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“Ufff!! “I’m too scared to explode.”

By Rosa García Mora

Although the young Elvis, 21, would not have admitted it, you could feel it in him and hear it in his voice. Maybe because of the bright lights or the wee hours of the morning in Sin City. Perhaps it was because he had spent the last two weeks working to try to win over an audience that was as educated as it was skeptical and stunned.

The truth is that this was not what Elvis expected a couple of weeks earlier, on April 23, 1956, when he made his debut in Las Vegas at the Venus Room at the New Frontier.

Colonel Parker had booked Elvis, Scotty Moore, Bill Black and DJ Fontana for a two-week engagement at the New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas.

But Las Vegas, in 1956, was not yet ready for Elvis.

That maneuver by Parker, even today, is still considered one of his big missteps, although, in reality, it was part of a more complex plan.

DJ Fontana said: ‘I don’t think people were ready for Elvis. We worked with the Freddie Martin Orchestra and there we were making all that noise. We tried everything we knew. Elvis could usually get the audience on his side. It didn’t work that time.

Parker wanted to try a new direction for his pupil and tried it with a classical, more conservative, more mature audience and that is why he decided to schedule these performances in Las Vegas. But people were used to something that had nothing to do with what Elvis had to offer. Elvis was freshness, energy in its purest form, he had been leaving a trail of frenetic teenagers in his footsteps for two years, he was an explosive mix of sensuality, Rhythm and Blues,

Gospel, Country…the genesis of Rock and Roll.

Uninhibited and innovative, he went against the current, breaking with everything conventional, with all the classical musical and cultural norms of the time. DJ Fontana already said it “there we were, making all that noise.” And perhaps that is the only thing that Las Vegas audience would hear, since their ears were not yet able, nor were they prepared to listen to Elvis.

Las Vegas was musically nourished by its Big Band, the shows of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martín… and a style of music in line with the most classic musical culture. An audience that was more interested in the glamor and the game room next door, than in “the noise” these kids made.

That little failure of Elvis, in the end, was just one more sign that that adult, glamorous and wealthy audience was not up for what Elvis offered. It was nothing more and nothing less than a society clinging to its status and its conservatism. But the feeling of disappointment and failure would remain in Elvis like a thorn that he was fortunately able to remove years later.

Even so, Elvis was not unmoved by the fascination of Las Vegas. He liked it very much and promised to return to this city, even without being able to imagine what that city would hold for him in the future and how it would become for him the city that was associated with his name forever, that adored him, admired him, and in the one where Elvis left his indelible mark.

But for this he would have to wait until 1969, for a triumphant and unprecedented return to the stage, at the Hotel International, to show the world that his strength on stage was still untouchable, and make Sin City fall, this time. , surrendered at his feet, forever…

Article written and provided by Rosa García Mora https://www.facebook.com/rosa.garciamora.12

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