September 9th 1956: Elvis Presley appears on The Ed Sullivan Show
When it comes to the history of music, some names just can’t be ignored. One name that has become pretty much synonymous with the beginnings of rock ‘n’ roll is the King himself, Elvis Presley. He has literally been the heartthrob poster child for decades, and his musical talent wasn’t half-bad either.
Elvis is an icon
The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was by no means a one-trick pony. In fact, his career was based on multiple components. Other than his guitar-playing, lustrous voice, and gyrating dance moves, Elvis made his way into the hearts of women everywhere. And for obvious reasons, have you ever seen a picture of the guy?
His music career really began to take off in 1955, when he signed a record deal with RCA Records in Memphis, Tennessee. The following year would be a record-breaking one for the king, including a gold record for his song “Heartbreak Hotel” and singing “Hound Dog” to a literal hound dog on stage. A classy move for a classy guy.
More noteworthy were the numerous appearances he made in 1956, including the most popular talk show of the time.
Everyone was watching The Ed Sullivan Show
On September 9, 1956, a monumental moment in music history transpired. Elvis Presley was invited to appear and perform on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time. Hosted by none other than Ed Sullivan himself, this variety show was known for featuring rising stars. Elvis was obviously no exception.
This was a talk show that was on the air every Sunday for a total of 23 years — and the appearance of Elvis would cause ratings to absolutely skyrocket. Naturally.
Over 60 million viewers tuned in to watch Elvis, equating to 82.6% of the total viewer population for that evening. The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll delivered in the singing, guitar-playing, and dancing categories, but Ed Sullivan was a bit nervous about one thing in particular.
Ladies in the audience were beside themselves
Elvis was known to cause the entire female population to swoon. Ed Sullivan notices that some of the ladies in the audience were getting quite hot and bothered by the heartthrob’s dance moves, and he decided to have only the top half of Elvis filmed for the last song.
You know, to avoid television viewers from seeing any more pelvic thrusts.
Despite Sullivan’s skepticism when it came to Presley’s sultry dance moves, this world-class entertainer would appear on the show a few more times in the next few years.
It was no question that Elvis Presley brought sexuality to living rooms across America, and he wasn’t really a fan of subtleties. You don’t get to be the king by playing it safe.