In 1956, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Elvis Presley[/lastfm]‘s star began to shine brighter than ever as several television appearances skyrocketed his career. It was his first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show that made Presley a national celebrity, the likes no one had seen before.
But his first time on the show wasn’t without controversy and a change of heart from Ed Sullivan himself.
Ed Sullivan had announced in June of 1956 that he wouldn’t allow Elvis to perform on his show, saying “Elvis the Pelvis” was “unfit for family viewing.” But Sullivan changed his mind once he had a look at his ratings.
Presley’s appearance on the Steve Allen Show would mark the first time CBS’s Ed Sullivan Show would lose in the ratings. Sullivan promptly signed Elvis to a three appearance deal worth an unprecedented $50,000. The very first of these shows was held on September 9, 1956. Elvis would perform “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Love Me Tender,” and “Ready Teddy” during two segments from CBS Television City in Hollywood. Using some slick camera work, CBS would avoid displaying Elvis’ gyrating pelvis, showing only leg concealing shots when he danced.
The host of the Ed Sullivan Show that night would be actor Charles Laughton, stepping in to replace the recuperating late night host. Sullivan had been in a very serious car accident just a few days earlier that left him in the hospital.
“Don’t Be Cruel”
“Love Me Tender”
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