This section is dedicated to more in-detail information on the Louisiana Hayride.
Elvis at the Louisiana Hayride
From 1955 to 1956 Elvis made a series of appearances at the Louisiana Hayride show.
|April||23||,||1955||Heart O'Texas Arena||Waco||Texas|
|December||15||,||1956||Hirsch Youth Center||Shreveport||Louisana|
The Louisiana Hayride History
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
The Louisiana Hayride
was a radio (later television)
broadcast from the Municipal Auditorium in Shreveport, Louisiana
that during its heyday from 1948
helped launch the careers of the some of the greatest names in American music.
The show's creators took the name from the 1943 book with that title by Harnett Kane that was made into a Broadway show, also called "Louisiana Hayride." Within a year of its debut, the program was so popular that a regional 25-station network was set up to broadcast portions of the show. The flagship station of the program was KWKH in Shreveport. The show's popularity also spawned various incarnations in other parts of the U.S., most notably of which in Cincinnati on WLWT, who dubbed their version Midwestern Hayride.
From 1948 to the late 1950s, Horace "Hoss" Logan produced the Louisiana Hayride. In 1999 he published a book about the Hayride that received acclaim from reviewers such as Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. Beginning with the successful first show on April 3, 1948, for more than a decade the Louisiana Hayride ranked second only to the Grand Ole Opry in terms of importance. While both showcased established stars, the Louisiana Hayride was where talented, but virtual unknowns, were also given exposure to a large audience. Over the years, country music greats such as Hank Williams, Webb Pierce, Kitty Wells, Jimmie Davis, Will Strahan, Slim Whitman, Floyd Cramer, Sonny James, Hank Snow, Faron Young, Johnny Horton, Jim Reeves, Claude King, George Jones, John and The Three Wise Men, Johnny Cash, Tex Ritter, and Lefty Frizzell, amongst many others performed on the Louisiana Hayride.
By mid 1954, a special 30-minute portion of the Louisiana Hayride was being broadcast every Saturday on the AFN Pacific channel of the United Kingdom Scottish Forces Radio Network. On October 16th of that year, a teenager from Memphis, Tennessee named Elvis Presley appeared on the program. Presley's performance of his newly released song from Sun Records called "That's All Right Mama" brought a tepid response, according to former Hayride emcee Frank Page, but soon after Elvis was nonetheless signed to a one-year contract for future appearances. The immediate and enormous demand for more of Presley's new kind of Rockabilly music actually resulted in a sharp decline in the popularity of the Louisiana Hayride that until that point had been strictly a country music venue.
Within a few years, Rock and roll dominated the music scene and on August 27, 1960, the Louisiana Hayride put on its final performance, though there have been attempts in the years since to revive it, and some strictly local performances have been done in the Shreveport area under the name. Meanwhile, KWKH currently has a classic country format sounding reminiscent of the Hayride era.
The TV Debut
Elvis debut on Louisiana Hayride October 16, 1954 - Then on March 5th, 1955, Elvis Presley made his television debut on the regional show "The Louisiana Hayride." That night Horace Logan strutted across the stage to the microphone. Offstage Elvis looked on nervously. This was the largest house, by far, that he had played.
Horace Logan announced: "Is there anyone from Mississippi? Anyone from Arkansas? Let's hear it from the folks from Oklahoma. Now who's from Louisiana. Now how many of y'all from the great state of Texas?"
The Hayride band struck up its theme, "Raise a Ruckus Tonight," as the crowd joined-in. "Come along, everybody come along, while the moon is shining bright, We're going to have a wonderful time, at the Louisiana Hayride tonight!"
Emcee Frank Page introduced Elvis who was standing against a painted backdrop. The call letters of the station, KWKH, and a Louisiana Hayride banner stretched across the scene. Elvis wearing a pink jacket, black shirt and colorful tie, white pants and two-tone shoes. Scotty Moore and Bill Black were in western shirts.
Frank Page: "Just a few weeks ago a young man from Memphis, Tennessee, recorded a song on the Sun label and, in just a matter of weeks, that record has sky-rocketed right up the charts. It's really doing well all over the country. He is only nineteen years old. He has a new, distinctive style. Elvis Presley. Let's give him a nice hand.
"How are you this evening?" Page
"Just fine. How're you, sir?" replied Elvis
"Are you all geared up with your band" Page
"I'm all geared up" Elvis
"Let's hear your songs?" Page
"Uh, well, I'd just like to say how happy we are to be down here. It's a real honor for us to get a chance to appear on the Louisiana Hayride. We're gonna do a song for ya... " Elvis
"You got anything else to say?" Page
"I'm ready -.We're gonna do a song for ya we got out on Sun Records. It goes something like this."
Elvis sang That's Alright Mama. Whether it was Elvis's stage fright or the originality of his act before a new audience, his performance was flat much like his Grand Ole Opry debut a few weeks previous. Elvis huddled with Sam Phillips during intermission. Sam exhorted Elvis to be himself, do his own kind of show; all he could do was fail and that would happen anyway if he didn't loosen-up.
The second show was different. It was a young crowd hungry for excitement. A huge cheer went up from the first bars of That's Alright Mama. It wasn't country music, it was rock n' roll and the audience loved it. On their feet, clapping and dancing, the crowd rode the thunderous beat. They didn't want Elvis to stop. Gyrating like a dervish, Elvis burned That's Alright Mama and Blue Moon of Kentucky. The Hayride had birthed its greatest star.
On 6 November 1954, Elvis signed a contract to appear on the Louisiana Hayride every Saturday night for a year. Gladys and Vernon Presley came to Shreveport to witness the contract because Elvis was underage. He was nineteen years old.
Elvis was paid $18.00 per performance, Scotty Moore and Bill Black $12.00 each. The Hayride became the foundation of Elvis's early rise to stardom.
Elvis would travel nearly half million miles over the next year, often before audiences that would have heard him first time. During 1955, if it was a Saturday night, Elvis was in Shreveport at the Louisiana Hayride.
(Source: Text taken from Elvis Presley News)
Audio and Video Files of the Louisiana Hayride Performances
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