Elvis Presley signing autographs for young fans in 1956. Image via Wikipedia.com- Photographer: Powell F. Krueger (died aged 94 on January 31, 2006), published by The Minneapolis Tribune

The Arrest Of Elvis Presley For Punching Out A Gas Station Owner Who Demanded He Move His Car

The rock & roll legend got into hot water after trading punches in an improbable setting

Andrew Martin
5 min readOct 24, 2023

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Few celebrity idols in the history of popular culture have ever attained the level of rock & roll legend Elvis Presley. The smooth dancing singer with the sultry voice captured the hearts and minds of many during his distinguished career. Based on his popularity, he was looked up to by many, but that didn’t mean that he wasn’t prone to making some pretty colossal mistakes that had the potential to tarnish his reputation. An early misstep The King made that had the potential for landing him in a lot of trouble and possibly impacting the trajectory of his career was a gas station fight that led to him being arrested.

From humble origins to making himself into the King of Rock & Roll, Presley was a true music legend. During his career, he had 149 songs that made Billboard’s Hot 100 Pop Chart in the United States, including 40 in the top ten, and 18 that reached number one status. Additionally, he had 150 songs and albums that achieved gold, platinum or multi-platinum status.

When Presley first burst onto the music scene, his gyrating body and “new” (there were many musicians before him who pioneered rock, particularly African American artists) music was unlike anything many had seen or heard before. Reaching celebrity status as a young man, he was still gathering maturity after his star had begun to rise. Unfortunately, this is often a recipe for trouble, and it proved to be just that for him after a much publicized dust up in a gas station parking lot in 1956.

On October 18th, Presley, who was only 21 years old, pulled into a Memphis, Tennessee gas station in his shiny new Continental Mark II. He stopped because he smelled gas fumes while driving and wanted to make sure he had no fuel line leaks.

It had been just short of a year since his first true hit song, Heartbreak Hotel, topped the charts in November, 1955. The vehicle was a trapping of his burgeoning celebrity, and he had no problems showing off a bit to anyone who cared to see the fruits of his success.

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Andrew Martin

Dabbler in history, investing & writing. Master’s degree in baseball history. Passionate about history, diversity, culture, sports, investing and crypto.