About the song

Absolutely, let’s delve into the electrifying world of Elvis Presley and his iconic performance of Don’t Be Cruel on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1957. This particular moment stands as a landmark in music history, forever etching the image of a young Elvis into the American consciousness and propelling rock and roll into the national spotlight.

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Elvis Presley, by 1957, was already a rising star in the South, captivating audiences with his unique blend of rhythm and blues, gospel, and country music. His energetic performances, characterized by his charismatic stage presence and suggestive hip movements, were causing quite a stir. However, his national breakthrough came with his appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, a hugely popular variety program that reached millions of households across America.

The anticipation for Elvis’s debut on Sullivan was immense. Rock and roll, with its driving rhythms and suggestive lyrics, was a controversial genre at the time. Some saw it as a positive expression of youthful energy, while others condemned it as a corrupting influence. Sullivan himself was apprehensive, famously filming Elvis from the waist up to avoid any scandalous gyrations.

Despite these restrictions, Elvis’s performance of Don’t Be Cruel on January 6, 1957, was nothing short of electrifying. Released in 1956 as the B-side to his single Hound Dog, the song quickly rose to become a chart-topper. Its infectious melody, driven by a steady backbeat and punctuated by Scotty Moore’s searing guitar licks, perfectly captured the youthful energy of rock and roll. Elvis’s soulful vocals, with their playful swagger and effortless cool, resonated with a generation hungry for something new and exciting.

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While Sullivan may have tried to contain him, Elvis’s natural stage presence shone through. Even with limited movement, his charisma and the sheer power of his performance captivated the audience. The now-iconic swivel of his hips, the suggestive glances, and the sheer joy he exuded while singing were undeniable. Though some viewers may have been scandalized, millions were simply captivated.

The impact of Elvis’s performance on The Ed Sullivan Show was seismic. Viewer ratings soared, and the show received an unprecedented amount of fan mail, both positive and negative. More importantly, it brought rock and roll to a national audience, forever changing the landscape of American music. Don’t Be Cruel, with its infectious energy and Elvis’s magnetic performance, became a symbol of this cultural revolution.

So, as we revisit this landmark performance, it’s important to recognize it not just for the musical brilliance of Don’t Be Cruel, but for the cultural shift it represented. Elvis Presley, with his undeniable talent and captivating stage presence, ignited a firestorm that continues to shape music to this day.

Video

Lyrics

“Don’t Be Cruel”

You know I can be found,
Sitting home all alone,
If you can’t come around,
At least please telephone.
Don’t be cruel to a heart that’s true.

Baby, if I made you mad
For something I might have said,
Please, let’s forget my past,
The future looks bright ahead,
Don’t be cruel to a heart that’s true.
I don’t want no other love,
Baby it’s just you I’m thinking of.

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Don’t stop thinking of me,
Don’t make me feel this way,
Come on over here and love me,
You know what I want you to say.
Don’t be cruel to a heart that’s true.
Why should we be apart?
I really love you baby, cross my heart.

Let’s walk up to the preacher
And let us say I do,
Then you’ll know you’ll have me,
And I’ll know that I’ll have you,
Don’t be cruel to a heart that’s true.
I don’t want no other love,
Baby it’s just you I’m thinking of.

Don’t be cruel to a heart that’s true.
Don’t be cruel to a heart that’s true.
I don’t want no other love,
Baby it’s just you I’m thinking of.