By 1956, Elvis Presley was well on his way to becoming one of the biggest names in music with his catchy records played all over the world, as his sultry tones and swinging hips sent girls from the United States, all the way to the UK and Australia wild.
It was in September of that year that the ‘Hound Dog’ singer made his debut on hit US variety show The Ed Sullivan Show, during which he performed a number of hits including Little Richard’s ‘Ready Teddy’, as well as ‘Love Me Tender’ and ‘Don’t Be Cruel’.
Elvis’ first appearance on the show – which he described as “probably the greatest honour I have ever had in my life” – was a huge hit and drew in a whopping 82.6 per cent of the entire TV audience across America.
The Tennessee crooner’s velvet voice and jaw-dropping dance moves, the likes of which had rarely been seen on television before, may have racked up huge viewing figures, but Elvis’ moves were apparently so shocking to viewers of the day that reports claim producers actually tried to censor the King of Rock and Roll’s performance by craftily cutting to close-up shots every time he started gyrating his famous pelvis.
Despite the performance, which took place on September 9, being a colossal hit, Elvis never actually stepped foot on the set of The Ed Sullivan Show as he recorded his gig from Hollywood, Los Angeles, where he was filming his first movie Love Me Tender (1956). His performance of the title track, which had not yet been released, sent fans into a frenzy.
At that point in time, Elvis had already appeared on popular TV shows such as The Dorsey Brother’s Stage Show and The Milton Berle Show, as well as bagging his first role on the silver screen. He had also released his debut album Rock ‘N’ Roll earlier that year, which hit the top spot.
Elvis performed a further two times on The Ed Sullivan Show that same summer, in an unprecedented deal that was worth an enormous $50,000.