CONTAINS
 
1955 SUN SESSIONS 2
April 1 to June 30, 1955
 
Interview for Elvis Presley, May 12, 1955
Live Broadcast Recording for Elvis Presley, May 26, 1955
 

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - © 

Sam Phillips thought that the arrangement would benefit from the presence of a drummer, so he called the sixteen-year-old Jimmie Lott, who had auditioned at Sun Records with an East High School Jazz Band earlier in 1954.

"Sam asked me if I would be interested in doing some studio work", recalled Lott, "and I said I would. I was maybe fifteen or sixteen years old, and I was at home one night and took a phone call from Sam Phillips''. 

''I had bronchitis at the time, but I loaded up my drums into my mom's car. Elvis was standing in the doorway of the studio. He had long greasy ducktails, which was not too cool with my group''.
 
''We cut three songs, "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone", "You're A Heartbreaker", and "How Do You Think I Feel". "I set a latin tempo to "How Do You Think I Feel", which D.J. Fontana used when they rerecorded the song at Victor. Sam asked me if I would be interesting in working with the group and I told him a had another year of school and couldn't".
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR ELVIS PRESLEY
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION 9: UNKNOWN DATE PROBABLY EARLY APRIL 1955
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
A Scotty Moore rehearsal ''How Do You Tink I Feel'' with Elvis' voice, Bill Black's bass off mike. His backup musicians were Bill Black on bass and NOT Johnny Bernero, but Jimmie Lott on drums. Elvis attended the session and can be heard singing the song off mike. "How Do You Think I Feel" remained unreleased until 1987, when it appeared as one complete track in the boxed set "The Sun Country Years 1950 - 1959" and the bootleg CD ''When All Was Kool'' (1991). A few little surviving snippets offered tantalising glimpses of the creative process at work. The last of those little snippets is included on this session. Unfortunately, Elvis Presley is largely off mike. On the session was Doug Poindexter. The guitar licks heard on this song, used by the Delmore Brothers in a 1949 recording ''Blues Stay Away From Me'' were added by Poindexter. "I listened to the Delmore Brothers and they helped with guitar licks I used at Sun Records", Poindexter revealed. Richard Weize of Bear Family Records have discovered many unknown and unreleased Elvis Presley recordings up through the years. 
 
01(1) - "HOW DO YOU THINK I FEEL" - B.M.I. - 3:17
Composer: - Wayne P. Walker-Webb Pierce-Woodron Wilson Sovine
Publisher: - Gedarwood Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Rehearsal Take 1
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Elvis' voice, Bill Black bass off mike, at rehearsing.
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm boxed set BFX-15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-34 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955
 
On the Bear Family Records LP boxset "The Sun Country Years 1950 - 1959" and the bootleg CD ''When All Was Kool'' released in 1991, ''How Do You Think I Feel'' was released as one complete track. 
 
01(2) - "HOW DO YOU THINK I FEEL" – B.M.I. - 1:14
Composer: - Cindy Walker-Webb Pierce-Woodron Wilson Sovine
Publisher: - Gedarwood Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Rehearsal
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Released: - 1986
First appearance: -   Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm boxed set BFX-15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-35 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955
 
 02 - "SINCE I MET YOU BABY" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Ivory Joe Hunter
Publisher: - Unichappell Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Tape Lost
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955 - Probably Rehearsal
 
03 - "YOU'RE A HEARTBREAKER" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Charles ''Jack'' Alvin Sallee
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Tryout – Tape Lost
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
 
04(1) - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Bill Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 1 – Breakdown – Tape Box 5
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Released: - Sun Unissued
 
04(2) - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Bill Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 2 – Pickup – Tape Box 5
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Released: - Sun Unissued
 
04(3) - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Bill Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 3 – Pickup – Tape Box 5
Recorded: - Unknown Date March 1955
Released: - Sun Unissued
 
04(4) - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Bill Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 4 – Tape Box 5
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Released: - Sun Unissued
 
04(5) - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Bill Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 5 – Tape Box 5
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Released: - Sun Unissued

Steve Sholes Session Notes

Box 5
I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (F2WB-8047)
1. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gon (Breakdown) 
2. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (Pickup) (BD)
3. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (2:28)
4. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (2:33)
5. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (2:38)
6. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (2:34) Master 

Drummer Jimmie Lott had another brief encounter with the group. He had moved to North Carolina with his family when Elvis Presley headlined a country package show in Greensboro in February 1956, just as "Heartbreak Hotel" was breaking. "I went to the back door and Scotty and Bill remembered me", recalled Lott. "They let me in. Elvis remembered me. He said, "Hey, drummer! and we went and ate breakfast after the show". 

Jimmie Lott joined Warren Smith's band after returning to Memphis. He recorded several sessions with Smith, but eventually left to pursue a career in sales as his family responsibilities mounted.
 
"That's the tape of... Sam's putting echo / slapback on my guitar...", recalled Scotty Moore. "This tape is the tape that was on the second machine - the machine that he's only feeding my signal to. It's only a run through, it's not a finished take. The signal being delayed on.
 
Jimmie Lott claims that the same day, "How Do You Think I Feel" and "You're A Heartbreaker" was recorded. So far though the only tape to surface is one featuring Scotty Moore's guitar part for "How Do You Think I Feel". Elvis is said to be audible in the background, from a session December 8, 1954. Does this show that Steve Sholes didn't list everything on a tape, or prove that someone has a missing tape.
 
04(6) - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Bill Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 142 SUN - F2WB-8047 - Master Take 6 - Tape Box 5
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Released: - April 25, 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 217-A mono
I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE / BABY LET'S PLAY HOUSE
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-3-27 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elvis Presley - Vocal and Acoustic Rhythm Guitar (Martin Dreadnought 18)
Scotty Moore - Electric Lead Guitar (Gibson ES 295)
Bill Black - Acoustic Upright Bass (Kay Maestro M-1)
Jimmie Lott or Johnny Bernero - Drums (Gretsch Round Badge Kit)
Probably Doug Poindexter - Guitar
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
(Above) The Pierce Ector County Auditorium was built in 1954 and can accommodate more than 5,000 seated people. Nowadays the Ector County Coliseum is the home of an arena football team called the West Texas Roughnecks and an ice-hockey team called the Odessa Jackalopes. It also hosts the Sand Hills Rodeo and the biennial Permian Basin International Oil Show. The building resembles an indoor stadium, and the gracious manager not only took us on a tour of the building, but also told us about the many events that have been held there.
 
APRIL 1, 1955 FRIDAY
 
Onie Wheeler opened the 8:15 p.m. show when Elvis Presley played a "Rockin'-Rollin' Dance"  in Odessa at the Pierce Ector County Auditorium. Scotty Moore and Bill Black backed Elvis Presley, as usual, along with a local drummer, Charles Ray Scott.
 
Also backing Elvis were pianist Floyd Cramer  and steel guitarist James Clayton "Jimmy" Day, two regular members of the Louisiana  Hayride's house band. Tickets were $1.25 per person and attendance was reported at 850.  The show's sponsor was the local Voting Home Owners Club.
 
According to Joyce Trower, ''I worked in the Odessa shop, and Mr. Holifield had him in here, it seems like almost every month. I sold tickets for the show in the shop. My boyfriend stood guard at the door to the dressing room, and he couldn't understand that the girls were climbing over him to get to Elvis. One time they came through here, and they didn't have a drummer. I had been in a band at high school, and I called Charles Ray Scott''.
 
''He came and played a little for them, and they said, 'Great'! and he played the show that night''. A reported audience of 850 gathered that night.
APRIL 1955
 
"I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone"/"Baby Let's Play House" (SUN 217) by Elvis Presley is   released (April 25). Elvis Presley is now touring with Onie Wheeler. He also appears on the   Big ''D'' Jamboree in Dallas, Texas, with Tex Ritter. 
 
Slim Thodes is signed to Sun Records. Slim and his band The Mountaineers are now on   WMCT-TV, Memphis and KVTV, Pine Bluff, Arkansas weekly. Billboard reviews Rhodes'   "Don't Believe"/"Uncertain Love" (SUN 216) as "strong talent, despite run of the mill ideas".
 
"I've Been Deceived" (Flip 502) by Charlie Feathers and "Someday You Will Pay" (Flip 504)   by the Miller Sisters are released. 
 
The promoter failed to adequately advertise the concert, and it was a long, dull evening   Elvis Presley was depressed. During the show, they played country tunes. Most country   artists didn't use drums, and the tradition-minded country crowd was curious about D.J.  Fontana, whom Elvis Presley had brought along. After the performance, Elvis Presley once   again reasoned that perhaps Bob Neal was not the right person to guide his career.   Whenever Elvis Presley felt depressed, ho drove to the "Louisiana Hayride" to spent some   time with his musical friends.
APRIL 2, 1955 SATURDAY
 
According to a brief article in Billboard, Elvis was booked solid through April. It was   mentioned that Onie Wheeler would be working a number of dates in Arkansas with Elvis.   (During April, Elvis appeared at a jamboree in El Dorado, which drew a full house to the local  High School Auditorium. Appearing with Elvis Presley were Onie Wheeler, Betty Amos, and T.   Tommy and his band. Elvis Presley was also reported to have played Texarkana with Chessie   Smith, and St. Helena late in April).
 
From 8:00 to 11:30 p.m., Elvis Presley performed in Houston at the Houston City Auditorium on a remote broadcast of the   Louisiana Hayride. Headlining the show was Slim Whitman. Also appearing on this   broadcast were Jimmy Newman, Betty Amos, Johnny Horton, Jeanette Hicks, Jack Ford   and Hoot and Curley. A later report called the turnout of country music fans, "one of the   largest crowds ever to fill the Houston City Auditorium". As many as 2,000 fans were   turned away at the door. Billboard magazine wrote, ''Elvis performed, ''Little Mama'', ''That's All Right'', ''You're A Heartbreaker'', and ''Shake, Rattle And Roll''.
APRIL 3, 1955 SUNDAY
 
Elvis Presley is stopped by officer Nolan Strange for speeding on U.S. Highway 171 in Caddo Parish  outside of Shreveport, Louisiana, in the 1954 fourdoor  pink and white Cadillac at 80 mph in a 60 mph zone that he has bought since Bill Black wrecked the Lincoln. He  post $25 bond and is notified to appear for arrangement on Tuesday, April 5. "I turned around and followed him for eight miles at speeds of 65 to 80 mph ...," says a statement by the trooper who stopped Elvis.
 
On April 5, his name was called three times at the Caddo Courthouse door but he failed to appear, leading to the forfeiture of the bond, records show.
APRIL 4, 1955 MONDAY
 
It is beyond doubt that Elvis Presley played at the Nettleton High School outside of Jonesboro, Arkansas. It was for the class of '55, which means it was definitely no later than the month of May. The photo sold at the show was not used until mid-January of 1955, and most witnesses remember that the weather was mild and they wore short sleeves. Dub Pardew of Pardew's Department Store gave a young man in a yellow outfit driving a pink 1954 Cadillac directions to the school, which puts the show after March 1. Elvis came back from somewhere at 11:30 that night, according to a private source, and would have been able to do that, playing in Nettleton. The show could also have been on some of the other open dates in March and April, and in principle also on May 20, although that seems to be too late in the school year to make sense.
 
Bob Neal reports to Colonel Tom Parker that he is unable to fulfill the Colonel's request  that he find out where Elvis records are selling. Meanwhile, the Colonel and Tom Diskin  continue to try to drum up interest in Elvis from promoters throughout the South
APRIL 5, 1955
 
Elvis Presley played at the Charleston High School Gym in Charleston Mississippi. According to Otey Sherman an Charleston banker remembers, ''George Bailey Peters was president of the Future Farmers of America at Charleston High School, and Bill Hardin was the facility advisor.
 
Early in 1955, the rumors started about this country music act that was different and had the girls screaming. Bill contacted Bob Neal, and Elvis was booked for the show on April 5th. The old gym was readied with a small stage just under the goal. He used the boys' dressing room at the left side of the stage to make his entrance''.
 
Peggy Newman says, ''All the girls were screaming and jumping around in front of the stage. After the show, Elvis looked me up and we had a nice talk. He shared the fact that he had come from very poor people and he wanted to be somebody. Before he drove off, he called me to the car and kissed me goodbye''. George Peters counted the gate and gave Elvis his $175 share.
 
Songwriter John Marascalco says, ''I had written ''Rip It Up'' and had it on tape. I was talking with one of the disc jockeys there, and he told me, 'Hey, I hear Elvis is going to be in Charleston'. So I jumped in my car that night and went over to the gymnasium in that town. Bob Neal, who was Elvis' first manager, was at the door. I said, 'Bob, I work for radio station WNAG in Granada, Mississippi. I've got a song I'd like to play for Elvis'. He said, Ókay, wait 'til intermission and I'll let you go back there'. So, at intermission I went backstage and met Bill Black, Scotty Moore, and Elvis. Elvis was an unbelievable guy, the nicest person you'd want to meet. I told Elvis how great he sounded and how great the crowd was reacting to him. I said, 'I've got a song I'd like to play you', and Elvis said, 'Play it'. I brought my tape recorder with me and played him a demo of ''Rip It Up''. He said, 'I love it'! I said, 'Great'! Hey said, 'I don't pick my songs. Sam Phillips picks my songs. Call Sam and tell him you played it for me tonight. Tell him that I wanted him to hear it, and up to Memphis and play it for him'. I said, 'You got it, man'. So I went up to see Sam Phillips in Memphis to play him ''Rip It Up''. he said, 'I like the song but I'm taking Elvis a new way'. Undoubtedly, the demo had a little more of a country feel than I thought. Sam said, 'I like the song but I'm gonna pass'. But after the fact, that opened the door to allow me to submit other stuff to Sam, and he recorded some of my songs'', said John Marascalco.
 
Edited from ''Writing for the King'' by Ken Sharp
 
Eventually, Elvis Presley recorded later for RCA Victor two of John Marascalco's song for his second album, ''Rip It Up'', and ''Ready Teddy'', both hits by Little Richard at this time.
APRIL 7, 1955 THURSDAY
 
Elvis Presley, and probably Onie Wheeler, appeared at 3:30 and 8:00 p.m. at the meeting room of Alcorn Court  House in Corinth, Mississippi. Tickets were 75-cents for adults and 50-cents for "school children". Only a handful  of people turned up for the 3:30 p.m. show in Corinth, and the first show was cancelled. Elvis looked quite  disappointed as he left the building, then parked his guitar at Borroum's Drugstore across the street from the  Courthouse and headed out to pay his hometown Tupelo a visit before the evening show.
 
Becky Martin, one of Elvis' favourite fifth-grade classmates at Lawhon Elementary School, was walking home from  work on Lake Street, having stopped to pick up one of her little sisters from school, when all of a sudden a pink  Cadillac stopped on the curb right in front of her. Its pink door opened and, before her dazzled eyes, out sprang a  vision clad in bright Kelly green. Before she could take in anything but those colors blazing in the sun, the Kellygreen  suit wrapped itself around her in a great big hug and then plucked her little sister clear off the sidewalk  with another big hug. ''Elvis''! ''Becky! Come on, hop in, you both''. They rode in style for about ten yards to  Becky's father's cafe next to his grocery store. Once there, Elvis ordered them the sodas of their choice and all  the candy the youngest Miss Martin could consume on the spot and store up for later. Then, casually, Elvis  wandered over to the jukebox, ran his eyes over the titles, and put in a couple of nickels. He strolled back to  their table, sat down and began chewing his nails.
 
The jukebox came to life and made that funny lurching noise it always does before the record clicks into place.  Then came the amplified whoosing sound of the needle spinning for a couple of silent groove revolutions and  then at last, music. Though the five crisp fast bars of rhythmic strings, Elvis sat silent except for his fingers  drumming on the table, and then unexpectedly cutting in somewhere, somehow at the end of the fifth, or was it  the beginning of the sixth bar, like silk tearing across the taut strings, came that clear, piercing, unearthly voice,  pure and pleading, that voice unlike any ever heard before, ''Well, that's all right, mama...''.
 
Elvis, grinning from ear to ear, couldn't sit still. Back and forth he slid around in his seat, turning from Becky' to  her sister and back again, asking, ''Who's that? Huh? Who's that''?
 
The record played once round, and then it played for the second time. Becky looked at Elvis amazement. There  they were, sitting in the same cafe they had sat in when they were kids of ten, when Elvis used to sing in Mrs.  Grines' class.
 
As for Elvis, in his eyes his old friend Becky remained unchanged; east Tupelo was unchanged and he himself was  unchanged, except for the fact that it was undeniably his voice singing to them over the jukebox. It would be  hard to imagine by what more satisfactory yardstick Elvis could have measured what he had accomplished than  by the expression on Becky's face at that moment.
 
Elvis looked at his watch and saw that he had to leave. He was on his way up to Corinth to appear on WMCA on  Buddy Bain's show that evening, he explained, and he just happened to find himself passing through Tupelo, but  here he broke off to confess it wasn't like that at all. The truth was he'd suddenly felt the need that day to get in  his car and come down to see Tupelo alone. He didn't know why, really. Didn't know what he expected to find.  Then Elvis was kissing Becky goodbye and making her promise to come and see him whenever she came to  Memphis. She promised she would, and she meant it. Her mother and father had recently divorced; her father  was living with his new wife in Memphis and thereafter, whenever Becky went to visit her father, she stopped in  to see Elvis. And often afterwards, whenever Becky recalled their meeting, his Kelly-green suit, his pink car, and  his record on the jukebox, she thought whatever it was he was looking for that day, he'd found it.
BECKY MARTIN - Becky Martin of Tupelo, Mississippi, was a classmate and friend of Elvis Presley during the Lawhon   Elementary School in East Tupelo, Mississippi, and back in the mid 1940s. In a letter she sent the   writer a photograph of herself being interviewed by a BBC TV actor Marc Bannerman who was in Tupelo,   birthplace of the late Elvis Presley, with a camera team filming a variety of scenes for a TV documentary on   the life and times of Elvis. Over the years Becky has featured in quite a few Elvis related TV documentaries,   and is therefore a part of popular music history.
 
Her present home lies just across the road from the little  house where Elvis was born. Becky kindly enclosed a photo of herself and Mrs Grimes who was the teacher  who encouraged Elvis to sing the song "Old Shep" to the class.  Becky Martin knew Elvis from the very early years, she was also with him at the Mississippi/Alabama Fair  show were Elvis won the 5th place in place talent show were he sang ''Old Shep''. Becky has been battling cancer for years; had been in and out of hospitals, always fighting that dread disease  with the heart of a warrior; and more recently had been transferred to a Tupelo rehab center.
 
Becky Martin of Tupelo, Mississippi, died in the early morning hours of June 9, 2004 of heart failure. Becky  Martin has been, for decades, the true friend of all Elvis fans who visited the Elvis Presley birthplace home  in Tupelo.
(Above) Contract for Elvis’ performance at the B&B Club in Gobler, Missouri on April 8, 1955. It’s signed by  Elvis in green ink, but its possible that this is Bob Neal’s penmanship.
 
According to the contract, Elvis,  Scotty, Bill and DJ would receive 75% of the admission money, but had to supply their own window  cards announcing their appearance. The contract is between Elvis and Jimmy Haggett, who worked at KBOA radio and booked entertainers on the side. 
 
APRIL 8, 1955 FRIDAY
 
Elvis Presley was late arriving for his appearance at the B&B Club in Gobler, Missouri. A  dangerous ice storm had slowed his progress. Scotty Moore and Bill Black were at the club  quite a while before Elvis Presley, and when he made his entrance "the party began".
 
Onie  Wheeler, Bob Neal and Jimmy Haggett and his band the Daydreamers, were on hand for the  festivities. Admission was $1.50. The ice storm kept the crowd small, and tickets sales did not leave Elvis Presley enough money for gas to get himself and the band back to Memphis. 
 
After the show, everyone travelled to Sikeston, the home town of Wheeler and his band,  where they ate at Little Man's Cafe across from the Armory. The weather was too dangerous  for travel, so Elvis Presley and the group slept on the living room floor of the home  belonging to Ernie Thompson, a musician with Wheeler's combo. Ernie's wife, Alma,  remembers that Elvis Presley subsisted on milk and doughnuts because he didn't drink  coffee. The next morning, Ernie Thompson lent Elvis Presley the money to get home.
B&B CLUB - Peaceful little Gobler, home of the Gobler Mercantile Store, which billed itself as  "Missouri's Largest Country Store", was an unlikely candidate to host one of Missouri's  toughest roadhouses. The B&B Club was built in 1952 by Gerald Burke and a man named Bounds, and it was managed by the Pughs, Walter and Gleeda. The B&B was as rowdy a  dance hall as one could hope to find. The main reason for its reputation was its location. It  sat on the Pemiscot County side of State Route 108, with tiny Gobler across the highway in Dunklin County. No matter how often the good people in Gobler complained, their  neighbours in Pemiscot County did little to curtail the activities at the B&B. As a result, the  club which was open 24-hours a day, justly earned its descriptive nickname, "The Bloody  Bucket".
 
Don "T-Bone" Hall of Kennett, the county seat of Dunklin County, recalled, "The boys  would come in wearing their gumbo (a local reference to Missouri's sticky mud) boots.  After a couple of beers they would go from one person to another asking them if they  wanted to fight". Because of local laws prohibiting the sale of hard liquor in clubs, the B&B  sold only beer, along with soup, sandwiches and setups. However, right next door to the  B&B was the package liquor store. Morris Browning, a sax player who often played at the  B&B, remembers the layout of the club. The dance floor occupied the largest part of the  building with the bar and a crap table in a smaller room behind and to the left. The bandstand  was very small, with only a white curtain as a back-drop. In front of the stage was a  lattice-work fence to protect the entertainers from the customers. After years of legal  problems, the B&B passed into history in December 1962, destroyed by a mysterious fire.  The Gobler Mercantile Store had already met the same fate in 1956.
APRIL 9, 1955 SATURDAY
 
Elvis Presley was back in Shreveport on the "Louisiana Hayride". Elvis Presley appear on the  show without pay, and members of the "Hayride" remember that Bob Neal and Elvis Presley  fought about his future. It was now clear to many that Neal's inexperience was hurting Elvis  Presley. Sam Phillips, for his part, worried that Elvis' management problems might affect his  concert appearances, which would in turn hurt his record sales.
 
Elvis performs ''That's All Right'', ''I Got A Woman'', and ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'' on a show  that also includes Johnny Horton, Hoot and Curley, and Jim Reeves.
 
APRIL 10, 1955 SUNDAY
 
Although there was no advertising, in all likelihood Elvis Presley played at Magnolia Gardens  in the afternoon, followed by a show that evening at Cook's Hoedown Club in Houston,  Texas
APRIL 13, 1955 WEDNESDAY
 
Tickets for Elvis' 8:00 p.m. show at the High School Auditorium in Breckenridge, Texas, were  $1.00 in advance at the Harmony House and $1.25 for adults and 75-cents for children at  the door after 6 o'clock. Opening the show were a collection of local acts, including Fonda  Wallace, eleven-year old "Pretty Little" Dee Don, Ben and Deana Hall, steel-guitarist Weldon  Myrick, and future Sun rockabilly singer Dean Beard, who was a regular on KRBS in Abilene.
 
These  performers were followed by Onie Wheeler. Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black took  the stage about three-fourths of the way through the two-hour show.  Elvis sings ''That's All Right'', ''I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine'', ''Tweedlee Dee'', and ends  with ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky''. The paper reports that many of the young women ''swooned  with his every appearance on stage''. It is also noted that more than one man is overheard saying: ''I'd like to meet him out behind the bar'', or ''I'd better not see any girlfriend of mine  going up after an autograph from that singer''.
 
The next day's article by Ann Cowan in the Breckenridge American offered the first  post-show review of an Elvis concert. Ms. Cowan reported that he arrived in his pink  Cadillac and played to a "near capacity crowd of teenagers and adults". On stage,  Scotty Moore and Bill Black wore "vivied orange shirts" and charcoal trousers while  Elvis Presley emphasized his "cat look" by donning a shirt and slacks in an apricot  shade of orange and a black sport coat with inserts of orange in the jacket's back. Ms. Cowan noted that his show was a big success with the young women in the  audience, many of whom "near swooned with his every appearance on stage".
 
However, Elvis Presley had the opposite reaction on their boyfriends, several of  whom were over heard exchanging "vicious statements" among themselves about  what they would do to Elvis "behind the barn". According to Ms. Cowan, Elvis Presley  performed several songs that he had not recorded, including "Tweedlee Dee". 
 
He also  sang "That's All Right", "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine", and "Blue Moon Of  Kentucky". Jay Thompson, disc jockey at local KTSB radio, recalled that Elvis Presley  was paid $300 plus 50% of ticket sales above $300. It was his later impression that  Elvis' first appearance in Breckenridge lost money.
THE BRECKENRIDGE STORY - After a break Elvis, Scotty, and Bill started another set of backto- back gigs across north central Texas, starting in Breckenridge. Poised on the brink of West Texas, Breckenridge lay in Tornado Alley, about 100 miles. . . from absolutely nothing.  Immediately after the show, the boys would have to scoot 166 miles through the "lake  district" to their Thursday Gainesville concert, only to back-track past Breckenridge to catch  Friday night's double feature in Stamford. On these long drives, Scotty and Bill usually  alternated at the wheel, not out of deference to their lead singer, but out of sheer selfpreservation. 
 
With a country driver certainty that any road they traveled would eventually  get him to his destination, Elvis maintained a brilliance for getting lost. Earlier ventures  found Scotty jolted awake in the wee hours of the morning by the uneven sur-face of an  abandoned gravel road. When asked for a location update, Elvis contentedly announced that  he didn't know, while continuing to rocket through country so remote, even the local  roadrunners had to consult their GPS compasses. It's said that when you see road signs  printed in Spanish , you should start worrying. Thus, Elvis-the-driver got demoted to Elvisthe- passer for the majority of their adventures., except when they needed speed. Then  Elvis was their man. This agreement lasted until Elvis bought his first car, a 1951 Lincoln  Cosmopolitan he was so attached to they had to pry him out with a crowbar.
 
Scotty pulled up short in front of Breckenridge High School. The dirt that had chased them  across the state finally settled across the broad hood of the used pink and white Cadillac,  stuffed to the girls with band equipment. Last month, after a valiant struggle, the Chevy Bellaire got called to a higher service station.
 
True to his promise in Abilene, disc jockey Sid Foster brought Elvis and the gang to his  hometown stomping ground. Sid personally arranged the concert, filling the bill with the  local talent of disc jockey/singer Ben Hall; country singer Onie Wheeler; Dean Baird, who played with the Champs of "Tequila" fame; Weldon Myrick, whose steel guitar stylings can  still be heard behind many other famous musicians; Gene Funderburk; and Sid himself.
 
Sid made sure the concert received a plug from every disc jockey who owed him a favor,  which constituted most of the state. Packed to the rafters with rock-a-billy aficionados ready  to par-tay, the house band found it an easy task warming up the audience. They were already stoked when Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys vaulted on the stage and set the high  school ablaze. The girls shrieked their approval of everything that came from Elvis's mouth.  He could have sung "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," and the females would still have screamed. And when he gave them the come-hither look and sang, "I'd rather see you dead, little girl,  than to be with another man," the women climbed over the beats and their boyfriends'  heads to rip the orange and black Ricky Ricardo jacket off his body.
 
Needless to say, the boyfriends ceased to be quite so thrilled at the evening's entertainment.  Bill danced with his bass and slapped it in time to Scotty's mad guitar pounding. Strings flew  off Elvis's guitar as he literally ripped the chords off his Martin. Warned by Sid that Elvis  played the guitar like a ravenous wolf with a T-bone, the house band stayed out of the range  of the Martin jerking violently on the neck strap. Elvis had been known during particularly  happenin' moments to slam the instrument backwards so violently that it bashed into the gut  of any unsuspecting band member who stood within ten feet behind him. Years later when a  newspaper reporter remarked to Johnny Cash that he played the guitar hard, Cash  exclaimed, ''I don't play hard. Now, Elvis, he played hard. He broke strings before he got  started''.
 
Tonight the only victim to his enthusiasm was the six-string, five-string, four-string, threestring.  Bill Black asked backup Gene Funderburk if Elvis could borrow his guitar while the  other one went into outpatient surgery. Gene resisted the temptation to clutch it to his  chest and take off for parts unknown. Like a parent watching his only daughter moving out  of the house, Gene painfully handed over the precious instrument to the wild man. Ironically, Elvis treated it like Gene's daughter, stroking the strings gently instead of  wrenching them off the neck.
 
After the performance, Elvis returned it to its grateful owner/father, not a scratch marring  the surface.
 
During the photograph signings, Elvis found himself a date to take to the Dairy Mart for a  burger and Coke. He returned a few hours later to catch Sid's wife, cousin, and Sid himself  going out for a late bite at the Why Not Cafe. A second dinner? Why not. 
 
One of the girls at the show walked home that night, proudly bearing a newly autographed  Elvis picture. When she got ready to pay the baby-sitter, she realized she'd fust spent her  last available dollar on a picture of the King. Instead of waiting for a bank to open in the  morning, or an ATM to be invented in forty years, the baby-sitter opted to take the picture  instead. Even though she hadn't been to the concert, she thought the man in the photograph  looked handsome. That photograph is now worth about $750, pretty much what one night of  baby-sitting costs today.
APRIL 14, 1955 THURSDAY
 
According to Ms. Cowan, Elvis Presley left Breckenridge in the morning driving his pink  Cadillac while clothed in pink slacks and a sport shirt the colour of orchids.
 
That evening Elvis Presley and Onie Wheeler played at 8:00 p.m. show at Owl Park, the  local baseball field in Gainesville, Texas. Opening tonight's concert were Frank Starr and  the Rock-a-Way Boys.
 
Frankie Starr recorded for Lin Records, a local Gainesville label. This  show was staged by Jerry O'Dell of KGAF radio. Tickets sales at the ball park totalled $257  with ducats priced at $1.00 and 50-cents.
 
When Joe Leonard, the owner of KGAF Radio and Lin Records, booked Elvis to play at the  Gainesville Baseball Field, he didn't exactly have philanthropy in mind. Mr. Leonard wanted  to promote his own singer, Frank Starr, and thought that hitching him to the Hillbilly Cat  would act as good exposure to him.  Mr. Leonard executed the usual advertisements on the radio and newspaper. His promos  adorned every telephone pole in town.
 
He even ordered a 25-count box of Elvis Presley's  records from Big State Distributors in Dallas to sell at the show so he wouldn't be accused of  playing favorites when he whipped out the trailer full of Frank Starr's single.
 
Elvis, Scotty, and Bill drove the couple hundred miles from Breckenridge to Gainesville. They  arrived in town revved from last night's performance, ready for their Gainesville stint. Unfortunately, Gainesville wasn't ready for them. 
 
The boys zigged through town and rolled out into the sticks, where radio station KGAF  perched in the cornfield. Elvis, clad in his orange and pink travel best, crawled out of the  Cadi and stretched his back after the long drive. Scotty and Bill spilled out after him. Slicking  back his hair and fluffing up his sideburns, Elvis approached the front door of the radio  station just in time for the station's chief engineer to spot them coming up the walkway. He  yelled into the other room, panic clearly audible in his voice. Someone better lock the door;  there's some hoodlum-types outside! The disc jockey swiveled to peer out the window. Oh, it's probably those guys who are going  to play tonight.
 
The three wandered inside and acted so polite during their interview that the engineer feit  guilty for planning to bolt the door on them. No one in the station mentioned the "hoodlum"  comment to the performers. After the interview, Elvis, Scotty, and Bill drove back to town.  They checked into the Curtwood Motel to grab a couple of winks before that night's show.
 
For the show, a couple of flatbed trucks had been maneuvered onto the Owl Park baseball  field, where hundreds of empty bleachers awaited the throngs of eager music lovers. As  eight o'clock neared, a handful of folks trickled into the stadium. At showtime, less than 200  people peppered the stands.
 
Elvis leapt onto the flatbed and played his heart out just as he did in Breckenridge, but the  audience response lacked the electricity that zapped the halls of the high school. After the  show, folks filed out without a word, leaving two big boxes of unsold records collecting dust  on the baseball grounds.
 
Elvis apologized to Mr. Leonard for not making any money for him. Tickets sales netted  $300, of which Elvis, Scotty, and Bill received $270. Leonard tried to console the visibly  upset young man that folks around there liked their country music a bit more conservative than he delivered. Leonard told them he personally liked their sound very much.
 
Unappeased, Elvis promised Leonard that he would do a free show for him to make up for  the fiscal disaster. Leonard agreed.
 
Scotty, Bill, and a couple of KGAF's disc jockeys drove across the Oklahoma border that  night to drown their sorrows in a pint at a rustic joint called the B-29. Elvis attended his  usual date, drowning his sorrows in another, less alcoholic, method.
 
A year later Elvis spied Leonard at a disc jockey convention. He marched over to the owner  and told him to set a date. ''I'll come do a show for free 'cause I hate people to lose money  because of me''. By this time Elvis made several thousand dollars a performance, so his offer  set the standard for generosity. Parker decidedly had other plans. The Colonel had scissored  the word "free" out of his personal dictionary long ago.
APRIL 15, 1955 FRIDAY
 
Remaining in central Texas, Elvis Presley gave a stage show at 7:00 p.m. in the Stamford  High School Auditorium in Stamford, Texas. Ads promised a combination of "Blue Moon Good  Rockin'". The show also featured Onie Wheeler. Tonight's entertainment sponsored by the  senior class, which was trying to raise money to charter a bus to New Orleans for their  senior trip.
 
At 9:00 p.m., the entertainers moved over to the Round Up Hall, the High School's  Gymnasium, for a dance until the wee hours of the morning.  After his part of the show,  Elvis Presley was ferried to local radio stations by Miss Roulhac Toledano in her father's Dodge, which was filled with her friends. When Elvis Presley was through making the  promotional appearances everyone stopped at Nat's cafe for chicken-fried steak. 
 
Judy Metz Jackson and Susan Ann McKnight grew bored watching the Stamford High School's  April track meet, so they decided to leave and grab a coke at the Super Dog in town. When  they arrived, the two girls were stopped short by the vision of a pink and white Cadillac,  parked like an alien spacecraft outside the dog stand. Curious if these were the Louisiana  Hayride singers who were slated to play the high school gym that night, they forgot their  weenie fix and followed the strange car to the local radio station, located like most of its  kind, in the rural fields outside the city limits. One man hopped out of the car, and the two  others sped off. The girls shimmied in the doors after their quarry. They scooted down the  hall to their favorite DJ and barged in during an interview. The girls watched as the young  man plugged his show that evening at the high school auditorium with a molasses-slow  accent and invited folks to come out to the Roundup Hall afterwards. When the interview  ended, the girls "hem-hemmed" their DJ until he introduced the handsome young stranger.
 
Apparently his name was Elvis Presley, and he didn't have a ride back to his motel. Would  the girls do a big favor to the station and drive him back to town?
 
Oh, no problem absolutely, they just happened to be going that way.
 
Although the girls agreed on the transport, the seating arrangement caused a scuffle, which  Elvis cured by sitting in the middle and putting his arm around each girl. He kidded with  them all the way into town, and when they pulled up in front of his motel, he prodded Judy  for a little kissy-poo goodbye.
 
''I can't, I'm going steady'', she quavered. (She'd even buckled the back of her hobble skirt so  everyone would know her pre-premarital status.)
 
So am I, but who cares, Sue Ann replied, and Elvis gave her a tonsillectomy of a kiss.
 
Rumor spreads fast in small towns, but like the game of Operator, the truth got a bit  distorted. By the dance at the Roundup Hall that night, everyone believed that Judy had  been caught smooching with the musician, much to the girls' envy and her boyfriend's  extreme annoyance. He made a scene on the dance floor. Elvis flew off the stage and told  the boyfriend that Judy had turned him down because she was going steady with the  boyfriend's worthless hide, not that he deserved her. Elvis didn't, however, bother to  mention that Sue Ann apparently felt no conflict of interest.
 
Apparently, April 15 was Damsels-In-Distress night at the Roundup Hall. Shirley Stewart drove  from Abilene to attend the dance with her friends. None of them were on hand, however,  when she got crushed by the surging crowd after leaving the poorly placed restroom. A wave  shoved her petite frame into the stage at Elvis's feet and her teeth into the polisheil wood  siding. After a few frantic seconds, she became airborne and landed on her feet facing Elvis,  his hand under her arm. The show continued without a hitch, and after the set, Elvis found  Shirley and asked her if she'd like to dance.
 
After touring the floor a few times, Shirley decided that he sure could sing, but he couldn't  dance to save his ever-lovin' soul. A few bruised toes did not stop her, however, from  accepting his generous invitation to drive her back to Abilene an hour away.  On the road to Abilene the two talked about his shows in the area and in particular, his  performance in Breckenridge two nights before. Elvis pulled a newspaper slipping out of his  wallet about the show. The journalist wrote that girls loved him, but boys wanted to take  him out back, presumably to realign his facial features. Elvis told her that he didn't  understand why those boys wanted to whip him; he was just trying to earn a living. He said  he didn't want her to think he was bragging, but truthfully, he'd made more money at the  show in Stamford than anywhere else before.
 
Shirley told him that speaking of earning a living, she and her friends had appeared on  television that day modeling hairdos for the beauty school she attended. Elvis told her, you  may have beat me to TV, but I'11 get there.
 
They arrived at the small apartment Shirley shared with her friends, and she invited him in.  Elvis plopped onto the couch and propped his feet on the coffee table, and they gabbed for  a while. Very shortly it became obvious that some of the girls had been preparing to go to bed. Elvis stood to leave. Shirley's roommate, Barbara, sauntered by on the way to her room  and whispered coyly in her ear, make sure you get a kiss from him before he leaves. He must  have overheard her, because just before leaving, Elvis remarked, you know, I like to treat a  lady as I would expect someone to treat my sister, if I had one. With that, he bolted to  Barbara's room and leapt onto her bed, trying to plant a kiss on her startled, shrieking lips,  only to slide off her face. Good ole Golden Pencock Cream #1, face cream so greasy you can  lube your car and your face at the same time. And oh yes, it protects you from rock singers  with a sense of humor.
APRIL 16, 1955 SATURDAY
 
Elvis Presley played the "Big ''D'' Jamboree" in Dallas, Texas. The show was held in the Huge  Sportatorium from 8:00 p.m. to midnight, and featured Sonny James, Hank Locklin, born  in McLellen, Florida on February 15, 1918. In his youth Locklin leaned toward becoming an  Irish tenor, Charlene Arthur, the Bellew Twins, Jimmie Collie, Doug Bragg, LeFawn Paul,  Orville Couch, Riley Crabtree, Joe Bill and others, including three bands. 
 
According to  promoter J.F. Dolan, Elvis "pulled a terrific crowd". "This is the Big ''D'' Jamboree,  broadcasting live from the Dallas Sport Auditorium", the announcer said, "and you've just  been listening to the great young sensation, Elvis Presley, singing his new platter, "Baby,  Let's Play House"!.
 
It serves as an important vehicle to expose Elvis to listeners across Texas, and Bob Neal  arranges for four appearances on the show, despite the fact that Elvis will have to pay a substantial penalty for missed Hayride shows. At this time Neal also commits Elvis to do two  Beaumont, Texas, shows in June with the same promoter.
 
For Elvis' debut on this day, Big State Distributors, the company who sold independent  record labels like Atlantic and Sun to the jukebox operators, sent their heavy-hitter, Alta  Hayes, out to make sure Presley didn't make a fool of himself on live radio. Convinced that  Elvis would strike i big someday, Alta bought a couple hundred copies of ''That's All Right''  from Sun. To hedge her bets, she hired a gaggle of girls to sit in the front row of the arena  and yell like they enjoyed the show when he played. She gave them records as bribery. Sure  enough, when he appeared on stage, the girls started screaming and carrying on.
 
It looked  like Alta got her money's worth, but as Smokey Montgomery of the Light Crust Doughboys  remarked later, those girls didn't scream any louder than the unpaid girls. In June Elvis played under Marty Robbins, but by September he headlined.
 
Kay Wheeler's first Elvis Presley Fan Club, organized in Dallas, Texas, kept close tabs on  the future King of Rock And Roll, helping him receive newspaper publicity.
 
The club sent  out postcards when Elvis Presley appeared in Dallas, and were responsible for the many  hand-lettered signs at his concerts. As early December 1954, the Dallas Elvis Presley Fan  Club printed membership cards and handed out advertisements on his Texas appearances.
THE BIG JAMBOREE - In Dallas, longtime wrestling promoter Ed McLemore had started the Big 'D' (for Dallas) Jamboree back in 1946 and was similar to the Louisiana Hayride in that it was a weekly country   music variety show broadcast locally (over powerful 50,000 watts KRLD station in Dallas.) and carried across a wide region by the   CBS-radio network program "Saturday Night Country Style".  It is known that some Big D  shows were taped recorded a week in advance for the CBS network, but it is not known if   this was a regular occurrence.
 
McLemore's dedication to the folk music business survived his original Sportatorium burning down in May of 1953, and he spent hundreds of thousands building a new modern Sportatorium. It was a big barn-like structure sitting on the corner of Cadiz and Industrial. After the new building was finished, it was realized that the acoustics were all wrong and another 10,000 dollars had to be invested into a sophisticated ''Circa Sonic'' sound system. Wrestling was a main activity at the Sportatorium, but not one one Saturday found Dallas without its Jamboree.
 
McLemore always insisted that the show had to go on, and the very night after the 1953 fire, the show was held at the fairgrounds. Every third week, the Jamboree was featured as part of the CDS Country Style network broadcast, and on Sundays a smaller production aired on local TV. Ed had more than fifty acts connected to his program. Acts like Lafawn Paul, Sonny James, Hank Locklin, Charline Arthur, and the Belew Twins were the big names in 1955, and like the Hayride, the Big D had house bands, two of them, in fact.
 
Every Saturday there would be at least one guest star appearing. Hank Snow had been there, so had Lefty Frizzell, and Jimmy & Johnny. Current stars like Webb Pierce, Faron Young, and the Carlisles got their early careers going with performances on the Big D, and on April 16, Elvis Presley made his debut on the show.
 
Not shy about what they had accomplished, the Jamboree's ''Biggest, Boldest, Oldest and Best Country Music Attraction - Just Like Texas, It Gets Bigger Every Time You Hear About It''. The Big D Jamboree in Dallas like the Louisiana Hayride, saw itself as a rival to the Grand Ole Opry. Ed McLemore and the Sportatorium were synonymous with the fine country music entertainment. With the average Sportatorium attendance around 5,000, it was a perfect showcase for Elvis Presley.
 
According to Linda Gray Arnold, ''I was 15 years old and lived in Dallas. We were three girls going together on Saturday nights. I was in Sonny James fan club. I was the photographer, so I made all these pictures of Sonny James. We were nine girls sitting in the front row. We wrote requests to radio stations. Willie Nelson was a disc jockey at KFJC in Fort Worth. He would then mention the names on the songs they wanted to hear. Sonny James was a Big D regular. We would invite the stars over the parties at our houses. Burgers and cold drinks, and we would all enjoy it. A cousin living in Fort Worth used to take the bus to visit me and go to the Big D, and stayed with me on the weekend''.
APRIL 19-20, 1955 TUESDAY/WEDNESDAY
 
There is no documentation for Elvis Presley shows on this two days. A private source has Elvis arriving home on Monday, and in Memphis on Tuesday. The following two days were small town shows in Mississippi, before closing the week in Texarkana and with the Hayride in Waco on Saturday. Mrs. Edythe Peeler, wife of Randall Peeler, who was a member of the entertainment committee of the VFW Club in Hernando, Mississippi, remembers that Elvis Presley (not with Scotty and Bill) came by the VFW club in Hernando.
 
Se said that Elvis did an unannounced performance of a few songs with Eddie Bond, whose band was playing a dance there. Elvis mentioned that he had come from the Hayride (not necessarily direct). Mrs. Peeler also remembers that Bob Neal was present that evening. 
 
Eddie Bond's steel guitarist Jody Chastain made a little drawing of Elvis that places him in the VFW building in Hernando. Chastain's show-notes have an entry of him playing with Bond in Hernando on April 19, 1955, but no mention of Elvis. Eddie Bond recalls that he did play with Elvis in Hernando, but has no recollection of when. (Eddie Bond probably meant the appearance of Elvis with his band in 1953). In any case, Jody Chastain's drawing and notes are not definitive proof of placing Elvis in Hernando on this date. Mrs. Peeler's memory of Bob Neal being present would seem at odds with Elvis' just dropping by, but Neal may possibly have been there with Eddie Bond as a booking agent. Mrs. Peeler memory of Presley's comment about ''coming from the Hayride'' obviously puts the show she remembers well after Elvis October 16, 1954 Hayride debut.
 
JODY CHASTAIN - was born Joe D. Chastain in 1933 in Ennid, Texas. He played with early rockabilly  Eddie Bond's band, The Stompers, and wrote the rockabilly great ''Boppin' Bonnie'' for Eddie Bond.  Jody later played with Fuller Todd before becoming associated with Charlie Feathers and Jerry  Huffman as The Musical Warriors. When Feathers transformed his band from country to rockabilly,  Jody changed from steel guitar to string bass, and Jerry Huffman took over lead guitar.
 
The Musical  Warriors played gigs together throughout the midsouth. Charlie Feathers, Jody Chastain, and Jerry  Huffman wrote and recorded the famous ''Tongue-Tied Jill''. It was released by Meteor Records.
 
On  June 23, 1958, the Kay music label released a 45rpm rockabilly record containing Jody Chastain's  ''My Way'' and ''Jody's Beat'' on the flip side of Charlie Feather's '' Jungle Fever''and '' Why Don't You'' . The three Musical Warriors performed together for the last time on the 1960 release, ''Dinky John''. 
 
Jody wrote songs; he had fourteen of his songs recorded in two years, and he acquired his own studio at 773 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, devoting much of his time working with Buford Cody. Huffman moved to Huntsville, Alabama. Jody's music can be heard in recent compilations,The Complete Sun Singles, Volume 2 (1995), Get With It: The Essential Recordings - Charlie Feathers (1998), and The Complete Sun Singles, Volume 6 (1999).
APRIL 20, 1955 WEDNESDAY
 
Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black, along with Onie Wheeler and Bob Neal, played a   mid-week show at the American Legion Hut in Grenada, Mississippi. According to Red West,  Elvis' High School pal who was now acting as a combination chauffeur and bodyguard, after   the 8 o'clock show, he and Elvis escorted two young women back to their house for sodas. A  pair of boyfriends appeared, words were exchanged, and Red ended up taking them both on. 
 
It was in Grenada that Scotty Moore told Bobby Ritter he had earlier that day bought a new   guitar and amp and, Ritter says, "Scotty was telling me he hoped that (Elvis' success) would   last long enough for him to pay for them". After the Grenada gig, while eating in a local  diner, a neighbourhood tough picked a fight with Elvis Presley and came out runnerup.
 
According to Dixie Lyons, ''I was only 15. We were the front band for these shows (they played a handful with Elvis). My brother had the band, and we did sing with Elvis' band too. We would go out and sing three or four songs, and then my brother would sing about that many, and the ''star'' would be on stage''.
 
John Marascalco, who had pitched his own composition ''Rip It Up'' to Elvis at the Charleston show a few weeks earlier, had arranged with Bob Neal to have Elvis play John's hometown of Grenada. John received 30% of the admission, out of which he would have to cover local expenses.
 
Elvis Presley performed at Charleston, Mississippi. This show is rumoured to have occurred   around the time of the Grenada show, April 20.
 
Red West said, ''It had to be Grenada, Mississippi. It was a one-night gig. He came over to school one day, as I was getting on a bus to go and play football. He said, 'How would you like to go to some of my shows, just to keep me company''? That's how it all came about. It was a pink and white Ford Victoria. We borrowed money for gas from my father to get down there. I remember we got stuck going down there. There was a detour. I finally took over the wheel starting to go reverse and forward, rocking the wheel, and finally got out. Elvis got some mud on the seat of his pants. He got on stage, he wore what he was going to wear, and that's what caused the confrontation in the restaurant, because we had been to their girlfriend's house, or at least what they thought were their girlfriends, and we went to this gas station afterwards to get something to eat and go home. They came in and started mounthing off, ''Look how he has shit his pants. He's so scared'. And that was it with me and we had a little confrontation''.
APRIL 21, 1955 THURSDAY
 
Elvis Presley perform at the Belden High School Gymnasium in Tupelo, Mississippi. "Elvis   slipped all of his family and friends in through the back window", said Bobby Ritter. At that   show, Ritter took a polaroid picture of Elvis and handed it to him while it was still  developing. "In those days the chemicals were still wet when the picture came out the   camera", said Ritter. "I handed it to Elvis and his thumbprint appeared on the picture when   the chemicals dried. I gave the picture to him. He later gave it back to me, but now it's one   of the many Elvis things I once had that have disappeared".
 
Bobby Ritter lays claim to being the next disc jockey after Dewey Phillips to play Elvis   Presley on the air. He did it as a favour to Sam Phillips, an old friend. "I played "That's All   Right" on a Monday. I didn't know anything about Elvis, so after I played it, I filed it back   with the black records. I had an early morning show, "Blues Before Dawn", and I planned to   play it on that show later. We got a lot of mail in those days and by Wednesday I was   getting a lot of mail and phone calls to play that song again and I did. Again on Thursday.  We had our own WTUP Hit Parade and that same week "That's All Right" was number one   on it.
 
Elvis, he said, often dropped by his station while he was on the air and visited with his fans   via the air waves. He was scheduled to make an appearance there October 2, 1954, but   called and begged off, saying he had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to appear on the Grand  Ole Opry in Nashville. "The way that fiasco turned out", said Ritter, "he would have been   better off appearing on my show in Tupelo".
APRIL 21, 1955 THURSDAY
 
A stamp-sized little story ran in the local paper on April 14. With no photo or illustration the newspaper wrote under the heading ''Houlka Senior Sponsor Benefit'', ''The senior class of the Houlka High School will present Elvis Presley with Scotty and Bill, and Bob Neal at the Houlka Gym Thursday night April 21st at 8 oçlock. The Houlka seniors are trying to raise funds to finance an educational trip to Mammoth Gave.
 
UNKNOWN DATE APRIL 1955
 
Elvis Presley appeared in Greenwood, Mississippi. This show is rumoured to have occurred   around the time.
APRIL 22, 1955 FRIDAY
 
The specifics of this show are recalled to several Texarkanians, among them Dewanda Jo   Smith. She remembers seeing Elvis Presley on two occasions a short time apart shortly   before she vacationed in Shreveport for her fifteenth birthday on June 23. And, Ms. Smith is   virtually certain that her first time seeing Elvis Presley - which had to have been on a Friday   night - was in April. 
 
Dewanda's memory of the event is so clear that she remembers the   green-and-white striped sleeveless dress she borrowed from her friend so that she would   have something really nice to wear she met Tommy Sands. Gwen and Sands became friends   when she wrote to him at KCIJ radio in Shreveport where he was a disc jockey. They even   "dated" when he was in Texarkana.
 
At this time, Tommy Sands was fifteen, but he had been a professional entertainer for   several years. he was managed by Colonel Tom Parker and recorded country tunes for RCA  Victor. After moving to Hollywood, he had success on Capitol Records with "Teenage Crush"   and "Goin' Steady" in 1957.
 
The date for this show is further authenticated by an item in Billboard (May 21, 1955): "A  youngster named Cheesie Nelson brought down the house here (Texarkana) recently with  the Elvis Presley unit, singing the old one, "Worry, Worry, Worry'...".
 
Elvis Presley has only  one other Friday night open prior to May 21 and that's May 6. In order to make a show in  Texarkana on May 6, he would have to drive from Mobile to Texarkana and on to Daytona  Beach - not likely.
 
This show, like all of Elvis' non-club Texarkana appearances at this time, was held at the  Arkansas Municipal Auditorium. Tickets cost $1.00. Besides Nelson, also appearing with  Elvis Presley was Jim Ed and Maxine Brown and Tommy Sands.
 
Dewanda Jo was more  interested in seeing the Browns than Elvis Presley, and she bought a souvenir photo of the  group and had them autograph it. Scotty Moore also signed the back of the picture.
 
Since he began his imitations before Elvis became a star, Carl "Cheesie" Nelson is  considered the first official Elvis impersonator. The late president of Texarkana College  was always known for his impressions, said Tamar Nelson-Pennington, Cheesie’s widow.  “He had this talent, he could sound like anybody,” she said. The first time Pennington saw  her future husband, he came to her school, Texas High, to entertain the students.
THE STORY ABOUT...
 
In the summer of 1954, Pat Cupp and family moved from Magnolia Arkansas to Texarkana  Arkansas. Pat began his junior year in Arkansas High School. It was during this time that he  met a friend, Cheesie Nelson, who introduced him to the world of Country Music. Cheesie  had become an Elvis Presley fan and introduced Elvis's early music to Pat.
 
Cheesie could  mimic Elvis and wanted Pat to play the guitar for him. Pat and Cheesie became very popular  in Texarkana and performed at the local High Schools.   It was in the late fall that Pat and  Cheesie met Elvis, Scotty and Bill. Elvis and band had some car trouble south of Texarkana  and was late in getting to their stage show on time. The promoter of the show knew of Pat  and Cheesie and sent someone to get them to come to the stage show and keep the  audience happy until Elvis and band could get there. 
 
Pat and Cheesie made it to the show  and performed Elvis's songs until Elvis got to the show. When Elvis came in, he was amused  at what he saw and heard. Elvis then thanked Pat and Cheesie for helping out and took over  the show. At intermission, Elvis call Pat and Cheesie backstage to his dressing room and  spent the intermission time visiting. At this time in Elvis's career, he made many trips to  Texarkana and did have contact with Pat and Cheesie again.
 
In April of 1956, Pat Cupp did a stage show with Tommy Sands, and after this show, was  invited to be on the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport Louisiana. It was at this stage show  that Pat met Joe Behari of Modern Records who signed Pat to record on his RPM Record Label. Pat recorded his music in the month of May, 1956 at KWKH in Shreveport Louisiana.  After recording "Long Gone Daddy", "Do Me No Wrong", "Baby Come Back", "I Guess It's  Meant That Way" "I Won't Remember To Cry" and "That Gal Of Mine", Pat was asked what he  would call his band. Pat laughed and said that he wanted to call them "The Flying  Saucers". Pat Cupp still lives in Texarkana.
 

APRIL 1955

Sam Phillips went out with Elvis for a few days at the end of April to help promote the new record ''Baby Let's Play House''. It was the first time he had ever done anything like this, and while it was necessarily tied in with visits to disc jockeys, distributors, and juke box operators, it represented a rare kind of self-indulgence for Sam, it was almost like a busman's holiday.
 
The first show was a traveling Hayride broadcast on April 23, from the Heart O' Texas Coliseum in Waco, with Slim Whitman, the star of Elvis' debut performance at the Overton Park Shell the previous July 30, headlining. Slim drove up in his brand-new Chrysler New Yorker, with its one-foot-tall ''twin-tower'' taillights, and he told the folks about his first exposure to Elvis Presley, when he had no idea who this kid with his name misspelled in the ads could possibly be. He couldn't believe it at first, he told Sam Phillips backstage, but he saw right away why Elvis appealed to so many people. It wasn't the way he looked, it wasn't the twitches or the moves. It was the way he communicated, the way he spoke to people through his music.
 
Sam could scarcely believe it himself. It was as if Elvis were drawing inspiration not just from the other performers but from the audience as well, as good as he had been in front of a hometown crowd at Ellis Auditorium just three months earlier, he was that much better now, every aspect of his demeanor and manner reflecting an unwavering faith in the future, it seemed, as much as in himself.
APRIL 23, 1955 SATURDAY
 
Elvis Presley was a "great hit" when he appeared as part of the "Louisiana Hayride's" remote  broadcast from the Heart O' Texas Coliseum in Waco, Texas. The show began at 8:30 p.m.  and cost $1.00 for adults and 50-cents for children. More than 5,000 country fans attended,  making it one of the Hayride's largest draws. Also on the show were Slim Whitman, Jim  Reeves, Johnny Walker, Jimmy Newman, and (probably) Jim Ed and Maxine Brown. Also that night an local act of the Sinclair Sisters. 
 
While other performers watched in awe from backstage, the crowd was on its feet  throughout Elvis' part of the show, screaming out the titles of their favorite Elvis rockabilly  songs.
 
A portion of the program will be broadcast nationally CBS network via Waco TV station, KCEN-TV, where country fiddler Jimmy Thomason had just debuted his live broadcast of ''The Home Folks Show'' for the local Saturday-night viewing audience.
 
Louise Thomason, wife of Jimmy Thomason recalled, ''When he started singing, two of the engineers got up and started running back and forth, like they wanted to climb the walls. They just panicked. They thought he'd throw the station off the air. They'd never seen anything like it''.
APRIL 24, 1955 SUNDAY
 
Elvis Presley travelled to Houston for another afternoon performance at Magnolia Gardens,   followed by an evening show at Cook's Hoedown Club. This specific show is recalled by a fan. Bob Neal had made a deal similar to the one he made with the Big ''D'' Jamboree: four appearances outside Houston at the outdoor Magnolia Gardens venue.
 
The shows were Sunday afternoon hoedowns held at Magnolia Park on the banks of the San Jacinto River. The stage was a wooden shed, open at the front, with bleachers all around and a dancing floor. It was a place for families to go on picnics during the spring and summer season, and it became notorious for its many drowning accidents, a result of inebriated visitors attempting to swim across the Houston Ship Channel. When Houston-raised songwriter Mark James met Elvis in New York in 1972, Mark brought up the subject of Magnolia Gardens, and Elvis chuckled, 'There sure was a lot of beer bottles flying around''.
 
According to Ronald pope, ''I saw Elvis perform at Magnolia Gardens when I was 7 or 8 years old. I was there with my parents, who were in their mid-20s and didn't know who Elvis was, and my 15- or 16-year-old uncle who knew. My uncle, Sid, talked my parents into going to see Elvis. Elvis was late. My uncle said Elvis and his band pulled up in a cloud of dust. Elvis exited the vehicle laughing, and said something like, 'Bet ya'll thought we weren't gonna show up, huh'? Elvis performed, and so did Tommy Sands. They both posed for a picture with me standing between them, holding their hands. There were not many people at the start of the show, but as Elvis continued to sing, people began walking up from the picnic and the river area and, after a while, there was a pretty good-sized crowd. two pregnant women got into an altervation right in front of the bandstand; my uncle said that Elvis was greatly amused.
 
I remember only two things from that day. One, we were seated at the picnic tables outdoors. The second thing was that a fight broke out between two men. There was bloodshed and I had never seen grown men fight, so that memory stayed with me. I remember a police officer leading one of the bleeding men away as the man told the officer, 'I was just sitting there and the guy hit me in the head with a beer bottle''. 
APRIL 25, 1955 MONDAY
 
Tonight, Elvis Presley played another double header, except his "best laid plans" quickly  went awry. The evening began with "Elvis Presley" booked to play the M-B (Miller Brothers)  Corral, a night club on Sheppard Access Road near Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls.  (The site is now occupied by the VFW Hall).
 
Elvis Presley headlined the show, which was  sponsored by TNT Records of San Antonio. After Chuck Lee, "The Hillbilly Crooner", and Gene  Kay and the Walking A Ranch Hands, both TNT recording acts, performed, Elvis was  scheduled to sing for a while then take a break, to make the next show.
 
The M-B Corral was owned by the Miller Brothers, a popular act featuring an instrument  lineup one could only hope to find in a Texas band; two fiddles, steel guitar, trumpet,  piano, bass violin, and drums.  The Miller Brothers even put on a floor show as part of their  performance. At this time, their latest record on 4-Star was "Geronimo" b/w/ "Fiddlin'  Stomp".
 
According to Leon ''Miller'' Gibbs, fiddle player with the Miller Brothers, band and co-owner of the club said, ''We just barely took in enough (money). We paid him and two musicians $175. Back then it wasn't much, but he hadn't even got popular yet. The Miller Brothers planned to play the first hour, followed by Elvis the second hour, and Elvis wrapping up the show at the end of the night''. 
 
''Elvis left after his first set to play another show an hour's drive away. He was supposed to be back in time to play the final set, but he never showed up. We kept playing, and people kept asking, 'Where's Elvis'? He had run out of gas at Pioneer No. 3 on Sheppard Access Road, and one of the waitresses ran him back out to the M-B Corral. We stayed open 30 minutes late that night just so he could play. That kind of work ethic really made an impression''.

(Above) The Miller Brothers Band: From left, Bill Jourdan, Billy Thompson, Leon Gibbs, Dutch Ingram, Lee  Cochran, Pascal Williams, Troy Jordan, Madge Bolin on stage at the M-B Corral in Wichita Falls, Texas,  early 1950s.

APRIL 25, 1955 MONDAY
 
And than that evening, Elvis Presley and the other TNT artists, along with Dub Dickerson of  Capitol Records, had been hired by Sam Gibbs of the M-B Corral to play a benefit show for  the Volunteer Fire Department in Seymour, a small town 52 miles southwest of Wichita  Falls. That show was advertised to begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Auditorium of Seymour High  School in Seymour, Texas.
 
As the acts in Wichita Falls completed their turn on stage, they drove to Seymour.   However, the show at the M-B Corral was running late. Elvis Presley didn't take to the   stage until after 10:00 p.m. The promoter in Seymour halfheartedly assured the crowd at   the Auditorium during intermission that he had talked to Elvis Presley by phone, and that   Elvis was on his way.
 
As soon as they wrapped up their first show in Wichita Falls, Elvis   Presley hopped into his pink Cadillac with Scotty Moore and Bill Black leading the way in a   second car. Ten miles from Seymour, in the small town of Maybelle, Elvis ran out of gas,  but Scotty and Bill were too far out front to notice. There was not a gas station open at   this time of night and Elvis Presley feared he was stranded.
 
Fortunately, a carload of High   School girls from Throckmorton was trailing Elvis from Wichita Falls. They were more than   happy to give him a ride to Seymour where he bought a can of gas and caught a ride back   to Maybelle.
 
By 11:00 p.m. all the opening acts in Seymour had already been on stage twice stalling for  time. Even Scotty Moore and Bill Black performed for a time. Nevertheless, an anxious  crowd still filled the Auditorium. 
 
Finally, Elvis Presley pulled up to the High School just  before midnight, and he performed for thirty minutes. Tickets were $1.00 at the door, but  the promoter had already refunded 50-cents at 10:30 p.m. when it looked as Elvis was  going to be a "no-show".
 
Scotty laughed and plugged his guitar into the amp. Bill took his customary position on the  right. Elvis landed on the stage wearing appropriately enough, a fire-engine red sportcoat,  white shirt, bow tie, and blue trousers two sizes too big, so he could perform his gyrations  without ripping his pants.
 
Guitar suspended in front of him, Elvis ambled to the microphone,  tugged on his pants, and stood with half closed eyes. Scotty looked him over for a few  moments and stepped behind the singer, pretending to wind him up. Leg shaking, Elvis  launched into "That's Alright, Mama" and the show took off.
 
 
Billy Thompson & Elvis Presley, backstage at M-B Corral, Wichita Falls, Texas, April 25, 1955.  After five back-to-back numbers, Elvis spoke to the crowd. "Ladies and gentlemen, we aren't  really supposed to be here tonight. We were booked into the M-B Corral over at Wichita Falls  for a dance. We didn't know about this booking until we got a phone call earlier in the  evening and found out about the mix-up.
 
We weren't gonna come, but we found out all you  folks were waiting for us, so we talked the Miller Brothers into letting us run over here for a  little while. We were in such a hurry, we ran out of gas about twelve miles out of town and  had to hitch a ride in. Hectic man. Anyway, we made it and we appreciate you waiting for  us''.
 
The band played for forty minutes to the delighted crowd. When Elvis wrapped up the show,  fans rushed the stage seeking autographs and kisses. One girl leaped into his arms asking, Do  you remember me?
 
Yes, I met you in Stamford. Elvis never was one to forget a face, especially a female one.
 
Scotty and Bill packed the equipment in the car, and the three sped back to Wichita Falls,  some of the teenagers trailing them to catch the show for the second and third time that  night. When the trio arrived at the Corral, the carriage had already reverted into a pump-kin  and the footman into a hound dog. Pal Billy Thompson and the Miller Brothers entertained  the throng as they promised until Elvis returned, but much of the audience had already left  the house, muttering darkly under their breath.
 
Elvis never accepted another booking from TNT Records again, partly because he didn't trust  them, but mostly because they folded shop a few months later. Despite Elvis's Herculean  attempt to play both places that evening, he managed to satisfy neither. Gene Wagner, one  of the owners of the M-B Corral, remained furious that "that snotty-nosed kid" had returned  to the Corral way too late. The promoters of the Seymour gig simply didn't pay him.
 
THE TRUE STORY FROM DOUG DIXON - ''It was late March 1955 and my dad was taking me to school in our old '42 Buick. The radio was tuned to the local station, and suddenly Elvis' voice burst upon the airwaves, singing ''That's All Right''. Then, just suddenly, Elvis' voice faded into the background and the announcer declared in an excited voice that Seymour Volunteer Fire Department was sponsoring a country music show on April 25, at 7:00 p.m. in the Seymour High School Auditorium, presenting a host of TNT recording stars, with special guest star... Elvis Presley! I could hardly believe my ears'', Dixon said.
 
''I was familiar with Elvis, having listened to him perform on the Louisiana Hayride every Saturday night since that first night in October of 1954, when he made his debut. By April of 1955, Elvis had become the Louisiana Hayride's most popular star, and here he was to perform in a town whose population was less than 4,000. Elvis had been appearing quite regularly in several of the larger surrounding town, playing mostly for dances, as he toured the South and Southwest. Elvis had gained somewhat of a following in this part of Texas, and that is why I was surprised when I got to the auditorium around 6:30 p.m. to find only about 150 people present. There was a man standing at the entrance with a cigar box taking the admission, but giving no tickets. You just paid your $1.00 and walked in. By the time the show started, there were perhaps 200 people in attendance''.
 
''TNT's recording stars were obscure artists, and the little independent San Antonio based label would fold a short time later. They put in a pretty good show, however, but of course the crowd was impatient to see Elvis. Every singer there sang twice, even the man who had taken our money at the door got up and sing. Someone up front shouted, 'We want Elvis'! That was when the MC admitted that Elvis wasn't there, but the he would be there pretty soon. Then he announced an intermission''.
 
''A most unusual thing happened next. The man with the cigar box came around and gave us back 50 cents of the $1.00 we had paid. 'The boss said we have overcharged you folks', he explained. That's when I suspected that Elvis wasn't going to show, and that they were attempting to soften the blow. However, when the show resumed about thirty minutes later, the MC still insisted that Elvis would show. He claimed to have just spoken to him on the phone''.
 
''The second half of the show was pretty good, much a rerun of the first half. One thing I did notice was that now the house was full. People had wandered in off the street during intermission. 10:30 came and still no Elvis. People were up roaming around; paying little attention to what was going on onstage. Finally, the band just quit and disappeared backstage. Eventually, most of the audience left, grumbling about being ''took''. Even some people, who had come in during intermission without paying, complained. Only the hardcore Elvis fans remained, hoping for a miracle''.
 
''Suddenly a girl sitting in a position to see the stage door screamed: 'He's here. He's here'! It was almost midnight. Scotty and Bill, Elvis' band members, came on stage. Scotty stepped to the microphone and said, 'Sorry, folks, Elvis couldn't make it'. The same girl screamed, 'He's here, I saw him come in'! Scotty laughed and plugged his guitar into the amplifier. With the two-piece band in place, Elvis appeared. He was wearing a fire engine red sport coat, bow tie, white shirt, and blue trousers. Both coat and trousers were about two sizes too large, so he could make his moves without ripping something. Elvis approached the microphone, legs straddled, with his guitar hanging in front of him. For a moment he stood there with half-closed eyelids, not saying a word. Scotty stepped up behind Elvis and pretended to wind him up, as one winds up a wind-up toy. With this done, Elvis suddenly grabbed his guitar and broke into ''That's All Right, Mama''. His two-piece band followed suit, and the show was on''.
 
''What a show it was! Elvis shook, danced and twisted, as he sang one song after another. Later, I would see Elvis on TV, but none of those performances could compare with the one I witnessed that night. Bill Black rode his bass like it was a horse, as he slapped out a rockabilly beat. Scotty Moore's guitar lashed out adding to the frenzy of the crowd. Girls screamed, cried and several appeared to faint. The girl sitting next to me moaned and slid the floor and lay there jerking, as if she was having some kind of a seizure. I got as big a kick out of the crowd's reaction as I did watching Elvis''.
 
''After four or five songs, Elvis paused long enough to explain to the audience why he had been so late. 'Ladies and Gentlemen, we really aren't supposed to be here tonight', he said. 'We were booked into Miller Brothers, over at Wichita Falls for a dance. We didn't know about this booking until we got a phone call earlier in the evening... some kind of a mix-up. Anyhow, we started not to come, didn't really have to. Then we heard that you folks were waiting up for us, so we talked the Miller Brothers into letting us run over here for a little while. We were in such a hurry, we didn't check our gas, and 'bout twelve miles out of town here, we ran out of gas and had to hitch a ride in. Hectic, man... real hectic. Anyway, we made it, and we sure appreciate y'll waiting for everything and us. We would also appreciate someone taking us back to out car with a can of gas after the show'. Almost every girl in the audience volunteered'', said Dixon.
 
''Then Elvis broke into another round of songs. He sang all of his recordings released to date, plus a few that he had added to his show. At 12:35, he ended his performance, once more thanking us for waiting up for him. Of course, fans rushed the stage, seeking autographs and kisses. One girl jumped into his arms asking, 'Do you remember me'? Yes', he replied, 'I met you at Stanford, Texas''.
 
''It was almost 1:00 a.m. before Elvis got back on the road to Wichita Falls, some fifty-two miles away. I don't know if Elvis ever got paid for his Seymour performance, if he did, it couldn't have been much. However, it was this sort of devotion to his fans that would some day make him ''the King'''.
APRIL 26, 1955 TUESDAY
 
Elvis Presley remained in Texas, playing an 8:00 p.m. date in Big Spring, Texas. Appearing on  the bill were the same artists as the previous night. Tickets for the show at the Big Spring  Auditorium cost 50-cents and a dollar.
 
Scotty, Bill, and Elvis rolled into Big Spring with sleep on their mind. The previous night's  double booking had kept them playing until the wee hours of the morning. They fond a  motel in Big Spring and crashed for a few hours.
APRIL 27, 1955 WEDNESDAY
 
Elvis and the band perform at American Legion Hall in Hobbs, New Mexico. While playing these West Texas dates, the band stayed at the Hiliday Inn near the airport in Midland. Scotty went out to get guitar strings, constantly in demand because of Elvis' habit of breaking some at every shows. Elvis spent the time somewhat more leisurely. 
 
Just before lunch, Elvis burned some of his restless energy by visiting the town's records  shop, famous for both their selection of new releases and also for its eccentric owner, Oscar  Glickman. Elvis spotted Glickman behind the register and after some introductions, tried to  strike up a deal. Elvis had the back and of the car filled with boxes of records. He told  Clickman he'd cut him a deal to carry them.
 
Selling records out of the back of your car was standard operating procedure for smalltime  recording artists in those days. Most musicians had to do a great deal of self-promotion to ever heard.
 
Glickman hesitated. He didn't need another box of unsellable 78s cluttering up his store.  Instead, he invited the kid to lunch at his favorite place around the corner. The restaurant  was so small that if you wanted a table, you had to ask people to vacate the seats... nicely of  course. The two maneuvered into the narrow restaurant and picked out something delicious  and thoroughly unwholesome to eat. Meanwhile, Glickman appraised Presley for sales  profitability. Elvis chatted in such a self effacing, charming manner that Glickman reluctantly  agreed to buy a box of records.
 
You really need to change your style, Glickman told Presley as the young man scooped a box  from the back of the car. You won't ever make the big time looking like that.
 
A few dollars richer, Elvis drove off to prepare for the evening's performance. Glickman put  one record on the shelf and hauled the rest of the Sun label 78s to the basement, where  forty years later, Glickman's grandson stumbled across them.
 
Today, many of the records are worth $250 each.
APRIL 28, 1955 THURSDAY
 
After selling those records in Big Spring, Elvis, Scotty, and Bill had arrived in town that  afternoon with a few extra bucks burning a hole in their pockets. So they decided to partake  in their favorite pastime, eating. The threesome rolled over to the White Elephant Cafe in  next door Eastland and snagged a booth in the back, scanning the female life forms for  possible date prospects. 
 
When what to their wondrous eyes should appear, but Billie Garrett,  daughter of a Texas oil man, sashaying in the door. They hadn't seen Billie since the Tyler  show, so Scotty waved her over to join their progressive dinner club.
 
Upon paying the waitress, the boys discovered they still had a quarter or two left and  decided they still had time to catch the cowboy flick playing at the downtown theater before  their show that night. Twenty minutes into the film, the group acquired a serious case of Bmovie  giggles. The film was so awful that Elvis improved the dialog with a little of his own,  more artistic stylings.
 
Scotty and Bill rolled in their chairs, unable to suppress snorts of laughter, earning them  dirty looks from their fellow patrons. Billie punched Elvis to make him shut up to no avail.  When his comments teetered slightly into blue territory, Billie hissed at him to hush his face  or they'd be kicked out by the ushers, a thought that only seemed to amuse him more. They  managed to escape the movie before the credits rolled and the theater gestapo could arrest  them for disturbing the peace.
 
Elvis and Scotty invited Billie to catch the show that night. She accepted, telling them she'd  drag her great uncle and aunt with her. They could use a night out.
 
With the same precise planning that hallmarked the Seymour/Wichita Falls fiasco, TNT  Records arranged the Cisco concert. They booked the Cisco Community Hall and the band but forgot to invite the audience. When Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys arrived, only a handful  of people stared disinterestedly back at them. Billie and her family's arrival nearly doubled  the audience.
 
Billie waited until the "crowd" subsided, then introduced her aunt and uncle to the boys. She  told them how much she enjoyed the concert, and Elvis seemed to appreciate the gesture.  Billie left them that night with a promise that she'd catch up with them whenever they  played in a town near her. The following month she fulfilled her word by appearing at the  KOCA Radio concert in Kilgore.
 
During the poorly attended show at the small baseball park near the high school, some  particularly obnoxious teenage boys heckled the singers. Elvis responded to their slings and  arrows with all the maturity and understanding his age would permit ... he bent over and  pointed his butt at them in mid-stanza.
 
Billie tracked her favorite singing group to a modest turnout for Midland in May, where she  snapped a picture of him hanging out in the gym before the show. In August Billie convinced  her father to see Elvis perform at the Reo Palm Isle in Longview. Although substantially more  people turned out for this concert than the last time he played there, a majority of the  1,800 glitzy chairs still sat vacant.
 
After the show she introduced her father to the singer and held her breath. The oilman and  Memphis boy faced off. When Elvis spoke, his southern, polite background always seeped  through. He respectfully called everyone "sir" or "ma'am" and seemed genuinely interested in listening without judgment. He and Mr. Garrett liked each other immediately. They joked  back and forth, her father tossing out questions just to see what the young man would say.  Elvis good-naturedly answered each one, seemingly aware of the scrutiny. After about ten  minutes, Billie remembered to breathe.
 
Halfway into the conversation, Mr. Garrett asked if Elvis gave autographs at these concerts.  Elvis admitted he did sign photographs mostly, but occasionally other things.
 
Like, what other things? the oilman wanted to know.
 
One girl once wanted me to sign her petticoat, Elvis told him.
 
The oilman laughed and asked if he signed French cuffs.
 
Oh, absolutely, Elvis confirmed.
 
Mr. Garrett proffered his sleeve, and laughingly, the young man signed it. The oilman  supervised the job to make sure Elvis spelled his own name correctly. Since the suggestion  had only been a joke, her father threw the shirt out soon after.
 
You could have knocked Billie over with a feather when the following year the same softspoken  young man who had nearly gotten them kicked out of the theater appeared on the  big screen with Debra Paget. She had visited four or five of his shows during the year, and none of them pulled in more than 150 people ... tops. He was always just one of the gang.  How did this guy suddenly become so famous?
APRIL 28, 1955 THURSDAY
 
Other sources suggest that Elvis Presley played in Andrews, Texas on April 28. This show featured Sonny James, Hank Locklin and Charlene   Arthur. A careful search through the Andrews County News before the show does not  unearth any mention of Elvis Presley with this group of performers. However, he did appear   with Sonny James and Charlene Arthur on June 20-21. Mrs. Bullock of Andrews remembers   that Joe Young, head of the local Rotary Club, asked her to set up chairs for the Elvis Presley   show. According to the News, the Sonny James concert was supervised by Joe Young.
 
Another Andrews resident recalls that Elvis Presley appeared with Leon Payne, and Elvis Presley   and Leon Payne were together in Oklahoma on June 23-24. Payne was blind, living in a trailer out near Magnolia Gardens by the San Jacinto River, where Elvis was scheduled to play that afternoon.
 
Royce Coats, who visited Andrews from June to August 1955. Vividly remembers the show   because Elvis Presley was more than an hour late. Elvis Presley explained to the audience   that he was late because his pink Cadillac burned up on route to the gig. This apparently  refers to the mishap on June 17. In fact, Elvis Presley purchased a replacement car the next   morning in Andrews. However, Royce feels certain that Elvis Presley appeared alone, not as   part of a major show, and he is positive it was indoors at the High School Auditorium, not   outdoors in the stadium.
 
Here some sources suggest, according to Ann Smart, ''I belonged to this ladies' reading club. The only place for Elvis to play, in Andrews, would be in the high school auditorium. In order for someone to came in and charge for an appearance, it had no be sponsored by a local organization. So he appeared under the auspices of the club I was in. We serviced, we did the staff, we manned the box office, and we did the ushering. I was one of the ushers. We had a pretty big crowd; I won't say it was packed. There were several hundred people there. That, the show, was a little ahead of its time. It was something we hand't seen before. One of the ladies in our club said, 'We can't sponsor something like this'. So at the intermission, she went backstage, and she told him, 'You either got to clean up your act or pack up your instruments, because we can't sponsor this kind of show'. So after the intermission he calmed down considerably. He still, out od habit I guess, gyrated a little, but he was pretty calmed down the second part''. 
 
David T. Seay said, ''I was 12 years old at the time, I attended the concert in the Andrews High School auditorium. I was present because my mother was a member of the Andrews Study Club, which as far as I can remember was the sponsor of his appearance. I recall that Elvis was about two hours late arriving in Andrews, but no one left the auditorium in eager anticipation of his eventual arrival. My mother apparently represented the study club in regard to Elvis' appearance. As a result, I was able to go backstage, during what I believe was either before he began his show or during an intermission. I was able to stand within three feet of Elvis while my mother talked to him. I don't remember what my mother said, but a few years ago, I had a lady tell me that she was also present at that meeting with Elvis and that my mother apparently informed Elvis that he should not swivel and thrust his hips as he was accustomed to doing during his performances''.
 
Billy Joe Sinclair said, ''He was staying in Midland, and he was dating a girl who worked at the record store over there. And he introduced us to her, and he stood up in the audience. He was dressed in pink and black and so was she. He dated her quite a while. She was beautiful''.
 
According Shirlee McDade, ''We drove to Andrews in Elvis' car along with the band, and I belief it was in the pink Cadillac. It was in the spring of 1955, and I remember wearing a pink linen skirt with pink sleeveless shirt that had black polka dots. He asked me to wear pink and black as that is what he had started wearing. He performed in the high school auditorium, and he was the only entertainment that evening. The girls were going crazy and trying to ripp off his clothes during and after the show. I was always backstage, and he always sang a song for me. This was the first time that my parents allowed me to ride with Elvis unescorted. We usually had to ride with them or Mrs. Holifield''.
 
Serena nelson: ''We played his records. We had a radio station here, and we could always call and request songs. We went backstage to get his autograph. I guess in my mind I thought he would be perfect and not perspire. The auditorium was so hot. He said something like,  'Hey, babe, will you hold my coat'? And he had on a pink jacket. It was just so wet from perspiration. So I just stuck out my finger, and lifted it by the end of my finger. He had on a lace shirt underneath. He had a little purple spot on his chest. We got our autographs, and when he was through signing, he came back and got his coat''.
 
D on Ingram, editor of Andrews County News remembers, ''No mention was put in the newspaper. I suspect my Baptist grandmother (editor in 1955) would not allow it. My sister, however, Lavonne Adams, did attend the concert although she was ordered to her room and forbidden to attend. The story goes that she climbed out of her bedroom window and attended the show with a friend''.
 
Jerry Sue Scott Smith said, ''One night, he came over from Midland, because he was stying out there close to the airport. The Holiday Inn. He was about an hour and a half late getting here and Big Springs. And the man who owned the Ford House was Johnny Smith. He had Elvis' Cadillac hauled in, and he gave Elvis one of his cars to drive on to Lubbock in. He fixed his car and took it to him in Lubbock the next day''.
LATE APRIL 1955
 
A Snyder show about this time is inferred from a brief mention in Billboard (May 21, 1955):  "Dub Dickerson (Capitol), Chick Lee (TNT), and Gene Kay (TNT) visited with Wink Lewis at  KSNY, Snyder, Texas, while touring that area recently with Elvis Presley's (SUN) unit". Snyder  is certainly a possibility to fill one of the open dates this week, but there is no concrete  evidence.
APRIL 29, 1955 FRIDAY
 
Elvis Presley and the rest of the group stopped by the Cotton Club in Lubbock, Texas, for a  show and dance lasting from 8:00 p.m. to midnight. Also on the list Capitol recording artist Dub Dickerson plus TNT's newest recording star Gene Kay and Chuck Lee.
APRIL 30, 1955 SATURDAY
 
Elvis' fourth single "Baby Let's Play House"/"I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" (SUN 217) was  released. This was the first of Elvis' singles to be pressed outside of Memphis, with several thousand copies produced at Monarch Records in Los Angeles. Sam Phillips launched an  energetic promotional campaign to popularize the record. So quickly did it become a  regional big hit.
 
Elvis Presley performed Gladewater High School Gymnasium on a remote broadcast of the  Louisiana Hayride from 8:00 to 11:30 p.m., from Gladewater, Texas, the single's flip-side,  "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" was featured in the show. This time, Elvis headlined  the show. Also appearing were Slim Whitman, Jim Reeves, Johnny Horton, Jimmy  Newman, Billy Walker, Tibby Edwards, Buddy Attaway, Jack Ford, Jim Ed and Maxine  Brown, Hoot and Curley, Betty Amos, Jeanette Hicks, Jimmy and Wayne, Floyd Cramer,  Jimmy Day, and the Lump Lump Boys. Emcees were Horage Logan, Frank Page and Norman  Bale.
AND THEN THE STORY... - Honey, you won't believe what just walked through my door! The  owner of the Blue Grill Cafe eyed the threesome that entered just before closing time.
 
What is it, Mama?
 
Three of the most outlandish creatures I've ever seen, wearing clothes not fit for a doghanging.  And one of 'em has sideburns down to his kneecaps.
 
I'll be right there.
 
Elvis, Scotty, and Bill hobbled tiredly into the restaurant. They'd just driven across the  breadth of the state from Lubbock in far West Texas to Gladewater in East Texas. They  looked famished and exhausted, and they smelled like they'd just traveled 430 miles on twolane  roads. Mrs. Landers led them to an isolated table.
 
Do you mind if I move the car around back? Elvis asked the owner. I want to keep an eye on  the instruments.
 
Mrs. Landers nodded her approval and followed him out the door to satisfy her curiosity. She  was not disappointed. The big pink car swelled with boxes, clothes, and unidentified shapes.  A huge bass fiddle reclined on top, a hillbilly mobile if she'd ever seen one.
 
Carol Landers came pelting around the corner in time to see the car pull behind the cafe.  Her eyes grew very wide and she looked at her mother for explanation.
 
Musicians.
 
Oh!
 
The two ladies returned inside to take their guests' order. When Mrs. Landers entered the  kitchen, Elvis stood propped against the counter talking to the cook, Clarence Cobb.  Apparently Clarence played music himself, and they had a great deal in common. The two men chatted amiably for over an hour, Elvis never seeming to notice that his actions would  be considered peculiar in the segregated South.
 
The concert that nigh starred the displaced Louisiana Hayride cast, headed Slim Whitman,  Johnny Horton and Jim Reeves. Their standard auditorium in Shreveport bounced for yearly  carnival, so the Hayride moved to the high school gymnasium in Gladewater, compliments of  KSIJ Radio and disc jockey Tom Perryman. KSIJ already broadcast the Hayride on their  station, so why not play it live from there as well?
 
The Jaycees sponsored the show and copiously sold the tickets, stuffing 3,000 people into a  2,500 capacity hall and turning hundreds of procrastinators away at the door. Just before  the first act captured the stage, master of ceremonies Horace Logan announced that their headliner, Slim Withman, had taken ill.
 
We've got this new kid that's going to sing for you, named Elvis Presley, he told he
disappointed audience.
 
They didn't stay disappointed long. This was Elvis's night to sparkle. He dazzled the  onlookers with his clothes, his, moves, the Tony Curtis sneer he'd been perfecting in the  mirror for months, and most especially, the music, which before seemed edgy and  unpolished, now sounded wild and magical.
 
He set the stage on fire and incinerated the walls of the high school and the libidos of the  young woman. Backstage, the girls swarmed around Elvis, their friendly pats and comradely  hugs turning more provocative by the minute. They rubbed up against him, and Elvis responded playfully ... too playfully, it seems, to suit the local police. They dragged Elvis  away from the throng. warning him that if he didn't knock off the touchy-feel-games with  the underage girls, they would make sure he had a great deal of solitan time to rethink his participation. As our hero did not spend quality time at the Gladewater A-Rest-Mor motel,  we can only assume that he wisely heeded the local authorities.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
RADIO COMMERCIAL FOR ELVIS PRESLEY
 
KSIJ RADIO, GLADEWATER, TEXAS
RECORDED APRIL 30, 1955
PRODUCER - TOM PERRYMAN
 
01 – ''KSIJ RADIO COMMERCIAL'' – 0:15
Elvis Talks to disc jockey Tom Perryman
Recorded: April 30, 1955
Released: - 2003
First appearance: - Gear Production (CD) 500/200rpm ESP 0703 mono
IN THE EYE OF THE STORM
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-3-9 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
The Jaycees promoted the event and raised $1,500 for several civic projects including the local Little League program. Six teams of tickets sellers were dispatched by the club on April 12 to canvass the area. During the weeks before this show, the Hayride heavily promoted it and there were requests from all over the south and Southwest for tickets. The weekend of the show, there was not a vacant hotel or motel room in Gladewater.
 
By show time, approximately 3,000 country music fans were jammed into the 2,500 seats as the Gladewater High Gymnasium, and everything that would be used to fan the air was brought into service. To protect the basketball floor, a combination covering of paper and canvas was laid down. Admission was $1.00 for adults and 50-cents for children. 
 
A half-hour portion of the show was broadcast nationwide on the CBS radio network, and the entire evening was aired on KWKH in Shreveport and KTHS in Little Rock. During Elvis' performance, little three and a half years old Royce Hanson, who was standing in the aisle mimicking Elvis' wiggle, was invited to come on stage. The youngster got almost as many squeals from the teenage female fans as Elvis.
 
LIVE BROADCAST RECORDINGS FOR ELVIS PRESLEY
FOR KWKH'S LOUISIANA HAYRIDE, SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA, 1955
 
GLADEWATER HIGH SCHOOL GYMNASIUM, 
700 MELBA AVENUE, GLADEWATER, TEXAS
SATERDAY - APRIL 30, 1955
SESSION HOURS: 8:00-11:30PM
PRODUCER - HORACE LOGAN
 
01 – "INTRO/TWEEDLEE DEE" - B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - Winfield Scott
Publisher: - Unichappell Music Incorporated - Intersong
Matrix number: - WPA5 2535
Recorded: - April 30, 1955 - Frank Page ask Elvis a question.
Released: - 1979
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm single 526 mono (bootleg)
TWEEDLEE DEE / LAWDY MISS CLAWDY
This single is one of the best early Elvis items for the collector.
La Vern Baker even bought one.
Other Elvis releases: - 1983 Louisiana Hayride (LP) 33rpm NR-8973 mono
LOUISIANA HAYRIDE
Reissued: - November 2011 MRS (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 30001256-11 mono
THE COMPLETE LOUISIANA HAYRIDE ARCHIVES 1954-1956
 
02 - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Bill Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - April 30, 1955 - Probably
 
According to the recollections of several Louisiana Hayride personnel including Horage Logan and Frank Page, Elvis Presley, who had originally planned to debut "Milkcow Blues Boogie" had an car trouble and was late arriving for this show, and he had time to sing only one song. He chose "Tweedlee Dee", a recent hit for LaVern Baker, Georgia Gibbs and Bonnie Lou.
 
It has also been mentioned that Scotty Moore and Bill Black missed the shoe altogether, so Elvis Presley was backed by members of Ray Price Band, the Cherokee Cowboys. When Ray Price suggested that his band didn't feel comfortable with Elvis' music, Presley exploded, asking them if they had listened to any of his songs.
 
The argument had more to do with Price's ego than with his band's musical interests. In the end, to Elvis' surprise, the Cherokee Cowboys provided excellent backing after he practised "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" with the band. When Presley announced that he would perform LaVern Baker's recent rhythm and blues hit, "Tweedlee Dee", the band immediately broke into it. This is only partly true, and the differences may be the result of combining memories of this show with Elvis second Hayride remote in Gladewater in November 1955. Scotty Moore and Bill Black were definitely present, and by all indications, Elvis Presley gave a rousing, full-length performance. Ray Price, on the other hand, was not booked. Everyone agrees hat "Tweedlee Dee" was tape-recorded on a Hayride remote in Gladewater, and this was the first such show. The steel guitar heard behind Elvis on "Tweedlee Dee" was by Jimmy Day who did record with Ray Price, but at this time Day was a regular performer with Elvis Presley.
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elvis Presley - Vocal and Acoustic Rhythm Guitar (Martin Dreadnought 18)
Scotty Moore - Electric Lead Guitar (Gibson ES 295)
Bill Black - Acoustic Upright Bass (Kay Maestro M-1)
Dominic Joseph Fontana - Drums (Gretsch Round Badge Kit)
Jimmy Day - Steel Guitar
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
After the Gladewater show, Elvis Presley talked at length with James Clayton Day about  music. Not only was Elvis Presley surprised about Day's broad musical knowledge, but he  was intrigued by Price's flirtation with rockabilly records.  Day, in turn, was impressed with  Elvis' familiarity with the new music. There was also a great deal of talk about country  music shows. Elvis Presley discussed the "Midway Jamboree Show" in Gaston, Alabama, and  laughed about his attempt to get on the show. Elvis Presley didn't elaborate, and Day  didn't inquire further. Then Elvis Presley remarked how lucky he was to be a "Hayride" regular.
 
James Clayton Day wasn't the only one interested in young Elvis Presley. The Cherokee  Cowboys as a group were intrigued by Elvis' musical interests. When Elvis talked about  Little Walter's "My Baby" and Pat Boone's cover version of the Clovers "Two Hearts", the  Cowboys got a true picture of the extent of Presley's devotion to music. Elvis Presley had  discovered Little Walter in 1954 while going through a stack of records in Ruben Cherry's  House of Records, and, in April 1955, Boone's tune was high on charts.
 
When Stanley Kesler heard about the crowd's reaction, he was tickled that one of his songs  had gone over so well. Kesler, who wrote "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone", had  convinced Sam Phillips to release the country-influenced version of his song, which Elvis  Presley had originally recorded in a blues vein, because he, Kesler, believed that the  country styling was more commercial. It was. Kesler was also the one who urged Sam  Phillips to have Elvis Presley debut the song on the "Louisiana Hayride", where the live  crowd and the radio broadcast would lead to heavy record sales. The "Hayride" audience,  Kesler argued, would prefer a country song, and other country stations would soon pick it  up. Kesler was right again, as the tune showed up on playlists across Texas, Louisiana, and  Arkansas.
 
RAY NOBEL PRICE - Popular country singer born in Perryville, Texas, on January 12, 1926,  and nicknamed "The Cherokee Cowboy". Price was once a member of Hank Williams's  Drifting Cowboys. Years later Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, and Johnny Paycheck would become members of his band, the Cherokee Cowboys. Price's first record label was Bullet  Records of Nashville, founded as the first label in Nashville by Jim Bulleit, who owned an  interest in Sun Records from 1952 to 1954. Ray Price recorded versions of "Release Me" (Columbia 21214) in 1954, "For The Good Times" (Columbia 45178) in 1970, "She Wears My  Ring" (Columbia 44628), and "Help Me" (Columbia 19503), all of which Elvis Presley  recorded. Ray Price appeared on a few bills with Elvis Presley in 1955 and 1956. The Cherokee Cowboys backed Elvis Presley on the "Louisiana Hayride" on April 30, 1955.
 
BILLBOARD -  According to a May 28 report in Billboard, Elvis had appeared in Kilgore, Texas, with the   Browns and a "Louisiana Hayride" unit, and he was a guest on KOCA radio. Also in the May 28   issue of Billboard, it was mentioned that Elvis had played a ball park in Gainesville, Texas,   with Scotty and Bill, Onie Wheeler, Frank Starr and the Rock-a-way Boys. This show was   staged by Jerry O'Dell of KGAF radio. Elvis may have also appeared at the American Legion   Hall in Breckinridge, Texas, at this time. He was paid $300 and attendance was over 1,000.
UNKNOWN DATE LATE APRIL 1955
 
Elvis Presley performed in Lufkin, Texas. From another brief article in Billboard (May 28,  1955): "Guesting with Rex Lawrance over KOGA, Kilgore, Texas, recently were J.E. and  Maxine Brown, Elvis Presley and the Louisiana Hayride' Band". Elvis Presley had last worked  with the Browns for the Gladwater remote broadcast of the Louisiana Hayride, April 30. In  all likelihood, this item refers to a live radio station promo a day or two before the  Gladewater show. Unfortunately, there are no known showdates for Lufkin.
 
The period from January through April 1955 was transitional for Elvis Presley. His career  was attracting national attention. When Elvis' fourth single "Baby Let's Play House"/"I'm  Left, You're Right, She's Gone" was released on April 25, 1955, it became the first Sun  single distributed in the Northern and Western record markets. Sam Phillips pressed two  thousand copies at Monarch Records in Los Angeles, and they were wholesaled in  California, Oregon, and Washington.
 
The most significant change in Elvis Presley's career was his increased concert activity.  Every day new promoters were contacting Bob Neal or Sam Phillips about Elvis Presley, and  there was less and less haggling over money. Elvis Presley was on his way to becoming a mainstream rock and roll act.
 
During this period, Elvis Presley, himself a product of divergent influences, was already  influencing a number of fledglings musicians. They watched him, liked his style, and got into  the music business as a result of what they saw.
MAY 1955
 
Eager to purchase Elvis Presley's contract, Atlantic Records executives arrived in Memphis to  take a final look at Presley. Ahmet Ertegun brought along a new writer and producer, Jerry Wexler. They visited Dewey Phillips' "Red Hot and Blue" radio show with the idea of using  Phillips' knowledge and influence to soften up Sam Phillips.
 
By moving quickly and quietly,  Ertegun hoped he could sign Elvis Presley before the other major labels got wind of his  intentions. 
 
But Ertegun was unprepared to deal with Dewey Phillips' maniacal behaviour. When  Ertegun and his entourage arrived at the "Red Hot and Blue" show, they immediately  noticed that Dewey Phillips was drunk. Phillips coughed and staggered around the studio. A  burst of obscenities punctuated his speech, and he never sat down. 
 
When Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wesler walked into the WHBQ studio at the Old Chisca  Hotel, they couldn't believe Phillips was the on-the-air personality. To amuse himself,  Dewey Phillips did pushups on top of a picture of Marilyn Monroe taped to the studio floor.
 
Once he went on the air, it was sheer horror. With Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wesler  standing next to him, Dewey Phillips growled to his audience: "I got these two crooks here  from New York City, from Atlantic Records". Jerry Wexler stood up with a shocked look on  his face as Phillips bellowed: "How you doin' all you Memphis chicks... and  motherfuckers?". All Dewey Phillips could talk about was drinking and girls. Fortunately,  after taking a big swig from a whiskey bottle, Dewey Phillips closed the mike.
 
"After the show, he took us down to a bar to meet Elvis Presley in a little after-hours club  next to the Home Of The Blues (see below), Ruben Cherry's record store", Ertegun later  recalled. Naturally, Elvis Presley wasn't in the bar. Suddenly Dewey Phillips announced  that he had seven or eight great-looking girls coming for a party. When a group of girls in  high heels who looked to be fourteen to sixteen years old walked in awkwardly, Jerry  Wexler turned red and mumbled that he was tired. Dewey Phillips would accept no  excuses, and at three in the morning the group found itself in the Memphis State  University gym watching the varsity basketball team practising for a game in New York's Madison Square Garden.
 
It was not Sam Phillips' fault that Atlantic Records didn't purchase Elvis Presley's contract.  The night with Dewey Phillips drove Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler right out of  Memphis. Prone to bizarre behaviour and eccentric attitudes, Dewey Phillips had treated  the Atlantic people so poorly that they lost interest in Elvis Presley.
 
Dewey Phillips was the reason that Atlantic Records was unable to sign Elvis Presley to a  recording contract. Even so, this well-publicized trip spurred interest within the music  industry about the Sun Records sound. It was not just Elvis Presley that the major labels  were interested in; soon, talent scouts were looking for other rockabilly singers as well.
HOME OF THE BLUES RECORD SHOP - Ruben Cherry's record store, located at 107 Beale Street (now occupied by  the Elvis Presley statue) across from South Main Street in Memphis where, in the early 1950s Elvis Presley bought  many 78rpm records by rhythm and blues artists.
 
There was scarcely a musician in town who didn't know the Home Of The BluesRecord Shop. The shop's  proprietor, Ruben Cherry,didn't load the racks with new releases or dump his inventory when an artist's stardom  began to fall. Instead he tried to carry one of everything, figuring that every record had a buyer somewhere.
 
It was an archives of sorts, and part of a Memphis musician's education was gleaned from standing in front of the  old wooden bins flipping through records. At the same time, it was like a giant song factory, because every song  there had the potential of becoming a hit. Copyright and ownership were ill- defined in those days, and any  musician looking for a song to cut might start with an older record.
 
When the Rock And Roll Trio, made up of Johnny and Dorsey Burnette and Paul Burlison, stopped in Memphis  before a Nashville recording session, the newspaper reported that they were going to the Home Of The Blues  Record Shop to pick out songs to record. "If you liked it you could always change it into rockabilly if it just had  good words and a melody", Paul Burlison said. "You could always put a beat to it if you wanted to. You could take  an old country song and put a beat to it like Elvis did with "Blue Moon Of Kentucky".
 
Johnny Burnette once told an interviewer that after school he used to hang out in the Home Of The Blues. He  used to run into Elvis quite frequently there, he said. When "That's All Right" was released, Ruben Cherry was the  first to stock it.
 
In fact, many Memphians remember buying their first Elvis Presley records at Home Of The Blues. Ruben was  such a strong supporter of Elvis Presley that he even loaned Elvis money to get to his early concerts. The name  of the store may have inspired Johnny Cash, Lily McAlpin, and Glan Douglas to compose the 1957 Johnny Cash  recording of "Home Of The Blues" (SUN 279). In 1976, uponlearning that his old friend was ill, Elvis Presley wrote  a letter to Ruben thanking him for his early support. The letter was read at Ruben's burial service.
 
RUBEN CHERRY – Owner of Ruben Cherry and his Home Of The Blues record shop at 105-107 Beale  Street, billed as ''The South's Largest Record Store''. Cherry had bought the premises in the late 1940s after  he came out of wartime military service. He had been born in Memphis on January 30, 1922 and his parents, Harry Cherry, a naturalized Russian, and Ida Goldstein, ran a grocery business, Rosen's Delicatessen at 606  South Lauderdale just south of Beale Street.
 
In the family tradition, Ruben Cherry was a good but cautious businessman. He advertised his store as being '' on the street where the blues was born'' but he stocked the  full range of music - pop, jazz, and country as well as blues - and he prided himself that he kept in stock one  copy of every disc in print at any time.
 
His shop was frequented by black and white customers including disc  jockey Dewey Phillips, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash. 
 
Cash recorded a song confirming ''you'll find me at  the home of the blues'', and Cherry stood behind his old wooden counter with photographs of himself - as  president of the local Variety Club - with Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Wilson and other entertainers. Not  that Cherry was universally liked. Some described him as ''peculiar'' and writer Robert Gordon quotes Milton  Pond from a rival record dealership, Poplar Tunes, saying: ''Lots of people didn't like Ruben. They thought  he was pushy and too obnoxious. The main thing I remember about him, up by the cash register he had a  nickel glued on the glass counter. He'd wait for somebody to try to pick it up, and when it wouldn't move  he'd get the biggest kick out of that''. According to musician Jim Dickinson, ''Ruben kept this rubber  rattlesnake behind the counter which he used to scare off would-be stickup men. When he held it, it really  liked real. When it was not there one day, Cherry said ''that goddamn Elvis Presley, he came in here and stole my rubber snake and ran down Beale Street shaking it''. Guitarist Ronald Smith remembers, ''Ruben Cherry  used to sell me records back when I was a kid, 1949 or so. He'd special order in guitar records for me by  Chet Atkins. Ruben was kinda eccentric, a bit unusual. He'd chase people out of the shop, us kids. He jumped  all over me one day for no reasons and I figured he'd confused me with Reggie Young who'd ordered a disc  and not collected it''.
 
Ruben Cherry apparently had a deep interest in black music and many connections in Memphis and  nationally. Eventually he decided to channel this interest into his own label, which was bankrolled by his  mother's sister, Cella Goldstein, who had also started out in the delicatessen business before marrying  Clarence Camp, owner of Southern Amusements a 628 Madison Avenue in Memphis. The path from jukebox  and record dealing into label ownership was a familiar one in most US cities. In their edition of August 13,  1960 the Cash Box ran a story below a photograph of Cherry with rhythm and blues star Roy Brown:  ''Memphis, Ten – Newly formed label, Home Of The Blues Co. has signed two artists to wax exclusively for  it. HOTB execs Ruben Cherry, president, and Mrs. C.A. Camp, sectreasurer, are shown inking the contract  with Roy Brown''. Brown opened the label with release number 107, after the address of Cherry's store, Cherry and Camp recorded a mix of established black performers, such as Brown and the Five Royales, and  local singers associated with the Memphis club scene, like Willie Mitchell and Bowlegs Miller. The latter  was a regular at the Flamingo Room, a club upstairs above Cherry's store. Willie Mitchell provided the  studio band and from accounts by Mitchell and Jim Dickinson (who recorded there as Little Muddy) it seems  that most of the earliest HOTB sessions were made at the Fernwood Records studio at 415 North Main  Street. Roy Brown told John Broven: ''I did a few things for Home Of The Blues in Memphis in 1960. It was  Willie Mitchell's band, he was quite a guy. It was just a small studio... near to radio WDIA... but the guy we  had on my session was Scotty Moore who handled the session. And I had two things that went well, as a  matter of fact we sold forty four thousand copies of ''Oh So Wonderful'' in Memphis alone, but the company  didn't have (good) distribution outside of Memphis''.
 
Ruben Cherry and Celia Camp diversified in mid 1961 by setting up subsidiary labels to issue music  produced and bankrolled by independent producers. The Zab, Rufus, Six-O-Six (named after the store  address where Cherry lived as a child), and 1st Records labels were an effort to ring the changes. Mrs. Camp  was wheeling and dealing in more than records: Billboard reported on May 22, 1961: ''Memphis: Mrs. Celia  G. Camp has purchased the majority of the stock in Southern Amusement Company from her ex-husband...  the largest phonograph and game operation in the mid-South... Camp began his coin machine empire in  1938, with Mrs. Camp's help. They founded Southern Distributing Company with Kenneth Wilson. Wilson  has long since left the field and is now a multi-millionaire builder and president of Holiday Inns Inc... Mrs.  Camp owns Music Systems Inc, 407 Madison Avenue, where her office is, a background music operation.  Mrs. Camp also owns oil wells in Kentucky, Illinois, and Arkansas. A year ago she helped found HOTB  record company and is secretary-treasurer of it. She has put up the money for its operation. They are hoping  to become a hit-producing record company, have great hopes for the Five Royales they are recording''. These  hopes soon met the reality of average sales figures, and Camp brought in her nephew, Wolf Lebowitz, a  Memphis-born journalist and photographer, who hawked the label around the northern record business. By November 1961 Billboard was reporting: ''Chicago – Vee Jay president Ewart Abner has worked out an  agreement with Ruben Cherry's label HOTB to distribute the latter's records. Future HOTB releases will be  issued on Vee Jay with an additional emblem of HOTB''. Soon, the label would transfer this arrangement to  ABC-Paramount Records and their Apt subsidiary.
 
Ruben Cherry's dream of a successful rhythm and blues label had collapsed through weight of competition  from Hi, Stax and others, and his Home Of The Blues label closed. The record store continued to trade  through the 1960s but Cherry died in January 1976, aged just 53, after 27 years in the record business.
MAY THROUGH AUGUST 1955
 
Elvis Presley's career continued to prosper in the Southern market. In July, Elvis' "Baby Let's  Play House" and "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" appeared on the Billboard Country and Western singles chart. As a result, Sun Records was deluged with requests for interviews by  national magazines. The national news services and major television networks were  monitoring Elvis Presley, and this helped his career grow from a regional base into national  prominence.
 
To Billboard readers, of course, Elvis Presley's name was already a familiar one  because the music industry's bible had been closely following his career for some time.
 
HOT SPRING MAY 1955
 
D.J. Fontana recalls that Elvis Presley and the band were driving up from Shreveport in  separate cars following a Louisiana Hayride appearance (placing the show on a Sunday or  Monday). All of the entertainers made it to Hot Springs except Fontana. 
 
A check of Hot  Springs newspaper for all of 1955 turned up no clue of an Elvis show.
MAY 1955
 
Blackboard Jungle the movie, and its soundtrack had helped to popularize rock and roll. The  title song, "Rock Around The Clock", not only made Bill Haley and the Comets a hot rock act,  but made all of the movie's music a focal point for teenagers. Their flooded into record  stores to purchase "Rock Around The Clock", they searched eagerly for other rock and roll  records. 
 
Also in 1955, "Unchained Melody" by Roy Hamilton on Epic Records, Al Hibbler on Decca  Records, and Les Baxter on Capitol Records was a top ten hit for all three artists.  While  not a rock song, the popularity of "Unchained Melody" was again due to teenagers record  purchasers who wanted to buy the record because it was featured in the movie  "Unchained". Increasingly, record companies saw the movies as a means of popularizing rock records. 
 
UNKNOWN DATE MAY 1955
 
This is the most consistently mentioned of all of the shows that Elvis Presley never played.  The rumour-mill has been fed by two items in Billboard telling of West Coast tours. In the  August 6, 1955, edition there is a brief mention in the "Folk Talent and Tunes" column that states, "The Browns and Presley have just concluded a West Coast trek". Elvis Presley had  not performed with the Browns for three months. They did begin a tour together on August  8, 1955, but got only as far west as East Texas.
 
The second mention in Billboard (September 10, 1955) has Elvis Presley set to "start a  series (of shows) on the West Coast". This should have read East Coast, as the article is  specifically referring to Elvis' September 11 appearance in Norfolk, Virginia.
 
The French fan club, Federation Francaise des Clubs Elvis Presley, in a 1980's newsletter,  went so far as to say that Elvis Presley and Hank Snow appeared at the Cow Palace in May  1955. According the French, Elvis Presley sang "Tennessee Partner", "Uncle Pen", That's All  Right", and "Good Rockin' Tonight". A quick review of Elvis' May 1955 schedule shows that  he and Hank Snow spent most of it together on the East Coast. In addition, Elvis Presley  did not have enough spare time in May to go to California.
 
Hank Snow, on the other hand, did tour California briefly that August. His "West Coast  Trek" began in Tucson on August 5, moved on to Los Angeles (6), and San Diego (7). In Los  Angeles, Snow appeared at the Hollywood Bowl in a concert that combined the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra with country music. Many performers were listed in the ads for  both Hollywood and San Diego, including the Collins Kids, Freddy Hart, Eddie Dean, and  Lefty Frizzell. There was, of course, no mention of Elvis Presley, who in August was in Memphis (5), Shreveport (6) and Houston (7).
 
A careful check of the various San Francisco daily papers, as well as newspapers from  Fresno and San Jose - locations mentioned as possibilities for Elvis Presley shows in 1955 -  was undertaken. in all cases, there was nothing to be found.
 
By happenstance, an article in the San Francisco News (October 15, 1956) did state that  Bob Neal only booked Elvis Presley as far west as Albuquerque, which would confirm the  known facts.
MAY 1, 1955 SUNDAY
 
Elvis Presley and the Blue Moon Boys joined "Hank Snow's All Star Jamboree" for a 21- day/20-town tour. For the next three weeks, 31 performers appeared throughout the South  in shows booked by Colonel Tom Parker, assisted in some locations by Bob Neal.
 
Originally, as befitted his status as the tour's headliner, Hank Snow was set to close the  show. However, according to Snow, reaction to Elvis' appearance was so overwhelming that  after the first night Elvis Presley was moved to the final spot on the bill. Thereafter, each  show was set up in two parts.
 
In the first half, Jimmie Rodgers Snow, the Davis Sisters, and  the Wilburn Brothers performed, with Onie Wheeler coming on right before intermission.  The second half opened with Mother Maybelle Carter and the Carter Sisters (Anita and  Becky), followed by Faron Young and Hank Snow and the Rainbow Ranch Boys, with Elvis  Presley in the closing spot. On the next three shows Curtis Gordon opened as a "Special  Added Attraction". Other entertainers who also appeared on shows later in the tour were  Slim Whitman and Martha Carson.
 
On opening night of the tour, there were three "big shows" at 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m. at  the Municipal Auditorium at North Rampart and 1201 Saint Peter Street in New Orleans.  Tickets were priced from $1.50 for adults down to 50-cents for children under twelve.
 
Colonel Tom Parker wisely switched Elvis Presley to the closing act, a move which  infuriated Hank Snow. "You must be crazy", Snow screamed at Colonel Tom Parker. "This is  my show and I an the star. I've been meaning to talk to you about that kid, anyway". What  Hank Snow failed to appreciate was that Elvis Presley was definitely a hot performer. "I  don't even think we should be using him, jumping around like he does, shaking his butt  around", Snow protested.
 
Elvis Presley was intrigued with Tom Parker, and asked his bass player Bill Black about the  Colonel. Bill Black was sceptical about the Parker's management skills. Recognizing that  Parker was stingy with money, Bill Black warned Elvis Presley that money problems could easily result from the wrong kind of contract - he had heard horror stories about Eddy  Arnold's unhappiness with Tom Parker. A gentle, quiet man, Bill Black warned Elvis Presley  to no avail; Elvis Presley was impressed with Tom Parker. After four days on the road with  the Jamboree, Elvis Presley began talking about how wellplanned he thought the tour was.
 
"I think the Colonel has a special feeling for the crowds", Elvis commented. "No one can sell  autographed pictures like him".
 
Indeed, the carnival atmosphere surrounding the All Star Jamboree was evident during the  long intermission between the two segments of the show - an intermission that lasted  longer than the performances. Colonel Tom Parker had set up the extravaganza to separate  the locals from as much money as possible, and there were continual references to the  souvenirs available for purchase.
 
"He's too slick", Bill Black intoned. Bill Black had been in the music business a decade longer  than Elvis, and was uneasy about quick-buck promoters. "Be careful, Elvis, the business is a  rouge one", Black warned.
 
On Municipal Auditorium, country star Hank Williams married Billie Jean Eshlimar here  twice on the same October 1952 day in front of sellout crowds. Tickets cost $1.50, and  Hank and wife ended up some $25.000 richer.  In May 1955 the building was renovated to  provide a temporary home for Harrah's, the city's first land-based casino, which made  headlines by going bust a few months later. Here is also the Louis Armstrong Park include Armstrong's statue.
 
WXOK disc jockey Red Smith took a break from playing the latest hits. A few bars of Hank Snow's ''Would You Mind'' was followed by a short excerpt from Faron Young's ''Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young'', and his teaser cuts concluded with Elvis Presley's ''That's All Right''. Then Red announced, ''Say, folks, Here's the biggest radio jamboree ever to come to New Orleans. All the great recording artists: Hank Snow, Faron Young, the Wilburn Brothers, Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters, Elvis Presley, Slim Whitman, Onie Wheeler, Jimmie Rodgers Snow, the Davis Sisters, the Rainbow Ranch Boys, the Stardusters. Don't miss it, it's the show of the year and here's your announcer to tell you where you can buy tickets today and where you can see the big show in person''. If that's not exactly what Red said, it was at least what Colonel Parker had telegraphed WXOK station manager, Mr. Perdergrass, as instruction for the radio spots. The ads would run in every city on the tour, obviously mentioning only the relevant performers. Additionally, the disc jockeys would make 450 as MCs for the show in their respective towns.
 
THE DAVES SISTERS - Weren't sister at all. Skeeter (born Mary Frances Penick) and Bee Jay  (Betty Jack Davis) began touring in 1949. Their biggest hit came in 1953 with "I Forgot  More Than You'll Ever Known" on RCA Victor. Bee Jay died in an auto accident on August 2, 1953.  Skeeter and Bee Jay's sister, Georgia, kept the act together until 1956. By the 1960s,  Skeeter Davis had successfully crossed over into "pop" music as a solo artist, almost  topping the charts with "The End Of The World" in 1963. 
 
CURTIS GORDON - from Georgia, recorded country for RCA Victor from 1952-54 and was  now developing his own rockabilly style with Mercury Records. He was star of WKAB radio's  "Dixie Barn Dance" in Mobile where he was the owner of the Radio Ranch Club.
 
According to Curtis Gordon, ''The first time I met Elvis was on a tour with Hank Snow and Faron Young. I walked into this auditorium in New Orleans and went back into the dressing room, and I see a young man sittin' on a bench. he had on a white shirt, black britches, and a red sport coat. They introduced me to him, and it was Elvis. I liked him, I'd heard his records, some of the things he had done in Memphis, and I thought he was great. And I'll tell you what: When he did the show that night, I'm glad that Hank Snow was the star of the show and closed the show, because I opened the show, Faron was on next, and then Elvis came on before Hank. And he tore the house down. I'll never forget it. Me and Faron looked at each other and we said it about the same time: 'I'm glad I've already been on'. That was a hard act to follow. And sure enough, when Hank walked out there, the audience was still shouting for Elvis''. 
 
The announcer rushed to the rescue: ''Okay now, y'll be nice, folks. Wait a minute. Y'll be nice. Hank Snow is a legend in this business. Let's show Hank Snow a little courtesy, 'cause this gentleman's been in the business for 360 years! If y'll want to see Elvis, he's out in the parking lot behind the building signing autographs''. According to Faron Young, half the audience left while Snow was still singing, and after the show Snow angrily said to Faron: 'You know, by God, I should not have followed that little bastard out there'', to which Faron replied: 'Don't worry, Snow. You didn't''. (Eventually the problem as sorted out by having Elvis go on just before intermission).
MAY 2, 1955 MONDAY
 
The Hank Snow Jamboree split into two separate groups as it moved through Louisiana on  this date. The Hank Snow unit with the Davis Sisters and Jimmie Rodgers Snow played  Bulldog Stadium in Jennings, Louisiana.
 
Elvis Presley and the second unit played at the Baton Rouge High School Auditorium in  Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  On this evening, the headliner of this group was Faron Young and he was assisted by Onie  Wheeler and the Wilburn Brothers.
 
There were two performances, at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m.  with tickets running $1.25 in advance and an extra quarter the night of the show. In the  audience was teenager John Ramistella, a future rock "n" roll star under the name of  Johnny Rivers.
 
According to Shirley U. Fleniken, ''On a warm spring night in May, Elvis finally came to Baton Rouge. After seeing him in New Orleans a few months earlier, he had become my favorite singer. I attended the show at Baton Rouge High School, with my sisters Gayle, Margie, and Gretchen. Gayle was a horse person, and had her Palomino, Prince, with us in a trailer. She parked it out in the back, not far from Elvis' pink and white Cadillac. Also appearing on the show were Faron Young, the Wilburn Brothers, Mother Matbelle and the Carter Sisters, and Onie Wheeler''.
 
''Elvis came out last of all, although Faron Young got top billing. Elvis was dressed in a dark sport coat and light-colored slacks, and his shirt collar was turned up. His hair was combed into ducktails in the back. He sang ''That's All Right'', ''You're A Heartbreaker'', ''Good Rockin' Tonight'', and a few other songs. He was just as goodlooking as I remembered, and as before, moved around a lot on stage. Elvis was a sight to behold, with his sexy good looks and movements that drove us girls wild. Bill was kind of clowning around, as he usually did. The girls, including me, were screaming and clapping. After he sang what he said was to be his last song, the audience called him back several times. He sang a few of the currently popular rhythm and blues songs. We didn't want it to end. I know I sure didn't''.
 
Then says Fleniken, ''We went backstage and got Elvis' autograph. He had already signed my book, and a photograph in New Orleans, so I asked him to sign on that same page my book. He signed it: ''Yours Again, Elvis Presley''. I knew I would treasure that book always. Bill Black was re-stringing Elvis' guitar, I watched and talked to him while he did it. He said Elvis always broke several strings each show. I asked him if I could play it, and he obliged. I strummed and sang a few bars of ''Good Rockin' Tonight''. Bill told me I had ''good singin' rhythm''.
 
''In back of the High School where we were parked, Elvis, Faron Young, and others were hanging out. Fans were waiting in line for autographs. Elvis signed his name on my sister Gretchen's arm and on mine, as he did for lots of other girls there. Faron Young was interested in Gayle's Golden Palomino. 'I want to buy that horse. Will you sell it to me'? he asked. She immediately let him know Prince was not for sale. He then wanted to buy the beautiful new black and silver saddle. She said, 'It's not for sale either, but if I run into another one like it, I'll let you know'. Elvis piped up, 'He ain't gon' want it after you run into it', then he laughed as we all did. Elvis was darting around all over the place, being his usual playful and mischievous self. You just couldn't keep up with him, where he was and what he was doing''.
 
''Once he ran up behind me and kissed me on my back of my neck. I was one thrilled young lady. Some of us were admiring the pink Caddy. There was some conversation about it, some of the girls were teasing him about taking them riding in it. I said playfully, 'This is the car Elvis is taking me home in'! He ran over and hugged me and said, 'yeah, baby'! About that time, my sister said it was time to go, so we said our good-byes and left''.
MAY 3, 1955 TUESDAY
 
Hank Snow and his group reunited in Mobile, Alabama, for a day filled with radio promotions.  The various artists blanketed the local market doing interviews promoting their up-coming  two-day stand.
 
MAY 4-5, 1955 WEDNESDAY / THURSDAY
 
Remaining in Mobile, Hank Snow and Elvis Presley played an 8:15 p.m. performance on  Wednesday and Thursday at Ladd Stadium, located at 1621 Virginia Street, Mobile, was built in 1948 at a cost of $1 million. The stadium, which took nearly four to build, is on a 43 acre tract. It was constructed to honor Ernest Fleetwood Ladd (1876-1941). 
 
Faron Young was now second on the bill. Advance  tickets were $2.00 for a box seat, $1.50 for reserve seats and $1.00 for general admission.  Those waiting to buy tickets at the stadium paid $1.25. After Elvis Presley finished his act,  he and Faron Young engaged in some horse-play that looked as if they were fighting.  Members of the audience became concerned, and Young said later that he even received  letters from fans who chastised him for "beating on that young boy after he did such a good  job singing".
 
According to Ross Harrison, ''He got up on the stage there and started playing the guitar, shakin' it, and people started hollering and screaming. He got a big kick out of people laughing at him. They loved him. A buddy of mine grew up in Mississippi with Elvis in a little town over there. We were going out, Friday night I think it was, and he asked if we could stop by and see a buddy of his? I told him yes, so I found out it was Elvis. I didn't even know him. We went down on the field there, and it was Hank Snow and all them, and they had one of them half shields out there, and he came out and had two blond gals with him and hugged Bobby, and then he introduced me to Elvis, and Bobby asked him how he was doing, and Elvis said, 'Fine, I just bought a pink Cadillac', and then he asked us to come to the Radio Ranch. We went out there, but there were cars, blocks away, so we just kept on going''.
 
Ruth England and her husband were really good friends with Grace and Curtis Gordon, she says, ''We were celebrating Grace Gordon's birthday, and Elvis and Scotty and Bill Black were there, but not there as performers, just there as guests because of some contract restrictions or something. They were just sitting there at a table, but I know they were gonna be there, because Grace had told me, and two or three of my girlfriends went there, and we sat about ten feet from them, and Elvis and Scotty and Bill signed autographs at the back of their pictures''.
 
Wayne Hare, a local musicians said, ''I don't know why Curtis did it. But Elvis and them were sitting out there in the audience. Curtis played about half a set, and my brother and I were fixing to go and play at another club. Curtis got us up there. 'We're gonna get Billy and Wayne Hare up here and do few songs for us'. So we had been doing the Elvis stuff, and a little TV work around. We had a little 3-piece band just like Elvis did. I don't know why Curtis done it, but he said, 'Yáll do some Elvis stuff'. We said, 'Oh no! Elvis sat out in the audience. I said, Í don't have a guitar'. Scotty was standing by the bandstand and if I'm not mistaken, he let me use his guitar. And he didn't know what we were going to do either. My brother got up there with his flattop guitar and started singing, ''That's All Right''. I was playing lead guitar, and we had an upright bass player. And Tom Parker jumped up off his chair and ran across the room, where Elvis was sitting with a couple of girls, and it suddenly hit me, what are we doing this for? We were so young and naive, and didn't think that doing this would be so bad. I was watching Tom Parker over at Elvis' table, and saw that Elvis was just shaking his head like he was saying, 'Ah, let them go ahead'. When I look back at it now, it is probably one of the most embarrassing things I've ever done''.
 
The tour gave Elvis a chance to meet with the performers, many of whom he idolized.
MAY 6, 1955 FRIDAY
 
On this date, Elvis Presley was elsewhere and was not part of the Hank Snow stop in   Birmingham. Scotty Moore and Bill Black, on the other hand, remained with Snow. In   Birmingham, the Hank Snow Jamboree appeared at 8:15 p.m. at the Auditorium. The lineup   still included Faron Young, the Wilburn Brothers, Mother Maybelle Carter and the Carter   Sisters, the Davis Sisters, Jimmie Rodgers Snow, and Onie Wheeler. Admission was $1.50  reserved and $1.00 general.
 
Of course, after the second show in Mobile,  Elvis was return to Memphis to attend Dixie Locke's junior prom at South Side High School in Memphis,   where he double-dates with his cousin Gene Smith and Bessie Wolverton, one of Dixie's best  friend.
MAY 7, 1955 SATURDAY
 
The Hank Snow tour, with Elvis Presley, travelled on to Daytona Beach, Florida, with the  same company as Birmingham, except for Faron Young who was replaced by Martha Carson.  The 8:00 p.m. show took place at the Peabody Auditorium located at 600 Auditorium  Boulevard. Tickets, up to 6:00 on the day of the show, were $1.00 at Morris Drug Store.  After that time, they were $1.25 at the box office.
 
Colonel Tom Parker is back in home territory in Florida. A resident of Tampa for almost  fifteen years, Parker begin promoting shows in the mid-1930s and is well known to local promoters and disc jockeys. That's where Mae Boren Axton had met him a few years earlier. Mae was a schoolteacher in Jacksonville, but on the side she helped facilitate demos for local songwriters, and occasionally wrote her own songs. She also did advance promotion for Parker's tours in Florida, and on May 7 or May 12 one of her duties was to tape a radio interview with newcomer Elvis Presley, who had returned from Memphis to rejoin the tour. The chat showed that Elvis had not yet mastered the art of the interview, as he started complaining about being on a small record label, and Mae had to steer him away from such politically and professionally imprudent conversation.
MAY 8, 1955 SUNDAY
 
Remaining in Florida, Faron Young and Slim Whitman joined Elvis Presley and Hank Snow as  they appeared in Tampa at the Fort Homer Hesterly located at 522 North Howard Avenue. There were two performances,  at 2:30 and 8:15 p.m. Tickets were a reasonable $1.00 for general admission and $1.50 for  reserved seats. Children were only 50-cents. The concert was sponsored by the Optimist  Club of Seminole Heights, which was trying to raise money for a teen center.
 
According to Jimmie Rodgers Snow, ''I used to ride with Elvis, beause he and I were close together in age. He had just bought that Cadillac. We were driving though a town on the way to the motel or the theater, and he just pulls into that paint store, and he says, 'I will be right back'. He runs into the store and buys a bucket of paint and comes out and writes his name on both sides of the car.
MAY 9, 1955 MONDAY
 
A portion of Hank Snow's tour consisting of Snow, the Carters and Jimmie Rodgers Snow   moved on to play a special birthday date for Snow in Macon, Georgia.
 
Elvis Presley remained in Florida for an 8:00 p.m. show at the New City Auditorium in Fort   Myers. Faron Young was the show's headliner and others on the bill included the Wilburn   Brothers and Onie Wheeler. 
 
Tickets, which were sold from Naples to Immokalee to Punta  Gorda, ran $1.25 for general admission, $1.50 reserved seating, and 75-cents for children.   WMYR radio sponsored the event. According to legend, Colonel Tom Parker first watched Elvis Presley perform, on May 9,   1955.
 
Joan Lacey, wife of local disc jockey Brad Lacey said, ''Onie Wheeler was on the concert. They had done Tampa, Florida, the night before. Elvis left his show pants at the dry cleaners, and of course the dry cleaners had locked up. 
 
Onie Wheeler said, 'Oh, don't worry about it, I'll let you wear a pair of my pants'. Back then Elvis was so skinny, and Onie's pants would not fit him, and Elvis' pants kept falling down. So we thought that was the beginning of his hip swinging. He was constantly pulling up his pants.
MAY 10, 1955 TUESDAY
 
It was back to Florida for Hank Snow, as he joined up with Faron Young and Elvis Presley   again for an appearance in Ocala, Florida. The whole congregation was together for this show,   including Slim Whitman, Martha Carson, the Wilburn Brothers, the Davis Sisters and Jimmie   Rodgers Snow. The 8:00 p.m. show at the Southeastern Pavilion brought in an overflows   crowd of 2,700. Tickets were $1.00 in advance and $1.25 at the box office.
 
The females in the audience squirmed and squealed, and the loud applause for Elvis Presley   again outstripped. The Colonel had printed up large quantities of hats and pillows to sell to   the throngs, and the young crowd spent huge sums of money on Parker's plastic souvenirs.   The newspaper and radio people received pillows with the "Hank Snow All Star Jamboree"   printed in garish red. Through intensive advertising in local newspapers and with live spots   on radio stations, Parker had succeeded in creating a raucous carnival atmosphere.
 
According to ''Nervous'' Ned Needham, country and western disc jockey at WMOP, Ocala said, ''The Hank Snow show, with Faron Young, the Wilburn Brothers, and Elvis Presley, played before an overflow crowd of 2,700 in Ocala, Florida, May 10''.
MAY 11, 1955 WEDNESDAY
 
Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black appeared at the City Auditorium in Orlando,   Florida. Headliner of the show is Hank Snow and the Rainbow Ranch Boys. Also on the bill, Faron Young, The Wilburn Brothers, Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters, Slim Whitman, The David Sisters, Jimmie Rodgers Snow, Onie Wheeler, and Martha Carson.
 
According to Auda Lou Warren, ''When Elvis had a performance in Orlando, Florida in 1955, he and his band members along with Jimmie Rodgers Snow and his band members spent the day at our home. I was babysitting a couple of houses down and could hardly wait for the ladies to come in from their day of swimming and talking. When I did get home, I asked where Elvis was, as he wasn't anywhere to be seen. He had gone in to town to get a life jacket before he would get on the skis. This was the time in his life when he was driving his pink Cadillac. I asked him when could I ride in it, and he said when I became his girlfriend. Well, that never happened'', Warren said. 
 
''We swam and water skied. Elvis had never skied before, and he had lots of fun learning. While waiting his turn, we stood in the water, which was not very deep, talking and joking around. I had an inter-tube that was the size of a wheel barrel wheel around my waist. Elvis decided that it would be fun to turn me upside down in the water. I tried very hard to turn myself upright and wasn't getting anywhere. After a few seconds I was beginning to get frightened, so I quit kicking. Thinking back on this, I think Elvis might have gotten scared when I stopped kicking. He immediately turned me right side up''.
 
''Jimmie Rodgers Snow and a few of his band members went next door where they had a boathouse at the end of their pier with a deck on top. The water was fairly shallow, and I was nervous watching them dive off that deck. The water was waist deep on me, so it couldn't have been but about 3 feet deep. We had lots of food to eat. I fixed me a plate and decided to wait on Elvis by fixing him a plate. I put my plate down on the ground, when I went to pick it up I was very upset as it had ants crawling all over it. When we got to the desserts, I got Elvis a plate with chocolate cake. While talking with Elvis, he took his cake and ran his hand through the chocolate icing and then swiped his hand across the face. He was such a joker. when I was telling my class about it, my teacher said he could think of better things to do with that cake. This was 9th grade Civics class. Elvis was brought up with very good manners. He always called my mother and step-father 'Mr'and 'Mrs''.
MAY 12, 1955 THURSDAY
 
Elvis Presley performed at the New Baseball Park in Jacksonville, Florida. Both Skeeter Davis and Mae Boren Axton vividly remember going out to dinner with Elvis and several of the other acts. Elvis' brand new pink lace shirt was readily commented on by several of the women, each suggesting that Elvis would give it to her, as it was ''vulgar'' (Mae) and ''a woman's blouse'' (Skeeter). Finally Elvis took it off and handed it to Mae, saying if Skeeter didn't like it, he was not going to wear it.
MAY 13, 1955 FRIDAY
 
The Hank Snow tour stopped for two nights of entertainment at the "New" Baseball Park  (later known as the Gator Bowl's in Jacksonville, Florida. It cost $1.00 each to get in to the  show unless the fans waited until show time, then it cost $1.25.
 
Performances were held at  8:00 p.m. each evening. In the audience was a local teenage disc jockey on WWPF, Johnny Tillotson, who tried in vain to get an interview with Elvis Presley and the other performers.
 
Before the show Mae Boren Axton took Elvis Presley and some of the other musicians out to  dinner, and she tried to wheedle him out of the frilly pink shirt he was wearing. "Skeeter  Davis was there, and June and Anita Carter, and some of the boys with Elvis, and I said",  recalled Mae, "Elvis, that's vulgar. And it would make me such a pretty blouse. And Skeeter  said, 'I want it', and June said, 'I want it'. And he just kind of grinned. 
 
And I said, 'Elvis, you  ought to give it to us, one of us anyway, because they are just going to tear it off you  tonight'. Not really thinking about it, knowing the people liked him but not really thinking about it".
 
"Bill Black and Elvis were cut-ups, where Scotty was the businessman of the bunch", said  Axton. "He was also very creative. He knew how to put things together. He was a very kind  person, very gentlemanly. There's no doubt in my mind that without Scotty, Elvis would never have gotten as far as he did. Scotty kept it together", she said.
 
On Friday, 14,000 fans reportedly attended the performance. At the close of his set, Elvis  Presley jokingly told the crowd: "Girls, I'll see y'all backstage". About half the audience took  him literally, as they broke through the police barricade and made for the stage. Elvis Presley ran for the infield dugout that led to the dressing rooms with about a hundred girls  right behind him. In the ensuing melee, he was almost stripped of his clothes. In the parking  lot, Elvis' 1951 Lincoln Continental was covered with names, telephone numbers, and notes  to Elvis written in lipstick or scratched into the car's paint.
 
Jacksonville was watershed show. Up to this time the Crowds had been enthusiastic. From  this point on, they began to get unruly, huge and unmanageable. This was also the show that  turned Colonel Tom Parker toward Elvis Presley and away from Hank Snow. It was obvious  which path led to the future. In an hour, all of Tom Parker's schocky trinkets were sold out.  The crowd took advantage of the freedom of movement afforced by the layout of the  baseball stadium, and darted through security guards in search of Elvis Presley. There was no  danger to Elvis Presley or the other entertainers; a large crowd of young girls simply wanted  to see their idol. The press, hungry for news about Elvis Presley, dutifully reported that the  fans' actions had grown to excess. Actually, reported a certain young man named Johnny  Tillotson, who was in the stadium dugout waiting to interview Elvis Presley, the crowd "was  well behaved but playful. There was no danger to anyone". What Tillotson remembers is an  appreciative crowd who had found a new sound. Tillotson noted, however, that - with the  Colonel's blessing - "The press couldn't wait to report that Elvis Presley was causing riots".
 
According Faron Young, ''I was with him at the Gator Bowl the first night he got attacked. He came off that stage, and somehow those little girls got to him and tore his clothes all up (picture below). Them girls pounced on that son-of-a-bitch like alligators. Afterwards, Elvis said, ''Damn, Chief, them little girls are strong, I said, ''yeah, one of 'em you can whip; but fifty of ém got a hold of your ass and it's just like a vacuum cleaner sucking on you. You can't get away from 'em'. The next morning it was all in the damn newspaper: 'Girls tear clothes off Elvis Presley'! All that sensationalism started right here in Jacksonville at the Gator Bowl. And from then on, that was the thing to do, just get to him, tear his clothes off, pull out his hair, or somethin'. So he always had to have police and all that shit after that''.
 
The Jacksonville crowd wrote phone numbers and messages in lipstick on the side of Elvis'  Lincoln Continental. There were scratches on the paint, and large lipstick and nail polish  drawings all over the beautiful new pink car. Elvis Presley was upset. His car was a status  symbol. That night, a large number of fans showed up at Elvis' motel and stormed the  parking lot. Elvis Presley came to his motel room window and took his shirt off for the  adoring crowd.
 
Five Memphis friends travelling with Elvis Presley were swept up in the  ribald atmosphere. There was gold in this type of pandemonium, and Tom Parker reassured  Elvis Presley that the screaming, panting teenage girls were his ticket to stardom.
 
"I heard feet like a thundering herd, and the next thing I knew I heard this voice from the  shower area", recalled Mae Boren Axton, "I started running, and three or four policemen  started running, too, and by the time we got there several hundred must have crawled in,  well, maybe not that many, but a lot, and Elvis was on top of one of the showers looking  sheepish and scared, like 'What'd I do?, and his shirt was shredded and his coat was torn to  pieces. Somebody had even gotten his belt and his socks and these cute little boots, they  were not cowboy boots, he was up there with nothing but his pants on and they were trying  to pull at them up on the shower. Of course the police started getting them out, and I never  will forget Faron Young, this one little girl had kind of a little hump at the back, and he  kicked at her, and these little boots fell out. The Colonel", said Mae, "and I don't mean it  derogatorily, got dollar marks in his eyes".
 
Mae Boren Axton, a Jacksonville school teacher who had done promotional work for the  Colonel in the past was hired as a publicist for several of the Jamboree tour dates. In May of  1955 she interviewed Elvis probably at the New Ball Park in Jacksonville, Florida on May  12.
 
Almost from the start of the touring days with the Jamboree the demand for Elvis by the  kids (mostly women) over the other performers was almost overwhelming. On May 13, at the ballpark at the conclusion of his performance Elvis joked with the girls in the audience  'Girls, I'll see you backstage'.
 
Peter Guralnick in Last Train To Memphis wrote, ''Almost immediately they were after him.  The Police got him into the dugout locker room, where Mae and the Colonel were totaling up  the nights receipts. Most of the other acts were backstage too Mae recalled, when the fans  started pouring in through an overhead window that had been inadvertently left open. 'I heard feet like a thundering herd and the next thing I knew I heard his voice from the  shower area, I started running and three or four policemen started running too and by the  time we got there several hundred must have crawled in - well maybe not that many but a  lot and Elvis was on top of one of the showers looking sheepish and scared, like What do I  do? and his shirt was shredded and his coat was torn to pieces. Somebody had even gotten  his belt and his socks''.
 
Mae Boren Axton, along with Thomas Durden wrote 'Heartbreak Hotel' in 1955 after reading  about a suicide in the paper where a well-dressed man had removed all labels from his  clothing, destroyed his identity papers and left a note saying: "I walk a lonely street." The next time the band performed at the ballpark, this time with DJ on drums, was in February  of 1956. Elvis was now signed with RCA, had made a couple of Television appearances and  his recording of Heartbreak Hotel was #1 on the charts. This time he was the featured performer and performed shows on the 23rd and 24th that again included the Louvin  Brothers and the Carter Sisters.
 
After his performance on the 23rd he collapsed in the parking lot, was admitted to a hospital  and advised to rest. He didn't and on the following night made his final appearance at the  ballpark.
 
After the Jacksonville concerts, record sales increased even more dramatically. Earlier, Sam  Phillips had persuaded a Florida one-stop record distributor to handle all of Elvis Presley's  Sun releases, and the distributor heavily influenced local radio play. For the preceding six  months, Elvis' music had played daily on key Florida radio stations, prompting the strong  demand for Elvis Presley concerts.
 
Black rhythm and blues stations that played the new rock and roll discovered that their  listeners were turning to white stations playing Presley's music. As a result, black radio  stations in Florida added Elvis Presley to their playlists. There were no longer any doubts; Colonel Tom Parker decided to sign Elvis Presley to a management contract as quickly as he  could.
 
There was a potential problem, however. Because Hank Snow and Colonel Tom Parker were  still partners, Parker had to offer Snow, a shrewd businessman, had built his following upon  an image of purity and intelligence. He neither drank nor smoked publicly. A small man at  five feet, four inches tall, Snow had a Napoleonic complex, a short person's self-doubt  coupled with a power mania that prompted him to strut around in custom tailored suits and  shoes in an attempt to create the illusion of being taller than he was. Tom Parker knew that the thing to do was to bluff the insecure Hank Snow.
 
"Hank", the Colonel said, "tell you what let's do. You put everything you make an I'll put  everything I make and we'll sign up this boy's contract and we'll manage him". Looking with  disbelief at the Colonel, Snow refused the ludicrous suggestion, freeing the Colonel to sign Elvis Presley to Hank Snow Attractions himself, and to cement a personal arrangement with  Elvis Presley that essentially excluded Snow from sharing in the results. As their negotiations  had been carried out quietly, very few people were aware of just how close Colonel Tom  Parker was to managing Elvis Presley.
 
Jeannie Wiliams, known as Jeanette Todd in 1955 said, ''I was a disc jockey on radio station WRHC here in Jax. I also was on live with my band on Saturday morning. Those were the days of live radio shows and also when the disc jockey could play what the listeners wanted to hear. Now they can only play what the program director allows them to play. I have worked with a lot of the country artists from the Opry and other shows as well. We felt he (Elvis) was on the wrong show. We were all pure country. He was different. Nobody was real excited to have him on the package deal. His music was not our music. The audience didn't like him as much as the rest of us. Moderate applause. I didn't think he was much of a singer. When we were on stage and it was time to get together and do what we would call a jam session, he would do some gospel singing, and he was really good at that, but he didn't do that on the show''.
 
Pat Miles, daughter of disc jockey Frank Thies says, ''My father took me backstage during the show, and I got introduced to Elvis. He was watching the entertainers, mesmerized. Very shy, polite, and always stood by himself. It was a Hank Snow tour, and Hank told my father, 'I'm not gonna follow this guy anymore. You will see why, when this guy goes on stage''. Then Elvis took the stage, and after a couple of songs, the crowd came over the barricades and rushed the stage gathering directly in front of the stage. I had never seen this before''.
(A little interlude) Elvis Presley here in Jacksonville met Mae Boren Axton, publicist for the Florida leg of the tour, and Mae  met them at the motel. "I had gotten up real early and gone and done an interview about the  show that night and about Elvis, and I came back around eleven, and, you know, the back of  the motel was facing the ocean, the little rails were up there, the little iron rails. And I  walked out of my door, my room was right near Elvis, and Elvis was leaning over looking at  the ocean.
 
Of course there were a lot of people on the beach, and I said, 'Hi, honey, how are  you doing?' And he looked up and said, 'Fine'. He said, 'Miz Axton, look at that ocean'. Of  course I had seen it a million times. He said, 'I can't believe that it's so big'. It just overwhelmed him.
 
He said, 'I'd give anything in the world to find enough money to bring my  mother and daddy down here to see it'. That just went through my heart. 'Cause I looked  down here, and here were all these other kids, different show members for that night, all the guys looking for cute little girls. But his priority was doing something for his mother and  daddy".
 
In the interview he persisted in calling her Miz Axton, and she suggested that he "just  make it Mae. That makes it better... Elvis", she said, "you are sort of a bebop artist more  than anything else, aren't you? is that what they call you?".
 
Elvis: "Well, I never have given myself a name, but a lot of the disc jockey’s call me,  bopping hillbilly and bebop, I don't know what else...".
 
Mae: "I think that's very fine. And you've started touring the country and you've covered a  lot of territory in the last two months, I believe".
 
Elvis: "Yes, ma'am, I've covered a lot, mostly in West Texas is where, that's where my  records are hottest. Around in San Angelo and Lubbock and Midland and Amarillo".
 
Mae: "They tell me they almost mobbed you there, the teenagers, they like you so much.  But I happen to know you have toured all down in the eastern part of the country, too.  Down through Florida and around and that the people went for you there about as well  as out in West Texas, isn't that right?".
 
Elvis: "Well, I wasn't very well known down here, you know, I'm with a small company,  and my records don't have the distribution that they should have, but...".
 
Mae: "... You know, I watched you perform one time down in Florida, and I noticed that  the older people got as big a kick out of you as the teenagers, I think that was an  amazing thing".
 
Elvis: "Well, I imagine it's just the way we, all three of us move on the stage, you know,  we act like we".
 
Mae: "Yes, and we musn't leave out Scotty and Bill. They really do a terrific job of  backing you up".
 
Elvis: "They sure do. I really am lucky to have those two boys, 'cause they really are  good. Each one of them have an individual style of their own".
 
Mae: "You know, what I can't understand is how you keep that leg shaking just as the  right tempo all the time you're singing".
 
Elvis: "Well, it gets hard sometimes. I have to stop and rest it, but it just automatically  wiggles like that".
 
Mae: "Is that it? Just automatically does it? You started back in high school, didn't you?"
 
Elvis: "Ah...".
 
Mae: "Singing around, public performances with school and things of that sort?".
 
Elvis: "Well, no, I never did sing anywhere in public in my life till I made this first record".
 
Mae: "Is that right?".
 
Elvis: "Yes, ma'am".
 
Mae: "And then you just went right on into their hearts, and you're doing a wonderful job,  and I want to congratulate you on that, and I want to say, too, Elvis, it's been very  nice having you in the studio...".
 
Elvis: "Well, thank you very much, Mae, and I'd like to personally thank you for  really promoting my records down here because you really have done a wonderful job,  and I really do appreciate it, because if you don't have people backing you, people  pushing you, well, you might as well quit".
 
In the Billboard issue from May 1955 read that Arnold Shaw had just been named general  professional manager of the Edward B. Marks Corporation, one of New York's major  booking agents. As Elvis Presley's first booster in New York, Shaw was to become an  important ally. Sam Phillips had talked to Elvis Presley about Arnold Shaw's intimate  knowledge of the rock music business. He let Elvis Presley know that Shaw could help his  career. Neither Elvis Presley nor Sam Phillips had yet met Shaw, but Sam hoped to play  Elvis Presley's music for Shaw during the New Yorker's upcoming visit to Memphis. Sam  Phillips desperately needed the opinion of a well-known, respected New York agent if he  was to sell Elvis' recording contract.
 
In addition to being a booking specialist, Arnold Shaw was an honest critic and a friend of  the new rock music. Shaw would not visit Memphis until late in the summer of 1955, but  Sam Phillips was in constant touch with him. Elvis Presley's music was known in New York  by May 1955, and there was already an undercurrent of interest in his recording future  among the major record labels.
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
INTERVIEW FOR ELVIS PRESLEY
PROBABLY BACKSTAGE, NEW BALL PARK,
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA
PROBABLY MAY 7 OR 12, 1955
 
01 – ''INTERVIEW WITH MAE BOREN AXTON – 3:18
Matrix number – None – Taken from BBC Broadcast Tape Copy
Recorded: May 7 or 12, 1955
Released: - 2003
First appearance: - Gear Productions (CD) 500/200rpm ESP 0703 mono
IN THE EYE OF THE STORM
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-3-26 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
MAE BOREN AXTON - Publicist for the Florida leg of the tour, at the first Florida date, in  Daytona Beach, Florida. A forty-year-old English teacher at Pazon High School in  Jacksonville, Florida, where her husband was the football coach, Axton had gotten into  country music through the back door when she was asked by Life Today, a magazine for  which she did occasional freelance work, to write an article on "hillbilly" music.
 
Though she  had been born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in Oklahoma (her brother, David, later  became a prominent U.S. senator from Oklahoma), she claimed to have no idea what hillbilly  music was. "We listened to the opera, and my teacher taught me classical, and folk songs I  knew, but the term "hillbilly" was foreign to me".
 
Her research took her to Nashville, where  she met Minnie Pearl, who introduced her as a country songwriter to powerful song publishing executive Fred Rose. Taking Mae for what Minnie Pearl said she was, Rose told her  he needed a novelty song for a Dub Dickerson recording session that afternoon, and she  wrote one, if only to prove her newfound friend correct. 
 
Soon she had gotten a number of her songs cut (Dub Dickerson recorded more of their  collaborations, as did Tommy Durden) while continuing to write stories for fan club  magazines. She hooked up with Colonel Tom Parker in 1953 on a Hank Snow tour and  began doing advance press work for him in the Jacksonville-Orlando-Daytona area. As a  woman who was both attractive and feisty, Mae claimed to be the only person that she  knew ever to get an apology out of the Colonel.
 
Mae Boren Axton is co-writer with Tommy Durden, of "Heartbreak Hotel". Mae Axton, who  is the mother of singer/songwriter and actor Hoyt Axton, once worked as a publicist for  country singer Hank Snow. Mae Axton, who is the sister of Senator David Boren of Oklahoma, also worked for the Grand Ole Opry for a time. She first saw Elvis Presley when  he appeared in Jacksonville on May 13, 1955, as a member of the Hank Snow All-Star  Jamboree, which she had helped promote. In November 1955, at the Disc Jockey  Convention in Nashville, she played for Elvis Presley a demo with Glenn Reeves singin  "Heartbreak Hotel" in her suite at the Andrew Jackson Hotel in Nashville. In 1977 Axton  wrote some of the liner notes for Ronnie McDowell's album "The King Is Gone".
 
Mae Boren Axton drowned on April 9, 1997 in her hot tub at age of 82 in Hendersonville,  Tennessee after an apparent heart attack.
 
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - Birthplace of singer Pat Boone in 1934 and the site of a Hank Snow  All-Star Jamboree concert on May 13, 1955. It was the first Elvis Presley performance at  which the crowd caused a riot. There was so much excitement that Elvis Presley had his  clothes torn off by some of the more emotional females in the audience. (In 1981, singer  Johnny Tillotson, he was in the audience, said there was no riot, and that the story was created by Colonel Tom Parker for publicity).
 
JOHNNY TILLOTSON - Popular singer of the 1960s born in Jacksonville, Florida, on April 20,  1939. Johnny Tillotson is a former country disc jockey for Palatka, Florida, radio station WWPF. Johnny Tillotson, who had been a member of Mae Axton's High School English class in  1954-55, interviewed Elvis Presley in Jacksonville in August 1956. He got Elvis Presley's attention by imitating his singing of "Baby, Baby Ba Ba Baby", which Elvis Presley enjoyed.  Tillotson became popular in both the country and pop field. His "Poetry In Motion" (Cadence  1384) went to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. 
 
As a singer and composer he  wrote the Hank Locklin hit "Send Me The Pillow You Dream On" (RCA 7127) and sang the  theme song of the TV series "Gidget" (starring Sally Field)). In 1969 Elvis Presley recorded  the Tillotson composition "It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin", which Tillotson had recorded in 1962  (Cadence 1418). Johnny Tillotson and Elvis Presley recorded versions of "Pledging My Love",  "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and "Funny How Time Slips Away".
MAY 14, 1955 SATURDAY
 
Billboard, in its review of "Baby Let's Play House" gave it a rating of seventy-seven and  called the song a "distinctive country effort". "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" was rated  seventy-one and described as an "unusual, rhythmic country chant". Both songs were  praised for their distinctive country music direction. One of the ironies of Elvis' entire early  career, in fact, is that his black musical roots were not recognized by his fans, even though he openly discussed and acknowledged them.
 
Bob Neal, currently working with Colonel Tom Parker on promotion for the Hank Snow in the  South reports that he has Elvis Presley, Martha Carson, the Carlisles, Ferlin Husky, J.E. and Maxine Brown and Onie Wheeler set for a week's trek beginning May 29. Neal, who is  Presley's personal manager, says the latter has a new release on Sun, "Baby Let's Play  House" b/w "You're Right, I'm Left, She's Gone". Disc jockey’s may receive a copy be writing  him at 160 Union Street, Memphis, Neal says. 
 
Hank Snow and Elvis Presley continued touring together on this Saturday, even though each  had commitments elsewhere. Elvis Presley, of course, was signed to appear at the Louisiana  Hayride, and Snow was likewise under contract with the Grand Ole Opry. They did, in fact,  play New Bern, North Carolina, where there were shows at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. at the Shrine  Auditorium. Advance seating was pegged at a dollar for general admission, $1.25 for reserve  seating and 50-cents for children. Faron Young left the group at this juncture. Accompanying  Elvis and Snow on this leg of the tour were Martha Carson, Slim Whitman, the Davis Sisters,  Jimmie Rodgers Snow, and Onie Wheeler.
MAY 15, 1955 SUNDAY
 
In Virginia, the Elvis Presley and Hank Snow group, played two shows, at 3:00 and 8:00 p.m.,  at the Norfolk City Auditorium at 9th and Granby Streets. Tickets were $1.50 for adults, 75- cents for servicemen and a quarter for children. This was the last big show of the winter  season for Norfolk and paid attendance topped 6,000. The performance was sponsored by  WCMS radio station. Martha Carson was not listed in pre-show publicity.
 
Jan Edwards was a great fan of country music. Like so many others, she grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry every Saturday night. After graduating, she got herself a job at a local music store, and every weekend, she travelled by bus to WRVA radio in Richmond, where Sunshine Sue was the undisputed queen and host of the Old Dominion Barn Dance. It was an extremely successful programme, attracting people from miles around, and adding many more fans through the regular CBS Radio Network broadcasts.
 
After the May 14th edition of the Old Dominion Barn Dance, Jan took another bus to Norfolk to see headliner Hank Snow: ''After all the performers had their turn that night, Hank Snow went and stood alongside the stage to watch. A local disc jockey came out and said everyone should make welcome this new star. He came out holding his guitar, chewing gum a mile a minute, took his comb from his coat pocket, and combed his hair back with a teasing look upon his face. He started belting out a song called ''That's All Right''. The crowd went wild. It was almost unbelievable. He was scheduled to do only two songs, the previous one and ''Baby Let's Play House''. The audience couldn't get enough, they screamed and screamed for more. Elvis came back out with that teasing look and crooked smile and said, ''Thank you, thank you very much, I was coming back anyway''. The crowd's reaction was overwhelming. The show finally came to an end with all of the entertainers standing on each end of the stage watching this young man. After the show, I went backstage to meet Elvis, and we agreed to meet the next day in Richmond''.
 
Gene Vincent, just a year away from creating the great ''Be-Bop-A-Lula'', was in the audience that night.
MAY 16, 1955 MONDAY
 
Elvis Presley was still the closing act for the Hank Snow show during the 8:00 p.m. stop at  the Mosque Theater, on the corner of North Laurel Street and Main Street in Richmond,  Virginia. Reserved seating was available for $1.95 and $1.50 with general admission seats  going for $1.00. It was reported that Elvis Presley "was given the greatest ovation ever  accorded a hillbilly performer" in Richmond up to that time.
 
That evening, the performers,  included Martha Carson, were lodged in the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.  On this time, there was a great deal of internal conflict centering around Elvis Presley's  popularity. Scotty Moore and Bill Black were fighting with one another, and harsh words  were exchanged between Colonel Tom Parker and Hank Snow. It was obvious that everyone  needed a rest. 
 
Two RCA representatives, regional sales manager Brad McCuen and Country and Western  promotions manager Chick Crumpacker, arrived to check out the show and in particular to  support their new RCA hopeful, Jimmie Rodgers Snow. The younger Snow had been signed  specifically because of his appeal to a younger audience, and Chick Crumpacker still  remembers the shock he felt when Elvis Presley hit the stage. The RCA pair's loyalty to the  already-signed Snow couldn't obscure the facts: Elvis blew away not only Jimmie, but  everyone else on the show. Crumpacker didn't quite believe what he was seeing: a slickedup  country-rhythm hybrid, so raw he spit out his chewing gum and tossed it into the  audience. Chick could have done without that, but the music stayed with him. He bought  copies of the four Sun singles that Elvis had made and took them back to his boss, Steve  Sholes..
 
"We were astounded by the reaction", said RCA country and western promotion manager  Chick Crumpacker, "both among the Richmonders and in ourselves. There were kids in the  audience, it was definitely a noisier audience than I remembered from the Caravan the year  before. And lo and behold, out comes this guy whose picture we had seen in the trade  papers, and he was something else. All the mannerisms were more or less in place. The body  language, I don't remember exactly what he sang, but there were frequent belches into the  mike, and the clincher came when he took his chewing gum out and tossed it into the  audience. This, of course, was shocking, it was wild, but what really got the listeners was his  energy and the way he sang the songs. The effect was galvanic. It was also somewhat embarrassing, because as friends and promoters of Jimmie Rodgers Snow, we had to watch  him be totally eclipsed. The next morning we had breakfast with the Colonel and Hank  Snow", said Chick, "In walks the young star. And the first impression I had is the one that will always stick; that he was so unassuming, he seemed somewhat withdrawn at first, looked  nervously around the room, but he had this quality, he was very, very smart behind it all,  and he knew how to flatter people. We talked about the show, exchanged views about the crowd, the turnout, the other artists, he was very affable, he would say to Brad and me how  much he enjoyed being with us; 'I like you, Chick', he said. And while this may well have  been a ploy, it worked. We liked him, immensely, from the start". Chick said, "Throughout that spring and the early part of the summer I did a lot of wishful thinking with Steve Sholes,  maybe we could sign this guy. But as far as I know, there were no rumours at this point that  his contract was for sale. There was no question that the Colonel had his eye on him, though, the Colonel was definitely taking a proprietary attitude, even if nothing was  explicitly said or voiced".
 
And of course, Jan Edwards was there when Elvis was the first to get off the tour bus; ''Elvis was hungry, so we went three blocks to a restaurant. Loaded up with hamburgers, cokes, and twelve lemon tarts, we returned to the theater. The afternoon was spent talking about family, school, and God. There was an old upright piano in a corner, and Elvis started playing old hymns, including ''In The Garden'', and ''Whispering Hope''. Together we sang ''Moonlight And Roses'', and I snapped a few photos'', Edwards said.
 
MAY 16, 1955 MONDAY
 
An intelligence officer writes to FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover that Elvis Presley is a ''definitive danger to the security of the United States'' and ''possibly a drug addict and a sexual pervert''. The letter is placed in an FBI file on The King.
ORLANDO SENTINEL
 
Monday, May 16, 1955
 
ON THE TOWN
 
by Jean Yothers
 
WHAT HILLBILLY music does to the hillbilly music fan is absolutely phenomenal. It transports  him into a wild, emotional and audible state of ecstasy.
 
He never sits back sedately patting  his palms politely and uttering bravos of music appreciation as his long-hair counterpart. He  thunders his appreciation for the country-style music and nasal-twanged singing he loves by  whistling shrilly through teeth, pounding the palms together with the whirling momentum of  a souped-up paddle wheel, stomping the floor and ejecting yip-yip noises like the barks of a  hound dog when it finally runs down a particularly exclusive coon.
 
That's the way it was, friends, at the big Hank Snow show and all-star Grand Ole Opry  jamboree staged last week in Municipal Auditorium to jam-packed houses both  performances. It was as hot as blue blazes Auditorium, but the hillbilly fans turned out in  droves and seemed oblivious to the heat. The evening's entertainment so captived the  crowd that the whole shebang seemed like a cross between the enthusiasm displayed at a  wrestling match and old fashioned camp meeting. It was quite an experience and why the  riotous response that night didn't split the Auditorium wide open is still a wonder cause  those rafters really rocked.
 
This was my first tangle with a hillbilly jamboree, a poignant contrast to opera in Atlanta I  must say. I was awed and with all do respect to Metropolitan Opera in Atlanta, I got a  tremendous boot out of this loud, uninhibited music that's sending the country crazy.
 
The many hit tunes of "singing ranger" Hank Snow were familiar to me, likewise Miss Martha  Carson, but I pulled a blank on several other entertainers. When one cowboy-geared fellow  loped on stage with fancy guitar, the crowd was hollering so enthusiastically I didn't catch his  announced name. Turning to an enraptured girl beside me I asked, "Who's that?". She gave  me the sort of look I gave the supermarket women when they couldn't identify Sir Anthony  Eden and replied with stupification, "That's Ferron Young".
 
Ferron Young was real sharp singing that ditty about living fast, loving hard, dying young and  leaving a beautiful memory, but what really stole the show was this 20-year-old sensation,  Elvis Presley, a real sex-box as far as the teenage girls are concerned. They squealed themselves silly over this fellow in orange coat and sideburns who "sent" them with his  unique arrangement of "Shake, Rattle And Roll". And following the program, Elvis was  surrounded by girlies asking for autographs. He would give each a long, slow look with  drooped eye lids and comply. They ate it up. The crowd also ate up a peppy and perspiring  Miss Martha Carson calling the parquet-sitting spectators. "You folks a-sitten over there on  the shelves" and the same Miss Carson breaking two guitar strings and a pick with her strong  strumming of "This Old House" and "Count Your Blessing". Fans were forever rushing up near  the stage snapping flashbulb pictures during the program, and they all instinctively  recognized a tune with recognizable roars before the second plunk of the guitar had been  sounded. It was amazing! Hillbilly music is here to stay, yo'all!
MAY 17, 1955 TUESDAY
 
Hank Snow and his travelling road show dropped into North Carolina for an appearance in  Asheville. Martha Carson and the Country Gentlemen were second on the bill, with Elvis  Presley listed fourth behind Slim Whitman.
 
The 8:15 p.m. appearance was held at the City  Auditorium. Tickets ranged from $1.50 reserved down to $1.00 general admission. Children  under twelve were allowed in for 50-cents.
 
Paul Peek, guitarist of Gene Vincent's Blue Caps remember ''I'd met Elvis before in Asheville, North Carolina, when I played steel guitar on TV, he was on the show with Hank Snow and Martha Carson, and he was last on the bill. This was a regular stage show at the Asheville Auditorium. We got a little quartet started backstage, Elvis Presley, Buck Trent (from Cousin' Wilbur's outfit), and Martha Carson's guitarist, we got a little quartet up going round all the dressing rooms and buggin' everybody. They kicked us out! We sang ''Peace In The Valley'', which Elvis later recorded. That was the first time I met him. He was on star billing that night, because the night before he'd stolen the show from Hank Snow in Richmond, Virginia. We helped him pack his car up, put the bass on top''.
 
Buck Trent, guitar and banjo player said, ''I was doing a TV show in Asheville, Elvis had just got rolling and came on a package show with Hank Snow. He had gotten like 25 encores the night before in Norfolk. Scotty and Bill were telling me about it. We were sort of local TV stars when they came in. After the show, we went to a diner, and visited a little bit, and he was the nicest looking guy I have ever seen. I said, Ýou need to be in the mioies', and he just laughed. What interested me was Scotty and Bill being the band, and Elvis out there trying to play the Martin guitar and breaking strings, and when you break a few strings, you're history, but he just went right after it''.
 
As per the norm, Hank Snow played before Elvis that night. When Presley took the stage, he appeared in a green sports coat and chartreuse pants.
 
According to Dorothy T. Mehling, ''I attended the May 17, 1955, concert with my two best friends. Although we were not country music fans, we did know Elvis' work from listening to radio station WLAC in Nashville that played black music. We were big fans of Little Willie John, Ray Charles, and Chuck Berry, and when we first heard Elvis, we thought he was a black singer. Then a radio station in Asheville started playing his music, so in daylight hours we listened to that station in hopes of getting to hear him. I can't remember the squence of the show, but I do know that he was not an opening act. They were explosive from the first note. No such sound had ever come out of Nashville or anywhere else for that matter. They sang one song after another, the audience was screaming and yelling, and I don't think anyone knew what was happening, but I think they must have known on some level that this was no ordinary act. Elvis muttered something between songs, probably the song titles, but even if his diction had been perfect, no one could have heard a word he said because of all the noise. I remember that he sang, ''That's All Right'', ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', ''I Got A Woman'', Baby Let's Play House'', and ''Good Rockin' Tonight''. And I believe he sang ''Old Shep''. But one thing that really stands out in my mind is that at some point during the show, he spit his gum across the stage, and my friends and I, who were sitting close to the stage, kept our eyes on where it had landed so we could retrieve it after the show. One of us did''!
MAY 18. 1955 WEDNESDAY
 
The Faron Young was back as the Hank Snow tour stopped for two shows at 7:00 and 9:00  p.m. at the American Legion Auditorium in Roanoke, Virginia. Tickets were $1.00 in  advance, $1.50 reserved seats, and fifty cents for children. The show was sponsored by the  Roanoke Record Shop. It was reported that Elvis Presley did not have his back-up band but  used members of other performers' band.
 
It is possible that Scotty Moore and Bill Black  actually backed other performers, thereby confusing the issue. Following the show, the  performers spent the night in the Hotel Roanoke.
 
Before the first show, Elvis Presley sat backstage on a small chair and chatted with two local  reporters and a half dozen disc jockey’s. One of them, King Edward, a local radio personality  on WSLC, described Elvis Presley as "a comic". King Edward was very polite, but clearly  viewed Elvis Presley as a nice kid who had a lot to learn. Although, like many Southern disc jockey’s, King Edward didn't realize the full potential of Elvis' innovative musical style, he  did remember that Elvis' was very serious about his music and his performances. Feeling that  the country and western market was just too restrictive, Elvis Presley made it clear that he  believed that he couldn't continue to work in it, and that his records had to appeal to a  wider audience. Since Elvis Presley was very deliberate about plotting his future musical  career, it was not surprising that he asked for advice. "He'd often take the time to ask other  artists if they liked what he was doing", King Edward noted, "or if they thought he looked  silly".
 
Alvin Hudson, an officer with the Roanoke police, also chatted with Elvis Presley for a long  time. Since Presley closed the show, he had a lot of time to talk with Hudson. When Elvis  Presley went on stage, Hudson was astonished by the crowd's reaction. "Elvis sang only a couple of songs - "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" was one. People rushed from their seats and  stormed on stage", Hudson remembered.
 
Hudson said, ''We spoke mostly about the show. Elvis was quiet and pleasant. He didn'r have much to say. He answered questions briefly and added nothing more. He looked so young. I couldn't believe it when Elvis took the stage. He hadn't given the slightest indication waiting modestly in the chair, talking softly, that his performance would be so powerful. He really worked that crowd up. I was so impressed. No other performer got the response Elvis did that night''.
 
Since there was plenty of free time, Elvis Presley went downtown to the Roanoke Record  Shop at 116 West Church Avenue to search for some rhythm and blues records. Mrs. Viola  Bess, owner of the shop, had been the one who had booked the Roanoke concert, and she was working in the store when Elvis Presley arrived. They talked at length about his music,  and Elvis Presley made it clear that he depended upon the new black sounds to supplement  his musical act. After searching through the store's record bins, Elvis Presley walked back to  the Hotel Roanoke for lunch.
 
According Viola Bess, ''We thought they were going to tear the place down. They really went for him. The day after the show, we were besieged with requests for Elvis Presley records''.
MAY 19, 1955 THURSDAY
 
At 8 o'clock, doors open 7p.m., Elvis Presley and Onie Wheeler closed out their obligation  with the Hank Snow All Star Jamboree as they played the City Memorial Auditorium in  Raleigh, North Carolina. Featured with Snow were Faron Young, the Wilburn Brothers,  Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters, Slim Whitman, the Davis Sisters and Jimmie Rodgers  Snow. Tickets for this package were $1.50 reserved and $1.00 general admission. Children  got in for only 50-cents. The show was promoted over WMSN radio.
 
George Hamilton IV recalls: "The first time I met Elvis was with the Hank Snow show where  he was billed as "Introducing The Hillbilly Cat, Elvis Presley". "I went backstage to meet him  and he was real genuine, real down to earth. Then... I don't know if it was even a year later,  he came back to Raleigh, the same town, to play The Carolina Theatre and it was "The Elvis  Presley Show". He'd been on TV and stuff... He had some country acts on that show with him  - I think The Carter Sisters and Justin Tubb... Benny Martin, the fiddle player... The Louvin  Brothers might've been on that one too I went out to the popcorn stand and there was  nobody out there, and in the front door of the theatre came Elvis... he'd been out to the  dime store, y'know, Woolworth's or whatever, to get some toiletry supplies. He was just real  casual. I said, "Hi, Elvis' and he said, "Hey, howya' doin' man?". We just stood there and  talked in the lobby and I remember noticing while he was talkin' to me.. he had the wet-look  then, back when everyone used Wildroot cream oil or whatever, it was the weirdest thing,  but I remember little drops of hair oil dripping from his ducktail down onto his shirt collar!".
MAY 20, 1955 FRIDAY
 
From another brief article in Billboard (May 28, 1955): "Guesting with Rex Lawrence over  KOCA, Kilgore, Texas, recently were J.E. and Maxine Brown, Elvis Presley and the "Louisiana  Hayride" band". Elvis Presley had last worked with the Browns for the Gladwater remote  broadcast of the Louisiana Hayride, April 30.
 
Elvis Presley performed in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This show was listed in Billboard (May  14, 1955) as the final stop on the tour that began May 1. Well, the tour stopped here, but  Elvis Presley was movin' on.
 
The May 18 advertising in the Chattanooga Times specifically omits Elvis'  name from the pre-printed format sent out by Colonel Parker's office. In Elvis' place the ad  features the Duke of Paducah, who did not appear on any earlier shows on this tour. Just  why Elvis Presley did not play the final date of the tour is unclear, and no other performance  by Elvis Presley on this date has surfaced. The show was sponsored by Red "Uncle Fud"  Brown of WAPO radio, who reported that he interviewed Hank Snow, Faron Young, Martha  Carson, and the Duke of Paducah, but not Elvis Presley.
MAY 21, 1955 SATURDAY
 
As part of Billboard's annual review of country and western music, Elvis Presley ran a  quarter-page ad which touted him as the "freshest, newest voice" in that field. Elvis, along  with Onie Wheeler, returned to the "Louisiana Hayride".
 
For the first time since the Gladwater remote broadcast of April 30, Elvis Presley and Onie  Wheeler returned to the Louisiana Hayride, which was broadcast from Shreveport.
 
Elvis  Presley could try out new songs, when he sang Big Joe Turner's "Flip, Flop And Fly", a rhythm  and blues standard that Elvis Presley was working into his act. When Elvis Presley played the  Turner song backstage, Onie Wheeler suggested that it was inappropriate for the "Hayride"  audience. Elvis Presley tried it out anyway.
 
The relationship between Colonel Tom Parker and Tom Diskin on one side, and Bob Neal and Elvis Presley on the other, had been somewhat strained during the spring, at least from the viewpoint of Jamboree Attractions. Internal correspondence between Parker and Diskin revealed uncertainly on whether they could trust Bob Neal, or if he was just using them. Diskin and Parker discussed between themselves whether it was worth the time and energy they put into it. At this point more fuel was added to the fire, as the package tour that Bob Neal had arranged in Texas in late May had been in direct conflict with the Colonel's own plan to tour Elvis with Hank Snow in the territory.
 
However, the just-completed three-week tour had given the Tom Parker a new perspective on Elvis' potential. Riot in Jacksonville or not, in most places Elvis had brought the house down, often eclipsing the success of the major stars on the show, including Hank Snow. In a May 25 letter, Tom Parker writes Bob Neal, reassuring him that he is not the type of person who would try to cut a manager out, and extends an invitation to Neal and Elvis, saying that if they want to tie in closer with him, he will be happy to sit down and try to work it out. The underlying concern is the reverse scenario, where Bob Neal will take on towns and territories where the Colonel has done the groundwork, and leave the Colonel out of the picture. To some extent, right or wrong, the Colonel feels that this is exactly what has happened in Texas. Parker decides that he needs to play along and offers to help, ''if there are any towns in Texas you don't mind us working on'', hoping that there would still be some towns where he could involved in the lucrative Texas market.
 
A second letter is sent off to Neal the same day, apparently due to a follow-up phone conversation after the first letter has been mailed. The tone in the follow-up letter is much firmer, and basically asks for protection, rights, and options for every place where Jamboree Attractions book or try to book a show. Colonel's immediate plans are for Elvis to play a week at the end of July on a Jamboree tour in Florida, headed by comedian Andy Griffith. The idea is mainly to cash in on the work they had done building up the May tour, getting back some of the investment in Elvis, as he had now established himself as a drawing power in Florida. The Colonel additionally outlines 10 days in September, revisiting places played on the May tour. Finally Colonel Parker suggests a further 15-20 dates in September and October going through new territory in Kansas, the Midwest, and possibly even Arizona. To underline that this is serious business, the Colonel asks for 200 photos, 100 newspaper mats and stories, in order to make press kits.
MAY 22, 1955 SUNDAY
 
In Houston, Texas, Elvis Presley and Onie Wheeler appeared at the Magnolia Gardens in the  afternoon and at Cook's Hoedown at night. (The Magnolia Gardens portion of this twosome is  confirmed by a May 21, 1955, mention in Billboard).
 
Elvis Presley to talk at length with Onie Wheeler about musical trends. They agreed that  country music was in transition, and that there was a shift toward rockabilly sounds.
 
The  hostility of traditional country stars during Elvis' concert appearances prompted Wheeler to  speculate on the reception Elvis Presley would receive at the upcoming Jimmie Rodgers  celebration.
 
According to G.L. Wright, ''The first time I saw Elvis was at Magnolia Gardens in Houston, Texas. Mom and Dad would go out there quite often back in those days.
 
As a young girl of about 7, I loved going to Magnolia Gardens; for back then, it was really quite pretty, and there were usually lots of kids to play with, and parents didn't have to worry about the kids if they wandered too far from their sight. Mom usually couldn't keep me still long enough to sit there and listen to whomever might be appearing on stage. Except for this one afternoon. A few kids and myself lined up right in front where the microphone was set up. The stage couldn't have been more than two feet tall and was just one open platform where anyone could just walk right up on stage from any vantage point around it. In other words, no security! As I was standing there, this young dark haired guy came out with a shiny shirt, baggy pants, and white shoes. I thought that was the funniest looking person I had ever seen, and like any young girl, giggled at the sight of him. He carried a guitar, and when he started to sing, he just shook all over with legs and feet going in every direction. us kids thought it was funny, and as he moved his feet around, we were trying to follow his feet with our hands touching his shoes and making a game out of it. We didn't know who Elvis Presley was or didn't care; his shoes were getting more attention from us kids than he was''!
 
"This cat came out", said future country singer Bob Luman, still a seventeen-year-old  high school student in Kilgore, Texas, "in red pants and a green coat and a pink shirt  and socks, and he had this sneer on his face and he stood behind the mike for five  minutes, I'll bet, before he made a move. Then he hit his guitar a lick, and he broke  two strings. Hell, I'd been playing ten years, and I hadn't broken a total of two  strings.
 
So there he was, these two strings dangling, and he hadn't done anything  except break the strings yet, and these high school girls were screaming and fainting  and running up to the stage, and then he started to move his hips real slow like he  had a thing for his guitar.
 
For the next nine days he played one-nighters around  Kilmore, and after school every day me and my girl would get in the car and go  wherever he was playing that night. That's the last time I tried to sing like Webb  Pierce or Lefty Frizzell".
MAY 23, 1955 MONDAY
 
Elvis Presley performed on 8:00 p.m. at  the Mayfair Building at the fairgrounds in Tyler, Texas. Also on the bill the Browns and Onie Wheeler. Admission for adults $1.00 abd for childeren 50 cents.
MAY 24, 1955 THUESDAY
 
Elvis Presley and the band had just one day at home. Scotty Moore went to O.K. Houck Piano Company in Memphis for his usual supply of strings, plus a new instrument cover, and an Echo Sonic amplifier. Elvis went with his favourite girl, Dixie Locke, to an rhythm and blues show that night, probably on Beal Street.
MAY 25, 1955 WEDNESDAY
 
Elvis Presley attended the Third Annual Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Celebration in Meridian,  Mississippi. The idea of an annual celebration of Jimmie Rodgers' contribution to country  music came from Hank Snow and Justin Tubb.
 
Over the course of the two-day event there were appearances by some 600 performers and  celebrities including ex-Louisiana governor/singer Jimmie Davis, Tennessee Governor Frank  Clement, Slim Whitman, Red Foley, Webb Pierce, Faron Young, Jimmy Newman, Johnny  Horton, ex-baseball all-star Dizzi Dean, and "Johnny" the Phillip Morris bellboy.
 
Among the  many music business executives on hand for the festivities were Charles Crumpacker of RCA Victor and Gerlun Landon of Hill and Range Publishers, who represented two companies that  would play an important role in Elvis' future, and Bob Neal developed the idea with Landon for a presentation that included Elvis songs, other Hill & range copyrights, and enough photos of Elvis to appeal to fans that might not play any instruments.
 
According to Chick Crumpacker, RCA promotion man, ''Meridian was the birthplace of Jimmie Rodgers, and it is there that his body was returned from New York for burial in 1933. In recent years, country artists from various localities have wished to build a memorial, and during 1952, singers Hank Snow and Ernest Tubb visited Meridian for this purpose. Meanwhile, ''The Meridian Star'', at the instigation of its owner, Jas H. Skewes, was planning to dedicate a steam locomotive to the community's deceased railmen. Hearing of this, delegates Snow and Tubb, who realized the close connection between Jimmy Ridgers and the railroad, contacted the newspaper and arranged with Mr. Skewes to have a twofold memorial''.
 
This date began at 2:00 p.m. with an "unofficial" barbecue at Highland Park. The event was  punctuated with speeches and music by local talent. Attendance for this even was estimated  at 20,000. In the evening, beginning at 9:00 p.m. there were five gigantic dance spread  across Meridian. The first was sponsored by the American Legion at the National Guard  Armory at Key Field. This dance featured music from R.D. Hendon and his band from Dallas.
 
The second musical show was hosted by the Meridian Jaycees and was scheduled for the  Officer's Club at Key Field. Hank Snow furnished the music.  The third show was sponsored by the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen at the Hamasa  Shrine Temple Mosque. Jim Reeves provided the music.
 
The September issue of Country Song Roundup reports that Elvis was called back for encore  after encore, performing, ''Baby Let's Play House'', ''I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone'',  Milkcow Blues Boogie'', and ''You're A Heartbreaker'', among others.
 
A fourth venue was quickly put together to handle the overflow crowd. It was sponsored by  the Meridian Police Department at the Gymnasium of Meridian Junior College. A "name  band", presumably Curtis Gordon, was scheduled at the last minute.
 
Finally, the 40 & 8 Club held a show at the American Legion hall on Fourth Street. This  concert was headlined by Elvis Presley. His group of performers included the Browns, Tibby  Edwards and Curtis Gordon performed the standard set, mixing blues, rhythm and blues, and country tunes. All music was provided free of charge and all the performers donated their  talent.
 
According to Charlie Walker a San Antonio disc jockey, ''Well, I met him down in Meridian, Mississippi, at the Jimmie Rodgers Festival down there, and of course he knew that I was playing his records, and he was a big fan of mine because he told someone he wanted to have his picture made with that ''famous disc jockey''. He was just gettin' goin' then, but I liked his records. They had a country sound to them, but he got the rock beat that was getting popular at that time by Chuck Berry and those type guys. I liked his stuff, but most other disc jockeys wouldn't play his records. They said it was no good and that it was gonna ruin our business and so forth. But I played 'em because I knew my listeners wanted to hear 'em''.
 
And Pat Clark said, ''Before his appearance, he attended a party held by one of Jimmie Rodgers cousins, Hortense Harvey. A friend was at the party and was leaving as Elvis was arriving and they got jammed in the screen door, and she looked up at him and said, 'I'll bet you can't even sing'! I was working downtown in the early years, and on the occasion of the Jimmie Rodgers Festival, we were allowed out on the street to watch. Here came the pink Cadillac with Elvis riding on the driver's side fender and little Jimmie Rodgers Snow riding on the passenger side fender. As they drove down the street, periodically the guys would jump off the car, grab a girl and kiss them! Of course I was standing on the passenger side! I remember he stayed at the Nelva Motel out on the highway, which we had to pass on our way to school. All the girls were plastered against the school bus window trying to catch a glipse''!
 
As part of the celebration, Elvis Presley rode in the parade down the Main Street of  Meridian, only to be booed lustily by the large crowd. Many Mississippi country music fans  disliked the way that Elvis Presley performed. The overall reception explains why Elvis  Presley cut his stay short and never again accepted a return invitation.
 
The Jimmie Rodgers Poll Winners about this day reads: Well, readers, the votes are all in -  and here are the results of our Jimmie Rodgers Achievement Award Poll. As most of you  know, the result of your voting were combined with those obtained by the Jimmie Rodgers  Day Committee in their poll of the country music trade. The two winners will receive their  awards on May 26 (Jimmie Rodgers Day) in Meridian, Mississippi.
 
By now you know that Elvis Presley topped the list of male country stars, while Kitty Wells  was selected as the outstanding female folk singer. It might be of interest to you to learn that Kitty received more votes than either Elvis or Webb Pierce, who has the runner-up.  Quite a popular gal - and deserving of every bit of the success that's come her way! The  achievements of young Mr. Presley, of course, need no further explanation. All we can do is  agree that he's one of the most dynamic performers to ever hit the music scene - and a  wonderful boy besides.
 
You're probably anxious to see how your own favorite came out in the voting, so here is a  list of the top twenty singers - ten fellas and ten glad - as chosen by you, the readers, and  the folks in the country music trade.
JIMMIE RODGERS - (1897-1933)Generally acknowledged as "The Father Of Country Music",  James Charles "Jimmie" Rodgers, who was born September 8, 1897 in Meridian, Mississippi,  was a major influence on the emerging "hillbilly" recording industry almost from the time of his first records in 1927. Although Rodgers initially conceived of himself in broader terms,  singing Tin Pan Alley hits and popular standards, his intrinsic musical talent was deeply  rooted in the rural southern environment out of which he came, as seen in the titles of  many of his songs:
 
"My Carolina Sunshine Girl", "My Little Old Home Down In New Orleans", "Dear Old Sunny South By The Sea", "Mississippi River Blues", "Peach Pickin' Time Down In  Georgia", "Memphis Yodel", "In The Hills Of Tennessee", the original "Blue Yodel" ("T for  Texas"), and others.
 
In adapting the black country blues of his native South to the nascent patterns of  commercial hillbilly music of the day, Rodgers created a unique new form - the famous "blue  yodel" - which led the way to further innovations in style and subject matter and exerted a  lasting influence on country music as both art form and industry. Through the force of his  magnetic personality and showmanship, Rodgers almost single-handedly established the role  of the singing star, influencing such later performers as Gene Autry, Hank Williams, Ernest  Tubb, George Jones, Willie Nelson and of course, Elvis Presley.
 
The son of a track foreman for the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, Rodgers in his twenties worked as  a brakeman for many railroads in the South and West. Stricken by tuberculosis in 1924, he  left the rails soon after to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a professional  entertainer. After several years of hard knocks and failure, he gained an audition with Ralph  Peer, an independent producer who had set up a temporary recording studio in Bristol,  Tennessee, for the Victor Talking Machine Company (later RCA Victor). Then, on August 4,  1927, Rodgers made his first recordings. Within a year he reached national popularity and  received billing as "The Singing Brakeman" and "America's Blue Yodeler". In 1929 he built a  home in the resort town of Kerrville, Tennessee, and moved there in an effort to restore his  failing health.
 
The onset of the Depression and increasing illness further slowed the progress of his career,  but throughout the early 1930s he continued to record and perform with touring stage  shows. By the time of his death in New York City at 35 in May 1933, he had recorded 110  titles, representing a diverse repertoire that included almost every type of song now  identified with country music: love ballads, honky-tonk tunes, railroad and hobo songs,  cowboy songs, novelty numbers, and the series of 13 blue yodels. In November 1961 Rodgers  became the first performer elected to Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame, immortalized  as "the man who started it all".
JOHNNY - Phillip Morris cigarette bellboy played by Johnny Roventini, a forty-nine-pound,  forty-seven-inch tall midget (sometimes the part was played by Freddy Douglas). Johnny  would yell, "Call for Phillip Mor-rees" in the radio and TV commercials. Johnny and Elvis  Presley appeared on the same bill at the Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Day Celebration in  Meridian, Mississippi, on May 25, 1955.
 
GOVERNOR JIMMY "PAPPY" DAVIS - Singer and songwriter born in Quitman, Louisiana, on  September 11, 1902. his most famous composition is "You Are My Sunshine". Over the years  he recorded about a dozen gospel albums. From 1945 to 1948 Davis served as governor of  Louisiana. In 1948 Jimmy Davis bestowed the honorary title of Colonel upon Tom Parker,  who had a friend, Bob Greer, on the governor's staff. It was the first of two honorary colonel  titles that Parker would receive. Jimmy Davis is a member of the Country Music Hall of  Fame.
 
DIZZY DEAN - (1911-1974) Baseball pitcher, born Jay Hanna Dean on January 16, 1911, who  played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1930-37) and later became a TV baseball announcer. In  the 1952 movie The Pride Of St. Louis, the six-foot-four-inch Dean was portrayed by the sixfoot- four-inch Dan Dailey. It was Dizzy Dean who gave Roy Acuff the nickname "The King Of  Country Music". Dizzy Dean, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, was one of the featured  performers, along and after Elvis Presley, at the Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Day Celebration,  May 26, 1955.
MAY 26, 1955 THURSDAY
 
Starting the day, at 11:00 a.m. there was a parade through downtown Meridian witnessed by  an estimated throng of 60,000 people. This was followed at 4:00 p.m. by a memorial service  at the Jimmie Rodgers monument.
 
At 7:00 p.m. Elvis Presley performed at the Junior College Stadium as part of a variety show  loaded with country talent.
 
Headliners were Hank Snow and Ernest Tubb, and literally hundreds of performers appeared on stage in a five-hour, included Dizzy Dean, thirty-act  marathon that featured many entertainers from the Louisiana Hayride.
 
The event was  sponsored by the Louisiana Hayride, and it was emceed by the Hayride's Horage Logan. The  portion of the show from 8:30 to 9:00 p.m. was carried over the CBS radio network. 
 
Attendance was estimated at 4,500. With so much musical talent involved, not to mention  the many awards and short speeches, each act was limited in the length of their  performances. Elvis Presley reportedly sang "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" and "Baby,  Let's Play House", ''That's All Right'' but neither song appealed to the crowd who had come to  hear straightforward country music. He was followed on stage by the Miller Sisters, a new  group recording for Sun Records, who were accompanied by the Blue Moon Boys.
 
"All the entertainers marched in the parade down Main Street", said Jo Miller of the Miller  Sisters. "We had marched before Elvis, so when he came along, carrying his guitar, we were  already on the sidelines watching. He saw us and said 'Hi, ya, punks'. He pitched his guitar to  Millie and she wagged it around a couple of blocks. After awhile, she gave it back to him;  said she wasn't going to carry his guitar around all day'.
 
Eddie Hill, a country music artist who had a Saturday morning show on WMPS radio in  Memphis, was one of the many masters of ceremonies. Some think Elvis may have driven  down with Hill and Grand Ole Opry star Minnie Pearl.
 
"We were sitting on the ground, fifty to seventy-five feet in front of the stage", says Kermit  Rasco, who had his own little band in the Meridian area. "The performances were on a  flatbed truck. CBS was broadcasting to 8:30-9:00 p.m. segment nationally. I would say there  were more than 4,500 people there at Ray Field Football Stadium. We were there mainly to  see and hear Hank Snow and Ernest Tubb. When they announced Elvis Presley, most of us  had no idea who they were talking about. But once he got started singing, an immediate  feeling swept through all of us and we were hollering and clappin". "There was enough  response that Hill promised us they would bring Elvis back on later in the show. He really lit  up the crowd".
 
"I'd have to say Elvis was the most exciting thing to happen in Meridian since the Calf  Scrambles". The Carlf Scrambles? "Yeah, they would stage that every year down here. Turn a  bunch of young boys loose in an arena with a bunch of calves and the boys had to catch and  toe down the calves".
 
Sharon Hedgpeth, fifteen at the time, had a blind date take her to the concert at the  football stadium. "We had heard him on the radio a little, but we didn't really know anything  about him", said Hedgpeth. "The minute he walked out on that stage, even before he began singing, we were in awe of him, my girlfriends and I. We all fell in love with him at first  sight. We went backstage after he finished. He was just standing around. We approached  him and got his autograph. I still have it". Years later Hedgpeth marry John Wayne Hegpeth,  the boy who took her to see Elvis Presley for the first time.
 
Elvis Presley's arrival in Meridian was not without controversy. "This is a religious area", said  Jimmy Kidd. "Some people thought his wiggle, his hip movements, were the most vulgar  thing. They didn't feel school kids should see him. I didn't see anything wrong with it, myself. They were still discussing whether or not to let him perform when the show started.  Hank Snow and Ernest Tubb had to talk to the promoters and this delayed the start of the  show, but in the end, Elvis was allowed to perform".  "I'll never forget seeing him for the first time, coming out on that stage dressed a whole lot  like the New Orleans Saints, wearing an orange satin suit with black trim". Jimmy Kidd, who  operated the Temple Theater in Meridian, didn't know a lot about Elvis Presley before this  gig. "He was not a household word, not then", said Kidd. "I felt the help he got from Snow  and Tubb in getting him on stage after all that hassle, that this had a big part in how he  really got his start".
 
Later, Kidd said, the foundation tried to get Elvis Presley for a return engagement on Jimmie  Rodgers Day, "but by then he had an astronomical asking price, even though he had cut his  teeth right here in Meridian, Mississippi". One of the emcees at the event, a young member  of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, was G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery. "My job was to offer a  prayer before things really got started", said Montgomery. "When they announced Elvis  Presley, saying he was from Tupelo, that was the first I had heard of him". Montogomery  went on to become a distinguished member of the U.S. House of Representatives for many  years. Many former servicemen today attend college when benefits from the Montogomery  G.I. Bill.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
LIVE APPEARANCE ELVIS PRESLEY
FOR THE JIMMIE RODGERS MEMORIAL FESTIVAL 1955
 
RECORDED THE JUNIOR COLLEGE STADIUM, MERIDIAN, MISSISSIPPI
THURSDAY MAY 26, 1955
 
Elvis Presley probably performed more songs on this occasion.
 
 01 - "THAT'S ALL RIGHT" - B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Arthur Crudup
Publisher: - Arthur Crudup Music
Matrix number: - None – Broadcast Tape
Recorded: - May 26, 1955
Released: - August 3, 2012
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-3-27 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955
Reissued: - February 19, 2016 MRS Records (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 10054057-1-24 mono
LIVE IN THE 50S - THE COMPLETE CONCERT RECORDINGS
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elvis Presley – Vocal & Guitar
Scotty Moore – Guitar
Bill Black – Upright Bass
 
Under the heading, ''Folk Music Fireball'': At the recent Jimmie Rodgers Day celebration in Meridian, Mississippi, Elvis was called back for encore after encore singing such tunes as ''Milkcow Blues Boogie'', ''You're A Heartbreaker'', and his latest coupling ''I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone'' and ''Baby Let's Play House''. There is no doubt about it; this youngster is a real ''Folk Music Fireball''.
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
Wilmer Wittle, a Mississippi banker today, had heard of Elvis from a cousin who had seen him  perform at the Louisiana Hayride. "My cousin had told me, 'you gotta go see him. He does all  this dancin' around in tight britches and all. He wears a rubber hose in his pants! That  excites everybody! We took folding chairs and were sitting on the football field when Elvis  entered the stadium and drove around the track waving at everybody. He was the biggest  hit. He really made an impact. He was the most popular person on that stage that night.  Backstage, he was hugging and kissing all the girls. Some high school kid from Oregon was  also on the show. He, too, was really good and Elvis was giving him doubles takes. He wasn't  expecting this kid to be stealing his thunder".
 
Anne Shine Landrum's mother was the sort of unofficial Auntie Mame of Meridian on Jimmie  Rodgers Day. After the parade, many of the performers and dignitaries would come to the  Shine home for iced tea and some of her homemade desserts. They would sign the guest register, then mix and mingle with the crowd.
 
Elvis Presley, she said, arrived with the Everly Brothers, Don and Phil. Elvis may have been a  shy person outwardly, but she said he lost that shyness when the desserts were passed  around. She said Elvis played the piano and sang some at the afternoon affair, more or less unwinding for his night performance on stage.
 
On this same day Colonel Tom Parker writes a long letter to Bob Neal outlining all that he has  done for Presley and offering to work more closely with Neal in promoting the career of the  young singer. ''If ever you wish to tie in with me closely and let me carry the ball'', he declares in somewhat disingenuous fashion, ''I will be happy to sit down with both of you try  to work it out''.
MAY 27, 1955 FRIDAY
 
This is another Texarkana show with no documentation but plenty of memories. As to his  availability, Elvis Presley spent most of May with Hank Snow, playing from Louisiana to  Florida and up the East Coast to Richmond. However, Dewanda Jo Smith recalls attending a  second springtime Texarkana show before she went to Shreveport in June.
 
As with all of  Elvis' Texarkana appearances at this time, this would have been on a Friday. As mentioned  above, under the April 22 entry, although he did not perform in Birmingham on May 6, the  logistics virtually eliminate the possibility that Elvis Presley played Texarkana that night.
 
The  same can be said for the next open Friday, May 20. Just where Elvis Presley went after the  May 19 show in Raleigh, North Carolina, is unknown, but he did not perform the next night  in Chattanooga.
 
Although a trip of more than a thousand miles was not out of the question,  the show that Elvis Presley played in Texarkana in May does not appear to warrant such an  effort. Much more likely is May 27, immediately following the Jimmie Rodgers Day  festivities.
 
Elvis Presley appeared at the Municipal Auditorium in Texarkana, Arkansas.  Maxine and Jim Ed Brown join in with Elvis on a gospel song.  This presentation almost seems to have been some sort of roll call for new talent. Ms. Smith,  whose memory is so clear that she can recall the exact dress she wore to a show, remembers  that the others on the bill were virtually unknown in Texarkana at this time: Johnny Cash,  Carl Perkins and Conway Twitty. Of course, Ms. Smith's reason for attending was to visit with  another artist, Tommy Sands. For the first time in Texarkana, backing Elvis Presley on this  show, according to Ms. Smith, was D.J. Fontana. When questioned about the fact that Twitty  was in the Army and was stationed in Japan at the time, Ms. Hill stands fast, saying that she  knows exactly where she was sitting in the Auditorium, and in her mind's eye, she can  visualize Twitty as he left the stage and walked alongside the wall toward the front of the  Auditorium. One can only assume that he must have been home, Helena, Arkansas, on leave.
 
Ms. Smith recalls Elvis Presley was driving a Chevrolet, probably Scotty's car, when he  arrived at the Auditorium. He wore black trousers and a black shirt open to the waist. Later,  Elvis' stage antics were more than she could take. He had a pocketful of the thin "Italian"  belts that were popular at the time, and he tossed them to the audience. He followed up by  removing his shirt. At that point, Dewanda waited out the rest of his performance in the  lobby while the other females screeched in approval.
 
Lura Impson wrote in her T. Tommy Time from August 1955 newsletter, ''May 27 in Texarkana, Elvis Presley had a wonderful show, and this goes for everyone that was there. He featured J.E. Brown and Maxine Brown, Onie Wheeler, Leon Post, and others. Never saw the boys get so wound up before. Someone went home with some treasured souvenirs. Seemed that Bill Black got too hot with his tie, on an couldn't pull it off while he was playing, so Elvis walked over and untied it and threw it out in the audience. This really started something; the crowd kept screaming until Elvis threw his tie, Scotty Moore's  tie and all three of their belts away. After the show, he gave the beautiful shirt he was wearing away. Everyone had a wonderful time''.
 
After the show, Onie Wheeler let Elvis borrow his jacket to have some pictures made, since he had given his shirt away''.
 
And Suzanne Vaughn said, The evening's performance was a blast. Elvis was in a giving mood. Clothing flew off the stage. his belt, tie, and yeas, his shirt. The shirt dangled in front of me, and I grabbed it''. And Marileon Hopkins Jerden went to all Elvis performances. She met him after the show at a diner, where he entertained himself by throwing wadded up napkins at her and her friends.
MAY 28, 1955 SATURDAY
 
Elvis Presley appeared on the Big D Jamboree, broadcast from the Sport Auditorium in  Dallas, Texas. Other guest artists were Onie Wheeler, Arlie Duffn, the Carlisles, Ferlin Husky, Jim Edward and Maxine Brown, and Texas Bill Strength.  These was no ad for this Big D show, but according to a brief mention in Billboard (May 21,  1955), he was scheduled.
 
Elvis Presley felt relieved to be back amongst his most rabid fans. Crowds were becoming  increasingly difficult to control, however, and the reaction to Elvis; act throughout Texas  was reaching an undeniable level of pandemonium.

 

MAY 29, 1955 SUNDAY
 
Elvis Presley began a week-long tour on this date by playing two shows in separate locations. Appearing with Elvis Presley during the week were Martha Carson, Ferlin Husky (who also  appeared in his comedy persona, Simon Crum), Bill Carlisle and the Carlisles, Jim Ed and  Maxine Brown, Chuck Lee, Johnny Carroll, and Onie Wheeler. The tour was booked by Bob  Neal.
 
At 4:00 p.m. Elvis Presley played the North Side Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas, in a  performance billed as "The Grand Ole Opry" show. Tickets ranged from $1.00 in advance at  the Downtown Ticket Agency Cullum & Screen Corporation, 11509 Elm, to $1.25 at the Sport  Aauditorium. This afternoon show had drawn seven thousand people. The show's high point  was Elvis Presley's "Tennessee Partner". The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Elvis  Presley was "utterly fantastic".
 
At 8:00 p.m. Elvis Presley returned to play the Sportatorium in Dallas, Texas, 20 miles  away. Tickets prices were the same to $1.25 at the door.
 
By May 1955, promoters in the larger coliseum were often willing to pay an extra $200 to  $300 to book Elvis Presley. The fact that promoters persistently made these offers  underlines the fact that Elvis' popularity was enormous.
JOHNNY CARROLL - Rockabilly singer born in Cleburne, Texas, on October 23, 1937. In 1956  he recorded Elvis Presley's "Tryin' To Get To You" (Decca 29940), which featured Owen  Bradley on piano, Owen's brother Harold on rhythm guitar, and Elvis Presley's future guitar  player, Grady Martin, on lead guitar.
 
Colonel Parker's concern about losing Elvis' management contract only seemed to intensify during the week. West Texas was a triumph, with Odessa-Midland record store owner Cecil Holifield reporting to the trades that the sales of all four Presley singles ''beat any individual artist in our eight years in the record business''.
 
According to Bob Neal, ''I recall one time when Mitch Miller, who was with Columbia then, called me. We were out on tour in West Texas and he asked how much is the contract and I said I didn't know, I'll check, and by that time I think it had gotten up to... I think Sam was asking $18,000 or $20,000. I called Mitch back and said, 'Oh, forget it. No artist is worth that money''. The following week, MGM Records contacted Sam Phillips direct to hear if the recording contract was for sale''.
 
The West Texas tour featured Ferlin Husky, the Carlisles, Martha Carson, Jim Ed & Maxine Brown, and several others. Lubbock and Midland were now solid bases for Elvis, but the territory was constantly expanded, this time by playing the town of Guymon in Oklahoma. These were good times, having fun in the swimming pool in Midland, and enjoying the company of 15-year old Bonnie Brown, who accompanied her older brother and sister, Jim Ed and Maxine, on the tour.
 
Bob Neal said, ''I remember one tour that I had out through Texas earlier. We brought three other country acts. The first show, I set up with Elvis closing the show. And after the show, one of the other acts (Ferlin Husky) approached me and indicated they thought they should close the show because they were a well-known act. And so we tried it one show that way. Elvis, it didn't make any difference to him. But after one show it became obvious, because after Elvis appeared the other act came on and although the other act is a top act and did a good job, why there catcalls and screams, 'Bring Elvis back, we want to see Elvis', and the other act conceded that there was no way you could follow this guy on stage''.
MAY 30, 1955 MONDAY
 
According to Billboard (May 28, 1955), Elvis Presley was scheduled to play the Fair Park  Auditorium in Abilene, Texas. However, the advertisement in the Abilene Reporter News on May 30 indicates that the Fair Park Arena offered a full bill of wrestling at 8:30 p.m.,  featuring "Gentlemen" Ed Francis, the World's Champion. There is no other known  appearance for Elvis Presley on this date.
 
Bob Neal books this week's tour with Ferlin Husky, the Carlisles, and Martha Carson.
MAY 31, 1955 TUESDAY
 
Elvis Presley undertook in the Roy Orbison TV Show as "double header" with a 7:30 p.m.  show at the Midland High School Auditorium in Midland, Texas. As the opening acts finished  in Midland, they drove immediately to Odessa for the second show.
 
The 8:30 p.m. performance in Odessa was held at the Odessa High School Field House.  Tickets to either show were $1.25 in advance (reserved seats were a quarter extra) and  $1.50 general admission at the door. As it had two months earlier, the Odessa performance  again benefited the Voting Home Owners Club.
 
UNKNOWN DATE LATE MAY 1955
 
By late May 1955, Colonel Tom Parker had proposed a management contract to Elvis Presley.  He pointed out that Bob Neal was too inexperienced to promote Elvis Presley nationally, and  that he and Neal had been booking Elvis Presley in kind of a quasi-partnership for some time  anyway. "Colonel Parker was like a whirlwind, he never stopped", Tommy Sands remarked.  "Bob Neal was slow, plodding, and careful", Ronald Smith stated. It was obvious to  contemporary observers that Parker and Neal couldn't work together. "Everyone wanted the  Colonel to manage them, including Elvis Presley", Sands pointed out.
 
UNKNOWN DATE LATE MAY 1955
 
Johnny Cash playing regular fifteen-minute show on KWEM in West Memphis, Arkansas, and  started playing local gigs arranged by Bob Neal. Though later in his career Cash would deny  it, Marshall Grant recalled that the level of the honky-tonks they were playing in those days  was pretty low. He remembered "more guns and knives than fans at most of those early gigs".
 
Cash became the hit of Bob Neal's Eighth Anniversary show, just as Elvis Presley had been  the surprise hit a year earlier. Dick Stuart, who worked as a disc jockey on KWEM as "Uncle  Richard" reported to Billboard that "this year Johnny Cash broke through as the outstanding  new act in Memphis". Stuart promptly signed him to a management deal.
 
SUMMER 1955
 
As RCA, Columbia, Decca, Mercury, Capitol, and Atlantic Records grew familiar with Elvis  Presley's music, Colonel Tom Parker was busy molding his future protege into a mainstream  musical act. The Colonel was impressed with Sam Phillips' regional success in merchandising  Elvis' records. Not only were the Sun discs selling well, but they were purchased by a diverse  mix of white country fans, young rhythm and blues devotees, and black people.
 
As a result of Elvis Presley's unique pattern of record sales, Tom Parker paid more attention  to the concert audience, and the way the fans reacted to Elvis' music. During his years in the  country music field, Parker had always been intrigued by the changes in audiences. He  recognized that Elvis Presley was a unique act, and during the Hank Snow tour he decided  that Elvis Presley's special performing qualities, including his sex appeal and swaggering  musical gyrations, were the outlandish key to his exceptional appeal.
 
Tom Parker had an old-fashioned sense of burlesque, and he urged Elvis Presley to exploit  his stage mannerisms, suggesting that Elvis Presley add even more energy to his stage show.
 
SUMMER 1955
 
During the summer of 1955, Arnold Shaw, visited Memphis and Nashville, where he quickly  recognized Elvis Presley's breakthrough talent. Not only was Shaw an important figure in the  music business but, as the director of the creative department of the Edward B. Marks Music  Corporation, Arnold Shaw was in a position to influence records moguls. His office, located in  the RCA building in New York City, on what is now the Avenue Of The Americas, was a place  where he frequently exchanged opinions with RCA executives.
 
After five o'clock, when the workday ended, Arnold Shaw and RCA's younger record heads  often stopped off at Manhattan bars and discussed emerging performers like Elvis Presley.  Shaw talked about Elvis' obvious talent, and relayed his stories about his trip to Memphis.  Shaw beamed as he described listening to the recordings of Elvis Presley's music, record  moguls paid attention. Had it not been for Shaw's enthusiasm, RCA might have continued to ignore Elvis Presley.
 
Randy Wood, the president of Dot Records bid 10,000 for Elvis Presley's contract, Sam  Phillips leaked the Dot Records offer to other labels, attracting even more interest. Most of  all, Sam Phillips was attempting to interest Columbia Records in Elvis Presley, because  Columbia's prestige would bring every other major record company into the bidding. Much to  Sam Phillips surprise, however, Mitch Miller, Columbia's chief talent scout, indicated that  Phillips' $20,000 asking price was too high for "the unknown Hillbilly singer". Miller offered  $15,000. Dee Kilpatrick of Mercury Records bid $10,000. After being rebuffed, Kilpatrick  wanted to increase the bid, but he cound't convince the label's key executives of Presley's  worth.
JUNE 1955
 
There were important technological advances in the recording industry beginning around  this time. When Atlantic Records decided to record an obscure New Orleans jazzman, Wilber  de Paris, in "binaural" sound, the industry responded with disbelief. Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler, the creative forces behind Atlantic, appeared to have lost their minds, as the  binaural process required a record player with two needles. The record was not a hit, but  Ertegun and Wexler ultimately had the last laugh; realizing that recording technology was on  the verge of vast improvement, they led the way in experimenting with a fuller sound  despite the naysayers, and garnered the attention of many innovative and creative  musicians as well as a great deal of favourable publicity.
 
This experimentation with sound came just at the right time, and was another timely aspect  of the changes that benefit Elvis Presley as he came to the fore. The American public had  entered the era of the "hi-fi" craze, and consumers spent thousands of dollars on new equipment. A flood of amplifiers, preamplifiers, FM tuners, and speakers with sophisticated  woofers and tweeters created a new industry.
 
Interest in the 78rpm recording evaporated as quickly as the interest in vinyl did when  compact disc were introduced decades later. In June 1955, Columbia Records totally  abandoned 78s to concentrate upon long-playing albums and 45rpm records. Having  anticipated the developments in hardware, Atlantic Records made a fortune in this market.  The business of rock and roll was on its way to immense profits as a result of the new  recording technology.
 
JUNE 1955
 
"Elvis Presley continues to gather speed over the South", writes Cecil Holifield, operator of  the Record Shops in Midland and Odessa, Texas. "West Texas is his hottest territory to date",  continues Holifield, "and he is the teenagers' favourite whenever he appears. His original  appearance in the area was in January, with Billy Walker at Midland, Texas, to more than  1,600 paid admissions. In February, with Hank Snow at Odessa, 20 miles from Midland, paid  attendance hit over 4,000. On April 1, we booked only Elvis and his boys, Bill and Scotty,  plus Floyd Cramer on piano and a local boy on drums for a rockin' and rollin' dance for  teenagers, and pulled 850 paid admissions. We are booking Elvis for May 31, heading his own  show with Ferlin Husky, the Carlisles, Martha Carson, J.E. and Maxine Brown and Onie  Wheeler on a round robin starting at 7:30 p.m. in Midland and 8:30 p.m. in Odessa.  Incidentally, our sales of Presley's four records have beat any individual artist in our eight  years in the record business".
 
First Annual Country and Western Popularity Poll, a three-week contest run recently by  Bobby Ritter over WTUP, Tupelo, Miss., drew 1,016 cards and letters from 16 States. In the  contest's three categories, Kitty Wells placed first among the top 10 female singers; Elvis Presley, was first among the top 10 male vocalists, and the Simmons Brothers, WTUP artists,  wound up in the no. 1 spot among country and western bands...
 
The Hank Snow Show, with Faron Young, the Wilburn Brothers and Elvis Presley, played  before an overflow crowd of 2,7000 in Ocala, Fla., May 10, reports Nervous Ned Needham,  country and western disc jockey at WMOP, Ocala...
 
UNKNOWN DATE MID 1955
 
Charlie Feathers claimed a session he cut with Elvis Presley at a West Helena radio station in  1955. "Some tough goddamn stuff, baby", he says matter-of-factly with a certain glumness  that seems at odds with the brash nature of his claims.
JUNE 1, 1955 WEDNESDAY
 
The tour continued with an appearance in Guymon, Oklahoma, at the High School  Auditorium. The 8:00 p.m. show, which was billed as "direct from the Grand Ole Opry", cost  only 30-cents for children and $1.00 for adults. Added to the roster for this show was Al  Rogers of KGNL-TV. On the bill that day, Elvis Presley, Ferlin Husky, the Carliles, Martha Carson, Onie Wheeler, Jim Edward and Maxinine Brown.
JUNE 2, 1955 THURSDAY
 
Back in Texas, the show stopped in Amarillo at the City Auditorium in Texas. The information  for this show comes from the same Billboard item (May 28, 1955). There is no ad in the  Amarillo News-Globe for this show. A list of "Coming Events" in the May 22 edition of the  paper does not list anything in town for June 2. On the other hand, a Webb Pierce tour is  scheduled for the Auditorium at 3 p.m. on May 29 followed by a stop by the Clover Club at 8  o'clock. There appears to have been no make-up show scheduled for Elvis Presley.
JUNE 3, 1955 FRIDAY
 
At 7:00 p.m. in the Cotton Club in Lubbock, Texas, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black  made a brief appearance at the Johnson Connelley Pontiac showroom. Opening for Elvis  Presley was the local band Buddy and Bob (Buddy Holly and Bob Montgomery).
 
"Johnson-Connelly Pontiac was opening its new dealership that day on Avenue Q, just north  on Broadway", said Dr. Marsha Abbott. "Elvis played the opening in the showroom. We had  already seen him before and we had his records.
 
We were fans. There wasn't a very bog  crowd at the Pontiac place. After he finished, Elvis stood there and talked with us and he  signed his name on my arm. I said I was never going to wash that off, but my mother didn't  think that was a good idea. She made me wash it off. We went to the show that night at the Fair Park and after that, went out with Elvis to eat hamburgers at the Hi-D-Ho Drive-In,  where they delivered the burger to your car on skates", said Abbott.
 
Dee Dick remembers Elvis arriving in his Cadillac for the Pontiac dealership opening in  Lubbock. "I was dressed in pink short shorts", she recalls. "He commented on my shorts.  Then he picket me up and put me on the hood of his Cadillac. I was fifteen''. 
 
''Years later, we  were touring Graceland and I saw that Cadillac on display there and I shouted, 'That's the  car! That's the Cadillac! My butt was once sitting right there on that hood".
 
Later that night, Elvis Presley appeared at the Fairpark Coliseum in Lubbock, Texas. The  club/dance hall was actually in the city of Slaton, located in the Southeast part of Lubbock  County about 15 miles outside of Lubbock on Highway 84.
 
It was owned and operated by  Lubbock native Ralph Lowe and his family and according to the book Rockin Across Texas by  Stanley Oberst, the club booked the best talent that waltzed through West Texas from Bob  Wills to Harry James. 
 
The June 3rd show at the Fair Park Coliseum featured both Opry and Hayride acts. On the  bill with Elvis were Ferlin Husky, Jim Ed and Maxine Brown and Onie Wheeler. The Browns  and Elvis had shared many dates in Texas and Arkansas, here show Elvis at the Fair Park  Coliseum with Buddy Holly and Bob Montgomery looking on.
 
Lubbock's Cotton Club was typical of the venues that Tom Parker helped book. Since the club  drew large crowds, most entertainers were happy to work there. It was not only Lubbock's  leading country dance hall, but it was a well-known venue booking the best travelling  country acts. That night at the Cotton Club, Elvis' share of the door more than $100.  Although this was not a large sum, Elvis Presley was only one of many acts. The Lubbock  show also included Ferlin Husky, Martha Carson, the Carlisles, the Browns, George and Earl,  and Onie Wheeler.
 
Buddy Holly and Bob Montgomery, performing locally as Buddy and Bob, came to hear Elvis  Presley sing his rockabilly songs that night. (An interesting sidelight to Holly's visit involved  footage of Elvis; the small movie camera caught the growing confidence and professional  stage presence that was to soon make Elvis Presley the hottest "unknown" musical act in  America). During Elvis Presley's appearance, Buddy Holly walked over during the  intermission and chatted with Elvis Presley. Holly later told his business manager, "Hi  Pockets" Duncan, that Elvis Presley offered a great deal of encouragement. The next day on  Holly's radio show over KDAV, he performed a number of Elvis' songs.
 
According to Bob Neal, ''Elvis was always very unhappy about the reaction from the boys, because he very much wanted to be one of the boys and a favorite of theirs, but the boys reacted very violently in many areas against Elvis because, I suppose, of the way the girls acted. I know in some towns they even had to get out police guards because there would be all sorts of threats. We're going to gang you tonight, mob you, and so forth. This happeneed several times out in West Texas that I know of. San Angelo and Lubbock and some of the other towns out there, we actually had to make arrangements to have some kind of police protection around Elvis at all times for fear that some nut would come in and try to create damage"'.
 
Biographer Jerry Hopkins ask. ''Didn't sometimes people take a punch''!
 
Bob Neals answer, ''That happened several... one night in Lubbock it was actually sort of funny in retrospect. We'd been warned before we went into Lubbock that there was going to be trouble so we had arranged with the police in Lubbock to have protection and the first show or two that Elvis did in Lubbock, we would do a show down at the Fair Park auditorium and then later pick up another $300-$400 by going out to some sort of night club. I don't remember the name of the club. The nightclub was in the counties so we had county deputies take over when we left the city. And everything had gone smoothly. We had no trouble at all. About 1 o'clock in the morning about closing time the deputies asked me, 'Well, it looks like everything is quiet, can we go now'? And I said, 'Fine, thank you, fellows'. And we were walking across the parking lot to go get into the car and a voice came out of a car in the dark" 'Hi, Elvis, come over here a minute'. And Elvis walked over friendly, to chat and jusy about the tome he got to thy car, some nut in the car reached out and punched him in the face as hard as he could and then the car burned off and left. Elvis was just completely as mad as anybody could be and he says, 'Let's get in the car. I'd recognize that face if I ever saw it again'. We drove around the streets for three or four hours and finally I persuaded him, 'Look, it's hopeless'. We had to be in Fort Worth the next day. I said: 'Let's leave and forget about it'. But boy, he was trying to find that guy to get his punch back''.
JUNE 4, 1955 SATURDAY
 
In the "Folk Talent and Tunes" column in Billboard, it was reportedly by Cecil Holifield,  owner of record shops in Midland and Odessa, Texas, that Elvis "Elvis Presley continues to  gather speed over the South. West Texas is his hottest territory to date, and he is the  teenagers' favorite wherever he appears.
 
His original appearance in the area was in January  with Billy Walker.... to more than 1600 paid admissions. In February, with Hank Snow at  Odessa... paid attendance hit over 4000.
 
On April 1 we booked only Elvis and his boys, Bill  and Scotty, plus Floyd Cramer on piano and a local boy on drums for a rockin' and rollin'  dance for teenagers, and pulled 850 paid admissions... Incidentally, our sales of Presley's  four records have beat any individual artist in our eight years in the record business". 
 
This night, Elvis Presley, the Browns, Onie Wheeler, George & Earl, Ferlin Husky, Martha Carson, and the Carlisles appeared on the Louisianan Hayride at the Municipal Auditorium, Shreveport, Louisiana at 8 p.m.
JUNE 6, 1955 MONDAY
 
Elvis Presley played New Boston, Texas this date at the High School Football Field. It now appears much  more like. No firm confirmation could be ascertained. Levon Helm first saw here Elvis Presley, Scotty  Moore, Bill Black, and D.J. Fontana. Also this day an radio interview for KOSY radio in Texarkana, Arkansas.
 
According to Janice Wall, ''I was so excited when my disc jockey friend at the radio station let me know that  Elvis Presley would be at the station for an interview''.
 
''My dad was kind enough to let me use the car, so I drove to the station and patiently waited for Elvis and his  band members to come out. I was delighted to see that no one else was waiting and I wouldn't have to  compete for taking pictures. Needles to say, I was disappointed when he walked out with an attractive blonde  on his arm. I felt a twinge of jealousy. Elvis was so nice and gracious to let me take some pictures though  (which did not include the blonde). He told me they were going to the Leo Theater to see Blackboard Jungle.  I wonder if his girlfriend knew how much she was envied. Oh well, I was only sixteen, but I could dream''.
 
On June 6, Hill and Range's Grelun Landon contacted Bob Neal for publicity materials. Hill and Range had  acquired ''That's All Right'' earlier in the year, and the upcoming Florida tour with healiner Andy Griffith  required promotional material to help push the songs and get ''those lovely performances'' and trigger music  publisher royalties.
 
Meanwhile, Tom Parker wrote to Bob Neal complaining that he had not yet received the publicity photos and  promo records he needed. He suggested that Neal and Elvis should come to Nashville and sit down and talk  it all through. The following week, Parker even threw in the bait of taking Elvis to Las Vegas with Hank  Snow, writing that he had a good friend there that could help.
 
The tour schedule for June hit the The Cash Box offices before Bob Neal had finalized all the details. There  would be many changes to the original schedule over the next three weeks.
 
LEVON HELM - Musician born in Marvell, Arkansas, on May 26, 1943. Helm was the drummer on Ronnie  Hawkins and the Hawk's two 1959 hit songs "Forty Days" (Roulette 4154) (a cover of Chuck Berry's "Thirty  Days" (Chess 1610) and "Mary Lou" (Roulette 4177) (a cover of Young Jessie's 1955 version (Modern 961).  In the 1960s the Hawks evolved into the Band, which backed Bob Dylan. Levon Helm portrayed singer  Loretta Lynn's coal-miner father in the 1980 movie Coal Miner's Daughter. In 1987 Helm narrated the  Cinemaz cable TV special "Elvis 56".
(Above) Elvis and Jim Ed Brown are shown enjoying some sweet Arkansas-grown watermelon at Lura May Mitchell's home party thrown during the appearance of Elvis and The Browns at Hope, Arkansas, June 7, 1955. Maxine is sitting behind Jim Ed. Both Maxine and Bonnie joined their brother for this show, one of the early appearances of The Browns as a trio act.
 
JUNE 7, 1955 SUNDAY
 
From Shreveport, Elvis Presley drove north to Hope, Arkansas, where he played the indoor  Coliseum located in Hope Fair Park. On stage he was dressed in a white lace shirt, black  pants and no jacket. The turnout of this Hope appearance was much greater than the poor  showing in February. 
 
(Authentication comes from the back of a photo showing Elvis Presley  seated on his pink Cadillac behind the Coliseum. It is autographed and dated on the back. It  belongs to a fan who desires anonymity).
 
According to Lura Impson Mitchell, ''June 7, 1955, Elvis had an appointment with Jim Le Fan for a radio interview at KOSY in Texarkana. That night, he had a show booked in Hope at the Fair Park Coliseum. A friend and I drove over to the radio station to visit with him. 
 
After the interview, Elvis asked if it would be all right for them to come home with me and rest before the show. Scotty and Bill had other plans. We drove over to the hotel and waited in the car for them to check in Elvis, Bill, Scotty, Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie Brown, Leon Post, and Jimmy Day. When they came out of the hotel, Elvis asked if they could ride with me. Elvis, Jim Ed, Maxine, and Bonnie all got in my car. Leon and Jimmy were in another car. After receiving instructions from Elvis, Scotty and Bill stayed behind with Elvis car. He warned them: no drinking, careful driving, be on time for the show, etc. Elvis rode in the back seat with Bonnie and my friend, Betty Ruth Ruddell. Jim Ed and Maxine were in the front with me. As I remember, I had a white clothes hanger in the back seat. Elvis played with it. They all kidded and clowned with each other on the way back to Hope''.
 
''When we arrived in Hope, we stopped by my husband's place of business, and he visited with everybody for a few minutes. He later brought watermelons home for all to enjoy.
 
Since they had eaten lunch before going to the radio station, we didn't worry about that, but Elvis was ready for watermelon, as was everybody else''.  ''Later Elvis stretched out on the couch, while others rested wherever they found a place to relax. And some just visited. Meanwhile, someboby discovered the chocolate cake. I offered to prepare dinner, but they did not like to eat a heavy meal before the show. They did all eat chocolate cake and most had milk with it. The afternoon seemed to fly by and it was time to get ready for the show. After a really exciting show, we said our goodbyes, and they headed for their hotel in Texarkana. The next morning, I read in the newspaper, Elvis Presley's pink Cadillac had burned on Highway 67 West, between Hope and Texarkana.
 
Bobbie Rae Powell was attending a baseball game in the park, when she heard the  music. Along with a friend, she ambled over to the Coliseum in time to catch Elvis  Presley taking a break. he was standing out front with several entertainers and was  wearing black pants with a white stripe down the leg and a pink coat. Bobbie knew  of Elvis, but her interest lay with the boys playing baseball.
 
Shreveport residents and friends Shirley Searcey, Doris McCree, and Jeanette Turner, who had a car, had decided they wanted to drive to Hope, Arkansas, to catch Elvis at the show. Texarkana disc jockey Dudley had booked.
 
According to Shirley Searcy, ''Elvis' cue to let me know that he was aware that we had arrived, was to start singing ''I Got A Woman''. When I heard that song, I knew he had seen me. The Browns were appearing that night also, so during breaks, Elvis would seek me out, and we would find a quiet little corner to talk. After the show was over, Elvis, Scotty, Bill, Doris, Jeanette, and I all got together, and Jeanette took some photos of Elvis and me along with some fans out on the parking lot in front of the pink Cadillac''.
 
''We decided to split up and drive to Texarkana. Little did we know that these photos taken by Jeanette would be the last ones taken of the beautiful pink and white 1954 Cadillac in its entirely. Bill, Scotty, Jeanette, and Doris decided to go on ahead in Doris' car, while Elvis and I were to follow with the instruments in the Cadillac. A few miles out of Hope, as Elvis and I were deeply engaged in a conversation regarding Ed Brown's trying to discourage Elvis from dating me (since I wouldn't date him, he wanted to discourage others from dating me also), we notice cars of fans passing us, waving, yelling, and honking their horns. Finally, we pulled to the shoulder of the road, and Elvis and I both go out of the car. We smelled the acrid odor of smoke, and about that time we saw the flames licking out from under the car. Elvis immediately tried to throw dirt and rocks on the flames, which were more confined to the backside of the rear tire on the driver's side. He then crawled under the rear of the car and tried to throw mostly small rocks on the fire( it had rained that day and a very little dirt was available). I kept calling him out from under the vehicle, telling him I was afraid the gas tank might explode. Luckily, we had managed to throw the instruments and suitcases out. By that time, we had managed to send word on into Texarkana to Scotty, Bill, and others, and soon they all returned to our location. Fortunately, Jeanette still had film left in the camera had managed to get some shots of the burned and smoking vehicle''.
 
''We loaded up the instruments, and all drove back onto Texarkana to place a telephone call to Vernon and Gladys to bring the pink and white Ford Crown Victoria that Elvis had purchased for them, so the musicians could continue out return trip to Shreveport. While we were waiting for Vernon and Gladys to drive in from Memphis, we had all assembled in a room in a motel. Elvis was, understandably, most distraught, and stretched out in the bed. He was dealing with a very strenuous exertion of energy from the lengthy performance in Hope, plus the stress from the vehicle mishap. I sitting close by, observed his body shake and quiver for what seemed like hours as he tried to relax. The parents finally arrived; after a few hurried greetings and comments and tearful goodbyes, we girls headed out on our return journey to Shreveport''.
(Above) Even Gwen Telford of Texarkana, who was kissed by Elvis Presley a month earlier,  remembers that she was visiting her aunt and uncle in Hope when she heard that Elvis  Presley was performing in town. Unfortunately, she arrived at the park after his show was  over. She did get a chance to renew Elvis' acquaintance, although she wouldn't say if she was  kissed a second time.
 
About halfway to Texarkana in Fulton, Arkansas, Elvis Cadillac cathes on fire and burn out.  People recall Elvis sitting by the side of the road, looking desolate as he watched his dreams  go up in smoke. From Texarkana, Scotty returns to Memphis to get the new pink-and white  Ford Crown Victoria that Elvis has recently purchased for his parents.
 
According to Scotty Moore, ''We were staying in Texarkana, about 15 miles from the town where we;d played. What happened was a wheel bearing went out. Bill and I rode back with some of the other guys, 'cause Elvis his chick with him. 
 
They were comin' behind us. He wasn't paying' no damn attention to the car, and all of sudden he realized the damn thing was on fire. He couldn't put it out. All he could do is open the trunk and throw all our clothes and instruments out. The next date was Sweetwater, I believe. We took a small plane the next morning, barely got off the ground because instruments weighed so much. Brought folks' '55 pink and white Ford. Someone drove it down''.
 
Shirley McDade said, Elvis called the night the Cadillac burned and asked me to meet him in a little Texas town the next day, but my parents wouldn't let me. He called me at about 11 at night and told me that his car burned, and cried. Said to meet him in Sweetwater, but my parents said no because of a sandstorm''.
JUNE 8, 1955 WEDNESDAY
 
"The Elvis Presley Show" played the Sweetwater Auditorium, Texas at 8:00 p.m.  Also on the bill Capitol recording star, Dub Dickerson, Gene Kay and others.  Advanced tickets cost  $1.00 and children 50 cents. Tickets at Harp Music & Sweetwater Music Shop at doors $1,25 and children 75 cents, Tax Inc..  
 
Jane Rhyne, who was just barely a teenager at the time, remembers the "off-color"  jokes told by Bill Black almost as vividly as she remembers Elvis' performance. "We were  pretty protected in those days", she recalls.
 
M.G.M. A&R man Frank Walker, sent 4:46 p.m. Sam Phillips an telegram that reads: "Sam  would you please write me air mail M.G.M. Records, 701 Seventh Avenue, New York City,  whether or not Elvis Presley is available for making records I have head that he was and I  am interested. Will appreciate any information". # Frank Walker #.
JUNE 9, 1955 THURSDAY
 
Elvis joined a Hank Snow tour for a show at the National Guard Armoury in Lawton,  Oklahoma. The other performers on this road show included Ferlin Husky, Marty Robbins,  Sonny James, the Maddox Brothers and Rose and Rhetta, the Bellew Twins, and the Texas  Stompers.
 
Elvis Presley spent a lot of time backstage talking with Marty Robbins, and was surprised to  find out the extent to which Robbins loved his music.
 
On December 7, 1954, Marty Robbins  had recorded "That's All Right" using Elvis' Sun recording as his model. In fact, Robbins' version was a virtual copy of Elvis' record, the only difference being a fiddle bridge. Robbins  was apologetic for his song's similarity, but Elvis Presley was flattered that someone else had recorded it in his style. 
 
Marty Robbins told Elvis Presley that he, too, hoped to cross over from the country field into a broader pop market, and he expressed a desire to record rock  and roll. After spending two days together in Lawton, Elvis Presley and Marty Robbins had  established a special bond between one another.
JUNE 10, 1955 FRIDAY
 
Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black stopped by Breckenridge, Texas, to pick up a quick  $300 for an 8:00 p.m. show at the American Legion Hall. According to Ken Hayden's  recollections in the Breckenridge American (September 13, 1989), the Legion building, like  so many similar facilities of the day, was not air conditioned. Consequently, the one thing  that most of the 1,500 fans who attended the show remembered - after Elvis Presley's wild  gyrations on stage - was the stifling heat. Following the show Elvis Presley spent the night at  Rowe's Motel.
JUNE 11, 1955 SATURDAY
 
Elvis Presley returned to Shreveport and the "Louisiana Hayride", he lacked his normal  energy. After Elvis Presley closed the show with "That's All Right", he complained to Scotty  Moore and Bill Black that he was tired. The Blue Moon Boys and Elvis Presley were scheduled  to perform twenty of the next twenty-five nights. 
 
Bill Black complained that they were  musically ragged because of the heavy tour schedule, but everybody knew that the road was  necessary, especially Elvis Presley, who had just purchased a new pink Cadillac and had car  payments to make.
 
A planned show in El Dorado on the 16th was cancelled, as the building was not available, and an evening show in Gobler on the 15th was called off on short notice because of a local musician's union issue. Bob Neal had to rearrange the week, and with the help of Jim Le Fan in Texarkana, a show in De Queen was scheduled. The cancellation of the El Dorado show could not be replaced, so the two Mississippi dates were each moved back, making Monday a day off.
 
In a letter from Tom Parker to Tom Diskin, Parker argued that it would take ''patience and skill'' to develop Elvis in order to present him in new territories. He blamed Neal for inability to handle Elvis, and suggested they go slow, watching Elvis and Neal. Parker's anxiousness was fueled by the news that the readers of The Cash Box magazine had chosen Elvis as the ''most promising male vocalist of 1955'', making the progress of Elvis' career obvious to everyone in the business. They very next day, the Colonel sent another letter to Neal, further emphasizing the need for planning, stating that he was ready to take over after the July tour in Florida and Neal's bookings for the first week of August. He went on to say that Neal should send him all contracts, especially the Hayride contract, as he believed they could do better on this issue.
 
A meeting between Neal and Parker eventually took place on June 17, and Parker managed to convince Neal to let his office take care of all bookings. They agreed to get Elvis away from Sun, and that Bob Neal should remain Elvis' personal manager.
JUNE 13, 1955 MONDAY
 
Elvis Presley  spent probably the night in Tupelo, Mississippi. It was good to see old friends, and Elvis Presley spent a  great deal of time visiting with his former neighbours. 
JUNE 14, 1955 THUESDAY
 
Elvis started a short tour with two shows in Bruce, Mississippi in the High School Gymnasium, and t he show in Bruce benefited the senior class of 1955-56 that was raising money for their  annual senior trip.
 
Accompanying Elvis Presley for the next two days was Onie Wheeler and  Bob Neal, who acted as the show's emcee. The opening acts were the Miller Sisters and the  Simmons Brothers.
 
The Miller Sisters, one of Elvis' supporting acts during this brief period, specifically recall a  show at the High School Gymnasium in Saltillo, a small town just north of Tupelo.  "He was really cocky", said one of the Miller Sisters, "I remember Elvis asked me to hold his   guitar, and I said, 'Hold it yourself. I'm not your flunky!".
 
Colonel Tom Parker writes to Tom Diskin concerning his feelings about Bob Neal's inability to   handle Elvis and book him properly. He stresses that it will take patience and skill to build up   Elvis' popularity before sending him into new territory, ''Let's go slow'', he concludes, ''and   watch Neal on Elvis''.  Parker writes to Neal on the same day, suggesting that perhaps with great salesmanship he   can get Elvis at Las Vegas booking, but that since he is still an unknown performer he will   have to really ''prove his worth'' once he gets there.
 
THE SIMMONS BROTHERS - Like the Miller Sisters, came from Tupelo. The act featured   "Jumping" Gene Simmons, who had a 1958 Sun Records release with "Drinkin' Wine","I Done   Told You" (SUN 299) followed by the hit "Haunted House" on Memphis' Hi label in 1964.
 
According to Nell Donaldson, ''The first time I ever saw Elvis was in Bruce, Mississippi, Pink pants and a black top. Scotty was married at that time to a lady by the name of Bobbie. I happened to be the one to chauffeur her to the bathroom. In the conversation I told her that when I got out of school I wanted to attend modeling school, and she told me that she was going to the modeling school in Memphis. She sent me a brochure, and I wrote back to thank here. When the show was over, she carried me on stage and Elvis kissed me''.
 
Jimmie Ruth Melvin says, ''We were going to be seniors that fall, and we were earning money for our trip, and that's why we had him come and sing at our high school. Bruce was a town with about 2,000 people. I remember my mother had made me a new dress. I'm very tall, and at the time I was very thin, and my mother made all my clothes. I sat on the first or second row. I was at the stage at some point. I was a class officer. I went backstage, and I don't remember whom I went there with, but I was with somebody, because I would never have had the nerve to go back there by myself''.
 
''Somebody was on stage, I don't remember whom, but Elvis came up behind me. He put his arms around me, and he said something ridiculous, as you would say to a teenage girl. I was so dumbfounded that I couldn't say much of anything, and then he kissed me on the neck. This was a very small town, so it didn't take long before the whole town knew that Elvis had kissed Jimmie'', she remembers.
JUNE 15, 1955 WEDNESDAY
 
Remaining in Mississippi, Elvis Presley, Gene Simmons and his brothers and the other  performers moved on to another High School Gymnasium in Belden for an 8:00 p.m.  performance. Added to the bill was local disc jockey Bob Ritter, he recalls that in order to  get the building without being mobbed, Elvis has to crawl through a back window, ripping  the seat of his pants, which have to be held together with a safety pin during his performance.
 
Elvis performed, ''You're A Heartbreaker'', I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone'', ''Good Rockin' Tonight'', Milkcow Blues Boogie'', ''I Got A Woman'', ''Baby Let's Play House'', ''That's All Right'', and ''Pledging My Love''.
 
According to Bobby Ritter, disc jockey and concert promoter from Tupelo, ''About 30 members of Elvis' family came through the backstage area. They didn't stay there, just got in for free. When he played Belden that night, he got the news that The Cash Box magazine had voted him ''country music newcomer of the year''. Bob Neal and me talked about it that night, and we said, 'How big can he be'? and Bob said, 'He is going to be the biggest thing in the country has ever seen'. If you just stood there and listened to him, you might have said the same. You had never heard this before; it was something entirely new and different. Although there were other people making rock music, there was nothing like him. In my case, I had never heard that beat before''.
 
Elvis Presley and Bobby Ritter swapped cars that night, as Elvis borrowed Bobby's two-tone blue Ford in order to move about without drawing too much attention.
JUNE 16, 1955 THURSDAY
 
Elvis Presley performed De Queen, Arkansas at the Sevier County Fair. According to Dub Chandler, local performer, that Elvis arrived with Jim Ed and Maxine Brown. When Maxine wanted to light a cigarette with the car lighter, it got caught in her dress and burned a hole in it. Beckey Allen, sister of Dub Chandler said, ''We, Becky and her sister Louis, performed as the Chandler Sisters''. 
 
''We filled in for Tibby Edwards. Elvis came in a Ford, his mother's car. I lent him my comb and also guitar strings. I had to wash the comb because of what Elvis had in his hair. Kept the broken guitar strings for years''.
 
James Bales said, ''He came to town in the Ford Crown, white top with pink bottom. He appeared at the old ballpark south of town. The headliners for the show were Jim Ed and Maxine Brown. 
 
Another singer named Tibby Edwards, who sang like Hank Williams, was supposed to be there also, but did not show. Therefore, Jim Ed, Maxine, and Elvis did more songs. After the show, he went down to Hills cafe, ate chicken fried steak, and had a slice of watermelon. A few guys stayed and talked to him until 2:00 a.m.. He stayed in the old Best Western motel across from Wilkerson Funeral Home behind the post office. He was in the last room on the right side of the motel facing Stillwel Avenue. My sister lived in Shreveport, and I would ride the train down and go to the Louisiana Hayride on Saturday nights. I had seen him on the Hayride many times, so we talked about that some. He let me wear his orange colored cashmere sport coat''.
 
Lindell Smith said, ''I know he was really interested in cars because me and my friends were sitting with him a a table in the restaurant. I didn't know anything about cars, but some of my buddies did. Hill Cafe was the most popular restaurant in town at the time, big nice restaurant. We all ate. The two guys who were with him were sitting up at the counter. When they had finished, they tried to get him to come along. They kept telling him they had to go, and he said, 'In a minute'. He finally got angry and said, 'I'll tell you when I'm ready to go'''. 
 
Marie McCoy said, ''He played on the back of a flatbed truck. We sat on the rodeo bleachers. It cost 50 cents to get in. He played '' That's All Right''. and he played real hard and strong, and he broke a string, and they had to replace the string on his guitar. After the show, I went down to talk to him, and he signed my picture. The picture was 8 x 10 glossy and cost 25 cents. They were talking about heading up the road up to Mena, going up the old 71; a very dangerous road back then. They were talking about the dangerous road, and it was late at night''.
JUNE 17, 1955 FRIDAY
 
Eventually, they loaded everything into the Chevy and went to the airport. Here, Elvis  Presley left the others with the car and chartered a light plane to Abilene, Texas. There he  found ground transportation to take him the forty miles to Stamford.
 
That evening, at 9:00 p.m., Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black (as they were  advertised) gave a performance at Roundup Hall, the Gymnasium of Stamford High School in  Stamford, Texas.
 
Valerie Harms, a woman who claims to have organized and founded the  first Elvis Presley Fan Club in 1955. She first saw Elvis Presley perform on this date on June  17, 1955.
 
Bob Neal travels to see the Colonel ad his headquarters in Madison, Tennessee, where the  two men arrive at the basis of the understanding that the Colonel has been seeking all along,  Neal will remain Elvis' manager, but from July 24 all booking and long-term planning will be  handled by the Colonel's office, including a concerted effort to move the singer off Sun  Records and onto a major label.
JUNE 18, 1955 SATURDAY
 
Elvis Presley, Dick Penner and Wade Moore (the two wrote "Ooby Dooby") appeared together  on the Big D Jamboree broadcast in Sportatorium in Dallas, Texas. Colonel Tom Parker was reported to be  one of those present for this show, and after witnessing the crowd's reaction to Elvis Presley,  he was even more convinced that he should sign Elvis to a managerial contract.
 
There is no  local ad for the Big D on this date, which was normal, but according to Billboard (June 11,  1955), he was scheduled.  An article on the Big D Program with the headliner: Center Light On Elvis Presley.... said:
 
''Boomed as the ''newest and most sensational singer in the business is the way that talented Elvis Presley is described. And for all respect he's at the top now. But, still, he keeps going higher and higher and comes out with more fast-selling hit recordings. The handsome young Presley should certainly set a lasting mark in the history of western folk music''.
 
''His style is almost inimitable. There may be other singers who sound like him or sing the same songs: But no one can quite match Elvis' stage presentation. His two sidemen, Scotty and Bill, add a great deal to the merriment and with this trio on stage you can be set for some swell entertainment''.
 
''Perhaps the secret of Elvis' success is his unusual style that lends and blends itself a bit with the new ''rhythm'' music trend. There's quite a bit of bounce in his presentation and the husky and healthy youth almost runs out of breath in putting over one or two songs: But he's game and he loves it. You can tell that he is really putting all he's got into the tune. And the same results energy from his records. But seeing his act in person is the real way to enjoy him''.
 
''Only twenty years old, the unmarried ''fireball'', as he is often described, is already a top-rated star of Shreveport's Louisiana Hayride program. Presley and his buddies were making a persona-recording when a professional record man overheard the going on and immediately signed him on the Sun label. The result was quick and fabulous record sales starting ''That's All Right'', Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', ''I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine'', ''Milkcow Blues Boogie'' and on and on. He can't make on that isn't a big seller, apparently''.
JUNE 19, 1955 SUNDAY
 
Elvis Presley performed an afternoon show at the Texas Hayride at the Magnolia Gardens in  Houston, probably followed by an evening show at Cook's Hoedown Club.
 
Tommy Sands appeared also on the Magnolia Gardens, and reported back to Tom Parker that Elvis had said he might go with RCA. It was finally time for Elvis to honour the deal Bob Neal made with Ed McLemore back in April. In addition to four performances on the Big D Jamboree, Elvis handled two more time to fulfill the Lawton show, originally scheduled earlier in June.
 
On the 21st of June, Colonel Tom Parker wrote to Steve Sholes at RCA to tell him that as of July 24, Elvis would be working through his company, and continued: ''If you have a strong interest in trying to secure Elvis Presley for RCA let me have your thoughts on this as I'm working on this with Bob Neal at present''.
JUNE 20-21, 1955 MONDAY / TUESDAY
 
Beaumont, Texas, rolled out the red carpet when Elvis Presley and Marty Robbins came to  town! Advertising for their two-day stand was just about the greatest in Elvis' career. The  show was plugged for weeks on radio stations within a radius of fifty miles.
 
The first  newspaper ad appeared June 5 in the Beaumont  Enterprise, followed by the Beaumont Journal on June 10. Then, beginning June 13, daily  ads ran unabated in both papers until show time.
 
To top it off, there was an article in the  Enterprise on June 12, another in the Journal on June 17, and still another in the Enterprise  on June 19 and 20. If that was not enough, it was touted that Davy Crocket, a national  sensation at the time, would be on hand to greet the kids. (Just who portrayed Mr. Crocket  remains a mystery). Tickets for the extravaganza were hawked as far away as Port Arthur  and Orange.
 
Billed as "Stars of the Grand Ole Opry, Louisiana Hayride and Big D Jamboree", Elvis Presley  and Marty Robbins and the group played three sold-out shows on Monday at Matinee at 2:30  and on the evening at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. at the 2,400-seat City Auditorium to benefit the  local Police Department. Also featured were the Maddox Brothers with Rose and Rhetta, the  Belew Twins, Sonny James, Charlene Arthur, LaFawn Paul of the Hayride,  singer/songwriter/emcee Johnny Hicks, and the Texas Stompers, who recorded for Coral  Records. Admission was a dollar for adults end children, alike. Ticket were available at the  Police Station till 12, and ad the Box Office at the Auditorium.
 
On Tuesday, "The Season's Greatest Hillbilly Show", as they were called that day in the  Enterprise, remained for three additional shows, at 2:30, 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. The evening  show prices remained a dollar for everyone, but the matinee allowed kids to come in for  half-price.
 
With each of the five Beaumont shows being a complete sell-out, the total raised for the  police department was about $10,000. The entertainment package was reported to have  been paid only $225 per day. The event was booked by Ed McLemore of the Big D Jamboree, with the assistance of the local police department, and press agent J.F. Dolan told Billboard magazine that they had five full houses of 2,400 people.
 
From Beaumont Bob Neal wires the Colonel that he has been unsuccessful so far in his  efforts to convince Elvis of the wisdom of leaving Sun, and he feels the Colonel should speak  to him.
 
In Beaumont, Bob Neal wires the Colonel again to inform him that Elvis continues to be  ambivalent on the matter of leaving Sun. Neal thinks it would be best to wait until he is  home before pursuing the matter any further. On the same day the Colonel informs Steve  Sholes at RCA of his new business arrangement with Neal and Presley, and invites Sholes to  make a bid to acquire the singer.
 
BEAUMONT, TEXAS - This conservative oil town near the Golf of Mexico and the Louisiana  state line is the hometown of albino guitarist Johnny Winter, of whom blues discographer  Charles Shaar Murray has said, "He may not be the best white guitar player in the world, but  he sure as hell is the whitest". The Big Bopper, born J.P. Richardson in Sabine Pass on  October 29, 1932, is buried at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park at 4955 Pine Street, he died in  the same low plane crash that killed Buddy Holly.
JUNE 22, 1955 WEDNESDAY
 
Elvis Presley probably performed in Vernon, Texas. This show was either cancelled - as were  several around this date - or the original article that mentioned the show meant to say Mont Vernon. In either case, there is no information that Elvis Presley ever played either Vernon  or Mont Vernon on his many trips to Texas.
JUNE 23, 1955 THURSDAY
 
Elvis Presley's show in Big Spring, Texas was cancelled when Elvis was booked into Oklahoma  City. It was not immediately rescheduled. The young crowd demanded encores of "That's All  Right" and "Baby Let's Play House". 
 
This appearance with Leon Payne was also an important  one of Elvis' because of Payne's songwriting skills. After having recorded Payne's "I Love You  Because", Elvis Presley was eager to talk with the singer.
 
For a short time, Payne had toured  with Bob Wills, and Elvis Presley hoped to learn as much as he could about Payne's  experiences with Wills and the Texas Playboys. 
 
Elvis Presley travelled to Lawton, Oklahoma, for an 8:00 p.m. performance at the McMahon  Memorial Auditorium and The Southern Club. Also on the bill were Leon Payne, Joe Carson,  Cecil Lee (a disc jockey on KSWO radio), Chuck Lee, and Bobby Joe Steward. Emcee for the  evening was Alfred Lee Whittle. Attending the show was fourteen-year Hank Wilson, an  aspiring musician who would eventually play on tours behind Jerry Lee Lewis and Ronnie  Hawkins and later change his name to Leon Russell.
 
Following their Auditorium concert, Elvis Presley and all the others performed 11:00 p.m. to  2:00 a.m. at the Southern Club in Lawton, Texas. The house band at the club was the  Southernaires.  Elvis arrives in his parents 1955 Crown Victoria, Bill Black's bass strapped to the roof.
 
Clyde Prestage, Lawton disc jockey at KSWO remembers, ''At that time, I owned and operated the Southern Club. I was bringing in a blind singer and songwriter, Leon Payne, who had the number one country song out, ''I Love You Because'', and the Dallas booking agent said I had to take a package deal which included this new kid that no one had ever heard of, Elvis Presley''. Prestage later reported to Billboard: ''I've been getting lots of requests for Elvis Presley record since he and Scotty and Bill played Lawton and Altus''.
 
The Southern Club was an adults-only venue, so Clyde Prestage also arranged an 8:00 p.m. show that the whole family could attend, at McMahon Memorial Auditorium. Bobby Joe Stewart a local radio and TV star, he and his western swing band the Southernaires were to play with Elvis that night like they had played with so many other acts before. Bobby made a point of having his picture taken with stars like Patsy Cline. But when he saw the twenty-year-old Presley arrive in a Ford with no skipped, firmly believing that Elvis was going nowhere. Bobby had quite a name, being seen as second only to Tommy Duncan as the best singer in western swing. The show that evening were so-so at the box office.
JUNE 24, 1955 FRIDAY
 
Remaining in Oklahoma, Elvis Presley and the same group from Lawton appeared in Altus,  Oklahoma. The Jaycees sponsored the event at the City Auditorium and the wives did the refreshments. There were 9 x 16 posters placed around Altus business windows, th ere is no advertisement for this show in the Altus Times-Democrat, which did  not permit advertising at this time for nightclubs and ran few notices of upcoming shows.
 
This show featured Elvis Presley and the Blue Moon Boys, as well as two local singers. Since  Presley's group was on stage longer than usual, they were able to play some new songs. The  audience clapped loudly when they completed a cover version of Jean Shepard's "Satisfied  Mind".
 
According to Frank Nall, ''There were not many people at the show. The population of Altus in 1955 was between seven and eight thousand. Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black had supper before the show at the Commerce Cafeteria about half a from from the Civic Auditorium where they were playing. They were driving a black and pink Ford and told me they were driving it because their Cadillac had burned. I stayed on the back of the stage during the whole show. Elvis told me he lost his billfold at the cefeteria, probably in the phone booth and said he called his mother every day''.
 
''That night, Elvis was wearing a khaki and green coat with the collar turned up. I went to dinner with them after the show, and we had a hamburger, and Elvis told me he was concerned about the draft, just as I was. He seemed to me to be just a plain good ole country boy. He said they were headed to Little Rock or Fort Smith, Arkansas, and asked me if I would like to have a job driving them and working for them. They said they were so give out after their shows and then having to drive to the next one, day after day. I told Elvis I already had a job, but thanks, and they went on their way''.
 
Jody Tidwell said, ''Bill, Jody's friend, and I both were at that concert in Altus in June 1955 but not together. Bill was with a bunch of his outlaw friends. I think there was a little jealousy there because they bought eggs and threw them at Elvis' Crown Victoria Ford. I went with some of my friends. We met Elvis in the alley behind the auditorium, and of course he kissed us, and we thought we had died and gone to heaven''.
 
According Banister, ''I went a little early to get a good seat. While I was standing around in the lobby, I saw this guy with three young ladies all over him. He was a nice looking guy with his collar turned up in the back and his hair hanging down over it. I asked someone: 'Who's the long haired guy'? They informed me that he was Elvis Presley, the man that's going to do the show''.
 
''There wasn't but a small crowd. When Elvis came on stage, the girls went wild. He expressed disappointment that we had such a small crowd, but he assured us that the show was going on. He told us, 'The more noise you make and the louder you are, the more and longer I'm going to play'. After the show, he sat down in a chair and talked to mostly girls because that is about all that could get up to him. I know there was one girl who was wearing a pair of shorts, and she wanted Elvis to sign her leg with her lipstick''.
 
Lynn Leverett says, ''We went backstage to visit with Elvis. He was sitting on a metal folding chair. He shook our hands, was very friendly, and just seemed like one of the boys. I recall he was disappointed in the size of the crowd. He criticized the promoter as not doing his job very well. He mentioned he would give it another six months, and if he didn't make it by then, I will just have to go back to work''.
JUNE 25, 1955 SATURDAY
 
Elvis Presley returned to the "Louisiana Hayride" for his regular headline spot. He was  booked into Reba's Rock House at Pass Road and Debuys.
 
There, Marion Carpenter, professor  of music at Biloxi High School for thirty years, and a music buff, had caught Elvis Presley's  performance, liked what he heard, talked with Elvis, who said he was getting thirty-five  dollars a night there.
 
Marion Carpenter, who knew a few club owners around the Coast, asked Jake Mladinich,  whose family owned the Fiesta, one of Biloxi's better-known haunts at the time, if he would  go over to Reba's and listen to this young man and maybe give him a break and book him into  the Fiesta. Mladinich went and listened. He booked Elvis Presley into the Fiesta for one  night - for seventy-five dollars. 
 
Elvis Presley's new record seemed to be picking up a lot of airplay, with ''Baby Let's Play House'' getting more and more spins. It was now at number 10 in Houston, number 8 in New Orleans, and number 6 in Richmond, while ''I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone'' was at number 4 back in Memphis.
 
The opportunity to constantly expand the territory obviously came from the people Bob Neal and Elvis met along the way. In Biloxi, booking agent Yankie Barhanovich knew of Elvis, as he had already met him both in New Orleans and in Meridian, in each case with his Daughter Ann Raye performing on the same bill. Barhonovich hired Elvis for $200 per night. In Mobile, it was club owner and rockabilly artist Curtis Gordon who had invited Elvis down for two nights. Curtis and Elvis had met on the May tour with Hank Snow, and Curtis had brought Elvis down to see his club when they played Mobile.
 
''Baby Let's Play House'' was by now the A-side of the new record, and managed to get on the charts in St. Louis, without Elvis even playing there. In New Orleans, it rose to number 4 on Billboard's Country and Western Regional Charts, and it seemed that Elvis would have his biggest hit yet, putting further pressure on Colonel Parker to secure a contract.
 
Following his June 17 meeting with Bob Neal, the Colonel swung into action, informing his network about the new situation. In a June 28 letter, he writes to promoter and TNT record company owner Bob Tanner in San Antonio; ''We are also handling all personals as of July 24 for Elvis Presley thru this office for Bob Neal and Presley. We have Elvis on tour in Florida starting July 24 and he will work through August 6. I will be off to Florida this week to line up my tour''.
 
Irrespective of the fact that Elvis had just played for $175 per day on the Hank Snow tour, the Colonel now promoted Elvis with a $500 price tag and an insistence on top billing, aiming to put together a two-week tour for September.
 
Moving full speed ahead, the Colonel expresses his doubts to Tom Diskin, stating that he is unsure of whether Bob Neal is double-dealing, and complains about what he sees as Neal ''milking Elvis in Texas''.
JUNE 26, 1955 SUNDAY
 
At 8:00 p.m. Elvis Presley and the band appeared at the Slavonian Lodge in Biloxi,  Mississippi, as part of the dedication ceremonies for the new air conditioner in the Lodge's  Auditorium, making it the newest air-conditioned Auditorium along the Gulf Coast.
 
Following  the dedication at 9:00 p.m. Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black performed for a dance  at the Auditorium until 1:00 a.m.
 
Although not listed in presshow publicity, locals recall that Marty Robbins and Sonny James  was part of the Auditorium show. This would fit the shows before and after the Biloxi date. A Mississippi town with a resort atmosphere, Biloxi was filled with pretty girls and harddrinking  vacationers. 
 
While performing in Biloxi, Elvis Presley met a local girl, June Juanico. She was typical of  Elvis' women; a darkhaired beauty with lithe features and a quiet, understated personality.  The auburn-haired, blue-eyed receptionist followed Elvis Presley around Biloxi like a puppy  dog. They dated for a year. It was the perfect relationship for Elvis Presley, because June  Juanico was Southern, beautiful, submissive, and enthraled with show business.
 
"It was the start of something big, right here on the Coast", says Salvadore Taranto. Taranto  said Elvis Presley arrived on the Coast, his skin white as a bed sheet, "with pimples all over  his face". "He was a good person, a little bit cocky, but then, everybody's a little bit cocky when they're twenty. He had a couple of records out and he must have thought he was a  famous as Fats Domino or Bill Haley or somebody. Hell, I don't known".
 
Those who didn't catch Elvis' appearance at the Slavonian Lodge were being told as early as  the next day what they missed, and as early as two weeks later, they were drowning in their  sorrows as Elvis' reputation began mushrooming.
 
"It was so different from any type of music, that you couldn't even relate to it at the time",  said Taranto, who played in Johnny Ellmer's Rockets, the band that Elvis Presley filled in for  that night. "We used to play the Lodge and we'd get three hundred, four hundred kids in there. On Elvis' first show, they had about fifty to seventh-five. It was just real different  rockabilly. Here was everybody making fun of this guy shaking like he had something wrong  with him. But what he did, he did good. When he popped that first hit, he really took off! I think he started here, not Nashville, not Memphis, not Las Vegas. I think this is where he  started.
 
According to Frank Yankie Barhanovich, ''My brother's members at the Slavonian Lodge were all making fun of me for bringing in this hillbilly''.
 
G.B. Whitehurst says, ''Elvis along with Scotty Moore and Bill Black appeared at the enlisted airmen's club on the Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, for a one night show. It was in early 1955, I was a young airman and had been a fan since his first Sun record. Especially since he was about my age and grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi, and I was from McNairy County, Tennessee, and graduated from high school in Corinth, Mississippi. I knew back then that he was going to be great. The Airmen's Club was small, with a small stage, there were not many airmen there, maybe 30 or 40, there were no girls, so there was not much sreaming or applause. Elvis went backstage at the intermission and did not come out except to return to the stage, however his bass player came out and sat with me at my table since I was alone and near the stage. He talked with me and said he was from Adamsville, Tennessee, in McNairy County. He shared my quart of beer with paper cups; he stated that Elvis did not drink. I really didn't either, but I had a quart of beer that night. I recall that Elvis broke a string on his guitar, I believe it was intentional''.
 
And Yankie Barhanovich says, ''They booed him at Keesler several times when we did the shows out there. The very first time, this sergeant in charge of the Airmen's Club, Otto Zoehler, told me that this man would never make it. He was playing three shows at the time, 45 minutes on and 15 off. He only knew seven songs at the time, and he asked me if I'd get Ann, Yankie's daughter, to give him a hand''.
 
Frank ''Yankie'' Barhanovich, an insurance agent who had gotten into the talent booking  business partly because his young daughter was a rising star, was booking the Slavonian  Lodge. He had met Elvis Presley and wanted to try him out".  "He asked us if we would mind if he brought Elvis in for one night", said Taranto. "We didn't  mind. It was a Sunday night and we wanted a night off. I had heard Elvis on the jukebox  before the Slavonian gig, so I dropped by the Lodge to see him''.
 
''Our group included four  horns and we played dance music and the blues. When he first started playing that night, I  felt his music was not really hot. I bet he didn't sing twelve tunes that night at the Lodge''.
 
''They asked him to sing "Rock Around The Clock" and he didn't even know all the words.  There was no bottom to his band, no bottom at all. It was all twangy. He was a nice looking  kid and the girls were really going for him. He didn't sing all that well, but he was a terrific  entertainer".
 
Taranto would later that summer get to know Elvis Presley better when Elvis began dating  June Juanico. "We would hang out together here and there", he said. "While he was over at  Gulf Hills (Dude Ranch) he would do crazy things like shooting up match sticks with a BB gun.  He had old records in the trunk of his car and he'd take them out, put them on a fence, and  shoot them up, too. It's crazy what happened. One time he can't draw a hundred people; the  next thing you know you couldn't put him in Carnegie Hall. You're talking about a famous  man, more famous than anyone else in the whole world. And I don't care where they said it  started, it started right here for that boy. This, I really believe, was the turning point for  Elvis Presley".
 
It is an unchallenged fact all around Biloxi, even today, that there was no one closer to Elvis  Presley during this summer of 1955 than those whom we will identify here only as the  Cherry Girls. They spoke only on the basis we would not use their names. Today they are  respectable business women and they think if someone ever heard of their giggly, teenaged  past, well..
 
"We were there that first night at the Slavonian Lodge", said Cherry Girl number one, who  sort of served as unofficial spokeswomen for the group. "We had to be there. Yankie was  doing those dances for the teens and we had to support him. There was a large Slavic  community down here. We, the girls, were mostly children of immigrants. That first night  Elvis Presley appeared down here, well, he was good looking, but I was not impressed with  his pelvis. I had been raised with values. But, we were teens and he was a teen, so we liked  him. Still, we were teenaged girls, hanging out together. We went to places together and we  left those places together. Biloxi at that time was a laid back little town, a resort town on  the Gulf. Elvis considered this a special town because people could accept him, especially  the girls".
 
"The night he played at the Community Center Lodge, six or eight of us went backstage to  see him. My sister was wearing a strapless dress. Elvis saw her in the back of the crowd and  told the people, 'Let those girls through'. My sister had dark hair and he seemed to like darkhaired  girls", she said.
JUNE JUANICO - Auburn-haired, blue-eyed receptionist from Biloxi, Mississippi, whom Elvis  Presley dated in 1955-1956. Juanico first met Elvis Presley backstage after a concert in  Biloxi on June 25, 1955. They went swimming, waterskiing, and horseback riding together.
 
In July 1956 Elvis Presley appeared on a couple of New Orleans radio stations to squelch  rumours that he and Miss Juanico were engaged to be married. June Juanico would later  marry Salvadore Taranto's cousin. She is said to have been the only girl Elvis's mother ever  approved of. However, Elvis didn't let this romance get too intimate.
 
In a 1997 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, June said she 'blames his manager,  Colonel Tom Parker, for encouraging Presley to go out with beautiful women for the  publicity'. According to Elvis biographer Peter Guralnick, Juanico didn't doubt that Elvis  loved her.
 
Interview with June Juanico by Alanna Nash 
 
June Juanico: Elvis was the love of my life. I met him in the summer of '55, when he was  just a regional star. I was 17 and he was 20. He had been in my hometown of Biloxi,  Mississippi, several times before, and people said, 'You need to see him', and I went on this  one night. I thought he was the most gorgeous thing: big, dreamy eyes. Girls were screaming  over him, and I'm just not that kind. I was passing by him, not even looking at him, and he  reached through the crowd and grabbed my arm. He said, 'Where are you going?'
 
What I remember most about that night was sitting in his car outside my house, just talking,  while my mother kept an eye out to see what I was doing. The first thing I said was, 'What is  your real name?' I had never heard of a name like Elvis. And he said, 'What do you mean my  real name? My name is Elvis Aaron Presley'. We sat there until the sun came up at 6 a.m. He  was shocked because my parents were divorced. He thought marriage was a lifelong thing,  and when he got married, it was going to be forever. And he told me all about his twin who  was dead at birth. I'd never met anybody quite like him.
 
We got so wrapped up in kissing on our very first date -- nothing too sloppy, it was just  marvelous -- a little pecking here and there, a nibble here and there, then a serious bite.  'He was a magnificent kisser'. 'He said, 'Who taught you how to kiss?' And I said, 'You know, I was just getting ready to ask you the same thing'. But I didn't hear from him for a while after  that. It turned out he was calling and my older brother wasn't bothering to tell me. Finally,  he said, 'Some guy with a hillbilly accent called'.
 
For the one and a half years I dated him, our relationship remained chaste. He was just very  tender and considerate. We spent so much time together, and we started talking about  marriage. Mrs. Presley liked me. She saw me as domestic and wise for my young years. She was always telling me that Elvis needed someone to take care of him.
 
But Elvis was becoming more famous, and [manager] Colonel Tom Parker wanted him linked  with actresses and Vegas showgirls. Of course, Elvis liked legs that went on for days, and he  brought one of those showgirls home for Christmas in '56. That did it for me. I decided to  marry someone else. And Elvis said the Colonel said we couldn't get married, that he  wouldn't dare do that to the Colonel.
 
The next time I saw him was in a movie theater in Memphis in the early '60s. I went down  the row behind him and tapped him on the back, and he turned around and our eyes just  locked. He got up and put me in a death grip. One of his guys ran over because he thought someone was abusing Elvis. But Elvis was holding on to me. Priscilla was sitting next to him,  and she was very gracious. She kept her eyes glued to the screen.
 
In August 1977, my mother was at my house. I had laid down for a nap, and when I came out  of my bedroom my mother was looking at me really strange. Finally, she said, 'June!' She had  tears in her eyes. She said, 'I just heard on the television that Elvis Presley has died'. I looked at her and said, 'That can't be! That can't be!' I went over to the television and fell to  my knees in front of it. I couldn't breathe. I honestly think if my mother had not been with  me, I might have died. In my heart, I always thought Elvis and I would be together somewhere down the road. I was married for 36 years, and I've got two beautiful children  and beautiful grandchildren. I've been blessed in many ways. But I have just never been able  to stop loving Elvis.
 
Probably as many personal memoirs among them as have attached to any other cultural  figure or entertainer in history. Some have been spurious, a number seem to have been  written out of little more than personal rancor, motivation has ranged from love to money to  self-adumbration (never has one man had so many chief advisers). Virtually none have  actually been put together by their narrators.
 
That is one of the things that makes June Juanico's book different. It is not simply that she  has written a book that is filled with feeling and insight, that conveys an experience with  truth and without rancor, about a real, not-mythic Elvis Presley. She has also written (and re-written) every word herself and in the process produced an account that is as touching in  its unadorned honesty as it is refreshing in its feisty and unself-censored voice.
 
I should have known that June was a writer when we first met. It wasn't the fact that she  had saved up her experience over the years, avoiding interviews for the most part and  keeping her memories to herself. Nor was it the confidence with which she told her story.  Lots of people can recite anecdotes with assurance and humor. No, it was the extent to  which she had reflected upon her experience, fleshed out her story with three dimensional  portraits, created a narrative persona removed from the nineteen year old girl at its center provided a structure which, far from distorting the experience, defined it. When she  produced the manuscript that she had been working on, I really should not have been  surprised.
 
Everyone has his or her own way of telling a story, and most of us, when recounting our own  experience, paint a 'truthful' picture. It is not necessarily a complex one, though. For  reasons of convenience most of our stories boil down to anecdotes, in which our own roles  may be enhanced, the punch - line delivered more crisply, the world more a 'like' world (a  world in which these things could have happened, these verbal ripostes could have been  made) than the real one, in which motivation is often confused, people are necessarily a combination of contradictory elements, the picture is not postcard - perfect.
 
It's hard to scrutinize these accounts realistically - particularly if one is a participant in the  story. It can be painful to look too closely at one's own past. But that is what June has done.  Without for a moment sacrificing the immediacy of what can only be called a 'love story', the  narrator has told a tale filled with autumnal regret, a bitter-sweet account filled with vivid  detail that portrays a particular time and place (Biloxi, Mississippi, the summer of 1956) and  carries with it its own charm and its own truth. It also captures a 21 year-old Elvis Presley  with 'Hound Dog' just about to start climbing the charts, on the brink of movie stardom (he  receives his copy of a script titled The Reno Brothers, soon to become Love Me Tender,  while he and June are in Miami), enjoying a brief moment out of the spotlight just before  the curtain of privacy is forever lifted. June Juanico's book carries conviction in its very  simplicity but don't be misled by that simplicity. 'There's a writer there, too. And we are  getting the benefit not just of her experiences but of her insights as well.
JUNE 27-28, 1955 MONDAY / TUESDAY
 
Frank "Yankie" Barhanovich booked Elvis Presley with his daughter Ann Barhanovich, into the  Airman's Club at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, for the next two nights. According to the  Keesler News article on June 22, Elvis Presley was expected to sing "That's All Right", "Blue  Moon Of Kentucky", and "Good Rockin' Tonight" in addition to mixing up a few country tunes  with some "bop" and novelty numbers.
 
Following the show, he met June Juanico of Biloxi.  Miss Juanico, age seventeen, would date Elvis Presley a year later during his vacation trip to  Biloxi and then accompany him on a tour of Florida in August 1956. Airman Johnny Cash was  stationed at Keesler, where he learned communications.
 
"He didn't know a lot of songs", said Ann Barhanovich. "He ran out of songs to sing. He even  sang a few religious tunes to keep people listening. He even called me out to do a couple of songs to help him out. But the girls went wild. I don't think he had anticipated his growth  would come as rapidly as it did", she said. Soon after beginning her singing career as Ann  Raye, she appeared on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville at age fourteen. She would later  perform with Hank Snow, Faron Young and Little Jimmy Dickens. Her career hit the brakes,  however, when she got married at eighteen. Just as she got married, she was invited to  appear on the Ed Sullivan Show in New York, but she decided to wanted to be a wife and  mother, so she didn't accept.
 
"The first time at Keesler, this sergeant in charge of the Airman's Club, Otto Zoller, told me  this man (Elvis) would never make it. Elvis was playing three shows a night there - forty-five  minutes on, fifteen off. He only knew seven songs and he asked me if I'd get Ann to give him  a hand".
 
Otto Zoller told Barhanovich he was not satisfied with Elvis' shows, "and I asked him, 'How in  the world can you not be satisfied with this man's work when you can't put another person in the building?' He wanted Elvis to sing more songs, so I went up to Elvis and told him. And  Elvis said, 'Yankie, I only know seven songs'".
 
"So I told him to sing anything. You know, like they mix up jambalaya. Mix it up. He was  trying to play the piano. He couldn't. Ann told him, 'You can't even play the guitar, much less  the piano'. He packed them in, though. They were climbing through the windows.
 
Elvis Presley became the talk of Biloxi after those two nights". "I told Bob Neal, his manager,  I would like to book him for another week, but the price went up from a hundred and fifty a  night to three hundred dollars per night", said Barhanovich. "We booked him for a second  week. Later, I tried to book him again and Neal wrote me back and said he's fifteen hundred  dollars a night now. I replied, 'Let me know when he gets back to three hundred a night and  I'll take a week'". That never happened.
 
When Elvis Presley walked out on the stage at Jesuit High School, Martha Ann Barhanovich  knew her prayers had been answered. "I liked to have died", she said. "He was dressed in a  pink jacket with fringe on the arms and black pants that had a pink stripe down them, and  gosh, he very good looking! But when he first came out on stage, I was shocked. I thought I  would be singing with someone much older because that's the way he sounded on the radio".  She said the moment she heard him open his mouth on stage, she knew instantly that pop  music was never again going to be the same. "I knew he was going to make it", she said.
 
After his gig at Keesler, the Cherry Girls followed Elvis Presley to the Hambone's Cafe. Elvis  didn't drink anything stringer than 7-Up at Hambone's, a place where stronger liquids were  consumed in generous portions by most of the male customers.
 
"He danced with my sister at Hambone's", said one of the Cherry Girl. "I liked Elvis' singing,  but for some reason I was just not all that impressed with him". Impressed or not, the Cherry  Girls followed Elvis Presley to practically all of his stops between Pensacola, Florida, and  Shreveport, Louisiana.
 
He once invited us to come see him at the "Louisiana Hayride", the Cherry Girl continued.  "We had to take a chaperon along or our parents would never have allowed this. We were  just out of high school at the time".
 
An other local newspaper publiced an article that read: RECORDING STAR ELVIS PRESLEY AT  AIRMEN'S CLUB. One of the stars of the popular Louisiana Hayride radio show, Elvis Presley,  will be a headliner on a musical comedy stage show set for the 27th and 28th of this month  at the Airmen's Club.
 
Backing up the young radio and recording star will be Elvis' side kicks, Scotty Moore and Bill  Black who are also members of the Louisiana Hayride cast. Presley, a good-looking youngster  whose promising career started after a recording manager overhead him making a personal  recording, has become a jukebox favorite with his "That's All Right, Mama" and "Blue Moon Of  Kentucky". Presley is expected to repeat some of his hit tunes at the Airmen's Club show in  addition to mixing up a few country tunes with some 'bop' and novelty number.
 
"I didn't go to the Slavonian Lodge that first night", June Juanico recalls. "All the girls in  Biloxi, I think, had gone there and the next day they were all screaming and yelling about  what they had seen. Elvis was appearing the next night at Keesler. I had a girlfriend who  wanted to go, but she had no one to go out there with her, so I went. I had not been keeping  up with Elvis at that time.  At one point during the evening, Elvis took a break. He was  standing under a sign pointing to the ladies' room''. 
 
''Linda, my girl friend, told me, 'Let's go  over there and talk to him'. And I said, 'You can go talk to him if you want'. I just wasn't a  pushy kind of person".  "Well, if you want to, go ahead", June told Linda. "I'm not. I'm not a autograph hound. Elvis  was taller than most of the girls", said Juanico. "He looked out over them and saw me. He  reached over some of them and grabbed me by the arm. So, actually, he met me, I didn't  meet him".
FRANK ''YANKIE'' BARHANOVICH - An insurance agent from Biloxi, Mississippi, who had gotten  into the talent booking business partly because his young daughter was a rising star, was booking the Slavonian Lodge. He had met Elvis Presley and wanted to try him out".
 
"He asked us if we would mind if he brought Elvis in for one night", said Taranto. "We didn't  mind. It was a Sunday night and we wanted a night off. I had heard Elvis on the jukebox  before the Slavonian gig, so I dropped by the Lodge to see him. Our group included four  horns and we played dance music and the blues. When he first started playing that night, I  felt his music was not really hot. I bet he didn't sing twelve tunes that night at the Lodge.
 
They asked him to sing "Rock Around The Clock" and he didn't even know all the words.  There was no bottom to his band, no bottom at all. It was all twangy. He was a nice looking  kid and the girls were really going for him. He didn't sing all that well, but he was a terrific  entertainer".
 
Taranto would later that summer get to know Elvis Presley better when Elvis began dating  June Juanico. "We would hang out together here and there", he said. "While he was over at  Gulf Hills (Dude Ranch) he would do crazy things like shooting up match sticks with a BB gun.  He had old records in the trunk of his car and he'd take them out, put them on a fence, and  shoot them up, too. It's crazy what happened. One time he can't draw a hundred people; the  next thing you know you couldn't put him in Carnegie Hall. You're talking about a famous  man, more famous than anyone else in the whole world. And I don't care where they said it  started, it started right here for that boy. This, I really believe, was the turning point for  Elvis Presley".
 
It is an unchallenged fact all around Biloxi, even today, that there was no one closer to Elvis  Presley during this summer of 1955 than those whom we will identify here only as the  Cherry Girls. They spoke only on the basis we would not use their names. Today they are respectable business women and they think if someone ever heard of their giggly, teenaged  past, well..
 
"We were there that first night at the Slavonian Lodge", said Cherry Girl number one, who  sort of served as unofficial spokeswomen for the group. "We had to be there. Yankie was  doing those dances for the teens and we had to support him. There was a large Slavic community down here. We, the girls, were mostly children of immigrants. That first night  Elvis Presley appeared down here, well, he was good looking, but I was not impressed with  his pelvis. I had been raised with values. But, we were teens and he was a teen, so we liked him. Still, we were teenaged girls, hanging out together. We went to places together and we  left those places together. Biloxi at that time was a laid back little town, a resort town on  the Gulf. Elvis considered this a special town because people could accept him, especially the girls".
 
"The night he played at the Community Center Lodge, six or eight of us went backstage to  see him. My sister was wearing a strapless dress. Elvis saw her in the back of the crowd and  told the people, 'Let those girls through'. My sister had dark hair and he seemed to like darkhaired  girls", she said. 
JUNE 28, 1955 TUESDAY
 
After the Keesler performances, Frank Bahanovich booked Elvis Presley into the Hambone  Club in Gulfport, only a stone's throw west of the air base.
 
"I told him if he would go down there, Dan Seal would play the first forty-five minutes to  lighten his load", Bahanovich said. "This came about because Elvis was noting he only knew  those seven songs and he needed someone to fill in for him.
 
We got to be close friends. I  kept track of him. Ann, my daughter, played shows with him in Pensacola, Mobile, New  Orleans, Biloxi, Lafayette, Houston and Lake Charles.
 
At the show in Mobile, they fenced him  in Ladd Stadium for protection. I was the first one to bring him over. He would come  between shows. He loved Biloxi. If he were booked in this area, he would come into town  ahead of time. He spent a lot of time here. He was in love with June Juanico".
JUNE 29-30, 1955 WEDNESDAY / THURSDAY
 
At 8:30 p.m. each evening Elvis Presley, along with Marty Robbins, Sonny James, and Curtis Gordon played the Curtis Gordon Radio Ranch Club in Mobile, Alabama. This club, owned by  Curtis Gordon, a local country music artist, featured Gordon's Radio Ranch Boys, who  unfortunately had to leave the stage early because the crowd demanded Elvis Presley.
 
The first national magazine article on Elvis appeared in the June issue of Cowboy Songs  magazine. Entitled "Sun's Newest Star", the article was comprised of equal parts pure fiction  and publicity hype. Though brief and impressionistic, this glimpse into Elvis Presley's career  helped the concert gates. Although the money increased for Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and  Bill Black in some concert venues, they continued to play for small guarantees if they had  time. On most weekends, however, Elvis Presley and the Blue Moon Boys generated $300 to  $500 a night, with weekday concerts bringing in $50 to $200. For the first time in his life,  Elvis Presley had plenty of spending money, and he bought clothes and records in  abundance.
 
The clamour for Elvis Presley was helped by his record "Baby Let's Play House", which was  also on the country and western charts in Houston, New Orleans, Richmond, and St. Louis.  Another Presley song, "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" was number 4 on the local Memphis  Country and Western charts.
 
Veree Thomas recalls with vividness her 19th birthday party on June 30, 1955, ''Elvis was playing at the Radio Ranch, a nightclub on Old Cedar Point Road, the night I was having my birthday party. He joined in the party like he was acquainted with everybody in the party. He had on a pink shirt, pink pants, and a black stripe down the side of the pants. At my birthday party, he took turns at kissing the girls, and there were plenty waiting for a smooth from him. He was impressive that night''.
 
Mary Harbour, one of Veree's two sisters, has a special memory, ''Couples were dancing on the dance floor, and it was crowded. Elvis asked me to dance with him, and then suddenly everyone on the dance floor cleared the entire area for us. They just stood and watched as we danced. To say the least, it was so thrilling I felt my knees were knocking together''.
 
 
Continued: 1955 Elvis Presley 3
 
 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©