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Yesterday in La Crosse

Viva Las Vegas! We play “21” with the King

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Elvis Presley was just 21 when he played his only concerts in La Crosse, two shows in one night at the old Mary E. Sawyer auditorium on May 14th, 1956. Twenty-one years later, in August of 1977, Presley died at his Graceland mansion in Memphis. Twenty-one years after the death of Elvis, the very first ‘Elvis Explosion’ of performances by tribute artists was staged in La Crosse. It wasn’t a September event at the La Crosse Center, but a June 1998 attraction at the Bikini Yacht Club between La Crosse and La Crescent.  

The first big Elvis tribute show in La Crosse happened just a few months before his death. The Sawyer Auditorium hosted a singer named Alan in 1977, who was billed as the ‘best-ever Presley impersonator.’  

Because of that 1956 Elvis show in La Crosse, one area citizen wrote to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, wanting the rock star investigated as a security threat to America. Not only did the FBI not investigate Elvis, he famously got to meet with President Nixon at the White House in 1970. Keeping up with the King, yesterday in La Crosse.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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