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Elvis Presley in 1957: “You have to put on a show for people”

The Story


Backstage after a performance in Ottawa, rock 'n' roll sensation Elvis Presley is a "quiet sort of boy who gave straight answers," much to the surprise of Mac Lipson of CBC Radio's Assignment. Presley, who tells CBC exactly how much money he made in the past year, agrees he's enjoying his new wealth, with a new house and eight cars. He also answers the critics who describe his hip-shaking singing as vulgar: "You have to put on a show for people. You can't stand there like a statue."

Broadcast Medium: Radio
Program: Assignment
Hosts: Bill McNeil, Maria Barrett, Mac Lipson
Guest: Elvis Presley
Broadcast Date: Apr. 4, 1957
Duration: 5:48
Photo Credit: Andrews-Newton Photographers Fonds / City of Ottawa Archives / MG393-AN-049378-109

Did You know?


• Elvis Aaron Presley was born Jan. 8, 1935.  He grew up in Memphis, Tenn., where he recorded his first single, That's All Right, for Sun Records in July, 1954. He died at his home, Graceland, on Aug. 16, 1977.

• This interview took place after Presley's concert in Ottawa on Apr. 3, 1957. The Globe and Mail reported the next day that the Ottawa Auditorium, which held 8,000, was sold out, and the House of Commons was notably empty of members: only 37 members of the House of Commons were present.

• Presley had also played two sold-out shows at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens on April 2.


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