This phrase was originally used to disband crowds who had gathered to see Elvis Presley. Now it’s used to mean something along the lines of ‘the show is over, it’s time to go home now.’
Origin Of ‘Elvis Has Left The Building’
Elvis Presley was a famous singer from the 20th century. He had millions of fans who enjoyed listening to him sing and perform. Whenever he would perform somewhere, many of his fans would likely be there to watch. After finishing a performance, Elvis would obviously leave the building. With him gone, the fans would no longer have reason to be there; the show was over. Today, this phrase means that something has finished so it’s time to leave.
Regarding this expression, Wikipedia mentions that it was used to disperse crowds after Elvis Presley concerts because people would linger in hopes of seeing an encore. The first man believed to have used the phrase was Horace Lee Logan in 1956. Apparently, Elvis had just finished performing and was exiting the concert hall, so people were getting out of their seats to watch him leave. However, there were still more performances to come, so Logan announced:
“Alright, alright, Elvis has left the building. I’ve told you absolutely straight up to this point, you know that he has left the building; he left the stage and went out the back with the policeman and he is now gone from the building.”
- Jake went to the movies with his friends. After nearly three hours the movie ended; Elvis has left the building and it was time to go home.
Note: The origins of many popular sayings are unknown. In cases like this, you might see a theory listed on the page that talks about how the phrase possibly originated. If no theory is given, then there should at least be a quote of the earliest known appearance of the phrase in print. The purpose of these quotes is to give you an idea on how far back an expression goes in history.