Photos by Fred Burch/Houston Chronicle
Aug 16, 2013
Today marks 36 years since Elvis Presley died at his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tenn.. The rock idol was only 42 years old when he went to the great gig in the sky on August 16, 1977.
Of course, he could also be sipping coffee right now at a truck stop somewhere in Nebraska, depending on your opinion.
In honor of the anniversary of the King’s passing, I found some great video and pictorial documents of Presley’s musical visits to Houston that exist in our archives.
He was in the area quite a bit in the mid-’50s as his star was rising, mainly haunting the Paladium, the Eagles Hall, Cook’s Hoedown Club, City Coliseum, and Magnolia Gardens. Elvis band member Scotty Moore has a pretty good rundown of these venues on his site.
The Eagles Hall was at 2204 Louisiana in Midtown, where there is now a tanning salon. Presley would have surely enjoyed knowing that.
Meanwhile, City Auditorium’s list of acts it hosted over the years is legendary. Jones Hall stands in its place.
It was reported by Billboard that at an April 2, 1955, stop at City Auditorium for a “Louisiana Hayride” remote broadcast, 2,000 people were turned away. Presley was on the bill with Slim Whitman. The next day his pink Cadillac was stopped for speeding in Shreveport.
Contrary to popular belief, he didn’t play Fitzgerald’s off White Oak, though he could have on some odd open mic night in the ’80s.
He played two shows on October 13, 1956, at the long-gone Sam Houston Coliseum too, which we have a few pics from. Chronicle reviewer Dick De Pugh called Presley “the greasy, side-burned hillbilly,” solidifying Presley’s rock and roll street cred for sure for the 8,000 fans there. The writer though, knew the titles to Presley’s songs.
He ended his review succinctly with “No one fainted. No one was injured.”
After 1957, he dived into the U.S. Army, the movies, Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, chicks, and other kingly pursuits before touring the U.S. again in 1970.
He kicked off that tour with six of those shows — two a day — opening the 38th Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. He would play in front of over 200,000 fans under the Dome, and stay at a $2,500 a night suite at the AstroWorld Hotel, which was claimed to be the most expensive in the world at the time.
By all accounts, he was on fire those six shows and in top form. Here is the setlist for the first gig on Feb. 27.The six-show stand at the Astrodome in 1970, and the March 3, 1974, RodeoHouston gig stand out the most for Houston fans.
For the 1974 show (setlist), he stayed at the Shamrock Hilton, where the entire 16th floor was used for his entourage and security team, taking up 35 rooms. Another 25 rooms were reserved at the AstroWorld Hotel again. He would break his own RodeoHouston single-show attendance record, too.
He was at the Hofheinz Pavilion on November 12, 1971, and played 28 songs, knocking out all the hits in the process. Two more Hofheniz gigs would follow in early June 1975.
A Summit show nearly a year before he died was panned by the Chronicle in August 1976. Wanna know what jumpsuit he wore that night? This site knows.
“He exerted no energy at all in a medley of his early rock tunes – All Shook Up, Teddy Bear and Don’t Be Cruel - and then complained that the band was too loud,” wrote Dale Adamson.http://blog.chron.com/thetexican/2013/0 ... n/#15008-1