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Classic TV Shows

On September 9, 1956, Elvis Presley, who was soon to be crowed as the King of Rock and Roll, appeared for the first time on The Ed Sullivan Show. Elvis ultimately appeared three times on the Sullivan show, all of which all helped to launch Elvis into an international phenomenon.

Earlier in the year, Elvis had appeared on The Milton Berle Show. It was his performance of “Hound Dog” that drew attention – and lots of criticism for both the music and how he moved his body.

Steve Allen invited Elvis to The Steve Allen Show, but Allen had Elvis tone down the act. A stationary Elvis, dressed in a tuxedo, sang “Hound Dog” to a real basset hound. Elvis, they say, did not care for that appearance; it didn’t represent him or the song. However, the controversy and the love from Elvis’ fans caused Allen’s ratings to skyrocket. This attracted the attention of Allen’s rival in the ratings war, you guessed it, Ed Sullivan.

Sullivan had publicly refused to have Elvis on his show at any price, stating that “he is not my cup of tea.” Privately, though, whether he cared for rock and roll or the likes of Elvis Presley, Sullivan was a businessman and kept in touch with Colonel Tom Parker, who managed Elvis.

Shortly after The Steve Allen Show appearance, Sullivan negotiated with the Colonel. Elvis would appear on The Ed Sullivan Show three times for $50,000. At the time, it was the highest sum paid to a performer to appear on TV.

In the month before Elvis’ first appearance, Sullivan was in a bad car accident and was hospitalized for weeks. The actor Charles Laughton hosted the show for Elvis’ first time. Elvis came out in his plaid jacket and sang “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Love Me Tender.” In a second segment, he came out with the band and did Little Richard’s “Ready Teddy.” There were then two verses of “Hound Dog.” The girls were screaming. The show reached 82.6 percent of the television audience, and Elvis became a star.

The Youtube video above shows “Love Me Tender” as performed by Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan Show. The song is based on the tune to the 1861 Civil War song “Aura Lee.” The version by Elvis and Ken Darby (credited as Vera Matson, which was his wife’s name) has some new words and was part of the soundtrack to Elvis’ movie Love Me Tender. It was his film acting debut, and the movie starred Richard Egan and Debra Paget.Elvis had performed the song on The Ed Sullivan Show about a month before the movie’s release. On the day after his performance on the show, RCA received one million advance orders. This made the single an instant gold record. “Love Me Tender” went to #1 on both the U. S. Billboard and Cashbox charts in 1956.

Here are the lyrics:

“Love me tender,
Love me sweet,
Never let me go.
You have made my life complete,
And I love you so.

Love me tender,
Love me true,
All my dreams fulfill.
For my darlin’ I love you,
And I always will.

Love me tender,
Love me long,
Take me to your heart.
For it’s there that I belong,
And we’ll never part.

Love me tender,
Love me true,
All my dreams fulfill.
For my darlin’ I love you,
And I always will.

Love me tender,
Love me dear,
Tell me you are mine.
I’ll be yours through all the years,
Till the end of time.

Love me tender,
Love me true,
All my dreams fulfill.
For my darlin’ I love you,
And I always will.”

If you are interested in owning a copy of the movie Love Me Tender, please consider this: Love Me Tender [Blu-ray]

If you are interested in reading a great Elvis biography, especially about the early years of his career, please consider this: Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley

For More Golden Oldies Music

The Daily Doo-Wop  Rec Room has daily featured doo wop, rock and roll, R&B, or rockabilly songs that were hits during the first era of rock and roll (that is, from about 1952 until the British invasion in 1964). After a song is featured, it then goes into the juke box. You are welcome to listen to any of the 40+ selections there. Every Saturday night starting at 5:00pm Eastern Time, there is a Juke Box Saturday Night, where the juke box has 50 of people’s requests of songs from the 1950s and 1960s. Please click here for our Youtube channel, to which you can subscribe. Thank you for stopping by The Daily Doo-Wop.

 

 

4 Comments

  1. […] click here to listen to “Don’t Be Cruel.” Please click here to read about Elvis performing this song and others on The Ed Sullivan […]

  2. […] reading about and listening to other songs by Elvis Presley: “Heartbreak Hotel.” “Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “If I Can […]

  3. […] other songs by Elvis Presley: “(Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame,” “Love Me Tender,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” […]

  4. […] other songs by Elvis Presley: “(Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame,” “Love Me Tender,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” […]

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