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Smithsonian Features "A Peek Back to the Day When Elvis Made It Big"

January 30, 2013

On January 28, 1956, Elvis made his first televised performance on CBS's The Stage Show. In a new posting on, the world-renowned museum looks at the “hillbilly groaner's” controversial merger into the growing medium of television.
Presley began a string of six appearances on The Stage Show on CBS that would mark his debut on the national television stage. He performed three songs, “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” “Flip, Flop and Fly” and “I Got a Woman.” Despite criticism from the television world, this performance opened the doors to famous performances such as his appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

The article looks at the ridicule and opposition Elvis faced as he integrated music in an entirely new way. Music historian Charlie McGovern talks about how racial barriers of the time and the emergence of television helped shape Elvis' image to the public.

“When Elvis tells Sam Phillips, I don’t sing like nobody else, he wasn’t bragging, as much as I think he was sort of stating pretty accurately that what he sang represented gospel music, white and black, it represented country music, blues music he had heard and it represented pop music,” states McGovern.

Read the entire article about Elvis' rise to stardom by visiting Want to learn more about the king's life and legacy? Plan a rock 'n' roll pilgrimage to Graceland with our free online trip planner! Also be sure to stop by the Rock 'n' Soul Museum during your trip to Memphis. Learn more by visiting