Elvis Presley 1956 Tupelo Homecoming concert recreated by tribute artist, Cody Ray Slaughter

Elvis Presley 1956At the annual Tupelo Elvis Festival on June 7, 2018, Elvis Presley’s 1956 Homecoming concert was celebrated with a special reenactment concert. Performing live at the Tupelo Fairgrounds was Elvis Tribute Artist, Cody Ray Slaughter, who recreated Presley’s original performance for a huge crowd of Elvis fans.
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On September 26, 1956, Elvis performed at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show in Tupelo, Mississippi – the same place where he performed in public for the first time at the age of 10. On October 3, 1945, Presley won fifth place in a talent contest sponsored by local radio station WELO. He sang “Old Shep.” 

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1956 Elvis Presley
The original program from the 1956 show on display at Elvis Presley’s Birthplace museum in Tupelo, MS
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Presley was born in Tupelo in 1935, and in 1948 at the age of 13, his family moved from Tupelo to Memphis. When Elvis returned to his hometown eight years later, he had become a worldwide sensation, known as The King of Rock and Roll. The town was so proud of Elvis that the Mayor gave him the key to the city. It was a metal-shaped guitar, with the initials “EP” and the words, “Welcome Home, Tupelo, Miss.” (see the presentation below)
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In the 2018 reenactment, Tupelo Mayor, Jason Shelton, presented Cody Slaughter an authentic replica of the same key to the city that Elvis received.
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“When Elvis came up on that stage I thought someone had just dropped an Atomic Bomb,” described Presley’s friend, Nick Adams, who did a comedy routine as one of Presley’s opening acts that day.
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“They cheered so loud I thought I was going to lose an eardrum,” continued Adams. “Someone told me the population of Tupelo was 12,000. Well there were close to 50,000 people at Elvis’ Homecoming… Elvis told everyone what a great thrill this was for so many reasons. One of them was because he used to sneak into this very same fair when he was younger because he didn’t have any money to buy a ticket. Elvis said, ‘Last time I was here, I didn’t even have a nickel.'”
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The first two songs Elvis sang in his concert were “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Long Tall Sally” (see below). Presley was wearing a blue velvet shirt made for him by Natalie Wood’s dressmaker.
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To make his re-creation authentic, Slaughter sang through an old-fashioned microphone similar to what Elvis used. The muffled sound heard through a 1950s sound system was also recreated to give the show an authentic feel. Slaughter also wore a blue velvet shirt just like the one Elvis wore on that legendary day.
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Here is Slaughter’s version of “Heartbreak Hotel”:
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Cody Ray Slaughter won the Tupelo Elvis Festival Tribute Artist Competition in 2011, and then won top prize at Graceland’s Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest in 2011. Since then he starred in the Tony award-winning musical “Million Dollar Quartet,” appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and starred in the touring production of “Elvis ’56.”
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Here is Cody Slaughter singing “Long Tall Sally” from the same angle that Elvis was filmed at in 1956.
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Cody really epitomizes Elvis at that age, he has that same humble attitude, so appreciative,  very reverent and of course he can sing and dance just like Elvis, what more could you ask for,” said Roy Turner, of the Tupelo Elvis Fan Club.
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tupelo key to city
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“That was a very good time to recreate such a historic event,” Slaughter said recently. “Tupelo is special to me because when I first came here everybody was so embracing to me… it’s just got this warmth to it.”

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Watch Cody Ray Slaughter’s entire Tupelo 2018 performance on this YouTube playlist
Check out my previous article on the Elvis ’56 show starring Cody Ray Slaughter
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