Elvis Presley was one of the biggest megastars of his time and his influence can still be felt and heard in the music of today.

What You Need To Know

  • Elvis Presley was a unique force in entertainment for his time

  • Local resident remembers attending a Lakeland concert

  • His influence lives on

“Really, he was the first major sensation in American music,” said Jessi Zilka, owner of Jesse Carl Vinyl. “Elvis is the first one that all the girls fell across the stage for. There was nobody like him before or after — he’s an entity.”

Presley traveled the world, performing hits that would later go down in history. One of those performances was at the Polk Theatre in Lakeland.

“I remember it totally — I was 12 years old,” said a longtime fan, Linda Shiver. “My mom didn’t like him — they used to call him 'Elvis the Pelvis.'”

Shiver said seeing Presley perform that day in 1956 left an enduing impression on her.

“Oh yes, I’ll never forget that day — I was in the third row,” she said. “I had remembered watching him on the Ed Sullivan Show and they only showed him from the waist up because he gyrated too much.”

Shiver recalled spending $1.50 for a ticket to see Elvis play at the Polk Theatre. That was a lot of money back then, but she said it was worth every penny for her and the friend she attended the show with.

“If you can imagine, my friend that I was sitting next to was screaming and pulling her hair," Shiver said. "I’m surprised I could hear him with all that carrying on, but I did and we loved the show.”

After that, she said she would save her lunch money to buy Elvis records, which only cost 15 cents at the time.

“We didn’t know who he would become then," Shiver said. "Back in 1956, he was still new, but we loved him. I liked him better than then when he became the Vegas Elvis with all the glitz.”

That performance was more than 60 years ago but Shiver said her memories of that day were enough to last a lifetime.