Elvis Presley’s life was explored in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic, Elvis, earlier this year. Austin Butler played the King of Rock and Roll and tried to sing as many tracks as possible from the star’s repertoire. Unfortunately, he struggled to keep it together during a single track performance.
Austin recently spoke candidly about what Elvis songs mean to him. He spent dozens of hours in recording studios and practicing singing to perfect his version of Elvis tracks.
However, when it came to Unchained Melody, he found himself trying to piece it all together. And this is despite all the training he received before shooting the movie.
The song has become synonymous with the end of Elvis’ life. King recorded a live version of it during his last television performance, which was filmed just two months before his death on August 16, 1977.
Austin opened up about the effect this had on him. “Every time I watch or hear Unchained, it brings tears to my eyes,” he said.
Austin was commissioned to perform the biggest hits throughout Elvis’ life for the biopic. At one point I had him film this last TV show before he died (off screen).
And the 31-year-old noted that it’s not just difficult to listen to. But it was also difficult to fit into the movie.
He said, “It was hard to sing, because at that point, I was so big and so my breathing was tight because you’re strapped into a suit.”
Austin’s comments refer to the final scenes of the film that show Elvis in his heavy state. Towards the end of his life, he gained a lot of weight and let himself go.
Read more: Elvis Presley received TV host’s bold response to live performance
Elvis later released another live version of Unchained Melody – just four months before his death. This version contains studio overdubs and additional tools to enhance your recording.
This wasn’t the only Elvis song that had a strong influence on Austin. Another dating back to his history as a gospel singer.
Austin explained that he worked hard to get into Elvis’s head as a young man. This means returning to his religious roots.
In the end, he came across a song (there will be) peace in the valley (for me). And it exploded.
Austin revealed what he felt when he heard the track. “When we came down to Nashville and recorded all the gospel numbers for the movie, we were in these little churches listening to gospel sung for eight hours straight,” he said.
“I got chills up my spine and couldn’t help but move,” he admitted.
Elvis is available for digital download.