Elvis connection runs deep in Midtown, Downtown
Midtown and Downtown had numerous Elvis connections - this list points out some of the highlights:
Lauderdale Courts, a public housing complex in Downtown Memphis, was home to the Presley family in the late 1940s to early 1950s.
Elvis performed his first large concert appearance at the Overton Park Shell on Friday, July 30, 1954. The headliner was Slim Whitman. Elvis performed “That’s All Right, Mama” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky.”
Scotty Moore cleaned hats at University Park Cleaners at 613 N. McLean. Elvis, Scotty Moore and Bill Black practiced on the second floor in 1954.
On July 5, 1954, Bill Black, Scotty Moore, and Elvis Presley played for Sam Phillips in the studio of Memphis Recording Service. They started playing around 7 p.m. Around midnight, they took a break. Elvis started fooling around and singing the Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup song “That’s All Right, Mama.” Sam Phillips heard the trio playing and loved what he heard. They worked on the song a few times late into the night.
More than 7,000 people jammed Ellis Auditorium on the night of May 15 to stomp, shudder, shriek and sigh as a young Elvis Presley writhed his way through a rock and roll repertoire. Presley was the blockbuster of Bob Neal’s Cotton Picking Jamboree, a feature of Cotton Carnival opening night.
Eighty-five policemen were assigned to keep order at the E.H. Crump Memorial Football Game for the Blind at Crump Stadium Nov. 30, 1956.
On March 24, 1958, Elvis Presley and fellow inductee Farley Guy, an old friend from Lauderdale Courts, reported for duty about 6:30 a.m. at the Draft Board office in the M&M Building , 198 S. Main. He and other inductees spent much of the day at Kennedy Veterans Hospital for processing and physicals before boarding a bus for Fort Chaffee, Ark. Presley moved about the rec room at Kennedy constantly. “If you think I’m nervous, it’s because I am,” he joked.
Pvt. Elvis Presley was assigned to the Army’s Third Armored Division. Elvis was inducted into the army at Memphis March 24, 1958, and returned to his hometown March 7, 1960.
Elvis performed what would be his last Memphis concert July 5, 1976, before a crowd of 12,000 at the Mid-South Coliseum. Exactly twenty-two years earlier, Elvis recorded “That’s All Right, Mama” at 706 Union. Introducing the song, he said: “I’ve had some people say — well, you can’t do that song anymore — well, you, by God, just watch me.”
On Aug. 19, 1977, more than 50,000 fans, some of whom kept a nightlong vigil at the cemetery gates, walked the last mile to pay tribute to Elvis. More than 3,000 floral arrangements were spread on the mausoleum lawn of Forest Hill Cemetery Midtown.
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