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Elvis, the social revolution

By Rosa García Mora

Elvis Presley performed at the Pan-Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles on October 28 and 29, 1957.

Before the first concert, Elvis gave a press conference, as was usual, in which he kindly answered the journalists’ questions.

In his first show in this Auditorium, Elvis was very happy and energetic, determined to impress his audience, which was full of celebrities… and so he did, Elvis drove the entire audience there crazy, with overwhelming force.

Throughout the show that night Elvis had with him, on stage, a one meter tall replica of the dog Nipper. Nipper was RCA’s trademark. At the end of the show Elvis grabbed Nipper by the neck with his left arm and lifted him off the ground, finally lying on the ground while he sang “Houng Dog.” This spontaneous gesture by Elvis would give rise, as was common at the time, to controversy.

At a party in his hotel suite after the show, Elvis met Ricky Nelson, while receiving artists and friends, such as Nick Adams, Carol Channing, Sammy Davis Jr. and Tommy Sands. Elvis’ date for that night was with actress Anne Neyland, who had worked with him on Jailhouse Rock.

The audience went crazy during the show, but the next day the newspapers adopted different opinions, as often happened at Elvis concerts in the 1950s.


Elvis did nothing on stage with Nipper that was suggestive or out of tune, even his musicians stated.

But witnesses saw the same shows differently, as they were filtered by predetermined biases, both for and against Elvis.

The media the next day, some did not even mention the incident with “Nipper” in their reviews, while others only made reference to it, without giving much importance to the fact that Elvis had thrown himself to the ground on stage with Nipper. .

But for Dick Williams, a staunch detractor of Elvis, by definition Elvis was obscene, and in that final number, Williams detected the “vulgarity” he always saw in Elvis: “The madness peaked at the end with Hound Dog,” Williams wrote. in the Mirror-News the next day. Elvis writhed in complete abandon, his hair hanging over his face. “He fell to the ground with a huge replica of the RCA singing dog and made love to him as if he were a girl.”

Other headlines announced: “Elvis Presley will have to clean up his show, or go to jail.”

The result was that the “Los Angeles Vice Squad” contacted Colonel Parker and warned him that Elvis could go to prison for inappropriate behavior on stage. But according to The Colonel, Elvis remained unfazed.

When the police showed up with cameras the next night, the spectacle was considerably toned down. But through his hand gestures, Elvis indicated on numerous occasions to his audience that the chamber of censorship was upon him. At one point, he held out his hands with his wrists together, wanting to tell his audience that his hands and his actions were handcuffed and that the police were there.

Elvis, the social revolution

He even defied the police and told fans: “You should have been here last night!”

On the other hand, the press that supported him issued fantastic reviews.

The most favorable and shocking press review, the day after the first show, was from Wally George of the LA Times.

George wrote: “The crowd’s screams were heard last night two blocks from the Pan-Pacific Auditorium. They were anticipating Elvis Presley, who at that time had not yet left his hotel room. However, even a simple suggestion of his name elicited a sustained, almost terrifying squeal from the 9,000 teenagers who had packed the room to hear his idol. In fact, the impression when walking through the audience was that of being on the edge of a volcano from which an ominously growing cloud of smoke was emerging. And at any moment you could feel the rash invade you.”

Impressive words from Wally George, which were a faithful reflection of how far the strength and grandeur of that incredible 22-year-old boy, who always remained faithful to his music and his feelings, could go, he would cross the doors of immortality.

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

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