Despite passing away over four decades ago, Elvis Presley’s deep, soulful, and achingly sincere voice still remains popular. In fact, Elvis Presley is the best-selling solo artist of all time with about 1 billion sales worldwide since his music-making career began.
Elvis Presley got his big break when he landed a recording session with Sun Records’ Sam Phillips. On July 5, 1954, Presley ended up covering the Arthur Crudup song called “That’s All Right.” Eventually, the song hit radio stations, and a single was released with the song and “Blue Moon of Kentucky” on the reverse.
By 1955, Presley had cultivated a following for his soulful voice, new musical style, and uniquely promiscuous dance moves. He started performing publically for the first time in the summer of 1995.
A YouTube video shows one of the first performances of The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll ever. The video is from August 7, 1955. It is recorded by Lois and Jim Robertson at a concert in Magnolia, Texas. It just so happens to be in color as well.
Elvis Presley had originally been nervous to perform in front of crowds. He would shake his leg while playing and his wide-cut pants made this movement even more extravagant. His shaking-leg move would become an infamous part of Presley’s future performances and led to screaming crowds.
Elvis Presley First Television Appearances
Elvis Presley had been on shows like the Dorsey Brothers’ “Stage Show” and “The Milton Berle Show” early on in his career. At the time, Presley had released his debut album and was working on his first film. His song “Heartbreak Hotel” was his most recognizable hit.
The most popular show at the time was “The Ed Sullivan Show,” which attracted millions. He made his premiere on September 9, 1956, which allowed the opportunity to reach more fans than ever before. The idea of Elvis Presley on the show wasn’t ideal for everyone, however.
According to the Graceland site, Ed Sullivan originally refused to book him on the show to distance the singer’s controversy from the variety show. Many adults and other groups found his dancing to be inappropriate for young viewers. Presley was paving the way for a revolution of rock ‘n’ roll music that audiences had not been exposed to before.
Eventually, Presley was booked for three performances on the show and was given $50,000. He performed “Love Me Tender,” “Ready Teddy,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” and “Hound Dog.” Over 82% of people with televisions were tuned in.
His last show in January 1957 was only filmed from the waist up. Angry viewers called to complain about his dance moves, so this was the network’s solution.