The Shorpy Archive
 
6000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
 
Join and Share

 
Social Shorpy

To love him is to like him. Our goal: 100k "likes":

 
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Daily e-mail updates:

 
 
 
 
Member Photos


Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

 
Colorized Photos


Colorized photos submitted by members.

 
About the Photos

Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600
VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • GEORGE WASHINGTON CROSSING THE PIES

Rock and Roll: 1956

Rock and Roll: 1956

Elvis Presley at a 1956 concert date; we're counting the minutes until someone can tell us which one. Photo by Phillip Harrington for Look. View full size.

 

I was there

I was there. My friend and I attended the 8pm show. He wore a green jacket, at the 10pm show he wore a red jacket. It was a life changing event for me. First three songs, Heartbreak Hotel, I Got a Woman, Money Honey. I later met and saw him in late 56 at the Hobart Arena in Troy Ohio. If you want to hear more then let me know.

Who those people were

@Mark Rummel
The Blue Moon boys were Scotty and Bill, and then later on DJ, Elvis' band. They got the name from their second recording, Blue Moon of Kentucky. The others were opening variety style opening acts that were put together by Al Dvorin when the Colonel decided that Elvis would no longer share the bill with anyone considered a competitor or contemporary.
I have more on them on pages about the venues at the beginning of that tour here
http://scottymoore.net/StPaul.html , http://scottymoore.net/Minneapolis.html and
http://scottymoore.net/lacrosse.html

Who's that again?

The Ohio State Journal story previewing the concert mentioned here says in part, "In addition to singer Elvis Presley, the show will feature Jackie Little; the Blue Moon Boys; the Flaims; Frankie Connors and Phil Maraquin."

I'm an old rock-and-roller, but who were those people?

Columbus Discovers Elvis

Here's some contemporary coverage including the multi-hued splendor of his apparel: http://columbusbicentennial.blogspot.com/2012/01/elvis-in-columbus-may-1...

Columbus, Ohio May 1956

More photos of this concert can be found here:
http://scottymoore.net/columbus.html

Also, note that by the time of this concert Scotty Moore was no longer playing the Gibson ES-295. He had traded it in the previous year towards the Gibson L-5 he's playing in these photos.

Columbus, OH

Veterans Memorial Auditorium, May 26, 1956
More here http://scottymoore.net/columbus.html

A hand tooled leather cover

might have looked cool, but it must have destroyed the resonance of a really great guitar( the 1955 Martin D28).

Bare Bones Rock and Roll

That's D.J. Fontana keeping the beat behind the King. Scotty Moore would be stage right of Elvis playing his gold top Gibson ES-295 electric archtop hollowbody guitar, which was plugged into the amp perched on the chair. Bill Black would also have been on stage playing his upright acoustic bass. Elvis is wearing his unamplified 1955 Martin D-28 guitar with custom leather cover tooled by Marcus Van Story, who worked at the O.K. Houck Piano Company in Memphis (where Elvis purchased the guitar). Man, that Cat could rock!

A little extra amplification

This had to be an amazingly simple, pure concert, and those small amps would have trouble filling any medium-sized auditorium back then.

But some smart person in this pre-sound engineer era put a public address microphone in front of that amp, so at least you could hear the music along with the words more easily. That is, if you could hear anything with all the screaming young girls.

Isn't the King playing a non-electrified guitar? I don't see a cord or a sound pickup anywhere. That's why he's the king.

Hello Columbus

It looks like other Harrington photos I've seen of Elvis performing at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Columbus, Ohio in 1956. Same clothes, stage setup and curtain.

We Want Scotty

Couldn't tell you the location, but it's great to see drummer D.J. Fontana in his natural habitat. Poor Elvis had no stage monitors, so he had to yelp out the vocals just so he could hear himself over all the little screaming girls. Sadly, we don't see even the shadow of lead guitarist Scotty Moore and his Gibson ES-295, nor Bill Black on upright bass. It's interesting to see Scotty's amp has a mic on it, so his sound was reinforced through the house PA system, such as it was. The Beatles would encounter similarly primitive sound reinforcement facilities 8 years later. Here's wishing for a full band pic.

Talk about bare bones presentation

Single guitar amp plopped on top of a folding chair.
Drum kit that could fit into his suitcase.
No lasers
No strobes
No stack of Fender amps.

Pure, so very pure.

I'm not much of an Elvis fan but this guy had more stage presence than 3,000 American Idol finalists put together.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2014 Shorpy Inc.