Elvis Presley’s Audubon Home

These days, everyone knows the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll lived in his own castle: Graceland. But when you’re somewhere between up-and-coming star and legendary rock star, where do you call home? The answer: 1034 Audubon Drive, Memphis, Tennessee.   Elvis and his parents, Gladys and Vernon, moved to Memphis when Elvis was 13, and for the next eight years, the family lived in several apartments and homes. But in early 1956, Elvis found success with a little tune you may have heard – “Heartbreak Hotel” – and he used the profits from that to purchase a home for his family in Memphis. This home was the first owned by the Presleys in Memphis. Elvis purchased the home from the Welsh Plywood Corporation for $29,500, on March 12, 1956. He paid a $500 down payment on March 3. The Audubon Drive home, built in 1954, has four bedrooms and two and a half baths. It didn’t have a fence at first, but as Elvis’ popularity grew, he added one. The fence even included some music notes, though those have since been removed. Elvis also had a pool installed.   Elvis’ neighbors on Audubon Drive truly had a rock star as a neighbor. He’d already made his first national television appearances. His first album arrived in stores about a week and a half after he purchased the house. He performed hundreds of concerts across the country. Audubon Drive was his home while he made his first movie, “Love Me Tender.” After he jammed out with his fellow Memphis musicians in the Million Dollar Quartet, he went home to – you guessed it – Audubon Drive. Elvis and his parents lived on Audubon Drive for about a year before they purchased Graceland, which he called home for the rest of his life. Today, 1034 Audubon Drive is privately owned. If you love learning about Elvis, his life and his music, come to Memphis and visit Graceland. Watch our first “Hidden Graceland” episode of our web series, Gates of Graceland to see a special mirror that Elvis brought with him from Audubon to...
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Elvis Presley’s Tour Dates in 1956

The music industry in 2016 is very different from the music industry in 1956, but one thing is still true: Touring is practically a must if you want to find new fans. Elvis Presley’s career was just starting to soar in 1956. It was an incredibly busy year, both professionally and personally. Not only did he record and release some of his most legendary songs, but he also released his first album and made his first movie. He also purchased his first home. Fans heard his music on the radio and watched his national television appearances, but Elvis also gained thousands of new fans by doing quite a bit of touring in 1956. Including travels to New York City and Los Angeles to appear on television shows, Elvis made over 110 tour stops in 1956. That’s quite a lot – and not only that, he often performed several times in one day, performing, for example, in the afternoon and evenings (bringing the number of concerts he actually performed in 1956 up to over 200). That workload is almost unheard of today; most artists only perform once per tour stop. The map below gives an idea of Elvis’ tour stops in 1956. Just based on traveling from city to city (not venue to venue) to perform at a concert, Elvis traveled roughly more than 41,000 miles (over 67,000 km) and visited 26 states as well as Washington D.C.   View Full Size Travel Map at Travellerspoint Here are a few more details about Elvis’ 1956 tour: Elvis’ first performance in 1956 took place in St. Louis, Missouri on January 1. His final performance of 1956 was December 15 and was in Shreveport, Louisiana, at the Louisiana Hayride. He often returned to Shreveport for Hayride performances between January and March. His last regular appearance on the Hayride was in March, followed by his final appearance there in December. At the end of the December show, Horace Logan first made the now legendary phrase, “Elvis has left the building.” Elvis performed on a variety of stages in ’56. He performed everywhere from TV sets to auditoriums to high school gymnasiums to a university’s field house. The size of the towns varied, too, from major cities like Atlanta, Detroit and San Diego to small towns like Randolph, Mississippi (not far from Tupelo, where he was born). Elvis returned to Tupelo for a concert on September 26,...
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Elvis Presley and the Grammy Awards

Seeing Elvis’ many awards and Gold and Platinum Records is one of the most memorable aspects of touring Graceland. Whether it’s the Hall of Gold – a long hallway full of Gold records and awards – or the Trophy Room in the Racquetball Building – where awards and Gold, Platinum and Diamond Records cover the walls up to the ceiling – both locations leave fans in awe of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Right now at Graceland, fans can see three of Elvis’ most prestigious awards: his Grammy Awards, all of which he won for his gospel music. He was nominated for many more songs and albums, though – do you know which ones? The 58th annual Grammy Awards are Monday, February 15, so let’s take a look at these awards and how Elvis has been honored. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences present the Grammy Awards to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry. It’s the music equivalent to the Academy Awards, given for achievement in film, the Emmy Awards, for television, and the Tony Awards, for stage performance. The first Grammy Awards ceremony was in the spring of 1959, so some of Elvis’ earliest hits (like “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Heartbreak Hotel” and many more) couldn’t have been nominated. But Elvis was nominated in that first year: “A Fool Such as I” was a nominee for Record of the Year (which lost to Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife”) and “A Big Hunk O’ Love” was nominated for both Best Performance by a Top 40 Artist and Best Rhythm and Blues Performance. In 1960, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll earned several Grammy nods. “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” was nominated for Record of the Year; Best Vocal Performance Single Record or Track, Male; and Best Performance by a Pop Single Artist. The instrumental “The Theme from A Summer Place” won that year for Record of the Year. Also in 1960, “G.I. Blues” was nominated for Best Vocal Performance Album, Male; and Best Sound Track Album or Recording of Original Cast from a Motion Picture or Television. The next year, “Blue Hawaii” was also nominated for Best Sound Track Album or Recording of Original Cast from a Motion Picture or Television. It lost to the “West Side Story” soundtrack. Elvis became a Grammy winner in 1967. His second gospel record, “How Great Thou Art” won Best Sacred Performance....
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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...
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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...
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