January 28th, 1956: Stage Show
Though he had performed on the regional TV program Louisiana Hayride in March 1955, this spot on Stage Show was Elvis Presley’s first national television appearance. Hosted by sibling big-band leaders Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, the show was broadcast live from CBS Studio 50 in New York — which also housed The Ed Sullivan Show.
The special aired just a day after his first major-label release, “Heartbreak Hotel,” and Presley was virtually unknown. The winter weather was particularly raw that night, so the future King of Rock made his American TV debut to a partly empty house. Clad in a stylish black shirt, white tie and tweed jacket, he performed Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman” and a medley of two Joe Turner songs, “Shake, Rattle and Roll” and “Flip, Flop and Fly.”
Two days later, Presley cut his quintessential cover of Carl Perkins’ “Blue Suede Shoes” at New York’s famed RCA Victor Studio 1. He would return to the Stage Show five more times before April.