HBO’s upcoming documentary Elvis Presley: The Searcher breaks down the king of rock and roll’s chops.
Elvis Presley couldn’t read music and had no formal training, but he was a student of music. Best known for accompanying his versatile baritone voice on a six-string acoustic guitar, Presley knew his way around four strings to lay down the electric bass part to the song “(You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care” for the Jailhouse Rock soundtrack. The new documentary for HBO, Elvis Presley: The Searcher, promises to explore his creative journey. The score was composed by Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready.
Elvis Presley: The Searcher is a three-hour, two-film presentation that includes interviews with Scotty Moore, Red West, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and Priscilla Presley talking about the artistic and personal struggles that preceded Presley’s death in 1977. The documentary focuses on Presley the musical artist, from his childhood through the final 1976 Jungle Room recording sessions.
As previously announced by SXSW, Priscilla Presley, David Porter (legendary Memphis music writer and producer), Thom Zimny (director), Jon Landau (producer) and moderator John Jackson (SVP A&R, Sony Music) will discuss the film, the cultural impact of Elvis’ music and how that impact became the embodiment of rock’n’roll at the 2018 SXSW Festival in March.
The documentary will explore how Elvis was inspired by in black and white gospel music of Tupelo, Mississippi, and his early experience with African-American blues and r’n’b of Memphis. It will also track his evolution as an artist with Sun Studios producer Sam Phillips. When Elvis joined the army, most people thought rock and roll lost a voice, but Elvis Presley: The Searcher proves he didn’t stop learning his trade while serving in Germany.
The films will chart the creative highs and lows of his career in the 1960s, culminating in the triumphant ’68 special, and assess his performing career in the early ’70s. They include stunning atmospheric shots taken inside Graceland, Elvis’ iconic home. The documentary also features never-before-seen photos and footage from private collections.
Elvis Presley: The Searcher Release Date
RCA/Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, will release Elvis Presley: The Searcher, the musical companion to the HBO/Sony Pictures documentary, on Friday, April 6.
Elvis Presley: The Searcher debuts Saturday, April 14 at 8:00 p.m. ET.
By Tony Sokol