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.

Elvis toured the country a few times over in 1956, but he also managed several shows at his hometown, Memphis. This show was at Russwood Park on July 4.

Elvis toured the country a few times over in 1956, but he also managed several shows at his hometown, Memphis. This show was at Russwood Park on July 4.

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.

 

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.”

One of the most interesting places Elvis played in '56 was the University of Dayton fieldhouse. In this photo, he'd just arrived at 3:40 p.m. for the 2 p.m. show, having just driven in from Columbus, Ohio.

One of the most interesting places Elvis played in ’56 was the University of Dayton fieldhouse. In this photo, he’d just arrived at 3:40 p.m. for the 2 p.m. show, having just driven in from Columbus, Ohio.

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, 1956, not long after he finished filming “Love Me Tender.”

This shot was captured on June 5, 1956, as Elvis rehearsed for his second appearance on the "Milton Berle Show."

This shot was captured on June 5, 1956, as Elvis rehearsed for his second appearance on the “Milton Berle Show.”

Elvis had not yet earned his “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” title. In 1956, advertisements for this concerts across the country billed him as everything from “The Folk Music Fireball,” “RCA Victor’s Newest Singing Sensation,” “Country Music’s Mr. Rhythm” and “The King of Western Bop.”

One newspaper report described him as “the most talked-about new personality in the last 10 years of recorded music,” and one story on him was titled “Howling Hillbilly Success.”

Elvis performed in Miami, Florida on August 3, 1956.

Elvis performed in Miami, Florida on August 3, 1956.

He received a key to the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, following his August 12 performance.

A few of the songs Elvis performed on tour in 1956 include “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Baby Let’s Play House,” “Tutti Fruitti,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Hound Dog.”

Fascinated by Elvis’ career? Learn even more when you visit Graceland and see tour memorabilia, his stage wear and much more.


16 Comments

  1. Yvonne Hart

    Loved reading all the information about Elvis in 1956 i recently bought an A3 size book of Alfred Wertheimer pictures taken during Elvis 56 concert dates. What a fantastic record of Elvis first year of real stardom no one could have ever imagined the impact he was to,have on popular music the world over I was 5 years old at home we had a new Ferguson radiogram and one of the first records my father bought was Heartbreak Hotel on 45 so I was listening to Elvis at a very young age. Thanks to you all at Graceland for all the fantastic information and photographs which appear on this blog. I am also a big fan of the gates of Graceland Angie Marchese has the best job in the world and I think she is brilliant I was thrilled to have a very brief chat with her after she presented some special artefacts from the achieves at Graceland while I was there for Elvis 80th birthday celebrations. A trip of a lifetime for me I loved every moment and would love to visit again some day

  2. great elvis facts brother William ny

  3. This is what a true artist is. Creates and redefines. He completely shook the music industry and set the bar for what to do and not to do in the industry. These jokers today are one hit wonders and copycats. Hardly anyone creates now. Its all been done. Theres nowhere to go, probably why they keep redoing past stuff.

  4. Carlos R. Ares

    And the Earth began to Rock!!!

  5. Love reading stories of Elvis, over and over. Can never absorb too much or get bored. It is interesting to me, each time I read a story o see pictures taken of Elvis in his day, I see or hear a piece of him that has been adopted and applied to our current artists performances. That is why Elvis truly is the King, always and forever.

  6. Mike Davis UK

    At the launch of what turned out to be the worlds greatest entertainer. There will never be another.
    One of the most important years in Pop history

  7. Mike Davis UK

    At the launch of what turned out to be of the worlds greatest entertainer.
    One of the most important years in Pop history

  8. Sheryl Smith

    Love this blog.

  9. An amazing person both on and off stage.My wife and I are huge fans and we love Elvis.

  10. Indran Muthiah

    He is truly a legend both in the music and movie industry.
    I believe he made 32 films in addition to his records and concerts.
    His most recent CD made together with the London Philharmonic Orchestra is an outstanding piece of work.
    Thank you.

  11. Genie Miller

    I found the so great to read. I was only 6 when I heard my first ELVIS song and fell in love. I saw him in concert in 1974 in Baltimore MD at the Civic Center. I have never stopped loving this man and a true blue ELVIS fan to this very day 24/7 thank you for this I just loved it.

  12. Virginia Vlk

    I saw Elvis in Cleveland Ohio in 1956. Everyone was screaming and crying and yelling Elvis Elvis I love you. I was so happy to get tickets to see him. I was 15 years old at the time but I will never forget the experience as long as I live. The concert was the best I am very happy I got to see Elvis in person. He was truly the best entertainer that ever lived.

  13. Dominga Garamillo

    Great artist and humanitarian of all time. The KING will live in our hearts forever.

  14. johnny boggs

    really enjoy reading about what it was like with Elvis in the 50s. Truly shows how Elvis liked to perform on stage. Elvis had a mind for music and nobody could change him .

  15. Sheryl Mathews

    I was at the concert in Richmond Virginia in 1956. That was when I fell in love with Elvis. I was 14 years old and my father took me and three of my girl friends to the concert. I was lucky enough to see him in concert nine more times through the years. Thank you for bringing back so many wonderful memories.

  16. Hi Mary – Elvis played Cleveland, Ohio, on November 23, 1956. The venue is listed as “arena.” Hope this helps!

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