Houston History: Elvis rocked Houston before becoming an international sensation

Long live the King of Rock n’ Roll

Elvis Presley (U.S. Army)
Elvis Presley (U.S. Army) (MGM)

HOUSTON – Nearly 65 years ago, Elvis Presley set foot in the Lone Star State. Before the King of Rock N’ Roll was swinging his hips and drawing large crowds of screaming fans, the musician was making a name for himself, performing at local radio stations, bars and clubs.

In 1954, Elvis formed a trio with guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black. The Blue Moon Boys began performing together, booking local gigs in the South. On Nov. 21 1954, Elvis made his Houston debut and performed at Magnolia Gardens. This was the stepping stone to future performances in Houston.

Elvis performing at Magnolia Gardens

On Nov. 25, 1954, Elvis and the band were booked at the Paladium. According to Scott, there was a minor typo in one of the ads, printing Elvis’s name as “Pressley.” That didn’t stop the crowds, Elvis was asked to perform for two additional nights. He even performed in the the city twice more before turning into a national star.

It’s believed the musician performed 13 times in Houston in 1955. Some of the venues included the Magnolia Garden, Cook’s Hoedown Club, Paladium and Eagles Hall.