Elvis in Canada

Elvis has sold over one billion records worldwide. It is estimated that 40% of these sales were in foreign countries. His foreign sales are even more impressive when one considers the fact that Elvis' only concert performances outside the United States were five show in three Canadian cities in 1957. The dates and the three cities were: April 2 at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto; April 3 at Ottawa Auditorium, Ottawa; and August 31 at Empire Stadium Vancouver.

A fourth city, Montreal, that was slated for April 1957 had to be canceled due to both civic concerns as well as pressure from devout Catholic
officials. Elvis was still very controversial then and his movements and dress were considered
vulgar by many. Teenaged girls often worked themselves into a frenzied state while watching Elvis perform. Some students in Canada were told they would be expelled if they were caught attending his shows. Indeed, eight girls from
Notre Dame Convent School who attended the Ottawa show were expelled.

The shows were booked through an Australian promoter who had hopes that Elvis' manager Colonel Tom Parker would agree to a booking in Australia as well. The Colonel never did agree to an Australian show, but he covered all bases in Canada by selling both "I Love Elvis" buttons as well as buttons that said "I Hate Elvis".

Elvis ended his shows in those days with the song "Hound Dog". The show in Vancouver had to be ended abruptly as the crowd kept rushing the stage. The cordon of police officers surrounding the stage managed to hold hands and stop them several times. Colonel Parker had to pull Elvis off stage twice and threatened the crowd that the show would stop if they didn't stay in their
seats. Elvis performed only about thirty minutes and overzealous fans overturned the stage and instruments as he was departing the stadium.

Elvis was interviewed in both Ottawa and Vancouver. The following are excerpts from the Vancouver press conference:

"...Elvis, when you get caught in a mob or something have you ever been seriously hurt by the girls?"

"Yes, I've been scratched and bitten and everything."

"What do you think about being scratched and bitten?"

" ...I just accept it with a broad mind because actually they don't intend to hurt you. I mean, it not that. It's just they want...they
want pieces of you for souvenirs is all. A crowd of people can hurt you and not even realize they're doing it, you know."

"...If everything folded up tomorrow, which it isn't gonna by the looks of things, what would you do?"

"Go back to drivin' a truck." (Laughs)

"One thing that's got a big plug lately is that if you went into the army you'd have
to have your hair cut. How do you feel on that?...There's been an awful lot of newspaper publicity on it...Would it bother you to?"

"No, I don't care...It'll grow back. I mean, if it was a case of cutting it off and never
having any more, then I would grumble." (Laughs)

Elvis did not get to tour in more foreign cities, something he always wanted to do. However, a modern-day production called "Elvis The Concert" (Elvis via video starring, accompanied by a live orchestra and a group of his own original band-mates live on stage) has toured all over the world to rave reviews since 1998. The show also
garnered a Guinness World Record for being the first live tour headlined by a performer who is no longer living.