It’s a safe bet that if you live in the United States, you’re probably familiar with the phrase “Elvis has left the building.” Even if you’ve never listened to a single song from Elvis Presley, you know the saying. For decades, we have been using the phrase without considering its backstory.
Of course, we owe the phrase to the King of Rock-n-Roll himself. However, Horace Lee Logan, the announcer at the Louisiana Hayride show, where Presley often performed, was the first to use it.
Before he was one of the most significant icons of the 20th century, Elvis Presley was paid $18 per week when he appeared at the Louisiana Hayride show, according to The Vintage News. In the weeks that followed, 19-year-old Presley became so popular that he decided to end his time at the hayride and reportedly paid 10,000 dollars to buy out the rest of his contract. However, he agreed to perform one final show.
On Dec 16, 1956, Presley gave his final performance at the Louisiana Hayride at the Hirsch Youth Center in Shreveport. When Elvis finished performing and left the stage, many of his fans continued screaming for him; some even headed for the exits hoping to catch a glimpse of Presley outside. It was at this point when Logan announced:
“All right, all right, Elvis has left the building. I’ve told you absolutely straight up to this point. You know that. He has left the building. He left the stage and went out the back with the policemen and he is now gone from the building.”
Little did they know that the phrase would become a catchphrase and a punchline widely used today.
Elvis Presley’s Memory Lives on in Music & Television Today
In 1988, Frank Zappa used it in the opening track of his first live album from his 1988 world tour called Broadway the Hard Way.
The phrase even transitioned from its use in music to being used frequently in movies.
In the 1995 film, The Usual Suspects, Michael McManus (Stephen Baldwin) used the phrase “Elvis has left the building.”
Will Smith also used the saying in the 1996 action film “Independence Day.”
And if you’ve watched the legendary television series, “Frasier,” you know that the closing theme ends with, “Frasier has left the building!”
Even though Presley “left the building” way too early in 1977, the King of Rock-n-Roll’s memory continues to live on whenever we say the iconic phrase.