Elvis Presley’s Tour Dates in 1956Posted by Elvis Presley's Graceland on Feb 19, 2016 | 16 comments
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.
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, 1956, not long after he finished filming “Love Me Tender.”
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.”
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.