After serving his time in Army Elvis has his first post-military recording session in March 1960. Some of the work is for the album ‘Elvis is back!’ including the single ‘Stuck On You’.
In April Elvis begins filming for “GI Blues’ with actress Juliet Prowse and Director Norman Taurog. Elvis and Norman would go on to work together on several of Elvis’ films.
In May ABC airs Frank Sinatra’s Welcome Home, Elvis’ edition of his variety show. The first time Elvis is seen on screen since his return to the US.
His training pays off when in July Elvis receives his first degree black belt in karate, Elvis carries the certificate in his wallet for the rest of his life.
Come August Elvis is filming once again, this time for ‘Flaming Star’, a drama with limited music.
Shortly after the soundtrack for ‘GI Blues’ is released going to #1 on the charts and staying there for 10 weeks.
GI Blues is the most successful Elvis album on the charts, although the future ‘Blue Hawaii’ was the biggest selling album during his lifetime.
Never to stay still for too long, Elvis begins filming ‘Wild in the Country’ while ‘GI Blues’ opens nationally to warm reviews and big box office sales, making it the most successful post-military film.
Before the end of the year in December ‘Flaming Star’ is released, again to warm reviews but less box office success. Elvis earns recognition from a tribal council for his positive portrayal of a Native American.
The film is banned in South Africa due to the interracial theme.
On February 25 1961 Elvis appears at a luncheon in his honour in Memphis and performs an afternoon and evening show at Ellis Auditorium to benefit local charities. These are Elvis’ only live performances since his return from Army.
‘Elvis Presley Day’ is proclaimed by Tennessee Governor Buford Ellington, and every year after this Elvis donates to local charities reaching 50 or more.
In March 1961 Elvis arrives in Hawaii for a press conference and benefit concert in a fundraising bid for building the USS Arizona Memorial.
Elvis’ involvement helps raise the funds and he receives a litany of official honours in appreciation.
This would come to be the final non-film live performance of Elvis’ career until his 1968 television special.
‘Blue Hawaii’ premieres to warm reviews in November 1961. It becomes the top grossing film of his career thus far, featuring lavish scenery, lots of Elvis songs and a large cast of supporting actresses, the film would become the basis for the ‘Presley formula’ films of the 1960’s.