Elvis 1955


Elvis Scotty and Bill

Blue Moon Boys Business Card

Sunday afternoon, May 15, 1955

Show Ad

Elvis was in town with the WCMS-sponsored Country Music Jamboree, held monthly at the Norfolk Arena by the then-fledgling radio station. Elvis (with Scotty and Bill) "stole the show" according to Joe Hoppel, A DJ at the station. Elvis, Scotty and Bill played "every song they knew, twice," and the crowd begged for more. "Sorry, that's all we know," said Elvis, and left the stage.

During this time, Elvis was barely known outside regional markets of the South, and with only his original Sun Studio band of Scotty Moore and Bill Black (drummer D.J. Fontana had yet to join the line-up), Elvis played fourth on the bill to Hank Snow and a host of other established country stars. Col. Tom Parker ran this package show, but by remote control; he hadn't offered Elvis anything at this point; still seeing what he could do.

Here's an exciting find:

Scotty Moore's website has a completely awesome and well-researched illustrated page on this set of shows and the 1956 shows, as well as a nice bit about the auditorium itself.

Looks like Scotty's researchers hit the same microfilm spools at the Kirn Library that I did,  because they've got some of the same ad reproductions (right down to the scratches!).


Saturday and Sunday, September 11-12, 1955
Show Ad Elvis 'Pressley'was back by "Popular Demand" seven months later, and wowed the audiences at the Arena again. By now, Parker had signed Elvis to an exclusive contract, the stir Elvis was causing was becoming a storm, and "the Pelvis" along with the Blue Moon Boys were back for these three shows at the TOP of the bill.

The resentment from the country establishment towards this weird new music and its bumping, grinding protostar was building, and some of this friction began to smolder when Elvis and some others wanted to cruise downtown in some rented convertibles to advertise the three shows. Hank Snow and his entourage refused to participate, exchanging words on Granby Street with Elvis and his band members and then going to see a movie.

By now, the Colonel was managing the money that Elvis generated, and felt 'rooked' at the payment for the three performances. Ahh, the Colonel...
Stoney's BBQ
In addition to primary research at the Norfolk Public Library's microform collection, interviews with concert attendees, and internet resources, The Donning Company Publishers' "Elvis In Tidewater" by Ricky Cross and Charles Wittkopp (1982) was also of invaluable assistance in the information presented on these pages. Back to