Make us your home page

From the wayback machine: Elvis Presley, Bill Haley bring rock 'n' roll to Tampa Bay




Yesterday we brought you John Capouya's excellent story about the secret history of the dance move known as The Twist in Tampa.

Today we're returning to the wayback machine with Jerry Blizin's account of Elvis Presley's famed 1956 concert at the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory in Tampa, as well as a performance by Bill Haley and the Comets that same year.

That's Elvis, above, signing autographs for a fan outside the Armory. That show, of course, would go down in rock 'n' roll history as the concert that yielded this photo, which became the cover of Presley's debut album -- which in turn inspired the cover of The Clash's London Calling.

But the show represented more than just the arrival of rock 'n' roll in Tampa Bay. It signified the breaking down of racial barriers, as both Presley and Haley were performing music developed by African American artists, and were playing an unwitting role in desegregating American popular culture.

Click here to read Jerry Blizin's story. It features reviews of Tampa Bay concerts by Elvis Presley and Bill Haley in 1956.

Photo: Bob Moreland (1956)

[Last modified: Monday, September 13, 2010 7:25pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours