Elvis Presley wasn’t present at Woodstock, despite being present for several significant events in the history of classic rock. He was involved in another project that would go on to achieve great fame. Possibly not the best choice for the festival would have been the King of Rock’n’ Roll. While Woodstock was taking place, Elvis Presley was preoccupied with Las Vegas. For Elvis, 1969 was a crucial year. He published the hits “Suspicious Minds,” “In the Ghetto,” and “Don’t Cry Daddy.” All three songs made it to the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, demonstrating that the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll had once again become a force in contemporary music thanks to the ’68 Comeback Special.
Elvis Presley would have made a significant contrast to the festival performers.
At Woodstock, Elvis might have felt out of place. Take a look at the list of performers at the first Woodstock Rock Festival. Hendrix, Jimi. By Joni Mitchell. Young, Stills, Nash, and Crosby. All of these actions fit into the hippie subculture. Additionally, by the time Woodstock took place, Elvis had adopted a late 1960s pop sound that was horn-heavy. Whether you like it or not, that refined approach was very different from the hard rock and folk rock that made up Woodstock. Elvis taking the stage to perform “In the Ghetto” and “Don’t Cry Daddy” would have abruptly changed the concert’s tone. The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, however, might have brought down the house at the festival if Colonel Tom Parker had unusually allowed him to adapt to the times.
Michael Lang, the organizer, spoke on the legacy of Woodstock.
Concert promoter Michael Lang is well known for organizing Woodstock. In a 2009 interview with Billboard, Lang talked on Woodstock’s significance in hindsight. “It’s always interesting how much it resonates today, how present it still is in so many people’s minds, and how many people mark their lives from that point,” he remarked. “I found it amazing how many people compared the [Barack Obama] inauguration coverage to Woodstock and that sense of hope emerging out of nowhere. Obama’s victory was not at all anticipated, if you know what I mean. Although many people had dreams about it, nobody believed it was actually possible.
“That’s what’s wonderful about America; suddenly it turns on its heels and goes in the right direction,” continued Lang. “And that struck me as the same kind of moment that we were in [in 1969] amidst a horrible war and we experienced terrible assassinations and an unpopular president and all of those things that were going on.” “And then all of a sudden, something happens that again takes a left turn, and hope returns.” Although Woodstock is renowned, Elvis might not have been the best choice for it.