Elvis' First Concert Was At The Levitt Shell In Memphis

Elvis' First Concert At The Levitt Shell In Memphis

On July 30, 1954 Elvis gave his first public concert at the Levitt Shell amphitheater in Memphis. 

Today (July 30th) is a special day in Memphis and music history! The Levitt Shell (then called the "Overton Park Shell") hosted a concert for country singer Slim Whitman. General admission was $1 and the supporting acts included Billy Walker and a young man named Elvis Presley.

What Is The Levitt Shell?

The Levitt Shell is an historic outdoor amphitheater in Overton Park built originally in 1936. It's had a roller coaster history. In 2008 it was renovated again and reopened to provide mostly free live concerts during spring, summer, and fall in Memphis.

Memphis' Levitt Shell In Action
Memphis' Levitt Shell In Action

Elvis' First Concert 

The Levitt Shell where Elvis played what some historians consider to be the first-ever rock 'n' roll show on July 30, 1954. According to the Levitt Shell:

Elvis was "so nervous he stood up on the balls of his feet and shook his leg in time with the music. To his shock and horror the girls in the audience went crazy, yelling and applauding."

Presley had just recorded his first song the year before at Sun Studio, and he'd just recorded an early rock 'n' roll song "That's Alright Mama" a few weeks before on July 5th—a song that immediately got radio play on the local radio stations. 

By the time he got on stage, word had spread about Elvis and his rock 'n' roll music, and the rest is history.



A post shared by Levitt Shell (@levittshell)

Free Live Music In Memphis

In a regular year (not a pandemic year) the Levitt Shell puts on about 50 free shows. The artists are a mix of local bands, up-and-coming groups from around the country, and some international acts as well. They usually have a round of shows in the spring/summer and again in the fall. 


Levitt Shell Sponsor Deck Memphis 2

At the top of the hill, there's a spacious deck and can be rented out for private events and sponsorships. Paid concerts, the sponsors—and especially your donations—pay for the concerts and help keep the Levitt Shell free.

View from the sponsor deck area.
View from the sponsor deck area.

The food truck / beer / merch area has its own territory to the right of the Shell (if you're facing it). I highly recommend you avoid parking at the Levitt Shell by riding your bike, walking, Uber-ing, or at the least, carpooling.

Comments Make Us Happy

Leave a Comment
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

i like it

October 10, 2022 6:26pm