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Elvis on the Rise

Stage Show And The First Television Appearances

Elvis's first television appearances were on Stage Show, hosted by the big-band leaders Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey. Television was the medium that would launch Elvis's career. More people would see him on one television show than at all of the concerts he could do in a tour. One of the songs that Elvis sang on the show was Little Richard's “Tutti Frutti.”

Elvis called his parents every day, no matter where he was. He was worried about his mother, who had not been in the best of health. He knew that Gladys worried about him, and he called to reassure her.

On the road again, it was clear that television had provided a great boost to Elvis Presley's star appeal. However, the grueling schedule was too much for Elvis: He collapsed before a show in Jacksonville, Florida, and was hospitalized for exhaustion for one night.

Elvis sang “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Blue Suede Shoes,” a tune that Carl Perkins had recorded for Sun, on the last of his Dorsey TV appearances. “Blue Suede Shoes” was competing for popularity with “Heartbreak Hotel” on the music charts. “Heartbreak Hotel,” by the end of March 1956, had sold close to a million copies, and it was nearly at the top of all three music charts: pop, country, and rhythm and blues. No other artist, or single, had managed such a sweeping success. Also, Elvis's first full album recorded for RCA would become the label's first million-dollar album. It was around this time, in March 1956, that Elvis Presley signed the contract making Colonel Parker his manager.

Additional topics

Musician BiographiesElvis PresleyElvis on the Rise - Good-bye To Sun, The Man Behind Elvis Presley: Colonel Tom Parker, Recording At Rca