#TriviaTuesday - What was the first song Elvis performed in public?
It’s hard to imagine the King of Rock’n’Roll, Elvis Presley, as an elderly man. But had he lived, Elvis would have celebrated his 84th birthday today. For today’s TriviaTuesday question we ask:
What was the first song Elvis performed in public?
According to Ray Connolly, author of “Being Elvis -- A Lonely Life,” “Old Shep,” a doleful melody written by Arthur Williams and Red Foley (*) about the death of an elderly pet dog, “became the first song [Elvis] sang in public on children’s day at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show when he was ten.” That would have put Presley’s first public performance sometime in 1945.
“...Eleven years later, when he went out to Hollywood, [Elvis] recorded ‘Old Shep’ for his second album,” Connolly reported.
“A lot of fans couldn’t understand why [Old Shep] was there alongside ‘Long Tall Sally’ and two other Little Richard rock and roll songs,” the author continued. “They didn’t know he’d been singing it nearly all his life.”
That life came to an untimely end on August 16, 1977, when 42-year-old Presley was found dead in his home of an apparent massive heart attack. The cause of Elvis’s death has been debated for years.
You may not remember that the King performed his next-to-last concert in Cincinnati.
Interestingly, “Cincinnati fans were among the last to see the King perform,” Jeff Suess reported for Cincinnati.com.
“His show at Riverfront Coliseum (now U.S. Bank Arena) on June 25, 1977, was his next to last concert, just seven weeks before he died,” Suess wrote. “It was Presley’s fourth visit to the Queen City. He had only made it as close as Dayton and Columbus back in 1956. After a decade as a Hollywood star, he returned to touring in the 1970s and finally came to Cincinnati…”
Suess reported that Presley played at Cincinnati Gardens in November 1971 and June 1973. He returned for two shows at the Coliseum in 1976. Little did fans realize that Presley’s life would end the following year.
“Being Elvis -- A Lonely Life” by Ray Connolly, published in 2016 by Liveright Publishing Corporation, New York, is available for checkout at MidPointe Library. MidPointe offers many biographies of the King at http://encore.middletownlibrary.org/iii/encore/search/C__Selvis%20presley__Orightresult__U?lang=eng&suite=gold
“Our history: Next to last Elvis concert at Riverfront Coliseum” by Jeff Suess on cincinnati.com. Published August 17, 2017, and updated August 18, 2017.