Seeing Haley in Mannheim --> October '58 Mystery!

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Seeing Haley in Mannheim --> October '58 Mystery!

Post by drjohncarpenter »

Our kind member Red Cat found an online article with some new photos of Elvis when he saw Bill Haley and His Comets in concert back in October 1958. It was his second time seeing the group while in the army overseas. He must've really missed seeing an American rock 'n' roll band playing live.

With Red Cat's tacit permission, below is the whole piece, which also includes some interesting information.

I did my best to translate it from the original German for y'all. :wink:


city ​​history

Markus Enzenauer, 04/19/2022

A jewel of Mannheim's pop history: when the king of rock 'n' roll in the universe was honored

The announced concert was much to the liking of rhythm-hungry post-war youth: Bill Haley, the man with the pointed lock of hair on his forehead, creator of rock 'n' roll, and chart-topper ("See you later Alligator", "Rock around the Clock") was coming to Mannheim!


02.jpg
Bill Haley and his "Kometen" saxophonist Rudy Pompilli heat up the Mannheim audience.



Their presence in itself was a sensation on a German stage. But dance band king Kurt Edelhagen and his orchestra, who opened the show, was considered a real superstar act at the time as well. Finally, the hard-hitting Bill Ramsey, with his grating voice, was also part of the party, although still at the beginning of his career and would not really take off until the 1960s. With this top-class line-up, Heinz Hoffmeister's Mannheim concert agency had once again hit the bull's eye, and these acts alone would have been enough to make the evening of October 24, 1958 something special. But the real highlight came when the curtain fell and the hall had long since been emptied -- because the official program had its very own "encore" backstage.


03.png
Advertisement for the Haley concert in Mannheimer Morgen.



There, none other than Elvis Presley, the handsome shooting star from Tupelo, Mississippi (only 23 years old but already a recording millionaire) watched his friend Bill's concert, moving his hips to the music, which of course the almost 1,100 young spectators in the Universum Theater in N 7 could not have guessed. The U.S. boy had long re-written music history, and given the world songs like "Heartbreak Hotel", "Hound Dog", "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Love me Tender", all number one hits in the USA. Elvis' sudden visit to Mannheim -- as his biographers have worked out -- coincided with a special phase of his life, marked by major upheavals and many new impressions: Presley had only arrived in Germany three weeks earlier (on October 1st) to move to the U.S. army base in Friedberg to do his military service.


04.jpg
Shake hands of legends: If Bill Haley (l.) can be named as the creator of rock 'n roll, then Elvis Aaron Presley was certainly his ultimate embodiment - the "King".



The handful of chosen ones who were still in the cinema after the official part could have experienced a magical and -– this qualification may be given here –- also historical moment: Elvis with guitar and piano performing songs from his repertoire accompanied by Haley's Comets. The jam session is notable not the least because it was a way for Elvis to circumvent his management's ban on performing while he was in the Army. But his improvisation is also a treasure because he never managed to tour Europe and Great Britain, instead limiting his appearances to just the USA (including the legendary Hawaii show in 1973) and Canada. So far, within Elvis research, there has only ever been rumours of spontaneous jam sessions overseas.

But the appearance in Mannheim was completely different. It's clearly documented, and there was even film made -– thanks to busy photographer Günther Thomas (1921-2015), who had a “nose” for such events -– that is kept in the MARCHIVUM (Mannheim City Archives) today. In any case, the same applies here: "Monnem Vorder" is, after all -- that much is certain -- the first recorded appearance in front of an (albeit small) audience that Presley gave outside of the States.


05.jpg
Casual: Elvis accompanies himself on the piano.



At first there were only a dozen listeners who witnessed the event, but then many came back, drawn by the sounds, and surrounded the star, who had now been recognized. They had their picture taken with him and got autographs. Finally the King disappeared as quickly as he had come. The next day, news of Presley's visit to Mannheim made the rounds and many complained that they missed the chance to meet their idol.


06.png
Caricature from the Mannheimer Morgen of October 25, 1958.

During the concert, which had been moved from the Musensaal to the Universum, things were very civilized -- which the organizers and the police had not necessarily expected. The Hoffmeister concert agency had also taken out property insurance for DM 30,000 because several hall rental companies had feared that the seating might need to be replaced after the concert.

However, these fears did not materialize and the police, who had prepared thoroughly in anticipation of riots, were spared any need to intervene. After the memorable Mannheim gig, however, there were rowdy hooligans at several performances by the "Kometen", which damaged Haley's reputation for the long term. The performance in the Berlin Sportpalast (October 25, 1958) in particular went completely out of control, and culminated in a veritable hall battle that required robust action by the mounted police, and resulted in the concert being stopped. At the time, Berlin's governing mayor, Willy Brandt, spoke of a "disgraceful outgrowth of young people's urge to be active".

Ultimately, these negative experiences and a public increasingly irritated against pomade and petticoat were the reason that a planned Presley tour in Germany fell flat, because many concert organizers feared similar excesses if the rock symbol ("Elvis the Pelvis") would appear on German stages. The jam session with the "King" remained his only guest performance in Mannheim -- and only a lucky few were granted a small moment of the brilliance of this star, which Leonard Bernstein was later to describe as "the greatest cultural force of the 20th century".[/size]

https://www.marchivum.de/de/blog/stadtgeschichte-121



A documented jam session?? Hmm. Anyone know more about that? Is there a recording?

Another mystery!

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Re: Seeing Haley in Mannheim --> October '58 Mystery!

Post by jurasic1968 »

I am skeptical but who knows? I didn't read anything about it until now. Thanks, Doc.




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Re: Seeing Haley in Mannheim --> October '58 Mystery!

Post by AndyDumas »

Cool Story, and what a great picture!



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Re: Seeing Haley in Mannheim --> October '58 Mystery!

Post by Jaime1234 »

I had seen two of the three photos and placed them in my collection about a year ago. But the article is a beauty.so we all must shower both Red Cat and Dr. Carpenter with our thanks for such an outstanding find. Kudos



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Re: Seeing Haley in Mannheim --> October '58 Mystery!

Post by jurasic1968 »

Mannheim is near Frankfurt? I read in the Day By Day book that Elvis saw Bill Haley and his band in Frankfurt and Stuttgart in October 1958.



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Re: Seeing Haley in Mannheim --> October '58 Mystery!

Post by drjohncarpenter »

jurasic1968 wrote:
Mon Jun 05, 2023 7:32 pm
Mannheim is near Frankfurt? I read in the Day By Day book that Elvis saw Bill Haley and his band in Frankfurt and Stuttgart in October 1958.



The book was close. The first show Elvis saw was near Frankfurt, in Wiesbaden.

Mannheim is about an hour's drive south of Wiesbaden.

What seem likely now is Elvis saw Bill Haley and His Comets three times that month:

1958

Oct 23 (Thu) - Wiesbaden (wearing his army uniform)
Oct 24 (Fri) - Mannheim
Oct 29 (Wed) - Stuttgart

He was clearly missing home, music and the life he left behind.


I just remembered a topic from last year with a bunch more photos from Mannheim:

https://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=112553


They were all taken by photographer Günther Thomas, at least one shows jamming:


- saying hello to Bill Haley backstage after the show
- seated at the piano backstage after the show
- at the piano, jamming with Comets bass player Al Pompilli
- with Comets Rudy Pompilli, Al Pompilli and Ralph Jones
- with orchestra leader Kurt Edelhagen, with dad Vernon lurking nearby
- with singer Bill Ramsey
- with promoters Heinz Hoffmeister Jr., Oskar Riester, and Wilhelm Berg
- with fans

Enjoy.

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Re: Seeing Haley in Mannheim --> October '58 Mystery!

Post by drjohncarpenter »

BONUS BILL


Well, wow, just surfing around today I not only came across a copy of a October 1958 tour program for Bill Haley and His Comets, but also a ticket to the VERY show this topic is about: Friday, October 24, 1958!


Very rare. Bill Haley program for the concert in Karlsruhe 1958
https://www.wunderkammershop.eu/en/products/10886-very-rare-bill-haley-program-for-the-concert-in-karlsruhe-1958.html


Life is just crazy. It's all shared below.

What a time it was, almost 65 years ago.


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Re: Seeing Haley in Mannheim --> October '58 Mystery!

Post by drjohncarpenter »

HOLEY HALEY!


Here's a post I made last year with some very nice clips from the group Elvis was so desperate to see back in October 1958.

(Look for the "Love Me Tender" connection . . . )

We know for a fact that he included "(We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock" in his show in 1955-1956. It was a big deal.

Then Presley went and became a bigger deal. :wink:


drjohncarpenter wrote:
Wed Apr 13, 2022 7:51 pm
The title of "first rock star" belongs to Bill Haley and His Comets.

He and his group scored a huge #1 hit in 1955, and appeared on TV and in motion pictures well before Elvis.

However, Presley's arrival on the scene in 1956 knocked Haley to the sidelines, never to recover.







Bill Haley And His Comets "(We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock" (Decca 29124, May 8, 1954)
Billboard "Best Sellers in Stores" #1, July 9, 1955, Cash Box #1, July 9, 1955
Lead guitar: Danny Cedrone







Bill Haley and His Comets "Rock Around The Clock" (NBC-TV's "The Buick-Berle Show," Tuesday, May 31, 1955)
The group lip-sync to their freshly-reissued single, currently being used in the film "Blackboard Jungle."








"Rock Around The Clock" (Columbia Pictures, Wednesday, March 21, 1956)
Bill Haley and His Comets perform "Rock-A-Beatin' Boogie" as Earl Barton and Lisa Gaye (Debra Paget's sister) tear it up.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_Around_the_Clock_(film)


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Re: Seeing Haley in Mannheim --> October '58 Mystery!

Post by jurasic1968 »

Thanks a lot, Doc. New to me this information that Elvis saw Bill Haley and his band three times in October 1958. He was desperate to perform on stage and he missed it a lot. Unfortunately, for the next decade, he sang only in three occasions, the benefit concerts in Memphis and Honolulu in February and March 1961. What a waste of his great talent.



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Re: Seeing Haley in Mannheim --> October '58 Mystery!

Post by paulsweeney »

Thanks for this great informative post. Kudos to both of you!



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Re: Seeing Haley in Mannheim --> October '58 Mystery!

Post by r&b »

great stuff!



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Re: Seeing Haley in Mannheim --> October '58 Mystery!

Post by jurasic1968 »

I said this before but I like to say it again: Elvis should go in the US Army on Special Services. He could do for two years to perform in the US military bases of Western Europe, UK, South East Asia, as far as Japan. A world tour in a kind of way. After 1960, I think Parker, after such an experience, couldn't refuse Elvis to do a real world tour in the early 60's,




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Re: Seeing Haley in Mannheim --> October '58 Mystery!

Post by sweetangeline »

jurasic1968 wrote:
Thu Jun 08, 2023 9:42 pm
I said this before but I like to say it again: Elvis should go in the US Army on Special Services. He could do for two years to perform in the US military bases of Western Europe, UK, South East Asia, as far as Japan. A world tour in a kind of way. After 1960, I think Parker, after such an experience, couldn't refuse Elvis to do a real world tour in the early 60's,
...and just imagine the posts we all would be reading today?? Elvis did the right thing.



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Re: Seeing Haley in Mannheim --> October '58 Mystery!

Post by jurasic1968 »

He did what Parker wanted. Elvis didn't want to be a regular soldier, because his mom was worried to death.




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Re: Seeing Haley in Mannheim --> October '58 Mystery!

Post by sweetangeline »

jurasic1968 wrote:
Thu Jun 08, 2023 10:52 pm
He did what Parker wanted. Elvis didn't want to be a regular soldier, because his mom was worried to death.
Parker and Elvis made the right choice.



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Re: Seeing Haley in Mannheim --> October '58 Mystery!

Post by drjohncarpenter »

paulsweeney wrote:
Thu Jun 08, 2023 1:02 pm
Thanks for this great informative post. Kudos to both of you!


Yes, Red Cat's link on the other topic was helpful.

Sadly, he has not yet seen this topic, all the photos and information, no visits to date.


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Re: Seeing Haley in Mannheim --> October '58 Mystery!

Post by Jaime1234 »

I just did the research and Haley's Tuesday, May 31, 1955's appearance as a guest at the "The Buick-Berle Show," was seen by less than 10 million homes, but it must have enough viewers to help the song go to the top of the charts, which it achieved on 9 July, a little less than seven weeks later.

https://scontent.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t39.30808-6/353008095_9471027756271752_1334774720891597381_n.jpg?stp=dst-jpg_s403x403&_nc_cat=104&ccb=1-7&_nc_sid=dbeb18&_nc_ohc=gGhmdRK8FJgAX8vtJIB&_nc_ad=z-m&_nc_cid=0&_nc_ht=scontent.xx&oh=00_AfBWPkajQWgRXPzwSe2Ds0I3yHOnTiFS_AvO-NT0Ffo-WA&oe=6488805F