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Elvis Presley star Austin Butler struggled to sing emotional song


Elvis Presley’s life was explored in the biopic film, Elvis, from Baz Luhrmann earlier this year. Austin Butler played the King of Rock and Roll and attempted to sing as many tracks from the star’s repertoire as possible. Unfortunately, he struggled to keep it together during the performance of one track.

Austin recently spoke candidly about what Elvis’ songs meant to him. He spent dozens of hours in recording studios and singing practice to perfect his version of Elvis’ tracks.

However, when it came to Unchained Melody, he found himself trying to hold it together. And this is despite all the training he received leading up to the film’s shooting.

The song has become synonymous with the end of Elvis’ life. The King recorded a live version of it during his final television special, which was filmed just two months before he died on August 16, 1977.

Austin opened up about the effect it had on him. He said: “Every time I watch or hear Unchained Melody, it brings tears to my eyes.” 

Austin was tasked with performing the biggest songs throughout Elvis’ life for the biopic. One moment had him shooting this final TV special before his (off-screen) death.

The 31-year-old pointed out that it was not only tough to listen to. But it was also tough to get right for the movie.

He said: “It was a tricky one to sing, because at that point, I was quite large and so my breathing was constricted because you’re strapped into the jumpsuit.”

Austin’s comments are referring to the final scenes of the film that showed Elvis in his heavier state. Towards the end of his life, he gained a lot of weight and let himself go.

READ MORE: Elvis Presley had bold response for TV host over live performance

Elvis later released another live version of Unchained Melody – just four months before his death. This version had studio overdubs and extra instruments to beef up the recording.

This was not the only song by Elvis that had a powerful effect on Austin. Another one dated back to his history as a gospel singer.

Austin explained that he worked hard to get inside the head of Elvis as a young man. This meant going back to his religious roots.

Eventually, he came across the song (There’ll Be) Peace in the Valley (For Me). And he was blown away.

Austin revealed what he felt when he heard the track. He said: “When we went down to Nashville and recorded all the gospel numbers for the film, getting to be in these small churches listening to gospel being sung for eight hours straight.”

He admitted: “It sent chills down my spine and I couldn’t help but move.”

Elvis is available on digital download.

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