After years of making mediocre movies, he had returned to touring and performing in Las Vegas. In January of that year, he staged the "Aloha from Hawaii" concert live via satellite, viewed by a billion people worldwide.
But, due to a contractual obligation, he also needed to create new material. He and manager Col. Tom Parker decided that Presley's beloved Memphis was the place to do it.
The result was two recording sessions at Stax Records, the influential studio where Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Sam & Dave and others created the "Memphis soul" sound in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Presley's sessions in July and December 1973 produced country, R&B and pop songs that were released in three separate albums.
Forty years after Presley's Stax sessions, RCA Legacy is releasing the three-cd box set "Elvis at Stax: Deluxe Edition" on Tuesday.