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Home > Newspaper Articles > 1956 > April 10, 1956 Lubbock, TX.
CONCERT DATE: April 10, 1956 Lubbock, TX.
Teen-Agers Almost Mob 'Rock n Roll' Singer In Appearance Here
by Ken Kennamer
Lubbock Avalanche Journal
April 11, 1956
ELVIS PRESLEY, a dynamic rock 'n roll singer who appeared in Lubbock less than 18 months ago for $75 picked up $4,000 plus in a return appearance Tuesday turning Fair Park Coliseum into a bedlam before two screaming audiences totaling 10,000 persons.
The blues singer, who shortly before that first Lubbock appearance was a $35 a week truck driver, was literally, the center of a human storm - most of it generated by teen-agers.
Presley is a 21-year-old singer from Memphis, Tenn with long sideburns, a ducktail and a delivery that, at his peak, lakes Johnny Ray look like slow motion.
And Tuesday night, he turned Fair Park coliseum into an amphitheater where the thousands of screaming, screeching, clamoring for more fans put on an act themselves seldom seen in Lubbock.
Jim Crook, assistant manager of Lubbock Chamber of Commerce said Tuesday night that the Coliseum would seat 5,500. but during Presley performance, there were almost as many standing as sitting. Crowds filled the back of the auditorium and the aisles, and ringed the platform where Presley performed. A full house watched the second show.
Twice during, Presley's show, mobs of teen-agers pushed through the locked doors behind the platform before police could stop the flow and re-lock the doors.
How can you describe his performance? And can it be called a performance or a production?
Voices Not Similar
He's been described as Johnny Ray with the St. Vitus dance, but the voices are in no way similar.
In fact, you heard very little of his voice Tuesday night. As soon as he would sing a few bars of a number, he was greeted by wails, screams and swooning acts that brought back memories of Frank Sinatra's hey-day.
"Heartbreak Hotel," "I Got A Woman," and "Blue Suede Shoes" literally brought down the house as did every gymnastic movement of his body.
20 Policemen On Hand
He wasn't mobbed thanks to 20-or-so policemen on hand, unless you consider being surrounded by teen-agers wanting him to sign a picture, a slip of paper, their forehead, their arm - sign your name on my arm and I'll never wash it again" - as being mobbed.
But as Presley put it, "I'm not mobbed until they start getting my clothes. They've done that in several places - last night in Wichita Falls, in fact."
What's he got?
Ask the fans.
Marlon Brando With Voice
"What's he got? He's got everything. He's Marlon Brando with a voice - a what a voice."
That was one of the thousands of teen-agers who pushed close to the platform where Presley was raising the dust with one of his western renditions.
Another said. "Man, he looks and acts just like one of us crazy mixed-up kids. Only when he gets up steam, he blows it off."
"Don't he look cool, Man, don't he look cool!"
"Why do we like him? Man are you crazy? Why did we like James Dean? Why do we like Marlon Brando?"
Get Scornful Look
But mostly when you ask "What's he got?", you only get a withering scornful look in return.
What's he got?
Ask his manager, Col. Tom Parker.
"I started managing him last year. You see what's he's doing now?"
Ask Presley himself.
"I don't know what it is, but I sure hope it doesn't stop. I just sing"
That latter statement could be ranked with the understatements of the year. Presley doesn't just sing.
He sings - in a shaking, wavering voice that somehow manages to remain strong and give off emotion.
Beats On Guitar
He beats a guitar. You couldn't say he plays a guitar, he beats it.
He emotes. His face mirrors the word he's singing. Not the grotesque patterns that characterize Johnny Ray but a more subtle display.
He moves. And how he moves. After a chorus or two of singing, he backs away from the microphone and shakes, rattles and rolls. He does a shimmy, a shake-everything that caused a burlesque to be banned on Broadway.
He Gets Results
He gets results. His fans will tell you he's not a passing fancy, not a craze. And they point to his ever-rising records sales, his increasing fan clubs, and his latest achievement, a seven year contract with Paramount Studios in Hollywood.
Presley announced the signing of the contract Tuesday. He said his first picture would be called "Rainmaker," and he would be starred with Burt Lancaster and Katherine Hepburn. He's scheduled to begin work on the picture in June.
In his dressing room between shows, Presley still couldn't get away from his following. The fans, oblivious to the dressing and undressing members of the band, leaked through police at the doorway to get pictures, autographs, or just a look.
He signed autographs on pictures, notebooks, paper, arms, legs and foreheads.
And he talked some too.
Faces Draft Call
One show out there sure takes it all out of you. "A doctor told me I'd be better off doing manual labor for eight hours a day."
What about the draft? Well, I figure, it'll be another six months at least before I get drafted."
A young teen-age girl at his elbows squealed out. "Drafted! Oh, Elvis, you don't mean they're going to draft you."
Presley turned on the grin and said, "I imagine so. After all, I'm just a normal, healthy American boy."
Which brought on more squeals. The draft question had come up along with a query about a rumored club being formed by disk jockeys in a South Texas city. The club was to be called "Let's Draft Elvis Presley" club. Presley had never heard of this club.
Col. Parker had something to say on the subject of Presley's being drafted.
"I don't know whether they'll draft him or not. He's got a nervous condition, you know."
"And so it seems that Elvis Presley has everything. One thing he has for sure . He has fans in Lubbock.
Courtesy Of Archie Bald