Let’s go back to 1957 and Watch Elvis Presley “Don’t Be Cruel” Live
via Ed Sullivan Show / Youtube
It would have been amazing to be in the CBS Television City audience in Hollywood to witness Elvis Presley’s wild pelvic swings catapult him to prominence on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Sullivan was apprehensive to hire Elvis because of the controversy the charismatic young singer caused during his two “suggestive” visits on The Milton Berle Show earlier that year. He informed the press that Elvis “wasn’t fit for family entertainment” and “wasn’t my cup of tea.”
However, Sullivan caved in and decided to hire Elvis for three performances. Ed gave in, but it cost him an unbelievable fifty thousand dollars to do so. The combination of these two entertainment powerhouses would be a rating bonanza, of course. Presley appeared on September 9th, 1956, and October 28th, 1956 on the show, respectively.
For his 3rd and final appearance on January 6th, 1957, CBS censors insisted that Elvis be filmed only from the waist up after his seductive antics caused enough sensation across the United States. Unlike the previous two performances, Elvis’s legs weren’t shown on screen, yet he killed every single performance he’d done on the show.
Elvis’ set list that night included the gospel standard “Peace in the Valley,” as well as “Hound Dog,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Too Much,” and “When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again.” Elvis Presley thanked everyone for coming to his final Sullivan performance with a bow and expressed gratitude as he left the stage. After that, he became one of the most well-known and well-liked performers in the show business.
Take a look at Elvis Presley’s performance of “Don’t Be Cruel” below.