Elvis Presley in the Lone Star State

When you think of Elvis Presley, you think of Tennessee and Mississippi – the state of his beloved home, and the state in which he was born.

But another important state for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll is Texas. Outside of his standing engagements at the Las Vegas Hilton, the highest number of Elvis’ performances while touring occurred in the state of Texas. Elvis performed in Texas approximately 138 times from 1954-1977. Texas saw the young King of Rock ‘n’ Roll as he began his career, and welcomed him back with record-breaking crowds in the ’70s.

Elvis Presley performed several times in 1955 at the Big D. Jamboree at the Sportatorium in Dallas, Texas.

Elvis Presley performed several times in 1955 at the Big D. Jamboree at the Sportatorium in Dallas, Texas.

Most of his Texas concerts took place in 1955, as he performed on the Louisiana Hayride. The radio show covered the east side of the state, and these early concerts provided Elvis and his band the opportunity to perfect their live shows. The Louisiana Hayride concerts led Elvis to perform in many small towns, especially in Texas. He and his band often performed in more than one city and more than one venue per day, so they often had to race from one stage to another. Elvis performed a whopping 308 times in 1955, and a fourth of those performances took place in the Lone Star State.

Elvis’ tour schedule changed and slowed over the next few years, as he left the Louisiana Hayride, released his first album, made TV appearances and began making movies (and, of course, as he was inducted into the Army – but more on that in a bit).

Elvis and country singer Faron Young meet fans on April 10, 1956, in Lubbock, Texas.

Elvis and country singer Faron Young meet fans on April 10, 1956, in Lubbock, Texas.

 

Elvis performed at the Heart O' Texas Coliseum in Waco, Texas, on October 12, 1956.

Elvis performed at the Heart O’ Texas Coliseum in Waco, Texas, on October 12, 1956.

Elvis spent much of the 60s making movies, and he returned to the stage in 1969 with his Las Vegas residency. His first shows outside Vegas were in Texas in early 1970.

From February 27, 1970 – March 1, 1970, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll performed six shows at Houston’s Astrodome as part of the Texas Livestock Show. He made an impression when he entered the building for the first show – he circled the arena in an open Jeep, waving and greeting fans.

Elvis performed two shows a day during his three days at the Astrodome in 1970. The first show took place at 2 p.m., followed by the evening show at 7:45 p.m.

Elvis performed two shows a day during his three days at the Astrodome in 1970. The first show took place at 2 p.m., followed by the evening show at 7:45 p.m.

He broke his previous attendance record with the February 27 evening show, with a crowd of 36,299 – which was 10,000 more than his previous record. The evening crowd on February 28 was another record breaker – 43,614 – which also set a record for indoor rodeo performances in any arena.

Elvis gave a press conference before his first and after his last Houston shows in 1970. At the last press conference, he was presented with gold records for five of his 1969 releases: the singles “In the Ghetto,” “Suspicious Minds” and “Don’t Cry Daddy,” and albums “From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis” and “From Elvis in Memphis.” Elvis also received several gifts, including a Stetson hat, a limited-edition Rolex “King Midas” watch and a gold deputy’s badge.

The press conference Elvis hosted ahead of his first Astrodome performance in 1970 took place at the Astroworld Hotel. He talked about his musical roots and the music he made at Sun.

Elvis performed at Houston’s Astrodome again at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 3, 1974.

Elvis returned to the Astrodome stage in 1974 and again broke his previous attendance record.

Elvis did much more than just perform in Texas.

Graceland recently commemorated the 60th anniversary of Elvis' induction into the Army.

Graceland recently commemorated the 60th anniversary of Elvis’ induction into the Army.

Elvis was inducted into the U.S. Army on March 24, 1958, and he and his fellow inductees were sent to Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, for processing, the next day. Soon after, he was sent to Fort Hood, near Killeen, where he received basic training and advanced tank training. After he completed basic training, he was allowed to live off-base with his parents and grandmother.

Elvis purchased a Convair 880 jet, taken out of service by Delta, for $250,000 on April 21, 1975, and he renamed the plane the Lisa Marie. He had the plane refurbished and customized in Fort Worth, Texas, for an additional half-million dollars. The upgrades to the plane include a queen-size bed, gold fixtures, a videotape system and the TCB logo on the tail. You can now tour the plane at Graceland.

Learn more about the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s legendary career when you visit Elvis Presley’s Graceland! Don’t miss Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum at Elvis Presley’s Memphis at Graceland, which features Elvis’ stagewear, awards, movie props and costumes and much, much more.

Start planning your Graceland experience now.


2 Comments

  1. stephen stathis

    Great photos. cool to see his car next to the stage so he could get in right after the last song. It was exciting and hairy at the same time for EP.

  2. Sharys Wheeler

    Last Christmas, I gave an Elvis Christmas ornament to a friend. She was thrilled, and said she couldn’t wait to take it to Boston where she was visiting relatives. I said, “Boston?” She replied, “We’re from Texas, Sharys.”

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