1956 was a landmark year for rock 'n' roll: Elvis Presley arrived as a star, and celebrated photographer Alfred Wertheimer was close by.
Wertheimer took nearly 3,000 photographs of Presley in 1956 when Elvis was just 21. The new TASCHEN book 'Alfred Wertheimer. Elvis and the Birth of Rock and Roll' brings together over 300 pictures of Elvis from Wertheimer's legendary portfolio, taking us close to the King as he made history.
The following are six samples from the book that capture the young Elvis Presley with extraordinary intimacy.
“May I take your order?”
Elvis prepares to turn on the charm with an unsuspecting waitress at the Hotel Jefferson in Richmond, Virginia.
Elvis, as "Tumbleweed Presley," works on his trademark sneer during a rehearsal for The Steve Allen Show in New York City, 1 July, 1956.
Starburst, Russwood Park, Memphis, Tennessee, July 4, 1956. A lucky accident, a flashbulb goes off in the crowd at the very moment the shutter of Wertheimer’s camera opens, creating a magnificent spray of backlight.
Dorsey Brothers’ Stage Show
Elvis Presley prepares to wow the audience during a dress rehearsal for the Dorsey Brothers’ Stage Show at CBS Studio 50 in 1956.
High school sweetheart Barbara Hearn comes by the Presley family home before the concert, and listens to the quick acetate discs from the RCA Victor session a few days earlier.
Stage Show, March 17, 1956
Elvis, Scotty Moore on guitar, and Bill Black on bass, and DJ Fontana on drums, during a live performance on Stage Show, March 17, 1956.