By Bartee Haile.
Eighty-eight thousand paying customers packed the Astrodome on Mar. 3, 1974 for Elvis Presley's two sold-out performances, his last at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. "He went off to Texas and came home famous," Elvis' mother marveled early in her son's fantastic career. The Lone Star State was not only his launching pad to stardom, but also where the King of Rock and Roll got his second wind. Elvis was fresh out of high school and just 19 years old, when he signed on as a regular with the "Louisiana Hayride," a popular country music radio program broadcast from Shreveport with loyal listeners in 13 southern states. Unlike the purists at the "Grand Ole Opry," who snubbed the newcomer after his one and only appearance, the "Hayride" warmly welcomed the white boy from Memphis who sang black rhythm and blues.
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