The King’s Final Act: Remembering the Last Song Elvis Presley Ever Played on Stage

Elvis Presley played his final concert ever on June 26, 1977. The event took place at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis in front of a crowd of almost 18,000.

Videos by American Songwriter

Although he’d been in poor health, battling weight issues and drug addiction, Presley toured heavily in 1977. The Indianapolis show was Elvis’ 55th of the year, and, after taking a planned break, he was scheduled to play more concerts starting in August.

[RELATED: 50 Years Ago Led Zeppelin Had a “Dream Come True” Meeting Elvis Presley: “I Mopped the Tears Away”]

Presley’s Indianapolis concert featured opening sets by the gospel and soul vocal groups The Stamps and The Sweet Inspirations, who also backed Elvis during his show, and comedian Jackie Kahane.

Presley reportedly didn’t hit the stage until 10 p.m. Wearing a white jumpsuit with an embroidered Aztec-style sun on the front, Elvis delivered an 80-minute set featuring 21 songs. According to, the performance included versions of many of his classic hits, including “Love Me,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “It’s Now or Never,” “Little Sister,” “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” and “Hound Dog.”

The show also featured Presley’s renditions of Ray Charles’ “I’ve Got a Woman” and “What’d I Say,” The Pointer Sisters’ “Fairytale,” Marty Robbins’ “You Gave Me a Mountain,” Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge over Troubled Water,” Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain, and Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.”

Elvis’ Final Onstage Song, “Can’t Help Falling In Love”

Elvis’ very last song was a rendition of his classic 1961 ballad “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” While Presley appeared to struggle vocally during parts of the tune, he ended the performance with some soaring, powerful high notes.

Mixed Reviews for the Show

As posted on The Elvis Files website, Presley’s show received mixed reviews from Indianapolis newspaper reporters who covered the event.

Rita Rose of The Indianapolis Star wrote, “At 42, Elvis is still carrying around some excess baggage on his mid-section, but it didn’t stop him from giving a performance in true Presley style. … His older numbers seemed to draw more applause, although just about everything he did created mass hysteria, especially his ‘leg jerks.’”

Zach Dunkin’s review for the Indianapolis News had a much more negative tone.

Dunkin commented snarkily that Presley could “sing when he tries,” while complaining that for some Elvis “for some reason had to read the lyrics from a sheet.”

He concluded, “It’s time ardent Presley fans quit protecting their idol and start demanding more. They know ‘the King’ can do better.”

Presley’s Death

Unfortunately, on August 16, 1977, just six weeks after the Indianapolis concert, Presley suffered a heart attack while at home at Graceland in Memphis and passed away. He was just 42.

Elvis Presley Set List, Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, IN, 6/26/1977:

  1. “See See Rider Blues”
  2. “I’ve Got a Woman”
  3. “Amen”
  4. “Love Me”
  5. “Fairytale”
  6. “You Gave Me a Mountain”
  7. “Jailhouse Rock”
  8. “It’s Now or Never”
  9. “Little Sister”
  10. “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear”
  11. “Don’t Be Cruel”
  12. “Release Me (And Let Me Love Again)”
  13. “I Can’t Stop Loving You”
  14. “Bridge over Troubled Water”
  15. “Early Morning Rain”
  16. “What’d I Say”
  17. “Johnny B. Goode”
  18. “I Really Don’t Want to Know”
  19. “Hurt”
  20. “Hound Dog”
  21. “Can’t Help Falling in Love”

Leave a Reply


Country Artists Put New Spin on Beyoncé’s Classic Tracks, Including “Irreplaceable” and “Drunk in Love”

Lainey Wilson didn't need American idol to become a star

Lainey Wilson Reflects on Turning Hardship into Success After Being Rejected by ‘American Idol’ Seven Times