The Artist and the Businessman: Elvis Presley Meets Col. Tom Parker

Elvis Presley wasted no time winning over fans right from the beginning, thanks to his voice, energetic stage show, style, revolutionary sound and charm. But the music business is just that – a business – and every artist needs a manager to help take care of the details. From mapping out a tour route to arguing for higher appearance fees, the manager takes care of the business side of things so the artist can focus on the music. At the beginning of Elvis’ career, he met a man who would help him see his goals through to fruition. On February 6, 1955, Elvis met the man who would become his third and final manager: Col. Tom Parker. On February 6, 1955, Elvis and his band performed two shows at Memphis’ Ellis Auditorium, a venue the guys knew well. At both the 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. shows, Elvis and his band, Bill Black and Scotty Moor, shared the bill with country star Faron Young, “Beautiful Gospel Singer” Martha Carson, Ferlin Huskey “and many more,” as the poster promised. Elvis, still a young performer, is billed last, as “Memphis’ Own.” The poster included that he’d perform his regional hits “Heartbreaker” and “Milk Cow Boogie,” which he did, along with “That’s All Right” and “Good Rockin’ Tonight.” A bit of history happened in between those shows. Oscar Davis, an associate of Col. Tom Parker, had seen Elvis perform in October 1954, and met Elvis backstage through Elvis’ manager, Bob Neal. Neal knew Parker, who had many, many connections in the entertainment business, could take Elvis to the next level, and wanted the young singer and the promoter to meet. Davis raved about Elvis to Parker and his fellow associate, Tom Diskin. Parker and Diskin checked out Elvis’ performance on the Louisiana Hayride on January 15, 1955, but didn’t meet Elvis and his band just yet. He did, however, reach out to Neal. That fateful meeting took place on February 6, in between Elvis’ two sets. Neal, Parker, Diskin, Davis and Sun Records’ Sam Phillips met across the street from Ellis Auditorium at a café called Palumbo’s. Elvis and his bandmates sat in for a portion of this meeting. The meeting wasn’t exactly a success. Parker explained he had the connections to take Elvis’ career to the next level, connections that a small label like Sun didn’t have. Naturally, Phillips didn’t like hearing...
read more

From Coast to Coast: Elvis Presley’s First National TV Appearance

Elvis’ 1956 was full of firsts: his first album, his first movie and his first national television appearance. Elvis made appearances on local and regional TV shows before his first national appearance on the Dorsey Brothers’ “Stage Show.” But for many fans across the United States, “Stage Show” gave them the first look at the young Elvis. “Stage Show” started in 1954 as a summer replacement for “The Jackie Gleason Show.” Gleason served as the show’s executive producer, and he brought it back in 1955 with bandleaders Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey as hosts. Elvis’ first appearance on “Stage Show” was January 28, 1956. He traveled with his bandmates, Scotty Moore, D.J. Fontana and Bill Black, from Memphis to New York by car and arrived the day before. The band rehearsed on the morning of January 28, and show time was 8 p.m. It was a rainy night, and Elvis was still relatively unknown, so there wasn’t a big crowd there to see the 21-year-old. Other guests on the show were singer Sarah Vaughan and comic Gene Sheldon. Cleveland DJ Bill Randle introduced Elvis: “We’d like at this time to introduce you to a young fellow who, like many young performers – Johnny Ray among them – came out of nowhere to be an overnight big star. This young fellow we saw for the first time while making a movie short. We think tonight he’s going to make television history for you. We’d like you to meet him now – Elvis Presley.” On that first performance, Elvis sang “Shake, Rattle and Roll” – and segued into “Flip, Flop and Fly” in the middle of it – and “I Got a Woman.” Elvis’ “Heartbreak Hotel” was just released, but he didn’t perform it. Elvis appeared on “Stage Show” five more times: February 4, February 11, February 18, March 17 and March 24. On his second performance, Elvis performed “Tutti Frutti” and “Baby Let’s Play House.” A week later, Elvis finally performed “Heartbreak Hotel,” as well as “Blue Suede Shoes.” For his fourth performance a week later, he again sang “Tutti Frutti” and “I Was the One,” a B-side to his new single. By the time of his sixth performance on March 17, “Heartbreak Hotel” was becoming a huge hit, so he performed it again, along with “Blue Suede Shoes.” For his last “Stage Show” performance on March 24, Elvis sang “Heartbreak...
read more

Top Valentine’s Day Gifts for Elvis Fans

Happy (early) Valentine’s Day, Elvis fans! Show your sweetie how much you care with a gift from Shop Graceland. We’ve listed the best Valentine’s Day gifts for any Elvis fan, so start shopping! And if you’re celebrating Singles Awareness Day, treat yourself and pick up something special just for you. Look for a special Valentine’s giveaway in this post, too! For Her Graceland Elvis Collage Tote Bag – $24.99 Everyone has a favorite Elvis era, whether it’s his early years, the late 60s or the Vegas era. You can celebrate them all with this great designer bag by Robin Ruth. It’s accented by a metallic Gold imprint that covers exterior pockets around the entire bag. This tote bag is as handy as it is stylish. See this item on Shop Graceland.   Lowell Hays Gold Plated Pavé Heart Charm – $40.00 You can never go wrong with something sparkly for Valentine’s Day, and this charm delivers. The heart features 40 pavé set crystals and Elvis’ name engraved on the back. The charm comes in both silver and gold, so you can easily match it with your honey’s other accessories. See this item on Shop Graceland – gold or silver.   Elvis Pink Serenity Women’s T-Shirt – $24.99 Move over, Valentine – you know, deep down, that Elvis rules her heart. This sweet, sentimental pink Elvis shirt makes for a terrific Valentine’s Day gift. See this item on Shop Graceland.   Lowell Hayes Gold Plated Crystal TLC Necklace – $100.00 Tender, loving care – that’s how Elvis believed ladies should be treated. Elvis gave “TLC” necklaces to the women in his life, and you can do the same for your Valentine. This 18-karat gold plated crystal TLC necklace is made from the original mold Elvis’ jeweler, Lowell Hays, used when making jewelry for Elvis. See this item on Shop Graceland.   Heart Elvis Crystal Embellished Silvertone Watch by Sandy Martindale – $170.00 Wear your love for Elvis on your sleeve with this eye-catching, sparkling watch. The watch is part of Sandy Martindale’s line of accessories dedicated to her former boyfriend and longtime friend, Elvis. The meticulously placed Swarovski Crystal Elements encircle the face and, on either side of it, spell out Elvis and create a beautiful heart design. It’s a very special, gorgeous gift that your fashionista Valentine will adore. See this item on Shop Graceland. For Him Elvis Presley’s Graceland...
read more

Elvis Presley’s 1956

Elvis Presley accomplished more in one year than many artists do in a lifetime. He released both his first album and movie. He made his national television debut. He recorded hit songs, collaborated with some of the most talented musicians of his day and toured relentlessly. He purchased his first home in Memphis. 1956 was a big year for Elvis Presley, personally and professionally. This year marks the 60th anniversary of these accomplishments, and we’ll tackle some of them in-depth in future blog posts. For now, prepare to be amazed at how the 21-year-old King of Rock ‘n’ Roll conquered the world in 1956. “Heartbreak Hotel” The world was still trying to figure out the young king in ’56, but he was out to prove himself as a force to be reckoned with. In just this one year, he recorded and released classic songs, such as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Hound Dog,” “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Blue Suede Shoes.” “Heartbreak Hotel” was recorded on January 10 at Elvis’ first recording session for RCA. King of the Road Elvis’ busy touring schedule carried over from 1955 into 1956. He crisscrossed the country countless times, performing everywhere from baseball parks to large auditoriums. He played small communities and big cities alike. Just a few of the places he played in ‘56 include Raleigh, North Carolina; San Diego, California; Richmond, Virginia; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Austin, Texas; Sarasota, Florida; Dayton, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia; Phoenix, Arizona; Savannah, Georgia; St. Paul, Minnesota; New Orleans, Louisiana; Denver, Colorado; Louisville, Kentucky; Miami, Florida; Houston, Texas; St. Louis, Missouri; and, of course, Memphis. He actually collapsed from exhaustion on February 23, 1956, after performing in Jacksonville, Florida. The doctor who treated him recommended that he slow down. That’s easier said than done, of course. Elvis was still part of the Louisiana Hayride, but he made his last regular appearance in March 1956. His final Louisiana Hayride performance was December 15, 1956. Elvis also made his debut in Las Vegas in April 1956. On the Small Screen Elvis’ first national television appearance was on January 28, 1956, on “Stage Show,” and he continued to appear on the show through February and March. He made two appearances on the “Milton Berle Show,” followed by a “Steve Allen Show” appearance. He finished out 1956 with two appearances on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” “Elvis Presley” Elvis’ first album hit record stores on March 23,...
read more

How Elvis Presley Celebrated His Birthday

Happy birthday, Elvis! Elvis Aaron Presley was born January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi, to Gladys and Vernon Presley. That’s just the beginning of Elvis’ legendary life, one full of music, movies and memorable birthdays. For all of the celebrating Elvis did at Christmas and New Year’s Eve, though, Elvis usually celebrated his birthdays pretty quietly. But there were a few extra special birthdays – complete with special gifts and parties – that meant a lot to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. One of the most special birthdays Elvis ever celebrated was his 11th. He actually didn’t get what he wanted for his birthday, but maybe he got what he needed. Some say Elvis asked for a rifle or a bicycle that year, but Elvis’ mother, Gladys, instead bought him a guitar. He spent the next year teaching himself how to play the guitar – a skill that would become handy in his career. In 1949, for his 14th birthday, Elvis received a book of cartoons by George Price from his father. Vernon wrote inside the book, “May your birthday be sprinkled through ‘n’ through with joy and love and good times, too. Daddy.” Elvis loved this book, and even took with with him to Germany when he was there serving in the U.S. Army- but, unfortunately, Elvis lost the book there. Speaking of Germany, Elvis’ fans celebrated the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s birthday even while he was away serving the country. “American Bandstand,” hosted by Dick Clark, aired a special birthday tribute to Elvis in 1959. Elvis was filming “Wild in the Country” in 1961, and on his birthday, the cast and crew threw him a birthday party on the set. The festivities included a cake and they gave him a plaque that read, “Happy Birthday, King Karate.” The next year, Elvis celebrated his 27th birthday at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas, cutting a huge cake from Sahara owner Milton Prell. Many years, Elvis chose to celebrate his birthday quietly at his beloved Graceland. He often rented out a local movie theater so he and his friends could watch the latest movies. In 1974, the king turned 39, and the mayors of Memphis and Shelby County declared it “Elvis Presley Day.” The day included a parade down Elvis Presley Boulevard to Graceland, and his high school alma mater, Humes, had their band play “Happy Birthday.” Elvis watched...
read more

Page 20 of 38« First...10...1819202122...30...Last »