Where did Elvis get his signature leg shake?

There's no question, the way Elvis shook his hips and moved his legs drove all the women crazy. But have you ever wondered where he got those moves from? We asked a Memphis tour guide and Elvis history buff to give us the true story!

Elvis Had Moves

When it comes to being multi-talented, Elvis Presley is right up there with the best of them.  Not only was he an excellent singer, musician, and even a Hollywood actor, but he was also a great dancer.  When he first began to showcase his hip-swiveling, leg shaking moves, people had no idea what to think or how to act.  They had never seen someone move the way that Elvis did; so reactions were mixed.  While many people considered his pelvic gyrations and hip-shaking to be vulgar and  inappropriate, others loved the way that Elvis expressed himself on stage, and his moves became popular across the nation.

The Leg-Shaking Backstory

As the story goes, Elvis was set to play his first ever live, paid performance on July 30th, 1954.  The concert was being held at the Overton Park Shell (now known as the Levitt Shell) and Elvis was slated to open for country star Slim Whitman.  Elvis only had to play two songs during his performance, “That’s Alright Mama,” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky.”  During the performance of his first song, Elvis was so nervous, that his leg began to shake.  However, because he was able to move his leg along with the rhythm of the music, no one was able to tell it was really just nerves.  Elvis not only made it look intentional, but the crowd went crazy, especially the women.  They began to swoon over him, and were screaming so loud, that he thought that everyone hated him and that he was being booed of stage.  When he finally got off stage, he wanted to know why they were yelling at him. Someone told him it was because he was shaking his leg–and the rest is history!

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