sang If I Can Dream, the song that capped his 1968 NBC TV special.

"Ironically, the very week that the boots are to be sold, Elvis's album If I Can Dream is set to top the UK album charts - a little over 52 years after the performance he wore these boots for."

Mr Aldridge said the song was significant because the show for NBC was to be a Christmas special and because If I Can Dream was not a Christmas song, the producers thought Elvis would not want to perform it.

"Elvis recorded If I Can Dream in several incredibly passionate takes. To show producer Steve Binder his performance was so staggering it seemed almost like a religious experience," Mr Aldridge said.

"Out on the floor with a hand mic, Elvis fell to his knees. For a moment, it appeared like he was back in church, singing the gospel songs of his youth. These boots represent a tangible link to this truly iconic moment in showbusiness history.

"If I Can Dream was the closing number of one of the greatest moments in entertainment history and is regarded by Elvis collectors as one of the 'Holy Grails'."

The boots are being sold with an Elvis Presley Museum certificate of authenticity hand-signed by Jimmy Velvet, who founded the Elvis Presley Museum, and a hand-written letter of authenticity from Charlie Hodge, who appeared on the NBC special with Elvis.

The letter reads in part: "Elvis was my good friend and I lived at Graceland in a converted garage apartment Elvis made for me and lived there until his passing in 1977.

"I was Elvis' stage director and sang harmony on stage with him and handed Elvis his scarves. I also helped him with the set lists for the shows. I also appeared as an extra in many of his films.

"These white Verde brand boots are the boots that Elvis wore on stage on his 1968 NBC TV special. He wore these in the closing number of the show, If I Can Dream, while he was wearing a white suit. Elvis later gave me these boots."

The boots will go under the hammer on November 14 in Devizes, Wiltshire.

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