Among the many festivities unrolling to commemorate what would have been Elvis Presley's 75th birthday on January 8, 2010, the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles will mount an exhibit of black-and-white photos, Elvis at 21, which capture moments in 1956, just prior to his explosive success. It runs January 8 - March 28.
The traveling exhibit, organized by the Smithsonian Institute, features photojournalist Alfred Wertheimer's series of 56 candid, intimate and evocative images of the singer. Originally, assigned by RCA Victor Records for promotional photos, the shots offer a rare 'all-access' look at a pivotal moment in the singer's life - documenting Elvis in the recording studio, in concert, on the road, and at home in Memphis.
A book, titled Elvis 1956, accompanies the exhibition, including images such as a backstage encounter with a young woman, recording what would become his first number one songs, "Don't Be Cruel" and "Hound Dog," and taking a break at a train station's lunch stand in a time before he required bodyguards.
The Elvis At 21 exhibit is sponsored by the History Channel, and will be shown in nine cities across the US through 2013, including the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Kansas, and William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Wertheimer will attend a panel discussion about the photo sessions at the LA Grammy Museum on the day the show opens.
In addition, the Grammy Museum's executive director Robert Santelli will lead the museum's first field trip, "In Search of Elvis," a guided tour of Presley's landmark cities, such as Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee, and Tupelo, Mississippi.