Memphis Trivia Tuesday: Elvis plays first big concert - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis Trivia Tuesday: Elvis plays first professional concert in Overton Park

Experts from the Memphis & Shelby County Room say no pictures of Elvis were taken at the Shell concert. However, this picture appeared in the “DeSoto,” the yearbook of Memphis State, in 1955. It is assumed he was there for another early-career concert. Experts from the Memphis & Shelby County Room say no pictures of Elvis were taken at the Shell concert. However, this picture appeared in the “DeSoto,” the yearbook of Memphis State, in 1955. It is assumed he was there for another early-career concert.
July 30, 1954 advertisement in the Memphis Press Scimitar, Ad Scans courtesy Long Lonely Highway by Ger Rijff July 30, 1954 advertisement in the Memphis Press Scimitar, Ad Scans courtesy Long Lonely Highway by Ger Rijff

(WMC) - Lights turned on at the Shell in Overton Park 60 years ago for a music milestone—not only in Memphis, but for the world—as Elvis Presley played, what some historians call, the first ever rock 'n' roll show.

The July 30, 1954 concert marked Elvis' first advertised event and his professional debut, even though he opened for headliner Slim Whitman. Elvis stole the show just 25 days after his history-making recording session at Sun Studio, which is where he recorded "That's All Right."

"It's defiant and daring. Elvis Presley's recording of 'That's All Right' at Sun Studio started a revolution and put Memphis on the music map," Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau President Kevin Kane said. "The roots of rock ‘n' roll are in Memphis."

As a delivery truck driver, Elvis walked into Sam Phillips' small Union Avenue studio and recorded a song that became a hit only a few days later, when a DJ played the song on WHBQ nearly 10 times in a row.

Memphis CVB along with Levitt Shell and Graceland revered this moment at a special concert earlier this month with local musicians.

But a yearlong celebration continues at the King's home, Graceland. The tour highlights Elvis' musical legacy and shows fans he is as relevant today as he was during his first performance.


WMC Action News 5 brings you a week of history every week with Memphis Trivia Tuesday. Join the conversation with #MemphisTriviaTuesday on Twitter or Facebook. Learn more about Memphis history here: http://bit.ly/1h5D51M.


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