photo: jack sheaffer, 1956 / location: tucson rodeo grounds

photo: jack sheaffer, 1956 / location: tucson rodeo grounds

Elvis at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds

Elvis Presley, a good-looking kid from Memphis, had a best-selling disc in May 1956 with "Heartbreak Hotel." His manager, Colonel Tom Parker, sent him out to perform one-night stands all over America, and by September Elvis had topped the country, pop, and R&B charts with "You Ain't Nothin' But a Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel."

With a captivating grin and an elaborate, rhythmic, loose-limbed, suggestive dance, Presley played to the teenage girls in the audience. A newspaper writer, scouting up grownups who would proclaim Presley's act indecent, gave him the nickname Elvis the Pelvis.

Sixty years ago this spring, on June 19, 1956, Elvis came to Tucson. Playing at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds, he drew a modest crowd of maybe 1,500, but the local girls went crazy, and The Arizona Daily Star photographer Jack Scheaffer, always on the scene in Tucson, captured Elvis being protected by an escort of Pima County Sheriff's deputies as he left his gig.