Today marks the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s 3rd and final appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Here is the story behind that special show:
In the mid 1950’s, Rock and roll was increasingly being attacked and there was growing opposition to its supposedly negative influence on America’s youth. Elvis, being the star that he was, became the target for this outrage. Following Elvis’ second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, in which he performed this rousing version of his hit “Hound Dog,” angry crowds in St. Louis and Nashville burned the star in effigy.
With all the controversy swirling around, CBS censors demanded that for Elvis Presley’s final Ed Sullivan Show appearance he be shot from the waist up. On the evening of January 6, 1957, Elvis Presley took to The Ed Sullivan Show stage for the last time and performed a number of songs including “Hound Dog,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Too Much,” “When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again,” and a gospel favorite, “Peace in the Valley.”
Following the performance, Ed looked to the audience (and the nation) going out of his way to compliment Elvis, saying “I wanted to say to Elvis Presley and the country that this is a real decent, fine boy, and wherever you go, Elvis, we want to say we’ve never had a pleasanter experience on our show with a big name than we’ve had with you. So now let’s have a tremendous hand for a very nice person!” With that, Elvis Presley, who was clearly appreciative of Ed’s support in the midst of all that was going on, took his final bow and exited the Sullivan stage for the last time.