Asheville NC 1955

Post card of Asheville City Auditorium

Scotty, do you remember being at the City Auditorium in Asheville, NC in 1955?  Yes, I think it was in the Fall of that year. It was one of those really nice evenings...not too cold nor too hot. I'd looked forward all day to going with my friends to see the Louvin Brothers. I had no idea what a wonderful treat awaited me.  Elvis and your group must have arrived in Asheville early that day as you were seen walking and having fun on Haywood Street several hours before the show.  Something Elvis could not do for very much longer.

I'd never heard of Elvis...I thought the name very strange. In fact, I think we even laughed when we heard it for the first time there. We were seated somewhere in the front few rows of the Asheville City Auditorium (which is now renamed Thomas Wolfe Auditorium). Some girls behind us were screaming for "Elvis" so that we could not fully enjoy all the acts on before him.

Finally, he hit that stage wide open. He had on a rose, almost red, suit...white buck shoes, and I believe his shirt was pink. I wondered if that rose suit could be the one in the stories about the Grand Ole Opry appearance, but I don't think the dates jive..or do they? Anyway, they call that suit "red" and the one Elvis was wearing that evening was almost red, but with a slight rose tone.  He swaggered over to the piano and stuck a big wad of gum on the side of it. He turned to the audience and asked that we not let him forget his gum. After making us laugh at his remarks, he proceeded to sing "That's All Right Mama", "Shake Rattle and Roll"...and those are the only ones I still remember.

The day before the Asheville show, Richmond, VA May 16, 1955
Photo Courtesy Brian Peterson

Elvis came over to the corner of the stage after the show and signed autographs and answered questions for the fans. Believe it or not, very few people hung around for that. I could not stay as my boyfriend became ill near the end of the show and went to the car. At the end we all rushed out to check on him. I admit I stood there debating whether to run up to the stage for a minute, but my concern got the better of me and I left with the others. One of my friends who did go up told me he had the most beautiful blue eyes she had ever seen.  She had a signed program or picture, but has since passed away.

I have three acquaintances who remember that show. I argued with one of them about which year you were here. I thought it was 1954. However, after learning more about when Elvis started appearing around the country, I realized it was 1955.

Just a word about Bill don't hear too much about him, but I think he was a wonderful entertainer.  He rode that old bass all over the stage and Elvis charmed us to pieces and sang and played...and you played...and everybody was clapping and yelling. You were so perfect together. It was such a wonderful show.

Scotty and Elvis at Fort Homer Hesterly Armory, Tampa, FL July 31, 1955
about 6 weeks prior to the Asheville NC show
Photo© by William V. "Red" Robertson

Nobody can get that beautiful rhythm and blues sound out of a guitar the way you can. I don't know if you invented it, but that sound is magical.  It awakens something inside me that connects me with all my happy days in the 50's and 60's.  I can be listening to music on my radio not paying much attention and someone will play a song with the similar type of sound and it always gets my attention as it brings back to those 50's feelings. I loved those days!

Those were the days of Perry Como and Kate Smith, etc. Seldom did anyone move as they sang and certainly not like Elvis.  Well, thanks so much...God bless.

Lois Angel
Asheville, NC
February 26, 2003

Advertisements appearing in the Asheville Citizen for shows on May 17th and September 16th, 1955
Copyright© 1955, Asheville, NC Citizen-Times
Reprinted With Permission

The performance Lois refers to was on September 16, 1955  (courtesy Elvis Day By Day)


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