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One of the many great legacies Elvis Presley left was his dynamic concert exits. The phrase “Elvis has left the building” is synonymous with Presley’s stage shows. However, it has also taken on a more general meaning, referring to the end of an event or Presley’s untimely death. What was the hair-raising reason for the phrase, and what made it take on an iconic stature in Presley lore?

Elvis Presley during a concert in Hawaii in the 1970s.
Elvis Presley | Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

In two years, Presley went from an unknown performer to an international sensation

In 1954, Elvis began his singing career with the legendary Sun Records recording label in Memphis, TN.

Subsequently, it wasn’t until late 1955, that Sun sold Presley’s recording contract to RCA Victor. By 1956 Elvis Presley was a music superstar.

Presley’s debut single, “That’s All Right Mama,” recorded on July 5, 1954, pairs with “Blue Moon of Kentucky” as its B-side.

Consequently, Presley tried to score a spot on the Grand Ole Opry.

However, The Louisiana Hayride, the Opry’s chief rival, snatched him up and Presley soon became its featured entertainer.

The first time the phrase ‘Elvis Presley has left the building’ is said

The website 973 the Dawg reported Presley created a frenzy during his Louisiana Hayride spots.

The 1998 book Elvis, Hank, and me: Making Musical History on the Louisiana Hayride by Horace Logan and Bill Sloan spoke of the iconic catchphrase.

Firstly, Presley was in the middle of a lineup of performers on the fairgrounds of the Louisiana State Fair.

Therefore, Logan told the crowd to quiet down after Presley’s performance.

“All right, all right, Elvis has left the building. I’ve told you straight up to this point. You know that. He left the building and the stage and went out back with the policemen.”

The Elvis Presley phrase remains an iconic part of the singer’s lore


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Nonetheless, the term continued to be linked to the King of Rock and Roll.

Additionally, announcer Al Dvorin used the phrase to close Presley’s concert performances in the 1970s.

Furthermore, the live record Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden included a track of Dvorin saying the term reported Nerdist.