Much has been written about Elvis's meteoric rise to fame; however, not much
has been said about just how fast the pace was after his career exploded in
early 1956 and how hard Elvis worked.
On February 23, 1956 Elvis was hospitalized for several hours in Jacksonville, Florida for exhaustion and told by doctors that he'd have to slow down. He was on the road promoting his new single "Heartbreak Hotel," which had been part of his first RCA recording session the month before. For some time now, no matter where he was on tour around the country, he had to make a mad dash back to Shreveport, Louisiana each week to honor his contractual commitment to perform each Saturday night on the "Louisiana Hayride" radio program. (When that commitment was made, it was a career boost. Now, that Elvis was becoming a big star, it was a hindrance.) In addition to touring and making his weekly "Hayride" appearances, Elvis was in the middle of fulfilling an engagement to make six appearances on "Stage Show," a weekly variety program on network TV, hosted by the Dorsey Brothers.
The following is Elvis's work schedule for the month of February 1956:
Radio interview WAAT in Trenton, New Jersey.
Elvis records at RCA's New York studios.
"Stage Show" appearance in New York. Press reception follows.
2 shows in Richmond, Virginia.
4 shows in Greensboro, North Carolina.
4 shows in High Point, North Carolina.
4 shows in Raleigh, North Carolina.
4 shows in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
4 shows in Charlotte, North Carolina.
By special permission, Elvis is excused from this week's "Louisiana Hayride" performance in order to make his third appearance on "Stage Show" in New York.
3 shows in Norfolk, Virginia.
4 shows in Newport News, Virginia.
3 shows in Wilson, North Carolina.
1 show in Burlington, North Carolina.
3 shows in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
By special permission, Elvis is excused from this week's "Louisiana Hayride" performance in order to make his fourth appearance on "Stage Show" in New York.
3 shows in Tampa, Florida.
4 shows in West Palm Beach, Florida.
4 shows in Sarasota, Florida.
2 shows in Waycross, Georgia.
1 show Jacksonville, Florida. Elvis collapses in the parking lot after the show.
1 show in Jacksonville, Florida.
"Louisiana Hayride" performance in Shreveport, Louisiana.
3 shows in Pensacola, Florida.
Back in Memphis for a four-day rest, Elvis's Cadillac convertible is hit by a lady in a downtown parking garage and he will go to court about the accident the next day. So much for relaxation. Then, back to work at breakneck speed.