As soon as the video begins, the audience erupts with deafening screams. It’s easy to see why – the energy and charisma that Elvis Presley exudes in this performance of “Don’t Be Cruel” on The Ed Sullivan Show on January 6th, 1957, is simply unmatched.
The late 1950s were a time of optimism and prosperity in America. The post-World War II economy was booming, with a gallon of milk costing only 82 cents and a dozen eggs just 28 cents. The country was still reeling from the recent launch of Sputnik by the Soviet Union, but President Dwight D. Eisenhower assured Americans that the United States was not far behind in the race to space.
Against this backdrop of hope and possibility, Elvis took the stage in his trademark black leather outfit, gyrating and winking at the camera. His voice is smooth and confident as he sings the lyrics to “Don’t Be Cruel,” accompanied by a group of backup singers swaying in perfect unison.
But it’s not just Elvis’s voice and moves that make this performance so memorable. It’s the way he commands the stage, effortlessly drawing the audience in with his magnetism. It’s no wonder that the crowd is practically shaking the studio with their screams and cheers.
“Don’t Be Cruel” was a chart-topping hit for Elvis in 1956, and it’s easy to see why. The song is upbeat and catchy, with a playful message about the ups and downs of love. But many fans don’t know that it was originally written for a woman – Elvis’s girlfriend at the time, who was reportedly upset with him for being too rough in their relationship.
Despite its origins, “Don’t Be Cruel” became an instant classic and helped solidify Elvis’s place as the King of Rock and Roll. And this performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, with its unforgettable energy and charm, is a testament to that legacy.
So go ahead, watch the video below, and share it with your friends. Because this is not just a performance – it’s a moment in American music history that’s too good not to share.