Elvis Upstages, Excites in Raleigh

Elvis taking a break from his 1955 tour

Elvis taking a break from his 1955 tour

On May 19, 1955, Hank Snow’s All Star Jamboree tour, featuring a new young talent named Elvis Presley, ended at Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh. It marked the beginning of the end of the touring relationship between the headliner, Faron Young, and featured player Presley. Young later recounted that each night of the tour Elvis got bigger and wilder crowds. Before intermission, each show included a new talent portion in which Presley took the stage, with the headliners performing after intermission.

As the tour progressed, fans began to shout for more Elvis during the other performances, and he was called back for encore after encore. In the early days of the tour Colonel Tom Parker, as booking agent, actually paid teenagers $5 apiece to scream for Presley. He used the publicity photographs to send to the newspapers in the next cities on the tour. Other performers on the tour recalled how much they discounted Presley and his odd onstage behavior. Most country singers thought that he was a fad who would quickly fade, but Presley soon found himself the headliner, and few established stars would agree to perform with him on a tour.

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