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1956 THE YEAR ELVIS BECAME A STAR
February 23, 2016  -  Chron / Elvis Express Radio
Elvis Express Radio News
It's easy to remember 'the King' as a 1970s Vegas act, crooning in a rhinestone jumpsuit. But when he was an up-and-coming rock star, Elvis
Presley had an amazing work ethic.

Why did Elvis Presley take the nation by storm in 1956? It might have been his voice – deep, rich and, evidently, incredibly sexy to teenage girls with disposable income. It might
have been his looks – thick hair, dreamy eyes, perfect cheekbones and a bold jawline. Those certainly didn't hurt.

However, a closer look at Elvis' schedule from his breakout year – 60 years ago – suggests something more than that: The man worked hard. Very hard.

Ninety-four concerts spanning much of the nation. Travel from venue to venue. Landmark appearances on national TV. He even filmed a movie – the first of several – that year.
There was barely a moment's rest for a 21-year-old kid from Tupelo.
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JANUARY

Jan. 7
Appears on "Louisiana Hayride," a regional TV show in Shreveport. He'll appear again on the show a week later.

Jan. 10
Records three songs – including "Heartbreak Hotel" – at RCA Studios in Nashville.

Jan. 16
Performs at Galveston's City Auditorium. The next day, Elvis sings in Beaumont.

Jan. 28
Makes his first national TV appearance on CBS' "Stage Show," hosted by the Dorsey Brothers.
He performs "I Got a Woman," "Shake, Rattle and Roll" and "Flip, Flop and Fly."

Jan. 30
Records four songs – including "Blue Suede Shoes" – at RCA Studios in New York.

SHOWS
4 TV appearances  
11 concerts in Missouri, Mississippi and Texas.
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FEBRUARY

Feb. 4
Makes his second appearance on "Stage Show."

Feb. 5
Elvis' 1955 single for Sun Records, "Mystery Train," hits No. 1 on Billboard's country singles chart.

Feb. 11
Single "Heartbreak Hotel" is released. Makes his third appearance on "Stage Show."

Feb. 18
Makes his fourth appearance on "Stage Show."

Feb. 21
"Heartbreak Hotel" debuts on the Billboard singles charts.

Feb. 23
Collapses from exhaustion after a show in Jacksonville, Fla.

SHOWS
4 TV appearances and
18 concerts in Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida.
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MARCH

March 15
Renegotiates his contract with Colonel Tom Parker. From this point on, Parker will receive one-quarter of all Elvis' earnings.

March 17
Makes his fifth appearance on "Stage Show."

March 23
Elvis' first album, "Elvis Presley," is released by RCA

March 24
Visits his friend Carl Perkins in Dover, Del., where Perkins is recovering from a near-fatal car crash.
Later that night, Elvis makes his sixth and final appearance on "Stage Show."

SHOWS
6 TV appearances
7 concerts in Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.
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APRIL

April 1
Visits Paramount Studios in Hollywood for a screen test. The role he tries out for goes to Burt Lancaster, but the studio is impressed enough to sign Elvis to a seven-year contract
on April 6.

April 3
Appears on NBC's "Texaco Star Theatre" hosted by Milton Berle. Elvis is shown via a live-remote broadcast from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Hancock in San Diego.

April 14
Records "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" at RCA Studios in Nashville.

April 21
"Heartbreak Hotel" hits No. 1 on Billboard's singles chart, where it will stay for eight weeks. That night, Elvis performs at Houston's City Auditorium – the last of 12 shows over 13
days in Texas.

April 23
Begins a two-week engagement at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas. The older audience just doesn't get Elvis. However, Elvis watches a group called Freddie Bell and the Bellboys
sing an old blues number, "Hound Dog." Elvis adds it to his stage act.

SHOWS
One TV appearance
23 concerts in California, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and Las Vegas.
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MAY

May 5
Album "Elvis Presley" hits No. 1 on Billboard's album charts. It will remain there for 10 weeks.

May 12
Single "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" is released.

May 21
Fans storm the stage at Elvis' show in Topeka, Kan.

SHOWS
21 concerts in Las Vegas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Ohio.
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JUNE

June 5
Appears again on Milton Berle's show, singing "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" and "Hound Dog."
Elvis' gyrations during the latter cause a stir in the national media.

June 16
Appears on "Teenage Dance Party," hosted by Wink Martindale in Memphis.

SHOWS
15 concerts in California, Arizona, Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas.
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JULY

July 1
NBC's "Steve Allen Show" has a little fun with the ongoing controversy around Elvis' stage gyrations by presenting him as a new-and-improved, "clean" Elvis Presley.
He sings "Hound Dog" again, but to an actual basset hound wearing a bow tie.

July 2
Records three songs – including "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel" – at RCA Studios in New York.

July 13
A double-sided single, "Hound Dog/Don't Be Cruel," is released.

July 14
After 10 weeks, "Elvis Presley" is bumped out of the top spot on Billboard's album charts by the soundtrack to "My Fair Lady."

July 28
"I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" hits No. 1 on Billboard's singles chart. It stays there only one week.

SHOWS
One TV appearance and one concert in Memphis.
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AUGUST

Aug. 10
A juvenile court judge attends Elvis' show at the Florida Theater in Jacksonville, Fla. Afterward, Judge Marion Gooding orders Elvis to tone down his onstage movements.

Aug. 18
"Hound Dog"/"Don't Be Cruel" – hits No. 1 on Billboard's singles charts. It will stay there for 11 weeks.

Aug. 22
Begins shooting his first movie in a role that was previously turned down by Robert Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter. The picture – a Civil War story entitled "The Reno Brothers" – is
renamed "Love Me Tender" in order to capitalize on Elvis' popularity.

Aug. 24
Records two songs – including "Love Me Tender" – at 20th Century Fox Studios in Hollywood.

SHOWS
10 concerts in Florida and Louisiana.
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SEPTEMBER

Sept. 1-5
Records 15 songs over five days in two Hollywood studios.

Sept. 8
A number of singles are released, including "Blue Suede Shoes," "Blue Moon" and "Trying to Get to You."

Sept. 9
Makes his first appearance on Ed Sullivan's popular show on CBS-TV. Sullivan had previously stated he'd never have Elvis on his show, but ratings for his "Steve Allen Show"
appearance were through the roof. Elvis is paid $50,000 for three appearances. He sings "Don't Be Cruel," "Love Me Tender," "Ready Teddy" and "Hound Dog." Sullivan himself is
out on sick leave – Charles Laughton hosts. Contrary to legend – that Elvis is photographed from the waist up only – Elvis is shown from head to toe.

Sept. 26
Elvis performs at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show in Tupelo – the same show where he won second prize for singing when he was 10 years old.

SHOWS
One TV appearance and one concert
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OCTOBER

Oct. 6
Single "Love Me Tender" is released.

Oct. 13
Performs at Houston's Sam Houston Coliseum.

Oct. 19
Second RCA album, "Elvis," is released.

Oct. 28
Makes his second appearance on Sullivan, who is back as host. Elvis sings "Don't Be Cruel," "Love Me Tender," "Hound Dog" and "Love Me."

SHOWS
One TV appearance and four concerts in Texas.
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NOVEMBER

Nov. 3
The single "Love Me Tender" hits No. 1 on Billboard's singles charts. It will stay there for five weeks.

Nov. 15
The movie "Love Me Tender" premieres at the Paramount Theatre in New York.

Nov. 20
Attends a private showing of "Love Me Tender." When his character dies at the end of the movie, Elvis' mother becomes hysterical. Afterward, Elvis swears he'll never play another
movie role in which he dies.

Nov. 21
"Love Me Tender" opens nationally.

SHOWS
Four concerts in Ohio and Kentucky
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DECEMBER

Dec. 1
"Love Me Tender" single drops out of No. 1 on the Billboard singles charts, making this the first time in 16 weeks Elvis didn't hold the top spot. In all, he spends 25 out of 52 weeks
of 1956 at No. 1.

Dec. 4
Drops by Sun recording studios in Memphis to see his pal Carl Perkins, who's working with a yet-unknown Jerry Lee Lewis. Another Sun recording artist, Johnny Cash, also shows
up. The four jam together for a while in what will later be called "the Million Dollar Quartet."

Dec. 8
Album "Elvis" hits No. 1 on Billboard's album charts. It will spend five weeks in the top spot.

Dec. 31
The Wall Street Journal reports Elvis' gross income for the year at $22 million ($192 million in today's dollars).

SHOWS
One TV appearance.
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See photos from Elvis' stop in Houston, October 13, 1956 below.