CONTAINS

1954 SUN SESSIONS 2
July 1, 1954 to September 30, 1954

Rehearsal Session for Elvis Presley, July 4, 1954 (Tape Lost)
Studio Session for Elvis Presley, July 5, 1954
Studio Session for Elvis Presley, July 6(7), 1954
Live Recordings for Elvis Presley, July 30, 1954 (Tape Lost)
Studio Session for Elvis Presley, Between August 15, 19, 1954
Studio Session for Elvis Presley, Between September 12-16, 1954

For Elvis Presley's Biography (See: The Sun Biographies)
Most Elvis' Sun tracks can be heard on the playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on YouTube < click

JULY 1954

"The Great Medical Menagerist" (SUN 205) by Harmonica Frank is released.

Johnny Cash leaves the Armed Services and returns to Memphis. His brother introduces him to the Tennessee Three: Luther Perkins, Marshall Grant and Red Kernodle.

JULY 1, 1954 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley came straight from his work to Dixie Locke's house, he didn't even bother to change. It was obvious from his tear-streaked face that he knew what had happened with the Blackwood Brothers. They went to Gaston Riverside Park that night and sipped on milk shakes and cried.

JULY 2, 1954 FRIDAY

A funeral was held at the Ellis Auditorium for the two members of the Blackwood Brothers. Elvis Presley reportedly was so upset that he and Dixie Locke grieved all night on a bench in Riverside Park by McKeller Lake.

It was the first time that a funeral service had ever been conducted at Ellis Auditorium. The Statesmen sang, and so did the Speers and five other quartets. Governor Frank Clement, who had been present at the Blackwoods' last Memphis concert, delivered a sincere and emotional eulogy.

There were close to five thousand people present, included Elvis Presley, they opened up the North Hall when the South Hall was filled. "A number of negroes called the Auditorium asking if they could attend the funeral, and the galleries were reserved for negroes", Chauncey Barbour, Auditorium manager, said. The Reverend Hamill preached the sermon, and Dr. Robert G. Lee of Bellevue Baptist Church delivered the prayer.

RIVERSIDE PARK/MCKELLER LAKE - McKeller Lake is actually an old channell bed of the Mississippi River located southwest of downtown Memphis. The Corps of Engineers dredged and shaped the channel bed to create the new Port of Memphis. The new lake was named in honor of Senator McKeller, who supported the harbor project. The surrounding dock facilities and industrial sites make this an unusual place for water recreation. Elvis Presley was no stranger to this small recreational area by Riverside Park. Bob Neal and his family liked to boat here, and Elvis often joined them in the 1954 through 1955. Riverside Park is one of the places where Elvis courted Dixie Locke in the summer of 1953 and 1954.

JULY 3, 1954 SATURDAY

Less than two weeks later, Cecil Blackwood was chosen to join the quartet, and he asked Elvis to fill his vacancy in the Songfellows and was formed by Jim Hamil and Cecil Blackwood, a nephew of James Blackwood, a subsidiary of the Blackwood Brothers. Elvis Presley knew both, and asked for an audition. "Elvis wanted to fill the opening that was left in the Songfellows, which was a local quartet", said R.W. Blackwood.

"The Songfellows were managed by my uncle Cecil who was the lead singer, and my father's younger brother who moved from that group to the Blackwood Brothers. Elvis decided to try out for the Songfellows.

We were quite busy and did a lot of singing, however, after some awkwardness, the group turned him down". "I remember he was very upset about that.

Hamill recalled years later: "I did not tell Elvis he couldn't sing. I told him he couldn't hear harmony. And he couldn't. As long as he was singing lead, he was fine, but when the baritone or the tenor took the lead, someone had to sing harmony, and he could not harmony. He'd sing baritone a line or two, then switch off to tenor for a couple of lines, and wind up singing the lead part. That was the reason we didn't take him into the quartet with us".

Elvis Presley listened, continued to improve, and a few months later on July 2, 1954, the Songfellows gave him a second shot when Cecil moved up to the regular Blackwoods Brothers. "When he learned to sing harmony, he had already signed that contract with Sun Records. Me and Cecil went to him and tried to get him to break his contract and sing in the quartet with us - but he wouldn't. Or couldn't". By then, Elvis Presley had a contract "TO SING THE BLUES".

Cecil Blackwood died on November 12, 2000 at Baptist Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

James Blackwood picks up the story from here. "Elvis and Cecil were in the same Sunday School class at First Assembly Of God Church", said James Blackwood. Cecil, young James Hamill (the preacher's son) and a couple of others had a gospel group, the Songfellows. Elvis would sing (in rehearsal) a lot with them. One of the guys was supposed to leave and Elvis was set to take his place, but the guy changed his mind. Later, another said he was leaving and Elvis was going to take his place, but he, too, changed his mind.

"Then, Sun Records came along and his whole life took a change. I've seen stories that said Elvis tried out for the Songfellows and the Blackwood Brothers and didn't make it.

That's just not the way it happened. When Elvis was living in Lauderdale Courts and we had those big gospel conventions at Ellis Auditorium, I would take Elvis backstage with me", said Blackwood. "One time I didn't see him and he went to the front door. People there didn't know who he was, so he had to buy a ticket.

When I found out about this, I wrote him a letter and enclosed a check - I think it was for $1.25 - and sent it to him to refund his money. That was about 1954. I heard they still have that check down at Graceland".

"That finished it, and I think Elvis was disappointed, but he still sang with the boys from time to time during rehearsals". Elvis Presley continued to come to the All-Night Sings. Later he would sing an occasional solo with the Blackwoods backing him up. James Blackwood recalls, "He often kept his eyes shut as he sang. Some dreams died hard". "He always came to the gospel conventions and, when Bob Neal was his manager, we would introduce him and he would come on stage and sing a couple of gospel songs. We and the Statesmen would sing harmony behind him. Then, after Colonel Tom Parker took over, he put a stop to Elvis singing on stage. Still, he would come, but we only introduce him".

JULY 3, 1954 SATURDAY

On the afternoon of this date, Scotty Moore, then twenty-two, stopped by Memphis Recording Service to chat with Sam Phillips. It had been two months since the release of "My Kind Of Carrying On". On that July 3 the heat was suffocating. Since it was Saturday, many people sought refuge in the air-conditioned movie theaters. On that particular day, you could see Gary Cooper and Susan Hayward in Garden of Evil, Elizabeth Taylor and Dana Andrews in Elephant Walk, or if you taste were more exotic, Lana Turner in Flame and the Flesh.

The hottest movie in town would not be shown until after dark, when the Sunset Drive-In ran the steamy Naughty New Orleans, an uncensored look at New Orleans strippers.

When Scotty Moore arrived at the studio, there were no customers, so Marion Keisker and Sam Phillips went with Scotty to Taylor's cafe for a cup of coffee. Scotty got right to the point. "You called that boy yet?", he asked. Finally, Sam Phillips gave in.

He told Marion Keisker to dig out the boy's name and phone number and give it to Scotty Moore. Later, when she gave Scotty his name, he was taken aback. "What kind of a name is this?", Scotty asked. He read the name over a second time - Elvis Presley.

"I don't know", answered Sam Phillips. "It's his name. Give him a call. Ask him to come over to your house and see what you think". By the time Scotty Moore got home it was late in the afternoon. He called Elvis Presley that evening after dinner. Gladys Presley, his mother, said that he had gone to a movie. Scotty said he represented Sun Records and wanted to talk to Elvis about an audition. Gladys said she would make sure Elvis returned his call.

Scotty Moore's wife, Bobbie, had just cleared away the dinner dishes when the phone rang. The call said his name was Elvis Presley. He said he was returning Scotty's call. Scotty explained that he was working for Sam Phillips, helping him look for talent for Sun Records. Would Elvis be interested in coming over to the house for an informal audition?

"Well, I guess so", said Elvis. "How about tomorrow?", asked Scotty. "All right", said Elvis. Scotty gave him directions to the house, They agreed to meet sometime after lunch.

Johnny Cash left after duty for four years the U.S. Air Force.

JULY 4, 1954 SUNDAY

Memphis sizzled. The temperature peaked at 100 degrees at 3:20 p.m. and didn't dip below 90 until 8 p.m. The humidity hung fast at 92 percent. The Fairground Amusement Park opened at 2 p.m., offering cold watermelon and a concert by Slim Rhodes. There would be no fireworks on the Fourth that year, it would be sacrilegious to do that on Sunday, but the following day the skies over the fairgrounds would be ablaze with rockets' red glare. Elvis Presley arrived shortly after noon at Scotty Moore's house. He had on a white lacy shirt, pink pants with a black stripe down the legs, and white buck shoes. He was carrying a guitar.

"Is this the right place", he said when Bobbie Moore answered the door. "Yeah, it's the right place. Come on in". Scotty's wife left Elvis in the living room and went into the bedroom to tell Scotty. "That's guy's here", she said. "What guy?", asked Scotty. "You know, the guy you invited over", she said. "They sat around for a while talking", recalls Bobbie Moore. "Then they started playing. Scotty asked me to go and ask Bill Black to come down and I did". Bill's bass was already there, propped in the corner of the living room. He kept it at Scotty's house because, with two children, he didn't have room for it at his own place.

As Scotty Moore and Elvis Presley went through Elvis' song list, Bill came over and sat down to listen. An hour or two later, Bobbie returned. "He had his audience then", she recalls. "He was doing o lot of slow ballads. Everything had the word 'because' in it, "Because Of You", "I Love You Because", "Because You Think You're So Pretty", I don't think anyone was real impressed. He had a good voice and he could sing, but the type of stuff he was singing, he was just like everybody else".

JULY 4, 1954 SUNDAY NIGHT

Based on Scotty Moore's recommendation, Sam Phillips called Elvis Presley at night and set up an audition for Monday night at the studio.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Sunday, July 4, 1954, Elvis Presley went to Moore's apartment on 983 Belz Street, with Bill Black arriving later that afternoon. Elvis Presley was dressed in a pink shirt, pink pants with a white stripe down the legs, and white shoes. Scotty recalled that he had "lots of hair". Some of the songs the three rehearsed were here.

Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black practised a couple of songs in Moore's living room as Memphis prepared for its July 4 celebration. The fireworks made the evening celebration a festive. Beale Street was crowded with tourists and the music blared from the clubs. The Bel-Air, Bon Air and Eagle's Nest were alive with country music, and the streets were filled with paetygoers, a fitting setting for the night before Elvis Presley's debut recording session. Repertoire based on interviews with Scotty and Bobbie Moore, Evelyn Black en Johnny Black, brother of Bill Black.

REHEARSAL SESSION FOR ELVIS PRESLEY

SCOTTY'S MOORE'S APARTMENT
983 BELZ AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
REHEARSALS: SUNDAY JULY 4, 1954

01* - "IF I DIDN'T CARE" - A.S.C.A.P.
Composer: - Jack Lawrence
Publisher: - Chappell & Corporation
Matrix number: - None - Unissued
Recorded: - July 4, 1954

02* - "TOMORROW NIGHT" - A.S.C.A.P.
Composer: - **Sam Coslow-Wilhelm "Will" Grosz - Written in 1939
Publisher: - Bourne Music Company
Matrix number: - None - Unissued
Recorded: - July 4, 1954

03* - "I DON'T HURT ANYMORE" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Don Robertson-Jack Rollins
Publisher: - Unknown
Matrix number: - None - Unissued
Recorded: - July 4, 1954

Elvis is reported to have recorded "I Don't Hurt Anymore" while at Sun Records, but no evidence has surfaced.

04* - "I APOLOGIZE" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Al Hoffman-Al Goodhart-Ed Nelson - Written in 1930
Publisher: - Unknown
Matrix number: - None- Unissued
Recorded: - July 4, 1954

05* - "I REALLY DON'T WANT TO KNOW" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Don Robertson-Howard Barness
Publisher: - Hill and Range Songs Incorporated - Carlin Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unissued
Recorded: - July 4, 1954

06* - "YOU BELONG TO ME (MY HEART)" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Ray Gilbert-Augustin Lara
Publisher: - Latin American Music Ltd.
Matrix number: - None - Unissued
Recorded: - July 4, 1954

07* - "I LOVE YOU BECAUSE" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Leon Payne
Publisher: - Bourne Music Incorporated - Acuff Rose Music Publishing Company Limited
Matrix number: - None - Unissued
Recorded: - July 4, 1954

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)

When Scotty Moore later described the June 27 practice session, he remembered how wildly Presley had dressed that Sunday afternoon. "I thought my wife was going out the back door", Moore recalled. Once the shock over Elvis' clothes subsided, they practised for awhile doing two country songs and one ballad. This combination of country and ballad tunes, Bill Black reasoned, was enough to guarantee Elvis Presley some success. There was another side to Presley's music that neither Scotty nor Bill witnessed that afternoon, however. Since Elvis Presley wasn't able to perform an uptempo song, they didn't realize his potential as a rockabilly singer.

"And one day, Marion Keisker was in the studio with us and I don't think Sam mentioned Elvis by name", recalled Scotty Moore, "but he said, 'Have we still git that boy's name and phone number that was in about a year ago?'. He said, 'The best I remember he had a pretty good voice'. Marion told him yeah and Sam said, 'Let me get a hold of him and bring him in for an audition'. So, of course, I picket up on that and then for about the next two weeks or so I'd say, 'Did you call this guy yet? Did you get in touch with him?' And he finally told me to give him a call and get him to come over to my house and just kinda do a preliminary thing - see what I thought. So I called him... I think this was on a Saturday... or Sunday... told him who I was, told him I was workin' with Sam Phillips and Sun Records and that we were basically lookin' for some talent, was he interested and would he come on over.

"He said yeah. So the next day he came over to my house and at that time, Bill Black just lived a few doors down the street from me and he came down while we were there. I told Elvis to just sing some songs like he normally did. He ran the whole gamut - everything from rhythm and blues to country, pop, Eddy Arnold, Ray Charles - just a little bit of everything".

"After he left I called Sam and told him, I said, 'The guy's got a good voice, it'll just be a matter of probably gettin' the right style, the right song or somethin' of that nature'".

"Sam said, 'Fine, I'll cal him and we'll set up an audition - see what he sounds like on tape'. He said, 'Why don't you and Bill come in and do a little background music - don't need the whole band'. So, basically, that's what happened; we went in and started goin' through different songs... "Blue Moon" was one of the ones we ran through and was on tape before we ever got to "That's All Right"?

Before too long, Moore's wife Bobby, stopped the festivities and reminded everyone that, although the music impressed her, it was a holiday. No matter, as after they had gone through two or three different songs, Scotty Moore decided that Elvis Presley left and Scotty and Bill talked about Elvis' performance. "The boy sings pretty good", Scotty remarked, "but he didn't knockrai me out". He then called Sam Phillips and stated that Elvis Presley was ready to record. A week later, on July 5, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black recorded "That's All Right" at the Sun Studio. The full sound they created was so good that Sam Phillips didn't bother to add any additional instrumentation.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

SCOTTY MOORE - Musician, producer, and guitar-player, born Winfield Scott Moore III on December 27, 1931 in Crockett County about five miles from Gadsden and five miles from Humboldt, Tennessee. His father, Winfield Scott Moore, and three older brothers, Carney, Edwin, and Ralph, played in a country band and this in turn prompted Scotty to take an interest in music. He got his first guitar when he was 8 years old, from a neighbour, and old man named Rip Brown. Scotty Moore started school at the age of five at a oneroom schoolhouse in Coxville.

Before the year was out, he was transferred to a larger school in Humboldt. On one Christmas day, Scotty play as a child with an received BB gun. As he was shooting the gun, one of the BBs rococheted back into his facem striking him in his left eye. Ever since the accident, Scotty has been legally blind in one eye. By January 1948, Scotty Moore would join the navy and see the world.

Scotty Moore played lead guitar for Elvis Presley from his first recording session in July 1954, through June 1968. Moore first formed a band while he was in the U.S. Navy in the late 1940s, played with a group of musicians who broadcast over station KBRO in Washington, D.C. On discharge from the service, Scotty moved to Memphis where two of his brothers owned a laundry and dry cleaners.

Whilst working as a hatter, he put together in 1954 a country outfit, along with Bill Black, called The Starlite Wranglers, a group fronted by singer Doug Poindexter. The rest of the band consisted of Clyde Rush (rhythm guitar), Milard Yow (steel guitar), Tommy Deals (fiddle) and Bill Black (bass), and on May 25, 1954, this line-up recorded a solitary release for Sun Records, "My Kind Of Carryin' On"/"Now She Cares No More For Me" (SUN 202), both numbers written by Scotty Moore.

While with that group, Moore was asked by Sam Phillips to invite Elvis Presley over to Moore's apartment to rehearse a few songs. On Sunday, June 27, 1954, Elvis Presley went to Moore's apartment, with Bill Black arriving later that afternoon. Some of the songs the three rehearsed were: "I Don't Hurt Anymore", I Apologize", and "I Really Don't Want To Know". A week later, on July 5, Elvis, Scotty, and Bill recorded "That's All Right" at the Sun Studio. The full sound they created was so good that Sam Phillips didn't bother to add any additional instrumentation.

On July 12, 1954, a week after the first Sun recording session, Moore became Elvis' first manager. He and Elvis signed a one-page contract giving Moore a ten percent commission on all of the bookings he made. Elvis' parents also signed the document because their son was not yet twenty-one. When Moore discovered that he could not be both musician and manager, he allowed Elvis to void the contract, this allowing him to sign with Bob Neal. For a brief time, on the "Louisiana Hayride" and while touring in the South in 1955, Elvis, Scotty, and Bill were known as the Blue Moon Boys. In September 1957 Moore and Black split with Elvis because they didn't like the salary they were receiving (they got a flat - no royalties). Both came back to record with Elvis until he went into the Army. Bill Black never recorded with Elvis again. Moore did go back to Elvis in 1960, staying with him until 1968. During his two-year hiatus, Moore produced and played on some Jerry Lee Lewis recording sessions, with songs that included: "Sweet Little Sixteen" (SUN 379), "Good Rockin' Tonight" (SUN 1265), "Hello Josephine" (SUN 1265), and "Be-Bop-a-Lula" (SUN 1265). He recorded for CBS the 1964 album "The Guitar That Changed The World" on Epic Records.

Moore's last work with Elvis Presley was for the 1968 NBC-TV special, on which Elvis asked him to appear. It was also the last time that Moore would see Elvis. Although Sam Phillips is given credit for developing Elvis' talents in the early years (and rightly so!), Moore hasn't gotten much acknowledgment. Moore, perhaps more than anyone, must be given credit for creating the driving guitar sound on his Gibson guitar that became known as the "Elvis Presley Sound". Singer Elton John once said of Moore, "It was Scotty Moore's guitar riff when he was doing "The Steve Allen Show" that got me into rock music". Moore was portrayed by Emory Smith in the 1981 movie "This Is Elvis".

The Guitar That Changed The World - the title of Scotty Moore's 1964 Epic album of Elvis songs which has seen many reissues over the years - said it all. Scotty's distinctive and highly original guitar sound was the bedrock of the early Presley releases, creating licks and solos that have been much copied, but never bettered, down through the years. He worked with Elvis Presley for the best part of 14 years, playing lead guitar on virtually all of his pre-Army recordings and continuing throughout the best part of the 1960s to the 1970s primarily as rhythm guitarist.

In 1992, Moore returned to Memphis, where he recorded an album with Carl Perkins called ''706 ReUnion: A Sentimental Journey''. In 1994, he recorded an album with Sonny Burgess that was produced by Garry Tallent of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. Three years later, he and D.J. Fontana reunited for an album entitled ''All The King's Men'' that featured all-star backing by acolytes of the two Presley sideman, including Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, Ron Wood and Levon Helm.

Scotty Moore has continued to tour and record into the 21st Century. In April 1999, he toured the United Kingdom, where he met George Harrison and Robert Plant. Four years later, in April 2003, he recorded an album with Alvin Lee of Ten Years After. And in 2007, he released two CDs, ''The Mighty Handful, Volumes I and II''. In 2002, Scotty Moore won the Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award, and Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at Number 44 on its list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

At the age of 84, Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley's longtime guitarist and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, died on Tuesday June 28, 2016 at his home in Nashville, Tennessee. No cause of death was provided, but More had been in poor health in recent months.

BILL BLACK - (1926-1965) Bass player, nicknamed "Blackie", who backed Elvis Presley on many of his 1950s recordings. William Patton Black was born in Memphis on September 17, 1926, to a poor family. He had two brothers, Johnny ("Jack"), a musician, and Kenny. At one time, he and his brothers and mother, Ruth Black, lived in the same Memphis apartment complex as the Presley family (Lauderdale Courts). Prior to joining Elvis, Black played with the Starlite Wranglers, a Doug Poindexter group that included Scotty Moore on guitar.

It has often been says that Sam Phillips introduced Elvis Presley to Scotty Moore and Bill Black. But Elvis may have already known Bill and "jammed" with him and his brother Johnny, since they were neighbours at the Lauderdale Courts and their mothers were friends.

(In an interview with Jay Thompson in 1956, Elvis stated that he never knew Scotty or Bill before they recorded together; however, Elvis unintentionally gave misinformation in some of his interviews). Bill Black, Scotty Moore, and Elvis were briefly known as the Blue Moon Boys in 1955. They performed together on the "Louisiana Hayride" show and in many one-night stands throughout the South. Black added some fun to the performances when he would ride his big bass across the stage, slapping it like some racehorse that was just inches from the tape and that pot of gold! Some of the early live recordings on tour give examples of Black at work, messing up songs intros and screaming in the background. Black played Eddy the bass player in the 1957 movie "Loving You".

Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis' manager, told Bill Black to tone it down and just play the bass; that people wanted to see "my boy", not him acting the fool. This would probably be one of the many reasons there was little love lost between Bill Black and Tom Parker. There was also the oft-mentioned case of Elvis' tune "Baby I Don't Care" where Black couldn't get the famous and distinctive intro right ob his new electric bass and stormed off the studio. This left Elvis Presley to play the intro.

After Black and Moore left Elvis on September 21, 1957, because of a salary dispute (Elvis was making millions, while Moore and Black were making paltry $100-a-week salaries). Black formed the Bill Black Combo, Black did play on three more recording sessions with Elvis (January 15-16, January 23, and February 1, 1958). He was replaced by Bob Moore. The Bill Black Combo recorded a number of hit records for another Memphis company, Hi Records founded by Joe Coughi. Their hits included the instrumental "Smokie Part 2" (Hi
2018), and "White Silver Sands" (Hi 2021), both released in 1960. Black also recorded a version of "Don't Be Cruel" (Hi 2026). The Bill Black Combo appeared in the 1961 movie "Teen-Age Millionaire". Carl McAvoy, an original member of Bill Black's Combo, is a cousin of Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley, and evangelist Jimmy Swaggart. Black once owned a recording studio across the street from American Sound Studios in the North Main section of Memphis. Billboard magazine gave the Bill Black Combo its "Most Played Instrumental Group" award three times during the early 1960s.

In 1965 Black was hospitalized at the Baptist Memorial Hospital three times, from June to October 8 (when he went into a coma). On October 21, 1965, Bill Black died of a brain tumour during surgery. Vernon Presley attended the funeral, but Elvis did not. Elvis and his further wife Priscilla did visit the Black family not long after.

Black was survived by his wife, Evelyn, and three daughters. The stand-up bass that Black used on his recordings with Elvis is today owned by Paul McCartney, a bass player himself. (On Wings 1979 album "Back To The Eggs", McCartney played the bass, which still had the name Bill on the lower left, on the song "Baby's Request", which Paul had originally composed for the Mills Brothers).

Bill Black is buried at Forrest Hill Cemetery at 1661 Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, included Packy Axton of the Mar-Keys, and the original grave sites of Elvis Presley and Gladys Presley, often marred by graffiti.

JOHNNY BLACK - Brother of musician Bill Black who also played stand-up bass. According to several sources, Elvis and Johnny buddied around together in the early 1950s and appeared with Johnny and Dorsey Burnette at various places in Memphis, usually on Saturday nights. According to Paul Burlison in an article in Goldmine magazine, it was Johnny Black whom Sam Phillips wanted to play bass behind Elvis in 1954, but Bill volunteered because his brother was away in Texas. Johnny Black can be seen playing bass for the Johnny Burnette Trio in the 1957 movie "Rock, Rock, Rock.

(The Burnette Trio disbanded soon after the movie, and brothers Johnny and Dorsey Burnette each had successful solo careers). Johnny Black played bass for Dean Bernard at Sun Records in 1956.

JULY 5, 1954 MONDAY

Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black, arrived at the small studios of Sun Records on 706 Union Avenue in Memphis about 8:00 p.m. on July 5, 1954. During the evening, they recorded several songs including "That's All Right". Over the next evening or two, they recorded "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", and Elvis Presley had both sides of his first Sun Records release.

The record was played over several local radio stations the following Saturday evening, July 10, and it was an instant success in Memphis. The resulting clamour led to immediate bookings for the trio as the intermission relief act for the Poindexter's weekend dates.

At first nothing seemed to go right. The first couple of songs they tried were ballads, naturally (a touchingly revealing "I Love You Because" remains intact from that session and was released later on Elvis' first RCA album), and the musicians seemed to be casting about for a direction, trying out snatches of one song, then another, without ever really hitting on, or even knowing, what it was they were looking for. But Sam Phillips was nothing if not patient, "In a personality not really given to patience", said Marion Keisker, "he showed unbelievable empathy and understanding", and he gave no indication he was growing discouraged in any way or was concerned about the time. Then, as the musicians took a break and were sipping on Cokes, "all of a sudden", said Scotty, "Elvis just started singing this song and acting the fool, and then Bill picked up his bass and he started acting the fool, too, and I started playing with them. Sam, I think, had the door to the control booth open, and he stuck his head out and said, "What are you doing?". And we said, "We don't know". "Well, back up", he said, "try to find a place to start, and dot it again". This song was "That's All Right", an old blues by Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, and nothing could have surprised Sam Phillips more than that this boy should even know, let alone perform with such freshness and verve, the music for which Sam had crusaded all these years, music of which he would later say with deep-seated satisfaction, "This is where the soul of man never dies". And while he had never anticipated, he could never have dreamt of this turn of events, it was one that he seized upon instantly, as he had Elvis and Scotty and Bill run through "That's All Right" until they got it right and, in the next few nights, watched them hit upon their transformation of Bill Monroe's bluegrass classic, "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", in similar fashion. "We thought it was exciting", said Scotty, "but what was it? It was just so completely different. But it just really flipped Sam - he felt it really had something. We just sort of shook our heads and said, "Well, that's fine, but good God, they'll run us out of town!".

That in a way was the story of Elvis Presley's Sun recordings: it represented, in a sense, the peeling away of layers, psychological as well as musical, the uncovering of depths which, if not hitherto unsuspected, had hitherto lain unplumbed. As he had already done with the blues singers for whom he had opened his studio, and as he would with each of the so-called "rockabilly" artists who followed (Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sonny Burgess and many others), Sam Phillips saw it as his mission to "open up an area of freedom within the artist himself, to help him to express what he believed his message to be".

With Elvis Presley he was astonished to discover an individual with a musical curiosity as omnivorous as his own ("It seemed like he had a photographic memory for every damn song he ever heard, and he had the most intuitive ability to hear songs without ever having to classify them, or himself"). In the studio his aim was to bring out that curiosity, to encourage that area of creative difference, to stifle not even the smallest element of exploration. "I had a mental picture of what I wanted to hear. Not note for note certainly, but in its essence: I wanted simpliciter, where we could look at what we were hearing and say, "This guy has just got it".

That was why Sam was so taken with the trio format, with trying out different ways of mixing the bass so that it would sound natural and creating a "total rhythm feel" that could move fluidly in any given direction. Sam Phillips prided himself on his engineering skills, which had been honed by over ten years in radio (much of it big band broadcasts), and he worked assiduously to create a distinctive and individual sound for each recording, combining clarity, presence, and a kind of adjustable reverb that he dubbed "slapback". When he introduced drums for the first time on the fourth Sun single, it was the idea of getting a very specific sound. But if it came down to a choice between sound and feel, there was never any question which Sam Phillips, or Elvis Presley, would choose. Sam believed totally in the accidental, the unexpected, the unique; he placed his full faith in the spontaneity of the moment, whether or not it might include formal mistakes. And that is exactly how Elvis Presley's records were made. The Sun sides still have a freshness about them that is almost uncanny. They are timeless in a way that virtually defies logic at a moment in history when last year's pop trends sound dated. And yet each one is different, the sound and feel and mood of each is distinctively its own, each one very much reflects the individual circumstances of its making. If you are looking for an evolutionary pattern, it would come solely in the realm of rhythm, for rhythm was at the heart of Sam Phillips' aesthetic.

With Elvis he continued to record the ballads that had first caught his attention, and there is no question that he continued to appreciate them as well. But he released only the rhythm numbers - in a sense every session was a matter of waiting the musicians out, going wherever it was that chance, or whim, or natural symbiosis might take them, and then, as at that very first session, "turning the light on" when he finally spotted the possum. With Bill Black it was very much a question of appreciating Bill's good qualities as a bass player while overlooking the bad ("Bill was the worst bass player in the world, technically, but, man, could he slap that bass!"). And with Scotty, who had started out as the closest thing to a collaborator that Sam Phillips would ever entertain, Sam kept playing records by Little Junior Parker, John Lee Hooker, Floyd Murphy or Pat Hare or one of the many other distinctive Memphis blues guitarists that he had himself recorded. Scotty's hero was Chet Atkins, and Sam appreciated Chet Atkins' pretty thumb-picking, too, he appreciated it very much - but he was always on Scotty to emphasize the rhythm. "I told him, "We don't want none of that soft bullshit. We want some biting bullshit!". "Everything had to be a stinger - and it had to have great rhythm".

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

In a number of interviews, Scotty Moore has suggested that the session planned for, July 5, was really Elvis Presley's first audition, an unrehearsed event that lead immediately to Elvis' emergence as an "undiscovered"talent. Either Moore was unaware of how much Sam Phillips had observed, talked to, and worked with Elvis Presley prior to that time, or he was attempting to perpetuate the legend that Elvis Presley was an overnight sensation.

The following year, Scotty Moore began to tell the revised story of how he first met and recorded with Elvis Presley. This version, which surfaced in December 1955, bears the unmistakable influence of Colonel Tom Parker.

The Colonel intended to preserve and perpetuate the myth that Elvis Presley was an original talent who simply walked into Sun Records off the street, and that is not true.

A more plausible explanation is that Scotty Moore and Bill Black were brought into the studio to back Elvis Presley because he was finally ready to record a commercially acceptable record, and that there was nothing accidental about Elvis' first recording session. Sam Phillips' goal was to achieve a regional hit record, a tactic he had used with many other artists, and the direction from which, its safe to assume, he initially approached Elvis Presley. This first session began on the 5th, and took at least three maybe four nights. There are probably unreleased songs from this sessions.

STUDIO SESSION FOR ELVIS PRESLEY
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION 1: MONDAY JULY 5, 1954
SESSION HOURS: 8:00 TO 2:00 MIDNIGHT
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

On Monday night, July 5, 1954, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black showed up at the Sun studio around seven o'clock. Scotty had offered to bring the entire band, but Sam Phillips didn't want to make a big deal out of it. The idea was to see what Elvis Presley could do, not to make a record. Scotty on guitar and Bill on bass would be enough. Sam wanted to keep it as simple as possible. Elvis Presley reported to Sun for his first recording session, arriving about seven, Elvis Presley was nervous, so Sam Phillips suggested that they begin the session with an old standard, although not a favorites' of Sam Phillips.

First came the small talk. Complaints about the heat (the temperature was still hovering around 90 degrees). Then the inevitable, what songs do you know? Then, what songs do you know that I know? Finally, for starters, they picked "Harbor Lights". Then they did one of Elvis' "because" numbers. They did one ballad after another.

01(1) - "HARBOR LIGHTS" - A.S.C.A.P. - 0:33
Composer: - Jimmy Kennedy-Hugh Williams
Publisher: - Chappell & Company Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – FS Take 1 – FS Take 2 – Breakdown – Tape Box 15
Recorded: - July 5, 1954
Released: - August 3, 2012
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-1 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955
Reissued: - 2016 Memphis Recording Service (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 10053055-2-1 mono
ELVIS PRESLEY - THE COMPLETE WORKS 1953-1955

01(2) - "HARBOR LIGHTS" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:52
Composer: - Jimmy Kennedy-Hugh Williams
Publisher: - Chappell & Company Incorporated
Matrix number: - EPA3-2742 - Take 3 Master
Recorded: - July 5, 1954
Released: - January, 1976
First appearance: - RCA Victor (LP) 33rpm CPL1-1349 mono
ELVIS - A LEGENDARY PERFORMER - VOLUME 2
Reissued: August 3 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-2 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

01(3) - "HARBOR LIGHTS" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:37
Composer: - Jimmy Kennedy-Hugh Williams
Publisher: - Chappell & Company Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Complete Take 4 – Tape Box 15
Listen as Take 3 on Golden Celebration
Recorded: - July 5, 1954
Released: - August 1984
First appearance: BMG Music (LP) 33rpm CPM6-5172 mono
GOLDEN CELEBRATION
Reissued: August 3 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-3 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

01(4) - "HARBOR LIGHTS" - A.S.C.A.P. - 1:22
Composer: - Jimmy Kennedy-Hugh Williams
Publisher: - Chappell & Company Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – FS Take 5 – LFS Take 6 – Tape Box 15
Recorded: - July 5, 1954
Released: - August 3, 2012
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-4 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955
Reissued: - 2016 Memphis Recording Service (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 10053055-2-2 mono
ELVIS PRESLEY - THE COMPLETE WORKS 1953-1955

01(5) - "HARBOR LIGHTS" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:24
Composer: - Jimmy Kennedy-Hugh Williams
Publisher: - Chappell & Company Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Complete Take 7 – Tape Box 15
Recorded: - July 5, 1954
Released: - August 3, 2012
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-5 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955
Reissued: - 2016 Memphis Recording Service (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 10053055-2-2 mono
ELVIS PRESLEY - THE COMPLETE WORKS 1953-1955

01(6) - "HARBOR LIGHTS" - A.S.C.A.P. - 0:25
Composer: - Jimmy Kennedy-Hugh Williams
Publisher: - Chappell & Company Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – LFS Take 8 – Breakdown – Tape Box 15
Recorded: - July 5, 1954
Released: - August 3, 2012
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-6 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955
Reissued: - 2016 Memphis Recording Service (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 10053055-2-2 mono
ELVIS PRESLEY - THE COMPLETE WORKS 1953-1955

Elvis Presley's version of "Harbor Lights" was inspired by Harry Owens and His Royal Hawaiians. The song contained guitar riffs similar to those used by Hank Garland, whose guitar style helped to develop a part of the early rock and roll sound. There were five cuts of "Harbor Lights" completed during this session. The first cut was an instrumental to calm Elvis Presley down and acquaint Scotty Moore and Bill Black with the musical direction that Sam Phillips wanted. Only two of the cuts of "Harbor Lights" were strong enough to consider for commercial release. Eventually, Elvis' two-minute and thirty-five-second version would appear on RCA's Elvis A Legendary Performer, Volume 2 in 1976. This cut featured a whistling bridge.

There was also an alternate cut of "Harbor Lights" with a soft guitar bridge. After listening to these versions, Ronald Smith concluded that Elvis Presley had even then crossed over into the pop market, a result of the fact that Sam Phillips recognized that Scotty Moore's guitar licks were a sophisticated mix of Chet Atkins' country guitar and Les Paul's electric city sound, a mix that was decidedly crossover.

"Harbor Lights" was written by Jimmy Kennedy and Hugh Williams (real name: Wilhelm "Will" Grosz) in 1937 and popularized in recordings that year by Frances Langford (Decca 1441) and Claude Thornhill and His Orchestra, with vocal by Jimmy Farrell (Vocalion 3595). The song was revived in 1950 by several artists, the most successful being Sammy Kaye, who had a number one recording (Columbia 38963). Over a million copies of sheet music were sold for "Harbor Lights" in 1950. The song was performed a record 29 times on "Your Hit Parade". "Harbor Lights" was used as the recurring theme song of the 1940 John Ford- directed movie "The Long Voyage Home", starring John Wayne. Elvis Presley recorded "Harbor Lights" on July 5, 1954 - his first commercial recording session. It was probably the first song put on tape. Sam Phillips of Sun Records considered the recording to be not worthy of release. In 1976 RCA released the master (Take 3) on the album "Elvis - A Legendary Performer Volume 2". In 1980, the National Enquirer an unidentified copy of Elvis' "Harbor Lights" to recording studios in Nashville and New York City. The recording was rejected by almost all of the companies?

Steve Sholes Sessions Notes

Scotch Magnetic Tape
Master Tapes Acquired

Box 12
01 I'll Never Let You Go Take 1 F2WB-81161
02 I'll Never Let You Go Take 2
03 Satisfied Take 1 1:15
04 I'll Never Let You Go Take 3
05 I'll Never Let You Go Take 4
06 I'll Never Let You Go Take 5
07 I'll Never Let You Go Take 6

Box 13
01 I Love You Because Take 1 G2WB-1086 3:27
02 I Love You Because Take 2 3:28
03 I Love You Because Take 3 Breakdown
04 I Love You Because Take 4 3:23 V
05 I Love You Because Take 5 3:25
06 That's All Right Take 1 F2WB-8040 N.G. 1:52

Steve Sholes from RCA, mixing later two ferry good takes to one track, take 3 and take 5 (time 2:39). Mixingdate January 20, 1956 in the RCA studios in Nashville, Tennessee.

Box 14
01 Blue Moon Of Kentucky Take 1 F2WB-80412:02
02 Blue Moon Of Kentucky Take 2 2:02
03 Blue Moon Of Kentucky Take 3 Breakdown
04 Blue Moon Of Kentucky Take 4 Last Part N.G.

Box 15
WO 10264 SPEED 5 ENG-FRL PRODUCTION:
No: F69 FACTORY SERVICE MEMPHIS TENNESSEE
BREAKDOWN HARBOR LIGHTS TS-2 SPEED 7.5 BOX 15 SUN MASTER
01 Harbor Lights Take 1 Breakdown EPA3-2742
02 Harbor Lights Take 2 2:35
03 Harbor Lights Take 3 2:27
04 Harbor Lights Take 4 Breakdown
05 Harbor Lights Take 5 2:20 N.G.
06 Harbor Lights Take 6 Breakdown

Elvis Presley remarked that he loved Eddie Fisher's pop version of "I Love You Because". The 1950 Fisher hit was one of Presley's favorites. Elvis Presley told Sam Phillips that he'd love to record it, but Sam Phillips initially rejected this suggestion because he wanted Elvis Presley to attempt an upbeat, rockabilly number. But Elvis Presley prevailed, persuading Phillips that it would be best to record a tune that he knew by heart.

Sam Phillips and Scotty Moore have both indicated that the Elvis' first recording session was a difficult one, primarily because of Presley's perfectionist nature. Although he was not in a position to make many demands during this first session, Elvis Presley was not only critical of his own performance, but from the first moments in the studio he demanded excellence from Scotty Moore and Bill Black. There were amazed by Elvis' professional manner, which was quick and self-assured.

This tendency toward musical perfection was demonstrated on Elvis' "I Love You Because". Leon Payne, a blind composer who often appeared in concert with Bob Wills And The Texas Playboys, was too country for Elvis Presley, but Sam Phillips at first pressured Elvis Presley to record the tune in Payne's mould. It was only after Elvis Presley pointed out that he could cut a Fisher-type version that the song was completed. After five different takes, however, Sam Phillips abandoned the tunes as commercially inviable. In 1956, Steve Sholes blended two of the cuts together into a master take, a strange mixture of Leon Payne's country version and Eddie Fisher's pop rendition. Elvis Presley told Eddie Bond that he preferred the Fisher version precisely because it was pop. "Elvis loved those pop songs and knew them by heart", Eddie Bond remembered. It is therefore surprising that Elvis Presley had difficulty recording the tune, which he had performed many time.

"I'm not for sure, "I Love You Because" one of the first things", recalled Scotty Moore, "I know for sure was … there was two or three there. "Harbor Light", I think, was one. And you can tell there's no style or anything - he's just groping in the dark, practically... And then of course the story on "That's All Right". "I Love You Because" was written and recorded by blind performer Leon Payne in late 1949. Elvis recorded "I Love You Because" during his first commercial recording session at Sun Records. Apparently, five takes were taped by Sam Phillips, but none deemed worthy of commercial release. However, after Elvis had skyrocketed to fame in 1956, RCA released a single of "I Love You Because" in September 1956, using previously appeased on the "Elvis Presley" LP. Take number 2 surfaced in 1974 on the LP "Elvis - A Legendary Performer Volume 1", and all five takes appeared on the 1987 LP "The Complete Sun Sessions". Before the release of "The Complete Sun Sessions", it had been understood that the master was a splice of takes number 2 and number 4 and that take number 1 appeared on "Elvis - A Legendary Performer Volume 1". Elvis is known to have sung "I Love You Because" on the Louisiana Hayride" in 1954 and 1955. A historical note: After the five takes of "I Love You Because", Elvis, Scotty and Bill started cutting up with "That's All Right" during a break.

02(1) - "I LOVE YOU BECAUSE" - B.M.I. - 0:23
Composer: - Leon Payne
Publisher: - Bourne Music Incorporated - Acuff Rose Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None – FS Take 1 – Tape Box 13 – Guitar Intro
Recorded: - July 5, 1954
Released: – August 3, 2012
First appearance: – FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-7 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955
Reissued: - 2016 Memphis Recording Service (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 10053055-2-3 mono
ELVIS PRESLEY - THE COMPLETE WORKS 1953-1955

02(2) - "I LOVE YOU BECAUSE" - B.M.I. - 3:27
Composer: - Leon Payne
Publisher: - Bourne Music Incorporated - Acuff Rose Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None – Complete Take 2 – Tape Box 13 – Guitar Intro
Recorded: - July 5, 1954
Released: – June 1987
First appearance: - RCA BMG (LP) 33rpm 6414-1-R mono
THE COMPLETE SUN SESSIONS
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-8 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

02(3) - "I LOVE YOU BECAUSE" - B.M.I. - 3:35
Composer: - Leon Payne
Publisher: - Bourne Music Incorporated - Acuff Rose Music Publishing
Matrix number: - SPA1-4278 – Complete Take 3 – Master – Tape Box 13 – Whistling Intro
Used for Spliced RCA Master
Recorded: - July 5, 1954
Released: – June 1987
First appearance: - RCA BMG (LP) 33rpm 6414-1-R mono
THE COMPLETE SUN SESSIONS
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-9 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

02(4) - "I LOVE YOU BECAUSE" - B.M.I. - 0:40
Composer: - Leon Payne
Publisher: - Bourne Music Incorporated - Acuff Rose Music Publishing
Matrix number: - SPA1-4279 – FS Take 4 – Master – Tape Box 13 – Whistling Intro
Recorded: - July 5, 1954
Released: – June 1987
First appearance: - RCA BMG (LP) 33rpm 6414-1-R mono
THE COMPLETE SUN SESSIONS
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-10 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

02(5) - "I LOVE YOU BECAUSE" - B.M.I. - 3:27
Composer: - Leon Payne
Publisher: - Bourne Music Incorporated - Acuff Rose Music Publishing
Matrix number: - SPA1-4280 – Complete Take 5 – Master – Tape Box 13 – Whistling Intro
Used for Spliced RCA Master
Recorded: - July 5, 1954
Released: – June 1987
First appearance: - RCA BMG (LP) 33rpm 6414-1-R mono
THE COMPLETE SUN SESSIONS
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-10 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

02(6) - "I LOVE YOU BECAUSE" - B.M.I. - 2:42
Composer: - Leon Payne
Publisher: - Bourne Music Incorporated - Acuff Rose Music Publishing
Matrix number: - G2WB-1086 – Tape Box 13
Master Spliced From Take 3 and Take 5 and omits the spoken part.
Recorded: - July 5, 1954
Released: March 23, 1956
First appearance: - RCA Victor (LP) 33rpm LPM-1254 mono
ELVIS PRESLEY
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-1-6 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

The next song Elvis Presley tried was the one that was to thrust him into regional musical prominence, and turn Elvis Presley's very first recording session into a hit-producing one. Arthur Crudup's "That's All Right" was originally recorded on September 6, 1947, for RCA Victor's Chicago-based Bluebird label. Elvis Presley, again, had some difficulty recording Crudup's tune. Whereas most of the songs he sang tended to follow the same phrasing as the original performer or demo singer, his interpretation of Crudup's country blues song bore little relationship to the original. So, it was a moment of great creativity as Elvis Presley interpreted "That's All Right" in his own unique manner.

The trouble with the song developed as a result of the fact that Sam Phillips offered Elvis Presley more freedom than he would. At this stage, although practiced and professional when it came to songs for which he had an original basis - a "model", as it were - Elvis Presley wasn't sure how to fully use a situation which gave him total freedom and creativity. As a result of this inexperience, Elvis' vocal on the first take of "That's All Right" was laboured. It was not until later, when they were all tired and had taken a short break during which Elvis Presley began clowning around, that he broke into a faster version of the song that electrified Sam Phillips, who in turn hollered for Scotty Moore and Bill Black to join in.

03(1) - "THAT'S ALL RIGHT" - B.M.I. - 0:20
Composer: - Arthur Crudup
Publisher: - Wabash Music Corporation - Crudup Music
Matrix number: – OPA1-4849 – FS Take 1 – FS Take 2 – Tape Box 13 - Breakdown
Recorded: - July 5, 1954
Released: - October 1984
First appearance: - RCA (LP) 33rpm CPM6-5172-1 mono
A GOLDEN CELEBRATION
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-12 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

03(2) - "THAT'S ALL RIGHT" - B.M.I. - 1:53
Composer: - Arthur Crudup
Publisher: - Wabash Music Corporation - Crudup Music
Matrix number: – OPA1-4849 – Complete Take 3 – Tape Box 13 - Breakdown
Recorded: - July 5, 1954
Released: - October 1984
First appearance: - RCA (LP) 33rpm CPM6-5172-1 mono
A GOLDEN CELEBRATION
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-13 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

"All of a sudden", said Scotty Moore, "Elvis just started singing this song, jumping around and acting the fool, and then Bill picked up his bass, and he started acting the fool, too, and I started playing with them. Sam, I think, had the door to the control booth open, I don't know, he was either editing some tape, or doing something, and he stuck his head out and said, 'What are you doing? And we said, 'We don't know'. 'Well back up', he said, 'try to find a place to start, and do it again". "So we stopped, we talked a few minutes about what we were doin', I tried to figure some kind of turnaround or instrumental part on it, we ran through it probably two or three times, and that was it".

Steve Sholes Session Notes
Box 13

That's All Right Take 1 Breakdown
That's All Right Take 2 Breakdown
That's All Right Take 3 Master

03(3) - "THAT'S ALL RIGHT" - B.M.I. - 1:57
Composer: - Arthur Crudup
Publisher: - Wabash Music Corporation- Crudup Music
Matrix number: - U-128 - Single Master Take 3 – Tape Box 13 - F2WB-8040
Recorded: - July 5, 1954
The lyrics "my mama she done told me, papa done told me too" came from
Arthur Crudup's old blues song "Mean Old Frisco Blues", recorded April 15, 1942.
Released: - July 19, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 209-A mono
THAT'S ALL RIGHT / BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-3-11 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

When Elvis Presley transferred to RCA, the company received a tape referred to in Steve Shole's notes as "That's All Right, plus two other selections"; it is unclear whether these "other selections" were Presley recordings.

Delighted with Elvis Presley's uptempo performance of "That's All Right", Sam Phillips suggested they continue the session. Two of the takes of "That's All Right" were strong enough to release into the growing rock and roll market; now Phillips had to come up with a b-side for Presley's record. This song had to be a country one, Sam Phillips reasoned, to carry Presley's music in the Memphis market. A quick decision was needed, and Sam Phillips urged Elvis Presley to consider recording a song by a well-known country artist.

As a result, Bill Monroe's 1946 country hit "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" was selected as the ideal companion tune to "That's All Right". Elvis Presley didn't feel comfortable recording the song, however, so he asked Sam Phillips to wait until the next recording session to do it.

One in particular, "I Don't Know It", became the model for Elvis Presley's version of "That's All Right". Original recorded in Chicago on April 9, 1947, "I Don't Know It" was the first song Crudup recorded after "That's All Right". Elvis Presley simply copied the arrangement and musical direction of "I Don't Know It". It was Crudup's backup musicians, Ranson Knowling on bass and either Jump Jackson or Judge Riley on drums, who most caught Elvis Presley's attention.

"The first time Sam played it back, we couldn't believe it was us", said Bill Black. "It just sounded sort of raw and ragged", said Scotty Moore. "We thought it was exciting, but what was it? It was just so completely different. But it just really flipped Sam, he felt it really had something. We just sort of shook our heads and said, 'Well, that's fine, but good God, they'll run us out of town!".

Elvis Presley's first two singles featured only "Scotty and Bill" (as labels read), but later Sun recordings often included drums (on the 'country' sides more frequently than on the 'rhythm' sides, interestingly enough. The was Johnny Bernero, leader of a local show band (see Malcolm Yelvington/Johnny Bernero, Memphis Rockin' Country, P-Vine 330, Japan), though forget the title for Bernero's side; Bernero soon vanished into oblivion, where he is no doubt trading tales of what might have been with Jimmy Nicol, who replaced an ailing Ringo Starr when the Beatles toured Australia in 1964.

04* - "TIGER MAN" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Joe Hill Lewis-Sam Burns (pseudonym Sam Phillips)
Burns is the maiden name of Phillips' wife, Becky (Rebecca)
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Probably Tape Lost
Recorded: - July 5, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

(*) In 1968 when Elvis Presley filmed his comeback 68' TV Special ''Elvis'', he revived ''Tiger Man'', replicating Joe Hill Louis's guitar licks as closely he could. It was dropped from the show and the accompanying LP, but soon appeared on a budget LP. The likeliest scenario is that Phillips had given to to him in 1954 or 1955, suggesting that he might like to cover it for Sun. Introducing the song on-stage in 1970, Elvis said, ''This was my second record, 'cept no one got to hear it''. Joe Hill Louis would have benefitted if Elvis had revived it in 1954 (he might even have made enough for the tetanus shot that would have saved his life), but he wasn't around to collect his share of the 1970s bounty.

"Maybe it was something we might have run through a few times.. because that was from Rufus", recalled Scotty Moore. "That's where Elvis got it from. We didn't record it - if we did then it got erased. I guess Sam didn't want to spend that money on tape". Eventually, though, they came up with a song even more improbable than "That's All Right", and just as promising.

05* - "I'LL NEVER LET YOU GO (LITTLE DARLIN')" - A.S.C.A.P
Composer: - Jimmy Wakely
Publisher: - Elvis Presley Music Incorporated - Sundance Music
Matrix number: - None - Tape Box 12
Recorded: - July 5, 1954 - Probably Uncompleted Alternate Take
Released: - Sun Unissued

The July 5 session continued for yet another two hours, however. There were two attempts to record "I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')". Between these two cuts Elvis Presley sang a minute-long version of the gospel song "Satisfied". By this time, though, Elvis Presley was tired, and these final cuts were also laboured ones. Sam Phillips set up another recording session for the following night to cut the songs that Elvis Presley hadn't completed.

No permanent written record of this sessions exists. Not only did Sam Phillips not keep precise records, but he was very casual about dating his sessions. When Sam Phillips collected the evening's recordings, he placed them in Scotch magnetic tape boxes. There were no numbers on the boxes, and they were simply stacked next to the production board. After Sam Phillips shipped the tapes to RCA in November 1955, it was Steve Sholes who numbered the boxes; the songs from this session are probably from boxes 2, 12, 13, and 15.

06* - "SATISFIED" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Martha Lou Carson
Publisher: - Copyright Martha Carson
Matrix number: - None - Tape Box 12 - Probably Tape Lost
Recorded: - July 5, 1954 - Fragmented - Probably Uncompleted Rehearsal Version
Released: - Sun Unissued

07* - "I'LL NEVER LET YOU GO (LITTLE DARLIN')" - A.S.C.A.P.
Composer: - Jimmy Wakely
Publisher: - Elvis Presley Music Incorporated - Sundance Music
Matrix number: - None - Tape Box 12 - Probably Tape Lost
Recorded: - July 5, 1954 - Probably Uncompleted Rehearsal Version
Released: - Sun Unissued

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)

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

ARTHUR WILLIAM CRUDUP - Also known as "Big Boy, Percy Lee Crudup, Art Crudux, Arthur Crump, Elmer James, but The Father of Rock And Roll was a Delta blues musician, Crudup recorded for RCA's Bluebird label. In 1944, "Rock Me Mama" set the standard for postwar blues tunes. It started back on the farm where he was born on August 24, 1905, about a mile from Forest, Scott County, Mississippi. His mother, Minnie Crudup was a musician. Crudup was interested in music at the early age and sang in gospel choirs and gospel quartets at the age of 10. Crudup grew up there with his mother parents. Arthur Crudup, his mother, and sister moved to Indianapolis in 1916. When his mother became ill shortly thereafter, he left school to go to work.

At thirteen he was dumping molds in a foundry; at fourteen he was carrying iron. In 1916 the family moved back to Forest to around 1926, and Crudup started farming and got married. Then he and his wife separated and he began in 1926 to circa 1935 "running up and down the highway". Crudup hit the juke houses in the little Mississippi towns: Belzoni, Drew, Indianola, Sunflower, Yazoo City.

Arthur Crudup heard musicians like Charlie Patton, drank moonshine whisky for thirty-five cents a half-pint, ate barbecue sandwiches, and danced till daylight. In 1939, Crudup worked on local parties in the Clarksdale area.

Later Crudup packet his clothes in a cardboard box and caught a midnight train to Chicago to join his girl friend. He joined the Harmonizing Four Gospel Quartet and worked at churches in Chicago, Illinois in 1940. Frequently, Crudup worked outside music with the street and house party gigs in Chicago from 1940.

Crudup was on the corner at Forty-third and Hawthorne when he first met Lester Melrose, who recruited talent for Vocalion, Brunswick-Balke-Collender's race recording label, as well as for RCA Victor's Bluebird. Three days later, he recorded his first four sides, "That's All Right" (Victor 20-2205, September 6, 1946), "Who Been Fooling You", "Death Valley Blues", and "If I'd Git Lucky" with Judge Riley on drums and Ranson Knowling on bass, in 1940 after his discovery by talent hunter Lester Melrose on a Chicago street corner, Crudup worked at various times in Chicago as a thirty-six-old delivery boy, as a tire capper at Firestone, and as a night cook in a restaurant on the tough South Side in Chicago.

Arthur Crudup frequently returned to work outside music in Forest, Mississippi from circa 1942; recorded US Armed Forces Radio Service transcription (AFRS) in early 1940s. In 1945, Arthur Crudup recorded for the Bluebird label in Chicago, Illinois and than returned to Mississippi, went back to his wife, and started farming again, making only occasional trips to record with Melrose in Chicago. Worked at the Indiana Theater in Chicago in 1945 and recorded for the Victor label in Chicago, Illinois. Crudup moved his family back to Forest. He worked for the city, farmed some, played Saturday night dances - anything to take care of his wife and 2 children.

Arthur Crudup also appeared on the King Biscuit Time for KFFA-radio in Helena, Arkansas in the mid-1940s and frequently worked outside music with local gigs with Sonny Boy Williamson II (Alex Miller) and worked with Elmore James in small juke joints in the South in the late 1940s. In 1952 Arthur Crudup recorded for the Victor label in Atlanta, Georgia and recorded for the Trumpet/Checker labels in Jackson, Mississippi in 1952; for the Champion label in Jackson, Mississippi in 1952; and for the Ace label in Jackson, Mississippi in 1953; recorded for the Groove/Victor labels in Atlanta in 1953-1954.

In 1954 That's All Right" became the first of the blue-suede-blues hits for Elvis Presley, who later came out with Crudup's "My Baby Left Me" (Victor 130-284, November 8, 1950), and "So Glad You're Mine", accompanying himself on guitar with Armand Jackson on drums (Victor 20-1949, February 22, 1946) were Crudup tunes that Elvis Presley covered. Crudup himself never enjoyed the fruits of his success. In addition to his real name, Crudup recorded under the names Perry Lee Crudup and Elmer James. It was during this time that rock and roll caught hold, and as Crudup heard Presley's version of "That's All Right" over and over on radio and jukebox, he began to wonder about royalties. He wrote Melrose but never was satisfied with the answers he received.

"Elton John, he made my numbers and they's paying that money right now. That money's just piling up there and they ain't giving it to me and so there you are. People ask me about Elvis Presley, how do I feel about him. Ought to be mad with him, they say. For what? I said I don't even know the man. I said I know he's from Memphis, Tennessee, all right enough, but I've never met him. I didn't give him the songs. And he didn't steal them because I didn't write them on paper. I realize that man have paid his royalty statement that I was supposed to get whether I got it or not. All of this here money that I done made and you tell me, "It's yours, Arthur, you made it, it's yours", but it's hung up there and they won't pay me off".

In fact, each of those Crudup's songs is so similar to Elvis' recorded version that there is no doubt he mimicked Crudup's style. In Crudup's music there is a blues direction that is infused with a hillbilly tone. The songs that Crudup recorded for RCA from 1941 until he left the label in 1954 are significant influences upon Elvis Presley. In 1955, Crudup moved to Florida where he drove a tractor one season and then bought a truck to haul his family and some of the other itinerant workers to Birdnest, Virginia, near Exmore, where they harvested potatoes, beans, and cucumbers. Until his health failed, they continued to alternate between Florida and Virginia, six months each place, following the work.

In 1959, Arthur Crudup to work mostly outside the music with occasional gigs with the Malibus Family group at local country dances and he recorded for the Fire label in Nashville, Tennessee circa 1959.

In 1960, Crudup had little to do with the music business until Dick Waterman - a Massachusetts attorney, promoter, and friend of many blues men - talked him into taking a booking at the University of Chicago in 1968. Crudup worked at the 50 Grand Club in Detroit, Michigan in 1965; at the Ark in Boston, Massachusetts in 1966; the Electric Circus in New York City, New York in 1966.

After Waterman coaxed him back to the blues scene, Crudup traveled back and forth across the United States as well as to Australia and to Europe; performed at the Avant Garde Coffeehouse in Milwaukee in Wisconsin in 1967; at Central Park Music Festival in New York City in 1967; the Philadelphia Folk Festival in

Schwenksville, Pennsylvania in 1967; recorded for Delmark label in Chicago, Illinois in 1967, appeared on the Ann Arbor Blues Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1969; appeared at the University of California in Berkeley, California in 1969; performed at the Ash Groove in Los Angeles, California in 1969; toured in England on club, concert and TV dates in 1970-1971; appeared on the Late Night Line-Up TV show on BBC-2-TV in London, England in 1970; recorded for Liberty Records in London, England in 1970.

In 1970, Arthur Crudup appeared at the Festival Of American Folklife in Washington, D.C.; and toured with the American Blues Festival and working on concert dates through Australia in 1972; appeared in the French film "Out Of The Blacks Into The Blues" in 1972; worked at the University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont in 1972; at the Siena College in Memphis, Tennessee in 1972, appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival, Philharmonic Hall in New York City, New York in 1973 (portion released on the Buddah label); at the Mariposa Folk Festival in Toronto, Canada in 1973.

In later years Elvis Presley financed Crudup's recording sessions with Fire Records, though the two never did meet. In 1973 a TV special called "Arthur Crudup: Born In The Blues" aired on WETA-TV in Washington, D,C. (also released as film).

In 1974, Arthur Crudup toured with Bonnie Raitt and working on concert dates through Virginia and worked at the Hunter College in New York City, New York in 1974. But touring took its toll. The death of Melrose complicated Waterman's efforts to recover Crudup's royalties. Arthur Crudup died of a stroke at the Northhampton Accomac Memorial Hospital in Nassawadox, Virginia, on March 28, 1974, still unpaid but not unsung. Arthur Crudup is buried at the Bethel Baptist Cemetery in Franktown, Virginia. Arthur William Crudup is influenced by Bill Broonzy and Papa Floyd. He influenced artists like Ray Charles, Eddie Kirkland, J.B. Lenoir, Elvis Presley, Doc Ross, James "Son" Thomas. As a singer he was superb and many of his songs have become classics, he was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1940s and one of the finest blues songwriters ever. "He bridged the space between", say Tommy McGlenman and Lightnin' Hopkins.

FIRE RECORDS - New York-based record label for which Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup recorded while being financed by Elvis Presley in the 1960s. Elvis Presley had always been a Crudup fan and was aware that Crudup received little of the royalties that were rightfully due him as both a composer and recording artist. The two records that Crudup recorded for the label were "Rock Me Mama"/"Mean Ole Frisco Blues" (Fire 1501) and "Katie Mae"/"Dig Myself A Hole" (Fire 1502). Arthur Crudup also recorded his classics "So Glad You're Mine" and "That's All Right" (Fire 103).

Fire Records was one of several labels (Fury, Holiday, Everest, Red Robin, Fling, Vest, and Enjoy) founded by Bobby and Danny Robinson. Buster Brown and Bobby Marchan (previously a member of Huey (piano) "Smith Clowns") recorded for the label. Don Gardner and Dee Dee Ford recorded "TCB" (Taking Care Of Business) on the Fire Records label (Fire 517).

JOE HILL LOUIS - Also known as "Chicago Sunny Boy", "Johnny Lewis", "Little Joe", Joe was born Lester (or possibly Leslie) Hill, September 23, 1921, one of four children (3 boys and a girl) in Froggy Bottom, out from Grant's Corner, near where Whitehaven, Tennessee is now, just a few miles south of Memphis, and lived there until about a year after his mother died.

His father was Robert Hill and his mother was Mary Wilson. Joe Hill Louis learned some harmonica and the guitar from Will Shade in his youth in the early 1930s. At the age of 14, after frequent beating by his step-mother, he ran away from home to work outside the music with frequent work in streets and dives in Robinsonville, Mississippi area from circa 1935, and fell in with Billy and Drew Canale, the younger members of a well-to-do Memphis family. The Canales cook welcomed the responsibility of looking after the young lad and he continued to live with and work for the Canales in one household position after another for the rest of his short life.

Early in his lifelong stay with the Canales he was put up to fighting a local ruffian named "Prince Henry" and came out the better, a victory which inspired the Canale boys to name him after the then heavyweight champ. Henry the moniker which was to serve him well and stick with him to the end.

Joe Hill Louis' natural musical aptitude was first manifest itself upon the jew's harp, which eventually was replaced by the harmonica, his primary and dominant instrument. The guitar and drums were added in the course of time but not without a great deal of earshattering displeasure from the Canales and their friends. At first, of course, his manipulation of the three was very uncoordinated, but he eventually got it all together to the amazement of his friends and the consternation of would-be accompanying guitarists and drummers. Rufus Thomas, the well-known record star and disc jockey reported that Joe was envied by many local musicians for his ability to earn the same amount of money that it would have taken three or four other musicians of singular talents to make. Joe could make all that money by himself; he didn't need anyone else.

Joe Hill Louis worked outside the music at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee in the late 1930s and frequently worked with Eddie Taylor, Willie Borum, Will Shade, Lockhart Hill and others in gambling houses, the streets in Memphis and West Memphis, Arkansas area and frequently worked as one man band in Memphis, Tennessee. He also frequently hoboed through the Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi on working in dances, suppers, ballgame intermissions in the late 1940s into the early 1950s. He recorded for Columbia Records in New York City in 1949.

Through his appearances on street corners and in Handy Park in Memphis and in juke joints and roadhouses in the surrounding countryside, Joe Hill Louis became a popular entertainer in the mod-south area in the late 1940s and it eventually opened the doors of WDIA-Memphis, the local black radio station, for a 15-minute show for a patent medicine called Pepti-con (from B.B. King) on which he was knowns as the Pep-ti-con Boy. This appellation was later replaced by "The Be-Bop Boy", as indicated by the accompanying photograph.

Though, by an informal union, Joe is reported to have a son named Leslie Hill who was living in Chicago, Joe Hill Louis married his only wife, the former Dorothy "Ruthy" Mae Pearson, on July 25, 1952 and the following year their son was born. Named Robert, he later took Louis as a surname for himself and took name "Joe Louis" in honour of the boxing champion. His brother was Lockhart Hill and was also an great musician. Despite Dorothy's statement that they lived together until Joe died, the marriage may not have been one of constant satisfaction for Joe, for he was soon back with the Canales, who always had a need for a chauffeur or a houseboy, or a bartender at their frequent gatherings. He also worked intermittently for Drew in his vending machine business, packing pennies in cigarette packages by day and playing music in the countryside juke joints and roadhouses at night.

Drew Canale, who was to become Tennessee state senator from Shelby County (Memphis and its environs) (1966-1970), was dabbling in recording in the late 1940s and claimed to have been the first to recorded Joe, a session which, if ever issued, has yet to be identified. Surprisingly, it was Columbia Records, that was the first to release recordings by Joe Hill Louis.

Over a period of more than three years, between March 31, 1952 and September 9, 1953, Joe Hill Louis recorded a number of sessions for Sam Phillips, alone and with accompanists, which reached release on Modern and Checker as well as on his own labels and Sun Records. He was the first artist recorded on Sam Phillips and Dewey Phillips for Phillips Record label, with "Gotta Let You Go" (Phillips 9001). On November 17, 1952, Louis recorded the original version of "Tiger man", which he and Sam Burns (Sam Phillips' wife) had written and which Elvis Presley would recorded in 1968 for his '68 Comeback special.

Sometimes during the mid-1950s, Drew Canale produced a rather curious solitary release on his own Vendor Record label. The vocal was credited to Les Vendor Keyboards and contained a spoken introduction by Canale, who later confirmed that the artist was indeed Joe Hill Louis. Made exclusively for use in Canale's own jukebox and vending machine distribution business, no more than a couple of copies are known to exist today. It was reissued from the original stampers for collectors in the mid-1970s on the Mimisa label.

Canale recorded him again, however, but by that time, Joe Hill's recording career included sessions for Meteor, Big Town, Ace, Rockin' and House Of Sound and among them are some remarkable records, the Rockin' sides being especially notable. However, this later session for Canale is believed to be Joe Hill Louis' last. A number of attempts, different approaches, were made on a single tune, ironically entitled "Late Date" and though most of the session still exists on tape, it remains unissued to this day.

Joe Hill Louis worked for the Blue Light Club in Memphis; the Brown Jug in West Memphis, Arkansas; the Tennessee House in West Memphis, Arkansas in the early 1950s; recorded in 1950 for Modern Records; recorded for the Rockin' label in Memphis, Tennessee in 1952; recorded with Walter Horton for the Checker label in Chicago in 1952; recorded with Billy Love for the Sun label in Memphis; recorded for Meteor label in Chicago in 1953; recorded for Bigtown label in Memphis in 1954; recorded for the Ace label in West Memphis, Arkansas circa 1954; recorded for the House Of Sound label in Memphis in 1957.

Joe Hill Louis had a great sense of humor and was definitely a ladies' man. He had a different woman for every day in the week. His Sunday gal was Dorothy Houston who said Joe would take her to nice quiet places: church, nice restaurants, quiet bars. He wouldn't take her to gigs as he said they were rough places where the men didn't respect the woman. Perhaps for one of these 'dailies' Joe was doing yardwork when he badly cut his thumb and it became infected with fertilizer. Eventually he contracted tetanus infection with which he collapsed a few days later in his car on Beale Street, beyond help. He was taken to John Gaston Hospital in Memphis, where he died August 5, 1957, loved by his friends and fellow musicians, mourned by many woman, and admired much too belatedly by the music public around the world. Joe Hill Louis is buried at the Ford Chapel Cemetery in West Junction, Tennessee. From the late forties until 1956, Joe Hill Louis was among the most popular figures in Memphis and the rural areas of Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi.

JULY 6, 1954 TUESDAY

Lamar Fike first on meeting with Elvis Presley at the Sun studio this day. "I first met Elvis in 1954", recalled Lamar Fike. "Sam Phillips introduced us. I was learning how to be a disc jockey, Sam was teaching me. Sam was an engineer, and I'd hang around him, trying to pick up whatever crumbs of knowledge he'd share''.

''Then one night, Sam took me over to the Sun studio and said, 'I want you to hear something'. He played the demo that Elvis had made and asked me what I thought. Now I was a little green and I was kinda hedging my bets.

'I don't know for sure', I said, 'but to me it sounds really good'. And Sam said I should come over the afternoon and meet him. Which I did. They were working on "That's All Right". "It was Elvis' first professional recording session". "I watched all afternoon. And Sam asked me again what I thought. 'God almighty, he's different looking', I said. 'I like him. He's exciting. He sounds good'. Now, I didn't know a lot about the record business at the time, my opinion didn't mean diddley, but I sure liked what I heard. Simple as that".

JULY 6, 1954 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley arrived at the Sun studio on Tuesday, July 6, at about seven-thirty in the evening. Already visibly nervous then he walked in, Elvis Presley was then hit with Sam Phillips' announcement that it was his intention to release Presley's record within the next few days. Sam Phillips looked over at Elvis and didn't like the unsettling twitch exhibited by his new singer. "That's All Right" was a sure hit, Sam Phillips bellowed, and he told Elvis Presley he couldn't wait to promote the record.

Ronald Smith, who worked as a sometime session guitarist for Sun, remembers the excitement over the proposed Presley release. "I think Sam knew that he had something good", Ronald Smith recalled. "Some of the other boys weren't so kind toward Elvis".

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ELVIS PRESLEY
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION 2: TUESDAY JULY 6(7), 1954
SESSION HOURS: 8:00 TO MIDNIGHT
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

"We were all below-average musicians", says Scotty Moore. "Elvis didn't know all that many chords, but he had a great sense of rhythm. Sam used that. I don't think he did it consciously for effect. He treated Elvis as another instrument and he kept his voice closer to the music than was the norm at that time. If you listen to the records that were being played then, the singer's voice was way out front. If he left Elvis' voice way out front, it would have sounded empty because we only had three instruments. Elvis had great vocal control. He could do just about anything he wanted to. Sam mixed his voice closer to the music like it was an instrument".

Time for an other take of "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", which turned out to be only oneminute and fifty-nine-second version. In Elvis' hand, high lonesome with ants in its pants, however, it was this time turned into a strong rockabilly song, "country" enough for Phillips once on tape, and the perfect companion piece for the flip side of "That's All Right". "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" was completed in four takes, with Sam Phillips using a spoken bridge in one version. There was one breakdown, and one partially recorded version, leaving two complete takes that Sam Phillips listened to before deciding that the rockabilly "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" provided an excellent b-side.

01 - "BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY" - B.M.I. - 2:02
Composer: - Bill Monroe
Publisher: - Unpublished
Matrix number: - None - Complete Take 1 - Tape Box 14
Recorded: - July 6(7), 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued - Probably Lost

01(2) - "BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY" - B.M.I. - 2:02
Composer: - Bill Monroe
Publisher: - Unpublished
Matrix number: - None - Complete Take 2 - Tape Box 14
Recorded: - July 6(7), 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued - Probably Lost

01(3) - "DIALOGUE" - B.M.I. - 0:20
Matrix number: - None - Tape Box 14
Recorded: - July 6(7), 1954 ''Too must fastly....''.
Released: - Sun Unissued

There was still the problem of selecting an acceptable song for the b-side of "That's All Right". Sam Phillips believed that "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" was the right tune for the country record buyer, especially since "That's All Right" was perfect for the hillbilly, teen, and blues markets. Sam Phillips reasoned that a country song was necessary for the b-side in order to broadly distribute and promote the record. As the July 6 session began, however, problems developed during the recording of "Blue Moon Of Kentucky". The first take of Bill Monroe's song only a minute long. Elvis' slow, laboured vocal was out of sync with the musical accompaniment. Surprisingly, at the conclusion of the short take of "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", Sam Phillips hollered; "That's fine, hell that's different, that's a pop song, nearly 'bout". Laughter followed and Sam began another song.

01(4) - "BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY" - B.M.I. - 1:05
Composer: - Bill Monroe
Publisher: - Peer International Music - Southern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - OPA1-4194 - LFS Take 3 - Tape Box 14
The recording engineer voice on this track is by of Sam Phillips.
The take is first released on the bootleg LP "Good Rocking Tonight",
Bopcat Records 33rpm LP 100 (1974), inclusive dialogue.
After the slow version, Sam Phillips could be heard to remark
"Fine, man! Hell, that's different. That's a pop song now, nearly ....''.
Recorded: - July 6(7), 1954
Released: - October 1984
First appearance: - RCA Victor (LP) 33rpm CPM6-5172 mono
A GOLDEN CELEBRATION
Reissued: – August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-15 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

"Blue Moon Of Kentucky" evolved from a slow, bluesy version in 4/4 time with tentative instrumentation and a rather ornate vocal into a highspirited declaration of exuberant self-discovery, driven by Elvis Presley's rhythm guitar and a propulsive mix of Scotty Moore's chording riffs and single string filigree. For the first time Sam Phillips made extensive use of what he had come to call slapback, a kind of homemade echo device that was greated by running the original recording signal through a second Ampex recorder and thereby achieving an almost sibilant phased effect. This undoubtedly added not only to the presence but to the excitement of the recording, and, of course, echo had the capacity of covering up a multitude of sins.

"I do not remember how many days, night "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" it was done at night - after that, 'cause we had the one side then we had to start lookin' and goin' through other songs tryin' to find domethin' that we could adapt, somethin' somilar to...", recalled Scotty Moore. "I mean, we still didn't consider 'well, that's a style, that's what we gotta do', we just had to find sometin' similar. And this time Bill was the one. Again it was on a break, and Bill just started slappin' the bass and singin' and mocking Bill Monroe - more or less singin' in a high falsetto voice... and Elvis joined in with him. So basically the same thing happened on both of those tunes".

"We didn't know we were creating a sound. When we heard it played back it just sounded sorta raw and ragged, really - it didn't have much polish to it. But it felt good".

Steve Sholes Session Notes

Box 14
1. Blue Moon Of Kentucky (2:02) F2WB-8041
2. Blue Moon Of Kentucky (2:02) F2WB-8041
3. Blue Moon Of Kentucky (Breakdown) F2WB-8041
4. Blue Moon Of Kentucky (Last Part N.G.) F2WB-8041

01(5) - "BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY" - B.M.I. - 2:02
Composer: - Bill Monroe
Publisher: - Peer International Music - Southern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - U-129 SUN - Single Master Take 4 - Tape Box 14 - F2WB-8041-NA
Recorded: - July 6(7), 1954
Released: - July 19, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single releases SUN 209-B mono
BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY / THAT'S ALL RIGHT
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-3-12 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

This Alternate Take of ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', as it was first listed on the Dutch bootleg LP "Good Rocking Tonight", Bopcat Records LP 100, 1974, was recorded after two upbeat, new renderings of the Bill Monroe classic by Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black. By Scotty's recollection of the recording of "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" in the book ''Blue Moon Boys - The Story of Elvis Presley's Band'', "We all of us knew we needed something... and things seemed hopeless after a while. Bill is the one who came up with 'Blue Moon Of Kentucky''.

''We're taking a little break and he starts beating on the bass and singing ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', mocking Bill Monroe, singing the high falsetto voice. Elvis joins in with him, starts playing and singing along with him''.

They had discovered something they wanted to hold onto with the previous night's rendition of "That's All Right'', but the first couple of songs they tried weren't clicking. After several takes of this new version of "Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', they played the version on this acetate, to which producer Sam Phillips exclaimed, "That's fine, man. Hell that's different - that's a pop song now, nearly 'bout''! And was it ever. "That's All Right" reaps most of the historical references for those fateful July days in 1954, but "Blue Moon of Kentucky" (its B-side) was most likely played on the radio that same first night, was every bit the local hit record itself, and certainly deserves its place right beside "That's All Right" in the list of songs that launched Elvis on his path to legendary status .

If you don't think Elvis Presley's expropriation of country standards like this was as audacious as his blues reworkings, you haven't grasped the barricades the Nashville establishment can throw in the way of change to this very day. With its gutbucket bass and rocketing guitar solos and that relentless rattling - probably Elvis Presley banging on the body of his guitar "like it was the lid off a garbage can", as he once described it - "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" radically recasts one of the most sacrosanct numbers in all bluegrass.

And bluegrass, though actually the product of a synthesis that Bill Monroe pioneered with as much calculation as Sam Phillips did rockabilly, has such ancient roots that it is regarded in country circles as the untouchable or music. No wonder Nashville had to fight him off.

The moment Elvis broke through, the die was cast and in fact, the country market suffered far more in the face of white rock's onslaught than the rhythm and blues market ever did. Great country was being made in 1954, but to admit Elvis to the Country and Western charts was an acknowledgment that there was an essential vitality missing from all of it. Sure as the governor of Mississippi had to bar that schoolhouse door, country had to hold off the facts (and they're the same facts) as long as it could.

After Phillips had both sides of Elvis' first single on tape, he made a few demos and distributed them to Dewey Phillips of WHBQ, Dick "Uncle Richard" Stuart of WMPS radio and Sleepy-Eyed John Lepley of radio station WHHM. Its a tossup as to who first played "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" on the air. But it was probably Uncle Richard. In any case, the record was released on July 19. It did not chart nationally, but by September,"Blue Moon Of Kentucky" was the number one record in Memphis, Tennessee. Fewer than 20,000 copies were sold. Elvis sang the song on his only appearance on the "Grand Ole Opry" on October 2, 1956, as well as during his first appearance on the "Louisiana Hayride" on October 16, 1954. Bill Monroe's original version of "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" was released after Elvis' release began getting airplay.

The country and western side of SUN 209, ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'' is one of the recordings where no master tape was turned over to RCA in the first place. A November 1955 RCA tape transfer of a SUN 78 RPM has been used up until now. ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'' is one of the worst recorded, mastered Sun masters with compression and overdone echo, but it isn't nearly as bad as the RCA tape implied. RCA compressed it further (to death actually) in November 1955. A manually cleaned up, new transfer from a selection of original SUN 78 RPM's has rectified the situation on ''Elvis at SUN'' and the improvement should be obvious. The released slow outtake of ''Blue Moon of Kentucky'' as released by RCA on releases before 2010 comes from a copy of the "Good Rockin' Tonight LP" (Bopcat 100) and not from the initially turned over Sun Box #14.

Elvis, excited over finally completing this song which all present agreed had the potential of being a hit, then attempted to record two more songs, he names of which have been lost with time. These songs might have included "Tennessee Saturday Night", which is unreleased to date.

02 - "TENNESSEE SATURDAY NIGHT" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Billy Hughes
Publisher: - Hill and Range Music
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued - Probably Tape Lost
Recorded: - July 6(7), 1954 - Probably Uncompleted Version

In 1982 RCA said that Elvis Presley recorded "Tennessee Saturday Night" at Sun, they had session notes but couldn't find a tape; has often been mentioned in newspapers and other sources as being in the possession of collectors who will sell it for a huge amount of money.

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)

After two days in the recording studio, Sam Phillips had the first Elvis Presley record. Phillips told everyone at Taylor's Cafe that Presley's rendering of Arthur Crudup's "That's All Right" and Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" was an unbeatable combination. He had worked with many performers, Phillips said, but he felt Elvis' vocal phrasing and timing was the best of any artist he had ever recorded at Sun Records. Sam Phillips was confident that he had brought out the sound he wanted from Elvis Presley. The raw, sexy inflection of "That's All Right" and the rockabilly drive of "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" was a unique product.

The two sessions that Sam Phillips recorded with Elvis Presley were exciting ones. They also revealed how thoroughly Phillips was influenced in his decisions by past recordings. For example, he listened to a raw cut of Martha Carson's "Satisfied" during the July sessions, convincing him that Elvis Presley still had a way to go before he could record a commercial gospel tune. The original version of "I Love You Because" by Leon Payne was more soulful than Presley's cut, and Sam Phillips reasoned that Elvis' version would not be a completive song. During these sessions, Phillips had Elvis listen to Bill Monroe's "Uncle Pen", but, although Elvis Presley loved the song, he couldn't complete an acceptable take of it.

To gauge the commercial appeal of the two songs he had settled on for Elvis' first release, Sam Phillips pressed two acetate dubs of "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" in the studio, and a separate dub containing "That's All Right" and "Blue Moon Of Kentucky".

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BILL MONROE - William Smith "Bill" Monroe, bluegrass musician, singer, instrumentalist, composer, performer, and recording artist, was born on September 13, 1911 on a farm near the small town of Rosine, Ohio County, in western Kentucky. Among the musicians connected with the evolutions of the bluegrass style, none is more prominent in stature and more influential in the contemporary musical field than Bill Monroe. Credited with its founding, Bill Monroe is commonly referred to as the "Father Of The Bluegrass Music".

The youngest of eight children, five brothers and two sisters, Monroe had extremely poor sight. He was a shy lad for whom his family's musical traditions afforded comfort and identity. His mother, who played old-time fiddle and was a well-versed singer of mountain songs, died when he was 10, and his father died, when he was 16. He lived for several years with his Uncle Pen (Pendleton Vandiver), a fiddler who strongly influenced his music and who was later immortalized in song by Monroe. He also learned much from a black country dance musician, guitarist and fiddler, Arnold Shultz, with whom he played at dances. Black musical stylings played a significant role in Monroe's personal approach to his art form, and blues artists - along with Jimmie Rodgers - made a decisive impact on his formative years as a musician. Another pervading influence in his youth was church singing, which provided a musical foundation for innumerable Southern musicians, both black and white. In 1929 he joined two older brothers, Birch and Charlie Monroe, at industrial jobs near Chicago. In 1932 the three became part of an exhibition square-dance team at the National Barn dance on Chicago radio station WLS. After working with the WLS, they received an offer to appear on WWAE in Hammond, Indiana, in 1930. They participated in a number of programs aired on midwestern radio stations, and, even today, Bill Monroe has strong musical ties with Indiana as owner of the Jamboree Park in Bean Blossom - the site of year round bluegrass music events (including the annual Bill Monroe Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival). In 1934 Bill and his brother Charlie became professional "hillbilly" radio singers, and switched their base of operations to the Carolinas, where they established themselves as one of the top performing acts in the region.

By 1938 their duets had become popular throughout the Southeast through their radio broadcasts in Iowa and the Carolinas, their personal appearances, with Birch now back at his regular job in the ill refineries, Bill and Charlie made their initial recordings on February 17, 1936, for RCA Victor, on the Bluebird label, as the Monroe Brothers (1936-19 38). Their first release was a sacred song which Bill Monroe had learned in church when he was fourteen, "What Would You Give In Exchange For Your Soul", backed up with "This World Is Not My Home". In the ensuing tree-year period, The Monroe Brothers produced a number of classic recordings, such as "Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms" and "Nine Pound Hammer", among the sixty songs recorded for Bluebird. Their reputation spread widely as their music reached into both rural and urban homes, where radios or phonographs provided a rich source of entertainment and a learning tool for prospective musicians. Many of the fundamentalists of bluegrass music - vocal and instrumental - are found in the collaborative work of the Monroe Brothers.

In 1938 the brothers parted. Charlie Monroe continued his musical career, first with the Monroe Boys, a trio, and then with his famous band, the Kentucky Partners. Bill Monroe formed his own group, the Blue Grass Boys, which consisted originally of guitarist Cleo Davis, bassist Amos Garin, and fiddler Art Wooten. Over the years, the band's personal has changed many times, and some of country music's best-known artist have been members of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys at some point in their careers. For the first time in his career, Bill Monroe sang solo and lead vocals as the twenty-seven-year-old leader of the Blue Grass Boys.

In October 1939 he joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry on WSM (Monroe closed every Grand Ole Opry performance with the old minstrel piece "Watermelon On The Vine"), and he has been in Nashville ever since.

His recordings for Victor (1940-41), Columbia (1945-49) and Decca/MCA (since 1950) have sold consistently over long periods; many are still in print. His compositions include instrumentals, religious songs, and secular songs on a variety of topics.

In 1942 he starting touring, taken with him a large circus tent that he set up in every small town he played along the way. By 1945 his band had evolved as a distinctive musical entity created by the addition of Earl Scruggs, who developed a position of prominence for the five-string banjo in the traditional string band and provided the final ingredient for the modern bluegrass sound. Three years prior, David "Stringbean" Akeman had been hired by Monroe as the band's first banjoist, but the instrument was used solely to provide rhythm accompaniment. Earl Scruggs revolutionized the role of the five-string banjo as a string band instrument and became its foremost proponent in the United States. From 1945 to 1948 the Monroe style was perfected as the "original" bluegrass band, with Lester Flatt, Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Howard (Cedric Rainwater) Watts, and Chubby Wise brought national prominence to the modern bluegrass sound. In the postwar years Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys became one of the most important groups in the entire history of country music, and countless numbers of country musicians became their imitators.

In 1948 Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs left the Monroe organization to form their own band, the Foggy Mountain Boys. Like many of the others who played with Bill Monroe and then struck out on their own - including Carter Stanley, Jimmy Martin, and Mac Wiseman - Flat and Scruggs played initially in the Monroe style. After a few years of recording with Columbia, Bill Monroe signed a contract with Decca (now incorporated, with Kapp and Uni, into MCA Records, Incorporated) in 1949. To date, he has recorded nineteen albums on the MCA label. Some of his best-known compositions include "Kentucky Waltz", "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", "Mule Skinner Blues", and "Uncle Pen". In 1970 the Country Music Association acknowledged Bill Monroe's influence by electing him to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

His national prominence was underscored in July 1982, when he was among the first recipients of the Annual National Heritage Fellowship Awards made by the Folks Arts Program of the National Endowment for the Arts. His award described him as "one of the few living American musicians who can justly claim to have created an entirely new musical style". William Smith "Bill" Monroe died on September 9, 1996 in Nashville, Tennessee on the age of 84.

JULY 7, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Dewey Phillips was the first disc jockey in the world to play an Elvis Presley record (acetate) in the air? Later research and back-up interviews prove this wrong. Dewey was the second disc jockey to play an Elvis record on the air - runner-up by about four hours.

Marion Keisker was the first to tip to this in a lengthy conversation just six weeks before she died. "I believe, if you will check this out, you will find that Dewey was not the first to play Elvis on the air", Keisker said. "If you will dig a little deep, you will find that Fred Cook was the first to play an Elvis acetate on the air on WREC and that I had a little something to do with in".

Here is Fred Cook's memory of that day: "At the time, I was playing easy listening music at WREC Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Perry Como... really great singers. Marion was working full-time at the station, as Kitty Kelly on the air, and writing copy for us; and then she worked part-time for Sam Phillips at Memphis Recording Service. My show was a fifteen-minute show going on the air at 4 p.m.".

"When television began to attract a lot of people, the radio networks began pulling back on their programming. We were a CBS affiliate. When I joined the station in 1950, most of our programming came from CBS. Virtually all of it. Then they started dropping shows and that's when we started playing records. My fifteen-minute show was named "Your Popular Music by Hoyt Wooten" (the station's founder and owner). As the network receded, my show was lengthened. Eventually I would up with a three-hour show in the late fifties and early sixties".

"One afternoon, July 7, 1954, I was playing my regular selections - Count Basie, Bennie Goodman, and stuff - and Marion came running in, all excited. She said, 'I've got a record (it was a 45 Sun or acetate on the Sun label) that you've got to play!'. I liked Marion a great deal and I admired her taste and judgement. So, I took the record and looked at it. It was someone named Elvis Presley. I had never heard of this man, Elvis Presley. It was ''That's All Right with ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky''.

"To tell you the truth, I can't remember which side I played, but I put it on the air without listening to it. And after about thirty seconds, I had had enough! I faded it down, took it off the turntable and handed it back to her and said, 'Marion, that's the worst piece of shit I have ever heard!'. Those were my words. I knew nothing about him".

"Later, it would turn out he had tremendous charisma and all those things, but as far as being a singer, at first I was never impressed and I never changed my mind about that. Marion was quite upset with me. She couldn't understand. She thought I was wrong, except I really wasn't, because in the context of the music we were playing on WREC, it didn't fit, no more than if I had played the original version of "Hound Dog" by that back artist (Big Mama Thornton), which, I determined later, was a heck of a lot better than the "Hound Dog" that Elvis recorded".

"I understand a lot of what Elvis did. He made a lot that kind of music (black music) palatable to a larger, primarily white, audience. It was the same thing when I was in high school. The big bands, especially Benny Goodman, took music that had been primarily black music of the black bands - Count Basie, Jimmy Lunceford and others - tightened it up, polished it up a little bit, and made it palatable to a larger white constituency. Elvis did exactly the same thing".

"But that's the story. I didn't play Elvis' records all the way through. This was the afternoon the record came off the presses. As long as I did a record show in which I had a choice in what was being played, I never played Elvis on the air again".

"If you'll recall, Tom Parker used to buy time on radio stations for special programs, like Mother's Day. He paid very well for it. It was all a pre-taped show and we used to air those because there was good money in it. But I never played an Elvis record again". "As I came to understand more about what he was doing - and I think a lot of real, true Elvis fans will agree - when he started singing ballads and things like that, he wasn't really very good. His voice was not very pleasant to hear doing ballads, like "Love Me Tender".

"He had a kind of strained vibrato sort of thing. Technically, I just didn't think he had a good voice for ballads. I mean, singing the rock things, he was very good at that, but we were never in a rock format. If we had that rock format, I guess we would have played him".

"I don't remember that Marion ever talked to me about Elvis Presley after that first record", said Fred Cook. Other old-timers at WREC Radio remember this story just as Marion Keisker and Fred Cook told it. Before Elvis, Cook had, at times, broadcast the big bands from the Skyway of the Peabody Hotel. His engineer had been Sam Phillips. Further, it make sense that Marion Keisker, being an employee of WREC, would offer her own station the first chance to play Elvis Presley first on the air. This doesn't change the influence Dewey Phillips had in making Elvis popular among Memphis teens.

FRED COOK - Frederick P. Cook was born on April 11, 1925 and came to Memphis in 1950 to work at radio station WREC as an announcer. He worked there for more than 2 decades, rising to management positions. Cook was also the first newscaster on WREC-TV (Channel 3, now WREG). While Cook's down to earth style associated him with serious broadcasting: news, information, a taste in music focused on standards and easy listening, he really captured his audience when he and fellow announcer John Powell kept WREC radio on the air by simplying talking to one another while a blaze in the basement of the Peabody Hotel, where WREC was located, was extinguished by firefighters.

The witty repartee between the two announcers lead to a regular program called "The Zero Hour" in which they mostly just talked to one another with thousands of radio listeners tuned in, essentially ease dropping on a very humorous conversation.

The radio program was so popular that hotel ballrooms to attend anniversary broadcasts. During this time, WREC mostly appealed to adults, but ''The Zero Hour'' bridged the generational gap. ''The Zero Hour'' continued for more than a decade. Cook is well remembered for another service he provided to the Memphis community, that of the public address announcer at Memphis State University home basketball games. As radio formats and station ownerships changed, Cook did commercials for both radio and TV, he also read for radio station WYPL-FM, which provides reading services for the visually handicapped.

Fred Cook, 83, radio and TV announcer and executive, and announcer for the Memphis State Tigers basketball games, had been diagnosed with lung cancer died on Monday December 8, 2008.

JULY 8, 1954 THURSDAY

Dewey Phillips played at radio station WHBQ in Chisca Hotel the night "That's All Right" for the first time in his radio program "Red Hot and Blue". Elvis Presley went to the neighborhood theater, Suzore II, located at 279 North Main Street in Memphis, to see "The Best Years Of Our Lives" because he was too shy to hear his own record on the radio. The response was instantaneous.

Forty-seven phone calls, it was said, came in right away, along with fourteen telegrams, or was it 114 phone calls and forty-seven telegrams, Dewey Phillips played the record seven times in a row.

"I was scared to death", Elvis said. "I was shaking all over, I just couldn't believe it, but Dewey kept telling me to cool, it was really happening". "Sit down, I'm gone interview you", Dewey told Stanley Booth in 1967. "He said, "mr. Phillips, I don't know nothing about being interviewed". "Just don't say nothing dirty", I told him. He sat down, and I said I'd him know when we were ready to start. I had a couple of records cued up, and while they played we talked. I asked him where he went to high school, and he said, 'Humes". I wanted to get that out, because a lot of people listening had thought he was coloured. Finally I said, "All right, Elvis, thank you very much". "Arent't you gone interview me? he asked. I already have, " said. The mike's been open the whole time". He broke out in a cold sweat".

Wink Martindale was there in the WHBQ radio studio on the mezzanene of the Chisca Hotel that night. Wink knew Dewey's on-air antics, as well as Dewey's normal life, were, well, other than normal. "I had a morning show on WHBQ radio then and I was in the studio that night putting together my show for the next day", Wink Martindale recalls. "Dewey was in there doing his thing and suddenly the board lights up.

People are calling in responding to that record. Dewey had me call Elvis' house to get him to come to the studio. Gladys answered the phone, said he was at the Suzores, she would go and get him and send him down to the station".

"Had he known that, he would have been so nervous he couldn't talk. Dewey had a plan, to play black music for white kids", said Wink. "Elvis' song instantly became a regional hit. The next day I went out to Music Sales to pick up some promo records for the station and Bill Fitzgerald, the owner, said he had been flooded with calls from records stores for Elvis' record, but Sam Phillips had not pressed enough, so he would be two weeks getting all these orders filled".

Wink Martindale ruled the morning air waves on WHBQ radio with his Wink Martindale Mars Patrol. And while Dewey could get away with practically anything at night, Wink was bound by WHBQ's format. "We were still playing a lot of Perry Como and Eddie Fisher", the former commander of the Mars Patrol said, "About the wildest thing Mark Forrester, our program director, would let us play was some Sha-Boom stuff. "Dewey had a country music show on the air at 11:30-12:30, but that was because we were trying to compete with WMPS radio. Then Dewey would play his hot stuff at night", said Wink.

Elvis Presley playing football in and around Lauderdale Courts with Charlie Bramlett, had a smaller brother, John, a few years younger than himself and Elvis. "Charlie, Elvis and I had gone over to the Suzores Theater", recalled John Bramlett, "I don't remember what was on that night, probably a cowboy movie. Anyway, we were sitting there when Mr. and Mrs. Presley came in, looking in the dark, trying to find Elvis. When they spotted us, Mrs. Presley came over and said, 'Elvis, come on now. They want to talk to you down at the radio station'. Elvis said, 'Why, mama?'. She said, 'They said Mr. Phillips is playing your record on the air down at WHBQ. They said he wants to interview you on the air'. Elvis excused himself and left the Suzore with his mother and father".

WHBQ RADIO (AM 560) - Founded by Gordon Lawhead and owner of Memphis radio station (telephone: Jackson 6-5456), located in lobby of the Chisca Hotel at 272 South Main Street across Beale Street, is one of the city's key stations in the 1950s. The station's best-known disc jockey, the manic Dewey Phillips, hosted the "Red Hot and Blue" show, essential listening for Memphis' first generation of rock and roll aspirants. On July 7, 1954, Sun Records' Sam Phillips handed Dewey (no relation) a test pressing of Elvis Presley's first single, "That's All Right".

The disc jockey was so impressed he yelled, "Degawwhhh, it's a hit, it's a cotton pickin' hit!", right on air. Within minutes the switchboard was jammed, and he began playing the track over and over while desperately trying to get Elvis Presley in for an interview. Eventually the singer was found at a local Suzure II cinema and whisked into the studio.

Once Presley became a star, Dewey Phillips began calling everybody, including himself, Elvis - he'd even call up Atlantic Records VP Jerry Wexler and say, "Hi Elvis, this is Elvis". When Wexler and co-executive Ahmet Ertegun popped into the station one day in 1956 to plug records, Dewey told listeners he had a "couple of Yankee records thieves" with him. But after the show, he took the pair to meet Presley at a now-demolished club, where they unsuccessfully tried to buy out the future King's contract from Sun. Atlantic offered $30.000, which they could barely afford, but lost out to RCA Victor, which bid an extra $10.000. Elvis Presley didn't sing at the club that night, but Ertegun got up and did an impromptu version of Muddy Waters' "Hoochie Coochie Man", which won over a sceptical Dewey Phillips to Atlantic's cause and convinced him to play the labels' New York records on WHBQ radio.

From the moment Dewey's life was intertwined with the rising career of Elvis Presley. Elvis joined him on the air several times, though every appearance was fraught with security problems. Once Dewey announced that Elvis Presley and the band were tuning up inside the radio station. Soon a crowd of teenagers rushed through the hotel entrance and up the stairs to the radio station on the mezzanine floor. Only a glass wall separated the musicians from the excited crowd, and the police were called to restore order. Elvis Presley and the band had to escape through a back exit.

Situated at the corner of Linden Avenue and South Main Street, the Hotel Chisca had two entrances. The disc jockey’s and musicians preferred to use the Linden Avenue, or side entrance, into the hotel lobby. They would walk up a flight of stairs to the mezzanine floor, turn left down the hallway, and walk through the two glass doors into the station. In the back left portion of the station was Dewey's small room, filled with records and the endangered equipment. The room usually was crowded during show time because of Dewey's large entourage. Visitors to Dewey's show would also gather at the gravel parking lot across Linden Avenue (now part of the Memphis Light Gas and Water Building).

Radio station WHBQ moved and now based in the suburbs to a new facility at 462 South Highland in 1962, the station features sports and talk, having abandoned music after disc jockey Rick Dees assaulted the pop world with his 1976 single, "Disco Duck". Today George Klein hosts his Elvis Hour radio show on WHBQ radio.

CHISCA HOTEL - Built in 1913 and located at 272 South Main Street, Memphis, across Beale Street, Sam Phillips delivered demos to key Memphis disc jockey’s: including Dewey Phillips at WHBQ radio. In 1954, the Chisca Hotel was home to radio station WHBQ and disc jockey Dewey Phillips' program "Red Hot And Blue". Phillips often played new releases from friend and business associate Sam Phillips' record label, Sun Records. On July 8, 1954, Dewey Phillips played the acetate SUN 209 over the airways, making him one of the first disc jockey’s to spin a professionally recorded Elvis Presley toward stardom.

He was so impressed with Elvis Presley's sound that he played "That's All Right" and the flip side, "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", repeatedly throughout his show.

The response to Elvis Presley was overwhelmingly positive. Dewey Phillips wanted Elvis Presley to come in that night for his first radio interview. Sam Phillips called the Presley's at their Alabama Street apartment, but Elvis Presley was no where to be found. Vernon Presley hunted him down, finding him hiding at the movie theater, Suzore II at 279 North Main Street, because he was too afraid to listen to himself on WHBQ radio.

That night Elvis Presley went to the Chisca Hotel where he was interviewed by Dewey Phillips. During the interview Phillips asked Elvis Presley which high school he attended. The racial climate at the time was so tense, and Elvis' sound so different from that of other white artists, that his racial background was unclear. Elvis Presley's response of "Humes High School, sir", affirmed to listeners that he was white.

Today, the stately Chisca Hotel still stands at the southwest corner of Main Street and Linden Avenue, and used as the headquarters of a church with the name "Church Of God In Christ", and is not open to the public.

On October 2012, the property appears to be on the verge of being saved. The private group has closed on the real estate contract purchasing the Hotel Chiska. It is expected renovation activity may begin during the summer of 2013.

On August 7, 2012, the Memphis City Council voted to conditionally provide $3-million toward the restoration of Hotel Chisca. An investment group reportedly now will proceed with the purchase. Thew group still must provide/obtain private funding for the purchase and millions in restoration costs.

(Above) The Suzore II opened as the Lincoln Theatre in 1927. A banner on an earliest photo of the building reads “7pm White Entry” which implies that the balcony of the Lincoln Theatre was segregated and had a separate entrance, which is possibly to the left of the canopy.

In 1932, it was bought by Fred Suzore and reopened as Suzore’s II theatre (his 1 theatre being on Jackson Avenue). It was located next to a fire station on North Main Street and a fire alarm was installed in the theatre in case firemen on a break happened to be inside the theatre.

The theatre was also involved in litigation after a shooting incident involving Fred Suzore and an alleged poacher on his farm property in 1952. Elvis Presley is said to have been fetched from the Suzore # 2 Theatre for his first interview, the night “That’s All Right'' first played on the radio. The building was demolished in 1967.

SUZORE II THEATER - Located at 279 North Main Street, Memphis, Tennessee. Unlike the opulent Loew's State Theater, the Suzore was threadbare operation. It had two old heaters down front in the winter, and in the summertime, two big fans didn't do much more than swirl the hot air.

The roof leaked, and according to Elvis' friend John Bramlett, "We always took along two sticks - one to hold up our seats, the other to beat off the rats". But what the Suzore lacked in atmosphere, it made up for in its selection of movies. This is where the teenagers went to watch their favorite cliff-hangers, the serials that continued with an episode every week.

Elvis Presley often to movies at this theater during and after high school every week, sometimes with a group of ten or twelve guys, sometimes with just a friend or two. John Bramlett remembers going there with his brothers, Charlie and Odell, and Elvis Presley. One night in particular stands out among the others.

While Elvis Presley was dating Dixie Locke, they would often see movies here, then go to Charlie's, a restaurant across the street. On July 7, 1954, the night Dewey Phillips played SUN 209, "That's All Right", Elvis Presley went to the Suzore II to see a movie. The decline of the Mid-America Mall, located at 7 North Main Street, let to the closing of Suzore and the demolition of the building which once housed it.

Later, John Bramlett talked about the significant change that Elvis Presley underwent that first night his music was played on the radio. "I knew he had been playing his guitar and singing on Alabama Street outside the Scotland Inn, a little beer joint. That first time people heard him and became excited by his voice was probably the last time anyone ever called a radio station to ask who he was".

JULY 8, 1954 THURSDAY

After the radio program Elvis Presley escaped out in the hot night air. He walked back up Main Street to Third Street and then over to Alabama. Dewey Phillips wound up his show and called his wife, Dot. "I told him I loved it", Dot Phillips told the Trenton (Tennessee) Herald Gazette in 1978, ten years after Dewey's death. "He went on to say that he believed Elvis Presley had a hit... Dewey cherished that moment with Elvis. He would tell it time and time again".

Sam Phillips was at the studio that night. He didn't see Elvis, and he didn't see Dewey until after the show, but he knew what had happened. "They didn't give a fuck about classifying him, in Memphis, Tennessee, they liked what they heard".

Billie Chiles, a classmate of Elvis Presley at Humes High School who had never been exactly entranced by his music, was at a sock hop at the Holy Rosary Catholic Church. "Sometime during the evening, a couple went upstairs and outside to the parking lot", Billie told former Press-Scimitar reporter Bill Burk thirty-five years later, "They sat in their car and turned their car radio on... They couldn't believe what they were hearing. They came running downstairs yelling. 'Come up here quick! You ain't going to believe what Dewey Phillips is playing on the radio! We all ran to the parking lot. We could hear right away it was Elvis singing "That's All Right Mama". "After the song ended, Dewey Phillips played it again and again. We couldn't believe it! ELVIS! On the radio".

JULY 10, 1954 SATURDAY

Since 1952, Sam Phillips and Dewey Phillips, the most popular Memphis disc jockey, had worked together to promote promising artists. Every Saturday night Dewey Phillips' "Red, Hot, and Blue" show on WHBQ radio featured the best of new records. The audience, rockoriented high school students, was young and eager for new rhythm and blues records. Sam Phillips believed "That's All Right" was perfect for "Red, Hot and Blue". During the week, Sam Phillips had demonstration discs of "That's All Right" and "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" pressed (possibly on the Presto lathe at Sun Records which was used for making the custom records of the Memphis Recording Service). The other two disc jockey’s that Sam Phillips had close connections with were country-oriented. On radio station WMPS, Dick "Uncle Richard" Stuart was the first to play Elvis' record, spotlighting "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", and Sleepy-Eyed John on radio station WHHM. Consequently, these disc jockey’s were given only the copies of "Blue Moon Of Kentucky".

Jack Clement remembers hearing "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" on Sleepy Eyed John's show. One morning Jack awoke and turned on the radio by his bed. Sleepy Eyed John was doing his regular country show. As Jack rubbed the sleep from hid eyes, Sleepy Eyed John said, "Here's the record everyone is screaming about". Then he played "Blue Moon Of Kentucky". The song left Clement dazed. He had never heard anything like it.

In addition to being a popular disc jockey, Sleepy-Eyed John Lepley booked acts for the Eagle's Nest, so he was well aware of Elvis' talent. He envisioned a lucrative commercial future for Presley, possibly involving himself and his club, so he played "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" every hour on his radio show. He began to court Presley, going out of his way to become friendly with the younger singer. Sleepy-Eyed John had visions of managing Elvis Presley, and he finally urged Presley to sign a management contract. Personally uncomfortable around Lepley, Elvis Presley had no interest in singing with him. Elvis Presley believed that Sleepy-Eyed John exploited the musicians at the Eagle's Nest. Lepley persisted, however. The following week, Elvis Presley suggested that Scotty Moore sign him to a management contract. The agreement was not a real management deal; it was simply a means of keeping slick promoters like Lepley away.

WHAT IS THE TRUE STORY? - On July 8, 1954, Dewey Phillips went on the air at radio station WHBQ with his "Red, Hot and Blue" show. The 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. radio spot was a favourite of Memphis young set. Dewey Phillips played any song his listeners requested, and also slipped in his own favourites. A flamboyant radio figure, Dewey Phillips drank openly both while on the air and in local clubs. It was a common sight to see someone hand Dewey a bottle of whisky and a record through WHBQ's special booth at the Old Chisca Hotel on Main Street across Beale Street, from where the show originated.

A local wild man, Phillips' arrests for drunkenness were as legendary as his show business successes. He was, however, the only man who could make a record an instant local hit. Dewey Phillips' show was popular because he talked to his listeners on the air. He seemed to be one of them. Irreverent. Loud. Brash. The twenty-eight-year-old Phillips vigorously defended the new music. He had an ear for the songs that kids liked. When Sam Phillips showed up to play Elvis' record, there was one minor problem. Dewey Phillips preferred playing black music, and it was primarily the black Sun artists who had been previously featured on "Red, Hot and Blue". Sam Phillips explained that Presley had a black sound. After this brief exchange and a few sips of whisky, Dewey Phillips played the recording. The full impact of this night was immediately apparent to Elvis' friends. "We couldn't go anywhere with Elvis", Kenneth Herman remembered, "without someone hollering at us about his record".

At about 9:30 p.m., Dewey Phillips played "That's All Right", and the phones began to resonate with a torrent of calls. The listener response to Elvis' first song was instantaneous. Local callers flooded the station with requests for more Elvis Presley songs. It was common for Dewey Phillips' phone to ring like crazy for three hours anyway, but it was unprecedented for almost every caller to request another record by the same artist. Comically, a number of callers mispronounced Elvis' name. There were numerous black callers. Sam Phillips knew he had something special, and he convinced Dewey to an interview Elvis Presley on the air. Sam Phillips called Elvis' home to instruct him to come to the WHBQ studios on Main Street. Gladys Presley informed Sam Phillips that Elvis Presley had gone to the movies. He was at the Suzore II theater watching Red Skelton in "The Great Diamond Robbery" and Gene Autry in "Goldtown Ghost Riders", and had no idea how efficiently Sam Phillips had set the Sun Records promotional machine in motion.

The Old Chisca Hotel was a hotel with a part atmosphere. A grand ballroom, a fine restaurant, and a bar full of people who mingled in the 1950s social-sexual atmosphere made the Old Chisca a promenade spot. When Elvis Presley arrived at the studio on the second floor, Sam Phillips whispered that there had already been fourteen telegrams and forty-seven telephone calls requesting replays of "That's All Right". To make sure that listeners knew Elvis Presley was a white artist, Dewey Phillips asked him where he had attended high school. When Elvis Presley responded, "Humes High School, sir", the listeners knew that the new sound was not a black one.

Complementing the airplay on Phillips' popular "Red, Hot and Blue" show, Uncle Richard on radio station WMPS was the first Memphis disc jockey to play "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", followed by Sleepy-Eyed John Lepley at the Sterick Boulevard WHHM studio. Lepley also spent an inordinate amount of time telling the listeners that he had played with Elvis Presley at the Eagle's Nest. With the Presley phenomenon still a year away, Sleepy-Eyed John was already attempting to get on the bandwagon. The three radio stations together filled the air waves with Elvis Presley's music, and the next day local record stores were swamped with requests for the recording. The only problem was that it hadn't yet been pressed for commercial release. "That's All Right" was not officially released until July 19, 1954, to an immediate and growing demand for the record in Memphis.

There have been many descriptions of Elvis' interview with Dewey Phillips on the "Red, Hot and Blue" show. Dewey Phillips himself provided what is probably the best description of the interview: "He sat down, and I said I'd let him know when we were ready to start. I had a couple of records cued up, and while they played we talked". Since he had performed in local clubs for a year, Elvis Presley was at easy around Dewey Phillips and the people in the WHBQ studio. Elvis Presley didn't realize that the interview had started, thus accounting for his relaxed manner. Under the circumstances, Phillips had little trouble coaxing an excellent interview out of Elvis Presley. Listening to Presley, his ability to answer Phillips' questions demonstrated his early media charm, and there was no doubt that he had carefully planned his singing career.

Soon after the Elvis interview, Dewey Phillips began to be criticized by other local disc jockey’s for praising Presley's music. "You can't believe how much criticism I got from my friends in the music business", Phillips remarked. Memphis record moguls and disc jockey’s didn't like the way Elvis Presley interpreted country songs. The thought of a rockabilly Bill Monroe in the sacred shrine of country music song was too much for the purists. "Elvis is worse than the coloured singers", a country disc jockey remarked to Phillips. "He lacks ambition; Elvis doesn't want to learn the country music craft", a reporter for the Memphis Press Scimitar commented privately to Dewey. Elvis Presley was criticized for being too original. "It was then that I knew", Dewey Phillips recalled, "that young Elvis was a forerunner of a new sound".

In general, though, Memphis music critics were enthusiastic about Elvis' first record. One of the earliest critics to review Elvis' music was Jim Kingsley of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Kingsley called "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" the type of record that could "set the world afire". Dewey Phillips died of pneumonia on September 28, 1968, at the age of forty-two, while working at a small radio station in Millington, Tennessee.

The commotion over Elvis' talent may have persuaded another music legend to pursue a career recording for Sun Records. On July 5, 1954, Johnny Cash returned to Memphis from a stint in the air force. Cash was in town the weekend when Elvis Presley began his recording career. Like many other Southern musicians, Johnny Cash dreamed of becoming a singer, and Elvis' spectacular rise to prominence made it seem possible for any singer to walk into Sun Records and walk out with a hit record. Johnny Cash listened intently to "Red, Hot and Blue", and loved every second of Elvis' "That's All Right". The tuned into WMPA's Uncle Richard show and discovered "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" being played in the country music marketplace. Cash's reaction was typical of Memphis record buyers: they wanted Presley's single.

JULY 11, 1954 SUNDAY

Elvis Presley first met Jerry Schilling at the Dave Wells Community Center (also known as Guthrie Park) in July 1954. The community center is located at 915 Chelsea Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. According to Jerry Schilling, ''The first time I heard Elvis was in the second week of July 1954. That Sunday, July 11, 1954, I go over to my local playground in North Memphis, a very poor neighborhood.

There were five older boys in and out of high school trying to get up a football game. That's how unpopular Elvis Presley was at that point''. ''Elvis was just starting out, and nobody knew who he was yet''.

''Red West, a friend of my older brother's, knew I played grade school football. He said, 'Jerry, do you want to play with us?' Little kids love to play with the big guys, so, of course, I said, 'Sure'. We get in the huddle, and I swear to God I saw the other guy and said, 'That's the boy from Hume High that sang that song I just heard on the radio'. His name was never mentioned'. ''We can never forget that rock and roll was born out of segregation. It was dangerous for us to go down to Beale Street to buy our records. Our parents would have grounded us forever if they found out. It was a totally segregated society. Beale Street was black. Main Street was white. In the middle of all of that, Dewey Phillips played a record called ''That's All Right'' by a boy from Humes High School. He had to say Humes High School, because the audience would then know that he was white. Dewey played predominately black music. When ''That's All Right'' came on the radio, it was so exciting. It rolled it into something to be a part of.'', said Jerry Schilling.

JERRY SCHILLING - Elvis Presley's personal aide and member of the Memphis Mafia from 1964 to 1976. Jerry Schilling was born on February 6, 1943, in Memphis. Elvis Presley gave Jerry Schilling the martial-arts nickname "The Cougar".

He bought him several automobiles over the years, and paid for his wedding to his first wife, Sandy. After he and Sandy split, Jerry Schilling dated singer Kathy Westmoreland. He eventually quit the Memphis Mafia to try his hand at film editing for Paramount Pictures.

Jerry Schilling helped edit Elvis On Tour. His first job in the management field was as tour manager for Billy Joel. In 1976, he became the Beach Boys' manager and later handled the Sweet Inspirations and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Jerry Schilling was named Creative Affairs Director of the Presley Estate in 1987. He served as co-producer of the "Elvis" TV series. From 1982 to 1987, Schilling was married to Myrna Smith of the Sweet Inspirations.

JULY 12, 1954 MONDAY

Elvis Presley signed a management deal with his lead guitarist, Scotty Moore. Scotty got 10 percent off the top, and the group would divide any income with a 50-25-25 split.

The original management contract between Scotty Moore and Elvis Presley reads:

WHEREAS, W.S. Moore, III, is a band leader and a booking agent, and Elvis Presley, a minor, age 19 years, is a singer of reputation and renown, and possesses bright promise of large success, it is the desire of both parties to enter into this personal management contract for the best interests of both parties.

This contract is joined in and approved by the Father and Mother of Elvis Presley, Vernon Presley, and Miss Vernon Presley, Presley.

IT IS AGREED that W.S. Moore, III, will take over the complete management of the professional affairs of the said Elvis Presley, book him professionally for all appearances that can be secured for him, and to promote him, generally, in his professional endeavors. The said W.S. Moore, III, is to receive, as his compensation for his service, ten (10%) percent of all earnings from engagements, appearances, and bookings made by him for Elvis Presley.

IT IS UNDERSTOOD AND AGREED that this is an exclusive contract and the said Elvis Presley agrees not to sign any other contract pertain-ing to his professional work nor make any appearances at any time for any other person or manager or booking agent, for a period of one (1) year.

Now, we, Vernon Presley and Miss Vernon Presley, father and mother of Elvis Presley, join in this contract for and in his behalf, confirm and approve all of its terms and his execution of same and our signatures are affixed thereto.

The said W.S. Moore, III, agrees to give his best efforts to the promotion and success of the said Elvis Presley professionally.

SIGNED AND EXECUTED on this 12th day of July 1954.

W.S. Moore, III
Elvis Presley
Father of Elvis Presley
Mother of Elvis Presley

It was a move designed to discourage Sleepy-Eyed John Lepley and a number of other slick management types, something recommended by Sam Phillips as an interim measure until a more experienced agent could be found. Sam Phillips however, in the background as a friend, advising Elvis Presley on his future. Although Sam Phillips could have organized a management firm to promote Elvis Presley's career, he preferred to concentrate upon producing Elvis' records.

Scotty Moore received a ten percent booking fee. On all future concert dates, Elvis Presley would receive fifty percent of the guarantee, with Scotty Moore and Bill Black splitting the remaining money. In reality, the money was quite inadequate all around; the long drives and the low-paying concerts in barns, honky-tonk bars, and grange halls barely with expenses. To promote Presley's records, though, Sam Phillips urged that Elvis Presley play anywhere, anytime, for any sum of money. This let to a series of high school gym engagements, honky-tonk bars, VFW halls, and country-western clubs where audiences were critical and demanding. The uncomfortable drives to such shows, the unpredictable circumstances, and the haphazard working conditions did have a beneficial side to them, however, the rigors of the road helped developed Elvis Presley's musical discipline and style. He also learned to deal first-hand with small-time promoters who hoped to make a quick buck from the emerging Presley phenomena.

On this day, Scotty Moore took the contract to Vernon and Gladys Presley to sign as Elvis' guardians. The four (Scotty, Elvis, Vernon and Gladys) of them signed the contract and dated it. After the singing, Gladys told Scotty she expected him to look after her son. That same night, Scotty, Elvis, and Bill met at Carney Moore's Dry Cleaners to build up a playlist. Tammy Wynette remembers the rehearsals with fondness. Just getting to the dry cleaners from her house or from school was always an adventure in itself. "The day I remember the most was the one when they were coming down the stairs and Auzella looked up and said, 'My, my, my, Look at the stairs'", says Tammy. "Elvis was nothing then, but he looked at her with that little smile of his and he said, 'Auzella, one of these days I'll wrap you up in hundred dollar bills'".

At this point, Elvis Presley, ragged and tired-looking during the first month of his professional career, continued to work a day job at Crown Electric. It was a dull, tedious job, and he was eager to quit. As Ronald Smith suggested, "Crown Electric had a rapid turnover in labor-type jobs". Despite the pressure of his schedule, Elvis Presley also did whatever he could to promote his first Sun single. By playing local clubs, he created a demand for his record. He also spent time between shows convincing the audience to purchase "That's All Right" - walking up to the bar, buying drinks for the locals, all the while pushing his first Sun single.

JULY 15, 1954 THURSDAY

As a result of the demand for Presley's record, Sam Phillips drove over to Plastic Products Incorporated, the manufacturer of phonograph records and allied products, located at 1746 Chelsea Avenue in Memphis, to place an order for the Presley single. Sam Phillips ordered a thousand 45s and 78s of "That's All Right" b/w "Blue Moon Of Kentucky".

The demand was so great for Presley's record in Memphis, Sun Records recouped its costs immediately. Poplar Tunes on Poplar Avenue ran the first ad for Elvis Presley's single in Memphis, and the small record shop did a continuous business.

On this day, Elvis Presley to the Blue Light Studio at 130 Beale Street, north west corner Beale and Second Streets, Memphis, for an photo session and was made by employee Margaret Sutton. The Blue Light Studio is owned by Terry Garner, and is now located at 247 South Cooper Street, Memphis, Tennessee.

UNKNOWN DATE MID-1954

Since all three men were working regular daytime jobs at this time, their first appearances were limited to venues in and around Memphis. Over the next few weeks, Elvis Presley would make several unadvertised guest appearances, usually on weekend nights, as an added attraction with the Starlite Wranglers at the Bon Air Night Club.

He also joined the Wrangles when they played the Bel-Air Night Club, which was adjacent to the Bel-Air Motel, located at 1850 South Bellevue Boulevard in Memphis.

On at least one occasion, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black entertained a gathering at the Firestone Worker's Union Hall in Memphis.

Clyde Rush, the rhythm guitar player with the Wranglers recalled that Elvis Presley's intermission spots quickly became the hit of the Wrangler's show, even in such unlike venues as the Firestone Workers Union Hall in Memphis.

Johnny Cash, who lived across the Mississippi River in Dyess, Arkansas, remembers, in July 1954, that about this time he first saw Elvis Presley perform at a ballroom in East Memphis.

(Above) This rare photograph of Elvis Presley was discovered in the Presley-Archive of the European Art Foundation Berlin. It shows the 19-year old guy in 1954. "At this age, I wanted to look always a bit older", Presley commented about this later. He believed that his "milky face" looked too soft. And because of this, people would not take him seriously.

The photograph was used in 1955 by his label Sun Records studios in Memphis, in a promotion campaign. The stylist gave Elvis a dreamy make-up, with dark eyelashes. The makeup artist further worked out his erotic lips by slight dash of dark red lipstick. The PR-photograph was distributed in black and white only. On a coloured version he looked according to what is known to girlish. Elvis can be seen wearing a bow tie, like the one on the photo on February 25, 1955, Texarkana Municipal Auditorium. It is reported that Elvis flung his tie into the crowd on this date, and to keep up with demand, he bought a box of bow ties at his favourite clothing store in Memphis and hire a West Texas girl to sign his name on the, her payment was a kiss and a bow tie, authentically signed.

JULY 17, 1954 SATURDAY

Sam Phillips carried Elvis Presley out for the first time to the Bon Air Night Club, located at 4862 Summer Avenue, Memphis, across Mendenhall Road, to execute the first part of the plan that he and Scotty Moore had devised. Elvis Presley sang with the Starlite Wranglers "That's All Right" and "Blue Moon Of Kentucky". The steel guitar whined, the fiddle hemmed and hawed, and the Wranglers began injecting a good time into their crowd.

They wore matching outfits, they told a few jokes, and they had a good time on stage, all of which kept the crowd smiling, dancing, and drinking. When their first set ended, there was a little confusion about the new kid.

When Elvis Presley took the stage, a murmur went through the crowd. This youngster with greasy hair and sideburns, the funny-fitting clothes, wasn't part of the usual act, and the unexpected made this audience uneasy. Bassist Bill Black thrilled to the tension that began creeping across the stage. He looked over at Scotty Moore, who was grinning nervously as he anticipated the crowd's reaction to something they'd never heard, and then he looked at Elvis Presley. It was time to start, but Elvis Presley was short of breath. He turned to Scotty Moore, then to Bill Black, who grinned back widely. That put him at ease, and then he performed the only two songs his trio knew.

It wasn't that the crowd responded poorly, but Elvis Presley was already anticipating the riots that were soon to greet him. When they applauded after "That's All Right", then after "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", and though they moved their heads in time to the beat, and though some danced and several seemed immensely pleased - Elvis Presley, when they didn't react wildly, felt like he'd failed.

"This was Elvis' first appearance, period, and he was absolutely mortified. Now look, this was a small club, and it was all rednecks, and I don't mean any bad connotation by that, but you had better be careful looking like Elvis Presley did in a redneck joint and not singing hillbilly songs and you want to live. You got a bunch of people drinking, and then you try to come on with some music, untried, unproved, you're unknown. I swear, he just came off real good". "He said, 'Mr. Phillips, I just feel like... I failed'. I said, 'Elvis, are you kidding? You were really good" I didn't say great, I said, The only thing that could have been better would have been if you had enjoyed it on stage". You see, I was honest with him, I didn't feed him a line of bullshit, and he couldn't shoot any holes in that", recalled Sam Phillips.

"As for the Wranglers, there was friction", Scotty Moore said, "right from the start. To begin with, they hadn't realized they wouldn't all be backing Elvis uh, though, of course, that wouldn't have worked".

In the same week that Elvis’ first single was released, a certain person by the name of Tom Parker bought himself 7 ponies. This ‘Colonel’ will soon meet up with the boy from Tupelo, and together they will change the face of entertainment forever.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

LIVE APPEARANCE FOR ELVIS PRESLEY

BON AIR NIGHT CLUB, 4862 SUMMER AVENUE,
ACROSS MENDENHALL ROAD, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
JULY 17, 1954 SATURDAY - AN ADDED ATTRACTION
SESSION HOURS: 8:00 PM
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - UNKNOWN

Some people in Memphis have indicated that this concert is recorded, but that has not yet been proved. Elvis Presley made an advertised appearance. When Elvis appeared with the Starlite Wranglers, according to Poindexter, there was a great deal of petty bickering. The other musicians didn't seem to understand Elvis' music, and they were miffed over his popularity in the local clubs. ''The other musicians were jealous of Elvis'', Poindexter remarked. ''It wasn't just that the girls liked Elvis; some of the musicians couldn't accept his new direction''.

It was Scotty Moore, Poindexter suggested, who made Elvis' sound so strong. But it was the rockabilly sound bursting out all over Memphis that really developed Elvis' talent. Poindexter believe that rockabilly music was a catalyst to Elvis' popularity. ''There were a lot of musicians who had the sound Elvis later popularized'', Poindexter remarked. Even the big name musicians felt threatened by Elvis. Poindexter laughed about the number of commercially successful show business figures who predicted so success for Elvis. ''I could tell that boy was a good one'', Poindexter concluded. ''He knew how to move a crowd''.

01* - "THAT'S ALL RIGHT" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Arthur Crudup
Publisher: - Crudup Music
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - July 17, 1954 - Probably

02* - "BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Bill Monroe
Publisher: - Peer International Music
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - July 17, 1954 - Probably

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)
Doug Poindexter - Acoustic Rhythm Guitar
Millard Yeow - Steel Guitar
Tommy Seals - Fiddle
Clyde Rush - Guitar

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

THE STARLITE WRANGLERS - Country band, headed by Doug Poindexter, who appeared in the local clubs in Memphis and who cut a few records for the Sun label. Poindexter was born in Vandale, Arkansas and developed a liking for country music sometime before he moved to Memphis in the 1940s.

Like many people at that time, Doug's inspiration was Hank Williams. Inspired by Hank, he formed a band with fiddle player Tommy Seals, guitarist Clyde Rush and steel player Millard Yeow. Poindexter played acoustic guitar and sang. Sometimes in 1953 Doug named his band the Starlite Wranglers and booked them into local night clubs - the Bel Air and the Beaufort Inn in Memphis, are all he can now remember - and out on the road around the mid-South.

The next logical development was to make a record, so the band went over to see Bill Fitzgerald at Music Sales, the local record distributor. "Bill was the main record salesman in town at that time", Doug recalled. "told him I wanted to record for MGM, just like Hank had done. Well, Bill didn't exactly laugh out loud at us, but he was amused. In the end, he sent us down to see Sam Phillips. Sam listened to us and said he liked what we were doing. But he said he wanted something a little different from the Hank style".

In 1952, Scotty Moore, a regular player from Humbolt, Tennessee had got out of Army and moved to Memphis. He had contacted Sam Phillips and had been asked to scout around town for musical talent to work with. Whether it was Scotty Moore who approached Poindexter or Sam who put the two together is now unclear, but the result was that Scotty and his friend bass player Bill Black, joined the Starlite Wranglers. The band worked out a new sound while they played a residency at Eagle's Nest on Lamar Avenue in Memphis.

In 1952 Johnny Burnette occasionally sang with the band. Scotty Moore recalls, "Sam had told us he was looking for something new. He encouraged me to try things out. So I developed a mixture of finger-picking and a harder, rhythm and blues method. We tried it out on Doug's record and Sam liked it".

The Starlite Wranglers, including Scotty Moore and Bill Black, went on the road promoting his new single (SUN 202) at Sun, and Doug recalls playing a large country music show at Overton Park Shell in Memphis. After a month or so on the road, the band was contacted by Sam Phillips who asked that a new singer, Elvis Presley, be allowed to go along. He also asked Scotty and Bill to work up some songs for Elvis Presley to record. The result was that Doug Poindexter's band included Scotty and Bill and Elvis for local gigs at the Eagle's Nest on Lamar Avenue. Out of town dates were normally met without the three newcomers.

"The time they recorded Elvis' first record", Doug Poindexter remembered, "I was out of town with the band and Scotty and Bill had been left behind so they could record. Then when Elvis started to be in demand, Sam offered us all a regular gig in Shreveport. At the time, records was in funny state of business and I wasn't sure I wanted to go with in. I had a pretty good job and frankly I thought the boy Elvis would starve to death. Anyhow, Scotty and Bill wanted to go ahead and they did, but I stayed in Memphis. Shortly after that I decided to quit. I've never regretted it because I knew there were professional musicians out there who were better than I was, and they were starving. There was no way to foretell what would happen to Elvis. As far as recordings, well Sam never came up with the right song for me and I guess he soon forgot about me, maybe it was just as well. What he did want me to do was to open a country radio station in town with him - he talked to me about becoming a disc jockey, but I didn't know anything about it so I said 'no!'".

When Sam Phillips originally considered having the Starlite Wranglers back Elvis Presley, but when two of the band's members, Bill Black and Scotty Moore, first began backing Elvis Presley, the sound they created filled the bill. An agreement was reached among Elvis Presley, Bill Black and Scotty Moore that Elvis would get 50 percent of future earnings, with Bill Black and Scotty Moore each getting 25 percent. Later, when Colonel Tom Parker entered the picture, they were paid a flat fee.

from

The King Of The Road: Elvis Live 1954-1977
by Robert Gordon, St. Martin's Press (1996)

Saturday, July 17, 1954, marked the professional debut of Sun recording artist Elvis Presley. Scotty and Bill, while making history with Elvis, were also playing a regular weekend gig. The Starlite Wranglers were a country swing band, and their jazzy feel made them easy to dance to – therefore popular. With Elvis exhibiting such talent, there was talk of making him a, gosh, regular part of the Wranglers' show.

The Bon Air Club was on Highway 70, the outskirts of town, rural, walking distance to cotton fields. Its clientele was tough, and on Saturday nights they were as friendly with Jack Daniels and Jim Beam as they were with Jesus on Sunday. Step outside and say that, mah frien'. The steel guitar whined, the fiddle hemmed and hawed, and the Wranglers began injecting a good time into their crowd. They wore matching outfits, they told a few jokes, and they had a good time on stage, all of which kept the crowd smiling, dancing, and drinking. When their first set ended, there was a little confusion about the new kid. Scotty Moore, who was now managing him, had to get a little stern when he insisted that only he and Bill return on stage with the intermission act.

Murmur

When Elvis took the stage, a murmur went through the crowd. This youngster with greasy hair and sideburns, the funny-fitting clothes, wasn't part of the usual act, and the unexpected made this audience uneasy. Bassist Bill Black thrilled to the tension that began creeping across the stage. He looked over at Scotty, who was grinning nervously as he anticipated the crowd's reaction to something they'd never heard, and then he looked at Elvis. It was time to start, but Elvis was short of breath. He turned to Scotty, then Bill, who grinned back widely. That put him at ease, and then he performed the only two songs his trio knew.

It wasn't that the crowd responded poorly, but Elvis was already anticipating the riots that were soon to greet him. When they applauded after the first song, then again after the second, and though they moved their heads in time to the beat, and though some danced and several seemed immensely pleased – Elvis, when they didn't react wildly, felt like he'd failed.

What he came to realize what how much he'd learned in just one night. When he returned the next week he was looser, more the prankster, and the fact that he was clearly starting to enjoy himself on stage allowed the audience to enjoy him more. When this performance was done, someone even WHOOPED, and in a place like the Bon Air, there was no higher sign of adulation. He quickly thanked Scotty and Bill, agreed to talk with them the next day because they had to get right back out on stage with the Wranglers, and with his head feeling a little light, he found the front door and drove home a few inches off the ground. He forgot his jacket and, too wired to be tired, returned. Inside, a few patrons recognized him and began to shout. Others turned and saw who it was, applause began to ripple through the club, and as if it was happening to someone else, Elvis found himself back on stage for a command performance. Delighted and more than a little dazed, he said something corny, stuttering a bit in his shy way, and the audience hooted because, having seen him a time or two already, he was still different but now they could relate to him. One-two-three-four, and the trio cranked it up, whipping through those same two songs and thinking sooner or later they'd better learn another one.

Earthquake

The record was released on July 19, the Monday between Bon Air gigs. The crowd's response and the record's reception earned Elvis a slot just before the headliner. Scotty and Bill may have been used to performing, but never in an open-air venue like the Overton Park Band Shell. The stage was as big as some of the clubs they played, and they were nervous. If they had the jitters, Elvis was an earthquake. But when the time came, they took their place, waited for Elvis to strike that first chord, and then tore into their thing.

When Elvis began swinging his whole body into the music – giving the audience a brand new image for their brand new soundtrack – they roared with approval. Bill began his own dance, a clownish version of Elvis' movements. Scotty dipped his head and looked at the floor and grinned, keeping the rhythm with his foot.

THE BON AIR NIGHT CLUB - Located at 4862 Summer Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, the club was a small, nondescript place located at the edge of town on the highway to Nashville. Inside were tables and chairs for maybe fifty patrons, a bar, and a platform for the musicians. Elvis Presley performed here several other times in the few weeks following the release of his first single release of "That's All Right" as a guest artist of Doug Poindexter's Starlite Wranglers. Scotty Moore and Bill Black, members of the Starlite Wranglers, had convinced the group to let Elvis Presley perform a few songs. The other musicians would step aside while Scotty and Bill backed Elvis Presley. Nonetheless, at that first performance at the Bon Air Night Club, Elvis Presley danced with a few of the ladies and visited with some of his friends who had come to support him. The Tiplers, Elvis' employers, were there to cheer him on. The Bon Air Night Club has since been demolished.

JULY 18, 1954 SUNDAY

As word spread among his acquaintances, Elvis Presley became a minor celebrity at the diners and bars where he spent his time. People who had barely given him the time of day before were suddenly going out of their way to say hello or buy him a drink. That initial rush of overt self-importance went over better in the bars than it did at home with his family. He was leaving to go bar hopping when his mother Gladys asked what time he'd be home - as she did every night. "When I feel like it, that's when", he answered.

"I don' care how many records you got playin', you better learn respect", she said. "I ain't one of your bar whores and don' like bein' treated like one. You talk to me in that tone again, I'll slap that attitude outta you and don' think I won't. I was 'fraid you'd pick up bad habits hangin' out in bars filled with loose women and loafers. Don't make me sorry you're my boy, Jesse wouldn't treat his mama in a bad way, and I 'spect you to be the same", she said.

Having the nights off from performing, Elvis Presley cruised the bars that had become his home away from home, intent on finding a women to dominate and control, needing to regain the potency his mother had sucked out of him. It didn't take him long to find a willing partner, and just like other similar encounters, he left feeling superior, but empty.

Late in the evening, the Locke family returns from their Florida vacation, and while driving into Memphis Dixie hears "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" on the car radio. Dixie Locke said, ''I knew what was going on, but neither he nor I had any idea of the magnitude of it. I got telegram from him saying, 'They're playing my records on the radio'. He was ecstatic over it. It was almost like disbelief that the disc jockey would even play''.

JULY 1954

In the beginning, Scotty served as Elvis' manager. He worked with Phillips for about six weeks before turning over the business of obtaining bookings to Bob Neal's Stars Incorporated, located at 160 Union Avenue (now Holiday Convention Center), a popular disc jockey on WMPS radio in Memphis. In 1955, Bob Neal formed Elvis Presley Enterprises in conjunction with Special Products, Incorporated.

"I think about a week, I became Elvis' manager", recalled Scotty Moore, "but it was real shortly because as soon as the record started doin' stuff around Memphis, three or four different... I won't say unscrupulous... but of undoubtful intent started converging on him, for this, that and the other... and he didn't know what to tell 'em, so Sam said, 'I tell you what - sign a contract with him. That way you can tell them you're already under contract and that'll be the end of that'. So really that was all the contract was intended for".

BOB NEAL - Music agent born Robert Neal Hopgood in the Belgian Congo in 1917. His family moved to the United States in 1930. Bob Neal became a disc jockey for radio station WMPS in Memphis during the 1940s. He had his own program called "The Bob Neal Farm Show", on which he played the ukulele and told jokes. Neal was also the owner of the Bob Neal Record Shop on Main Street in Memphis. In addition, Neal hosted a fifteen minute afternoon radio show called "The High Noon Roundup" before a studio audience of which Elvis Presley was sometimes a member, especially when Neal featured the local Blackwood Brothers.

In 1952 Bob Neal became a promoter, establishing the Memphis Promotions Agency at 160 Union Avenue (now Holiday Convention Center)). From January 1, 1955, to March 15, 1956, he served as Elvis Presley's manager, collecting 15 percent of Elvis' earnings off the top, after which Colonel Tom Parker sneaked into the picture, taking over from Bob Neal. Even after Elvis Presley signed his first contract with Colonel Tom Parker on August 15, 1955, he was still contracted to Neal. Elvis Presley in essence agreed to pay Neal his 15 percent in addition to 25 percent to Parker. In 1956, with the partnership of Sam Phillips, Bob Neal founded Stars Incorporated (Suite 1916 in Memphis Sterick Building, located at 165 Madison Avenue), to handle recording artists. In 1958 Bob Neal became Johnny Cash's first manager. Neal also has handled Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Conway Twitty, Warren Smith, Sonny James, Lynn Anderson, Stonewall Jackson, Bobby Helms, Nat Stuckey, and others. Unfortunately, Bob Neal let his most promising artist, Elvis Presley, slip through his fingers in 1956 because he lacked the connections that Colonel Tom Parker could provide.

When Neal's wife, Helen, first saw Elvis Presley perform at the Overton Park Shell in Memphis, she remarked to Bob, "This isn't just another singer, this boy's different". In the book The Maid, The Man And The Fans: Elvis Is The Man, by Nancy Rooks and Mae Gutter, they erroneously claimed that Elvis Presley's first public appearance was for his friend Sonny Neal, the son of Bob Neal. Sonny Neal was running for class president at the time.

Robert Neal Hopgood died on May 9, 1983 in Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of 65.

ELVIS PRESLEY ENTERPRISES - Company formed in conjunction with Special Products, Incorporated, to market more than 180 Elvis-related items in 1955, located at 160 Union Avenue in Memphis. The items included statues, wastebaskets, books, dolls, mittens, lipstick, scarves, sneakers, record cases, shirts, jeans, bracelets, photo wallets, polo shirts, pyjamas, belts, belt buckles, handkerchiefs, billfolds, handbags, medallions, necklaces, charm bracelets, perfume, wristwatches, and hats. The company was formed by Elvis Presley and Bob Neal when Neal managed Elvis Presley. It was dissolved when Colonel Tom Parker became Elvis Presley's manager.

JULY 19, 1954 MONDAY

Elvis Presley's first single "That's All Right"/"Blue Moon Of Kentucky" (SUN 209) was delivered to Memphis record stores. Stanley Kesler delivered the first Elvis Presley singles to Charles Records on Main Street across the Suzore II Theater, and the fifteen-year-old Eldene Beard purchased a copy at 9:00 a.m., and was probably the first Elvis Presley record ever sold. Eldene Beard first heard the record on WHBQ radio and was the first in line when the store opened on the day of the record's release. She told Stanley Kesler that she had been waiting for the record since it was first played on Dewey Phillips' program. Miss Beard was typical of the young fans reacting to the new music.

When the record came out officially less than two weeks after Elvis' first session and from the start sold like nothing else Sam Phillips had ever released. Like nothing else, in fact, that Memphis had ever experienced. ''May we please call your attention to our new Sun release 209, ''That's All Right'' and ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'' by Elvis Presley'', Sam wrote to Billboard writer Bob Rolontz, who penned the rhythm and blues column. ''This record was put on the air here in Memphis last Friday, July 16, and sales have been phenomenal... According to our local distributor, it is being bought by practically every operator with all types of locations... and retail purchasers range from teenage white kids to dyed-in-the-wool Negro blues enthusiasts on the ''THAT'S ALL RIGHT'' side, while the hillbilly set young and old are setting the pace on the ''BLUE MOON'' side. Ruben Cherry, owner of ''Home Of The Blues'' record store on Beale Street, says, ''The potential of this record is unlimited because of its apparently universal appeal. I've never seen anything like it''''.

JULY 19, 1954 MONDAY

Ed Leek, a Humes High School classmate who was premed at Memphis State, described going down to the plant and watching on Chelsea Avenue, the first records come off the press with Elvis Presley. Precise sales figures are hard to come by, but we do know that "That's All Right" sold 6,300 copies during its first three weeks on the market. By November it had probably sold over 25,000. Later, "Good Rockin' Tonight" probably sold less than 20,000 copies during its first few months on the market.

JULY 23, 1954 FRIDAY

Since Presley quickly had an undeniable Memphis hit, Sam Phillips switched his concentration to opening up other Southern markets. Phillips single-handedly merchandised "That's All Right"/"Blue Moon Of Kentucky" in the areas outside of Memphis. Climbing into his car, Sam Phillips drove through Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi placing Elvis' record in small record stores, taverns, shoe shine stands, and radio stations. In Tennessee and Mississippi, the one-stop distributors were not convinced that Presley's record was strong enough to attract large orders from record stores. This forced Sam Phillips to use direct sales techniques. He drove as far as Texas and Florida to drink whisky with the one-stop distributors and convince them to take two to three hundred copies of "That's All Right" on consignment. Before he approached the one-stop wholesalers, however, Phillips spent three days stopping at radio stations. The ever present bottle of whisky, a few words of praise about the station, and a promise to share the profits brought Elvis' record airplay. Soon "That's All Right" was on the Florida and Texas airwaves. Sam Phillips quickly alerted distributors in the other Southern states to Presley's popularity; one-stop distributors couldn't resist ordering a record that was being played on the radio, and they ordered by the boxful. On July 23, 1954, Alta Hayes of Big State Record Distributors in Dallas, Texas, placed the first large wholesale order for Sun Record (SUN 209). Dallas airplay was the reason that Presley's music broke throughout the Lone Star state, and it was not long before Elvis Presley performed in Texas.

In late July, 1953, when Webb Pierce made an unadvertised appearance at the Eagle's Nest, Lamar Avenue in Memphis. Pierce was on the way to Nashville, and he dropped into the Eagle's Nest to watch a bill featuring Doug Poindexter and the Starlite Wranglers. The special intermission act was Elvis Presley. "I remember that Elvis went up and was going to shake hands with Webb Pierce, and Pierce called him a son of a bitch. He told him (Elvis) that he would never appear with a singer who performed like Elvis", Poindexter continued. "I couldn't figure, it didn't make sense to me".

JULY 24, 1954 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley plays for the second time with the Starlite Wranglers again at the Bon Air Club (8pm), but Dixie Locke cannot attend because she is underage. The Bon Air nightspot with an alcohol-fuelled redneck clientele unlikely to be endeared by Elvis Presley's music or dress code. Regardless, it was arranged that Elvis could come in as a guest singer and do his two numbers. Sam Phillips was there, encouraging him, as Elvis suffered a bad case of stage fright. Bobbie Moore came along too and she said, ''There wasn't a big crowd in there. They didn't go wild or anything. He'd get up and sing a song or two and later he would do it again''. Mr. and Mrs. Tiplers, Elvis' employers at Crown Electric, cheered on their deliveryman as well''.

Sam Phillips was encouraged enough to call Bob Neal, who, aside from his morning show at the radio, booked and promoted concerts locally. Sam talked Neal into letting Elvis appear on the big ''Slim Whitman Show'' to be held at the Overton Park Shell later that month. Bob Neal insisted that Elvis Presley join the union to be able to participate.

JULY 25, 1954 SUNDAY

The Commercial Appeal, Memphis,
July 25, 1954
SHELL SHOW FRIDAY
Hillbilly Hoedown Features
Popular Music Favorites

Favorite folk ballads in a sylvan setting are on the entertainment bill this week as Slim Whitman, one of the top-ranking rural rhythm experts, brings his troupe here for a show at 8 pm.

Friday at the Overton Park Shell. Whitman is based with the Louisiana Hayride group at Shreveport, La., and is currently hitting the top with a variety of rustic records.

His left handed style with the guitar is as unusual as his style of singing. Also featured will be Billy Walker, a tall Texan, "Sugar-Foot" Collins, "Sonny Harvelle, Tinker Fry, and "Curly" Harris along fit the laughs. Advance tickets go on sale tomorrow at Walgreen's Main and Union, Bob Neal, WMPS radio disc jockey and impresario of the Friday show, said yesterday.

In Person The Sensational Radio-Recording Star

Slim Whitman with

Billy Walker, Ellis Presley and many others

Add. reserved seats today at Walgreen's Main and Union $1.00

Tonight at Shell. $1.25 reserved. Kids 75c. General admission $1.00

OVERTON PARK SHELL

JULY 26, 1954 MONDAY

Sam Phillips persuades Bob Neal the WMPS disc jockey whose noontime hillbilly and gospel show Elvis Presley frequently attended, to add the young singer to his upcoming "hillbilly hoedown", a package show starring Louisiana Hayride performer Slim Whitman and Billy Walker, to be held this Friday at Memphis Overton Park Shell

On this same day Elvis Presley signs a formal contract with Sun Records, which must be countersigned once again by his parents. It is for a minimum of eight sides over a period of two years, with the contract renewable at the record company's option for a second period of two years. The royalty rate is 3 percent of the wholesale price.

JULY 27, 1954 TUESDAY

At lunchtime Marion Keisker took Elvis Presley at Crown Electric just down the street to the Press-Scimitar Building at 495 Union Avenue. Memphis Press-Scimitar staffer, reporter Edwin Howard, the editors' son, interviewed Elvis Presley during his lunch break at Crown Electric Company on 475 North Dunlap on July 27, 1954.

Elvis Presley told Howard that he felt he needed only a minor break to become a mainstream musical act. Howard was intrigued by Elvis Presley and wrote the next day glowingly about his music.

In 1956, Elvis Presley told Carlton Brown: "When my first record came out I was a little leery of it. I thought everybody would laugh".

There was no laughter in Memphis, however; after a few hours of airplay, Elvis Presley was an instant star. The article was headed "In A Spin" and led off with: "Elvis Presley can be forgiven for going round and round in more ways than one these days. A 19-year-old Humes High graduate, he has just signed a recording contract with Sun Records Company of Memphis, and already has a disk out that promise to be the biggest hit that Sun has ever pressed... "The odd thing about it", says Marion Keisker of the Sun office, "is that both sides seem to be equally popular on popular, folk, and race record programs. This boy has something that seems to appeal to everybody. We've just gotten the sample records out to the disk jockey’s and distributors in other cities, but we got big orders yesterday from Dallas and Atlanta".

Memphis Press-Scimitar Photographer Jim Reid recalls:
My first meeting with Elvis was in 1954 when he had just recorded his first songs at Sun, which was just up the street from the Press- Scimitar. The lady that worked there, Marion Keisker, she brought him down one afternoon.

That week I was working night shift - 3pm till 11.30am. At that time we used the big old speed-rapids, the 4x5's - which are now obsolete in news work, but all of our work was done with those cameras then. You had to load up all your holders before you went out on an assignment, and consequently you had two shots to a holder - one on each side. You didn't like to waste your shots because you hated to load holders. So as I was about to go out on assignment, one of our reporters dropped this young man down at our studio and said, "Jim, I need you to take a picture. This is Elvis Presley - he's a singer"

At the time, I was 24-year-old... I looked at this individual and I had to turn away from him! I'd never heard the name Elvis before, and he was dressed in the most nondescript clothes you could imagine. His head was down and he was quite shy, and he looked like he wanted to run! I thought Elvis Presley? This guy's a singer? I had to turn to the wall and mentally say "Sure he is!" I sat him down and took two pictures - that's all. I asked him, "Raise your chin up" and he raised it. I shot the picture and flipped the holder over… and again his chin was back down. He was a very shy individual - very shy. I shot the second picture* then he went back over to the reporter's desk...and that was my first encounter with Elvis''.

JULY 28, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Elvis Presley receives his weekly paycheck of $46 from Crown Electric Company, representing forty hours at $1 an hour and four of overtime.

Billboard magazine reviewed "That's All Right" and "Blue Moon Of Kentucky". The review called Presley a "potent new chanter who can sock over a tune from either the country or the rhythm and blues markets". The review concluded with praise for "a strong new talent".

On the same day, the Memphis Press-Scimitar published an interview with Elvis by Edwin Howard in his "The Front Row" column titled "Overnight Sensation".

The article reported that Elvis' first single was "getting an amazing number of plays on all Memphis radio stations". Accompanying the story was a photo of Elvis Presley sporting a longish flat-top haircut with sideburns and a ducktail. He was wearing a plaid, western-style suit and a bow tie. The Press-Scimitar also published the first ad for an appearance by Elvis Presley. He was listed as one of the performers on the July 30th Slim Whitman show in Memphis.

"The morning of July 27, 1954, Marion Keisker phoned me from Sun Records, where she was Sam Phillips right arm, and asked if she might bring a promising young Sun artist in to see me", recalled Edwin Howard. "Marion thought he had something. He had first come to Sun months before to use the studio's rental facilities to make a record for his mother on her birthday. Phillips had been intrigued and eventually recorded the boy commercially.

They would have to come in on the boy's lunch hour", Marion said, "because he was still driving a truck for Crown Electric Company. I said, 'I'd be glad to see them, and shortly after noon they got off the elevator on the fifth floor of The Press-Scimitar and came over to my desk.

The boy's hair looked as if it had been cut by a lawn mower, but the trademarks were already there - flat top, duck tail and sideburns. He was shy and, except for 'Yes sir' and 'No sir', let Marion do all the talking".

Here is the item that ran the next day in The Front Row - the first 'interview' ever done with Elvis Presley:

IN A SPIN - Elvis Presley can be forgiven for going round and round in more ways than one these days. A 19-year-old Humes High graduate, he has just signed a recording contract with Sun Records Company of Memphis, and already has a disc out that promises to be the biggest hit that Sun has ever pressed.

It all started when Elvis dropped into Sun's studios one day to cut a personal record at his own expense. Sam Phillips, president of the company, monitored the session and was so impressed with the unusual quality in the young man's voice that he jotted down his name and address.

Some time later, Phillips came across a ballad which he thought might be right for Presley's voice. They recorded it; it didn't click. But they tried again; this time with "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", a folk standard, backed by "That's All Right".

Just now reaching dealers' shelves, the record is getting an amazing number of plays on all Memphis radio stations "The odd thing about it", says Marion Keisker of the Sun office, "is that both sides seem to be equally popular on popular, folk and race record programs. This boy has something that seems to appeal to everybody".

"We've just gotten the sample records out to the disc jockey’s and distributors in other cities", she said, "but we got big orders yesterday from Dallas and Atlanta". Sun started by Sam Phillips, former WREC engineer, several years ago, has 40 distributors from coast to coast, so there's a good chance of a big national sale.

Elvis, son of Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Presley, 462 Alabama Street, is a truck driver for Crown Electric Company. He has been singing and playing the guitar since he was about 13 - just, picket it up himself. The home folks who have been hearing him on records so often during the past few weeks can see Elvis in person when he's presented by disc jockey Bob Neal in a hillbilly show at Overton Park Shell Friday night along with veteran entertainers from the "Louisiana Hayride".

EDWIN HOWARD - Since 1942, Edwin Howard had been the entertainment columnist and subsequently Amusement editor at the Memphis Press-Scimitar. On July 27, 1954, at Marion Keisker’s suggestion, Howard became the first reporter to interview Elvis Presley for his column, "The Front Row".

Born on Grand island, Florida, on July 26, 1924, Howard didn't inhabit the hardscrabble world of the honky tonks; instead, he frequented the best restaurants and clubs and counted himself on good terms with the Memphis' grandees. He was, among other things, a Pulitzer Prize nominee and co-founder of the Memphis Shakespeare Festival.

In early January 1959, Howard thought he'd try something a little different. He convinced Sam Phillips to let him cut a record at Sun Records ("More Pretty Girls Than One"/"Forty Leven Times" Phillips International 3540), which he would then turn into a feature piece for the local newspaper.

After the demise on the Memphis Press-Scimitar in 1983, Howard resurfaced as the lifestyles columnist at The Memphis Business Journal. In 1992, Edwin Howard moved to Washington DC., but continued to write for the Memphis Business Journal until the paper dropped its arts and leisure features in 1998.

JULY 1954

In July 1954, as Dewey Phillips plugged the upcoming country music concert that was to take place in late July at the Overton Park Shell, he gave Elvis Presley's career yet another lift. Like a carnival showman, Dewey Phillips urged his Memphis listeners to come out and see the new local sensation - Elvis Presley. "That boy's talent is wonderful", Phillips screamed at his listeners.

Publicity for the Overton show had at first featured Slim Whitman in an outdoor concert, and early posters didn't even list Elvis' name. There proved to be so much interest in Presley's music that his name was soon added to the bill. Ads in the Memphis Press Scimitar displayed Ellis Presley on one occasion. When his name finally appeared, it was due largely to Dewey Phillips' publicity and influence.

JULY 29, 1954 THURSDAY

Again, Elvis Presley plays for the third time with the Starlite Wranglers at the Bon Air Club (8pm).

On this day, Sam Phillips of Sun Record Company send a letter of two pages to Philadelphia, created three days after Elvis signs with Sun. This letter to Sam Hodge of Paramount Record Manufacturing in Philadelphia, PA is devoted entirely to Sun 209. Phillips fairly pleads with Hodge to ''please get on this record up there… both sides are hitting, and in every category: Pop, Rhythm and blues and Hillbilly… this record has the potential to sell in any territory in the country… it is definitely going to be one of the biggest records of the year, and you know we can use the business''.

What’s hilarious and remarkable about this particular letter is that nowhere, not once in this two-page letter, does Phillips mention the words ''Elvis'', ''Presley'', ''That's All Right'' or ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky''! That’s because Elvis was a total nobody, an absolute zero at this point, so why bother mentioning him? Phillips just kept calling it ''this record'' and ''209''. How funny and historic is that?

Sun Records office manager Marion Keisker added a customary ''SCP:mk'' at the very end of this one (meaning, of course, dictated by Sam C. Phillips, typed by Marion Keisker).

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Elvis Presley appeared for the third time with Doug Poindexter and The Starlite Wranglers at the Bon Air Night Club, and his band expressed some concern about the upcoming Overton Park Shell show. Scotty Moore and Bill Black suggested that Elvis Presley concentrate upon country songs.

The audience would be a traditional country music crowd, and it would be good practice to perform some old country standards. At the Bon Air Night Club that evening Elvis Presley sang his favourite, "Old Shep", followed with "That's All Right" and "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", and ending his brief set with "That's When Your Heartaches Begin".

The Bon Air crowd was not particular about which songs he sang, giving him an opportunity to practice and get comfortable with the idea of doing only country tunes the next day. Backstage, Bill Black tried to further calm Elvis Presley down about the Overton Park Shell show; Elvis Presley was excited but also anxious about playing such a large arena.

LIVE APPEARANCE FOR ELVIS PRESLEY

BON AIR NIGHT CLUB, 4862 SUMMER AVENUE,
ACROSS MENDENHALL ROAD, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
JULY 29, 1954 THURSDAY

When Elvis Presley returned to the Bon Air Night Club, he was looser, more the prankster, and the fact that he was clearly starting to enjoy himself on stage allowed the audience to enjoy him more. When this performance was done, some even whooped, there was no higher sign of adulation. He quickly thanked Scotty Moore and Bill Black, agreed to talk with them the next day because they had to get right back out on stage with the Wranglers, and with his head feeling a little light, he found the front door and drove home a few inches off the ground. He forgot his jacked and, too wired to be tired, returned. Inside, a few patrons recognized him and began to shout. Others turned and saw who it was, applause began to ripple through the club, and as if it was happening to someone else, Elvis Presley himself back on stage for a command performance. Delighted and more than a little dazed, he said something corny, stuttering a bit in his shy way, and the audience hooted because, having seen him a time or two already, he was still different but now they could relate to him. Onetwo-three-four, and the trio cranked it up, whipping through those same two songs and thinking sooner or later they'd better learn another one.

01* - "OLD SHEP" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Red Foley-Willis Arthur
Publisher: - L. Writh Music Limited
Elvis performance: - July 29, 1954
Recorded: - Unknown

02* - "THAT'S ALL RIGHT" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Arthur Crudup
Publisher: - Crudup Music
Elvis performance: - July 29, 1954
Recorded: - Unknown

03* - "BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Bill Monroe
Publisher: - Peer International Music - Southern Music Publishing
Elvis performance: - July 29, 1954
Recorded: - Unknown

04* - "THAT'S WHEN YOUR HEARTACHES BEGIN" - A.S.C.A.P.
Composer: - William J. Raskin-***Roy Brown-Fred Fisher
Publisher: - Fisher Music Corporation
Elvis performance: - July 29, 1954
Recorded: - Unknown

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)
Doug Poindexter - Acoustic Rhythm Guitar
Millard Yeow - Steel Guitar
Tommy Seals - Fiddle
Clyde Rush – Guitar

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

JULY 29, 1954 THURSDAY

Sam Phillips send a letter to Nate Duroff, manager of the Monarch Record Manufacturing Company in Los Angeles, California and that read:

Dear Nate,

''We have instructed Steve Shaw to send you a new set of 78 mothers on Sun 209. The numbers on these are U 128-2 and U 129-2. We had a few complaints on the other set of stampers here on the record and rather than take any chances on it we have recut the masters and ordered new matrix on both sides of this number''.

''I think it is safe for you to go ahead and press from the stampers that you now have, because the number of complaints was few, but since the record looks like it is going to be a tremendously big one we just didn't want to take any chances on it''.

''As soon as you get the mothers on these please have stampers made and discontinue pressing from the 78 stampers that you are presently using''.

''Nate, please get on this record out there. It is the BIGGER record - bar one - that has ever hit the Memphis territory. Both sides are hitting, and in every category: pop, R&B and hillbilly. Out Memphis distributor in eight days has sold more than four thousand on it, and I am sure that, although tastes may be a lot different on the West Coast, this record has the necessary potential to sell in any territory in the country. I know you will do what you can, but I just want to urge you not to miss a bet on it because it is definitely going to be one of the biggest records of the year and you know we can use the business''.

UNKNOWN DATE LATE JULY 1954

Alta Hayes of Dallas-based Big State Records Distributors, who had placed the first large order of Elvis' record, wrote to Sam Phillips and asked what Elvis' group was called. Sam Phillips ignored the letter, but Elvis Presley saw it and began thinking about a name for Scotty Moore and Bill Black. By late July 1954, Elvis' group was billed as the Blue Moon Boys, a tactic that allowed the group to advertise themselves as two acts. The general consensus was that Elvis Presley's early Sun sound was the result of a large backup band. Sam Phillips didn't attempt to dissuade anyone from entertaining this idea because he felt that once anyone saw Elvis Presley and his two backup musicians, they would be doubly impressed with what could only be a very special and unique musical aggregate.

As July 1954 progressed, "That's All Right" and "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" received continuous airplay on four Memphis radio stations. Bob Neal, at radio station WMPS, was one of Elvis' earliest admorers. Each day on his "High Noon Roundup", Neal played "Blue Moon Of Kentucky". Invariably, a telephone call would come in asking why he wasn't also playing "That's All Right". Neal realized that his predominantly country music audience apparently loved anything Elvis Presley sang, and this intensified his interest in young Presley. Soon he was frequently the Eagle's Nest to scout Elvis Presley's act.

It was as a result of watching Elvis Presley tear up the crowd at the Eagle's Nest that Bob Neal finally approached Elvis Presley about a management contract. Not only did Elvis fill the cavernous Eagle's Nest, but he elected a special response from the audience. "I'd never seen anything like it", Neal confessed to Dewey Phillips. Not one to keep a secret, Dewey Phillips told his "Red, Hot and Blue" radio audience that promoter Bob Neal was scouting Elvis Presley.

ULY 30, 1954 FRIDAY

ADVERTISEMENT IN THE MEMPHIS PRESS SCIMITAR

Advertised as a Hillbilly Hoedown, appearing in addition to Slim Whitman and Billy Walker were 'Sugarfoot' Collins, 'Sonny' Harvelle, Tinker Fry and 'Curly' Harris. The show began at 8:00 on the night of July, 30, 1954, and they started with Elvis, Scotty and Bill performing 'That's Alright Mama'.

Elvis was so nervous he stood up on the balls of his feet and shook his leg in time with the music, a move he sometimes used in the studio. To his shock and horror the young girls in the audience went crazy, yelling and applauding. Scotty said, "We didn't know what was going on when all those people started screaming and hollering."

Next they did 'Blue Moon of Kentucky' and when Elvis got offstage he asked why people were yelling at him. Someone told him it was because he was shaking his leg, which with the baggy pleated pants created a wild gyrating effect in time with the music. Later in the show they returned and did the same two numbers along with 'I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin)', a new song they had been working on. The following year they returned to the Shell for the second and last time for Bob Neal's eighth annual Country Music Jamboree.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

LIVE APPEARANCE FOR ELVIS PRESLEY

OVERTON PARK MUNICIPAL SHELL, OVERTON PARK
2080 POPLAR AVENUE / ACROSS GALLOWAY AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
JULY 30, 1954 FRIDAY
SESSION HOURS: 8:00 P.M. TO MIDNIGHT
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - UNKNOWN

Some have indicated that this concert is recorded, but that has not yet been proved.

Before Elvis Presley, with Sam Phillips, Dixie Locke and his parents, on stage, Charlie Torian Sr. enjoyed backstage being a Memphis Fire Department lieutenant. For one, he could drive his own blazing red car instead of riding on the back of a pumper unit. For another, under the guise of inspecting for safety, Torian could gain access to just about any place in Memphis, including the Overton Park Shell.

Even backstage, Charlie Torian Sr. often brought his son, Charlie Junior, along to these 'inspections' were a concert was involved. On the evening of July 30, 1954, the two Charlies found themselves backstage. Charlie Senior wanted to photograph his son with a country music star.

Slim Whitman would be fine, but in a pinch, any star would do. Backstage area was more or less deserved as they entered. Over in the corner, a young man stood quietly, looking nervous. The Torians approached the young man and this conversation followed: "Are you one of the singers?". "Yes, sir". "What's your name, son". "Elvis". "Elvis what?". "Elvis Presley, sir". "Are you famous, son?". "No, sir, not yet".

Torian asked Elvis if he would pose with four-year-old Charlie Torian Junior. Elvis obliged. Torian Jr. remembered Elvis' coat was frayed, that someone, perhaps Gladys, had done a sort of haphazard job of sewing loose ends of the collar back together - obvious up close, but not noticed from the audience.

Elvis Presley made his first advertised appearance. Depending on the newspaper ad, he was listed either second or third on the bill behind Slim Whitman and Billy Walker on the 8:00 p.m. show at Memphis' outdoor Overton Park Municipal Shell. Also appearing were comedians "Curly" Harris, "Sonny" Harvelle, "Sugarfoot" Collins, and Tinker Fry. Of the several ads for this event, on July 28 in the Press-Scimitar, misspelled his name "Ellis Presley".

Although not known for certain, Elvis Presley most likely sang both sides of his first single, although some recall that he also sang an encore, repeating "Blue Moon Of Kentucky". Tickets for the show went on sale Monday, July 26, and cost $1.00 in advance and $1.25 the night of the show. The concert was promoted by Bob Neal.

01* - "THAT'S ALL RIGHT" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Arthur Crudup
Publisher: - Crudup Music
Recorded: - July 30, 1954 - Probably

When Elvis Presley came out on stage at the Overton Park Shell shortly after eight o'clock on July 30, 1954, he was to create a signal moment in rock and roll history. With Scotty Moore standing to Elvis' right and Bill Black behind him to his left, he burst into "That's All Right". After a few moments of silence, the young girls in the audience began clapping and screaming. As indication of Elvis' indefinable appeal, this wasn't the first time that Elvis' young fans had gone crazy. This time, however, it was on the largest scale he'd experienced. As Elvis Presley recalled, "I came out, and I was doing a fast-type tune, one of my first records, and everybody was hollering and I didn't know what they were hollering at". This comment was typical of Elvis Presley in 1954; he had no idea that his actions were creating a group of young rock and roll enthusiasts. "You'd see this frenzied reaction, particularly from the young girls", Bob Neal recalled. "We hadn't gone out and arranged for anybody to squeal and scream. For Elvis they just did it automatically". Dewey Phillips recalled, "I introduced him and stayed on stage while he sang. He went to "That's All Right" and started to shake and that damned auditorium just blew apart. He was nobody, didn't even have his name on the posters, but the people wouldn't let him leave".

02* - "BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Bill Monroe
Publisher: - Peer International Music - Southern Music Publishing
Recorded: - July 30, 1954 - Probably

03* - "BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY" REPEAT - B.M.I.
Composer: - Bill Monroe
Publisher: - Peer International Music - Southern Music Publishing
Recorded: - July 30, 1954 - Probably

Malcolm Yelvington, another Sun Record artist, commented that the Overton Park Shell show firmly established Elvis' performing skills, Yelvington remembered that Elvis stole the evening from Slim Whitman. When Whitman walked off stage, Yelvington asked him what he thought about Elvis Presley: "Well, if that young man keeps going someday he might make it".

Later the show, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black returned to the stage and repeated the same first two songs. Marion Keisker remembers that they also did a new song they were working on, "I'll Never Let You Go". "Now I'm a restrained person, in public anyway, and I heard somebody screaming, and I discovered it was me - the staid mother of a young son", say Marion. "I was standing out there screeching like I'd lost me total stupid mind. The rest of the audience reacted the same way".

04* - "I'LL NEVER LET YOU GO (LITTLE DARLIN')" - A.S.C.A.P.
Composer: - Jimmy Wakely - Arranged by Elvis Presley
Publisher: - Gordon Music Company - Peter Maurice Music
Recorded: - July 30, 1954 - Probably

Scotty Moore recalls, "We were all scared to death. Here we come with two little funky instruments and a whole park full of people, and Elvis, instead of just standing flat-footed and tapping his foot, well, he was kind of joggling. That was just his way of tapping his foot. Plus I think with those old loose britches that we wore - they weren't pegged, they had lots of material and pleated fronts - you shook your leg, and it made it look like all hell was going on under there".

"See, standing up and playing rhythm guitar, he had the tendency to rise up on the balls of his feet... where most people would stand flat-footed and either tap their foot or heel, well he'd kinda come up on the balls of his feet and just kinda'... quiver! And back then remember they had the old big-legged pants, and of course it made it look like he was doin' four times what he really was!".

And there was several little girls started squealin' and carrin' on - we didn't know what in the world was goin' on, and he didn't either. When he came off stage, Bob Neal and Sam said, 'What's wrong with them?'. I mean, that wasn't an acceptable thing, really, at that point in time. And somebody told him that they were screamin' and hollerin' because of his shakin'. He said, 'Hmm, okay!'. And, or course, from there he just gradually built that up".

Felton Jarvis was another important observer at Elvis' Overton Shell show, It was the first time Jarvis had seen Elvis Presley perform, and he was intrigued by Presley's ability to manipulate the audience. The crowd came alive during Elvis' spontaneous performance, one in which a simple nervous knee jerk excited young girls to fever pitch. In later years, Felton Jarvis produced more than hundred of Elvis' records.

Marion Keisker remembered talking with a woman in the audience before Elvis' show. "Who did you come to hear?", the woman asked. "Elvis Presley", Marion answered. "Who?", the woman said. "After this show you won't ask me again", Marion confidently replied.

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)

"I put him on a show with Slim Whitman at the Overton Park Shell", recalled Sam Phillips, "and I was late gettin' out there. He was gonna go on... 'course he preceded Slim and Billy Walker, and I was a little late getting there and there was a crowd of people so I parked my car...''

''I was real busy and Elvis met me and his hands were clammy and he said, 'Mr. Phillips, I've never done this before, I am scared to death!'. Now before that I had taken him out to a little club, it's up here about six or eight blocks, and that was the first experience that the guy ever made".

"Overton Park Shell was the first public appearance and I said, 'Elvis, man, you're gonna be okay'. See, Slim was hot, I mean he had "Indian Love Call" and this guy could sing like a mockingbird. For what he was, Slim Whiteman was a hell of a singer, let's face it. And Slim was big and Elvis was scared to death and he was just afraid that Slim Whiteman and Billy Walker fans just wasn't his and he might get booed off the stage". "I told him not to worry. He went out and was still nervous - Elvis Presley was one of the most nervous people on stage that ever was, until the day he died".

The giant country music extravaganzas at the Overton Shell were greeted with great anticipations in Memphis. "We loved those shows", Kenneth Herman remarked, "because we got to see the new musicians". The concerts also gave the country music moguls a chance to scout new singers. Bob Neal was one of the local promoters involved in the show, and it was he who signed Elvis Presley for a special appearance with headliner Slim Whitman. Before placing Elvis Presley on the Overton Shell show, however, Neal went over to Sun Records and talked with Sam Phillips.

It was clear that Neal's questions were directed toward a possible management contract. He asked Sam Phillips which distributors were selling Elvis' record. Phillips responded that one-stop wholesalers in Dallas and Atlanta had placed orders for 250 records based on the radio play of "That's All Right". Sam Phillips convinced Neal that "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" was making inroads in the country market. In order to test Elvis' popularity further, though, Bob Neal booked him into the Overton Shell. Bob Neal was interested in managing Elvis Presley, but he wanted to make sure that young Elvis Presley was not a passing fad

By the time the two o'clock show approached on the afternoon of July 30, 1954, Elvis Presley had become even more nervous than usual. Ready to go on stage, a large man from the musician's union suddenly confronted him. Elvis Presley was told that he could not perform unless he joined the musicians union. After borrowing some money, Elvis Presley quickly filled out a union card. The incident only served to further unnerve him; he perspired profusely, and felt sick to his stomach.

Although stiff and nervous throughout the afternoon show, Elvis Presley made it through a performance, which was a virtual repeat of the previous night's effort at the Bon Air Night Club. He left the stage to an indifferent scattering of applause, depressed about his performance.

"My very first appearance after I started recording... was on a show in Memphis as an extra added single at an outdoor auditorium", Elvis Presley remarked in 1956. "I came on stage and I was scared stiff". Throughout his career, Elvis Presley never fully overcame his pre-performance fears. Although he was a master showman, Elvis Presley was always as nervous as an amateur prior to going on stage. Following the first show, Elvis Presley quickly left the Overton Shell.

Before Elvis Presley performed during the evening show, Elvis Presley had time to eat dinner. Depressed, he ate only one cheeseburger and drank half of his shake at a nearby truck stop restaurant. "You knew Elvis was upset when he couldn't eat", Ronald Smith remarked. Bill Black kidded Elvis Presley about his loss of appetite. Excusing himself from Bill Black and Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley took a long walk around the Overton Park. Chet Atkins attended the evening show at the Overton Shell, watching in amazement as Elvis Presley brought the crowd to its feet. "He moved different", Atkins remarked. "Instead of stomping his foot... when he'd sing, he'd wiggle his leg or his hip". Offstage, Marty Robbins watched Elvis from the wings; when he congratulated Elvis Presley on a good show, he winked and told Elvis Presley he was going to work up a version of Presley's record. Although not the first to cover the song, Robbins recorded "That's All Right" on December 7, 1954. A few weeks before, Smiley Maxedon had recorded it for Columbia Records.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

OVERTON PARK BAND SHELL - Located at Overton Park, 2080 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, with 4,000 seats, opened his doors on 7:30 Sunday, September 1936 of Mayor Watkins Overton in his dedication speech: "We are not satisfied to made Memphis a great commercial center. We want to make Memphis the cultural and musical center of the Mid- South as well".

The trademark, pastel-coloured rainbow speaks of happy times and momentous events. The Depression's effect on Memphis was in part responsible for the creation of the $11.933 Shell.

The Public Works Administration arrived in Memphis in 1934 and expended almost $9 million for large-scale construction projects. Memphians went to work painting, building, repairing streets, and resurfacing sidewalks - from which the Shell evolved quite naturally in 1936.

As the Depression era waned, the Shell continued as a popular entertainment outlet. The Memphis Open Air Theater (MOAT), which evolved from local thespians performing their magic on an impromptu dirt stage in 1932, began its premiere season of five shows in 1938. Led by the original producers, Mt. and Mrs. Ralph Dunbar, MOAT traversed a 14-year, 89-production roller coaster ride through budget highs and lows. New York's Metropolitan Opera acquired several vocalists from the playlists of MOAT, one of whom remains a Memphis favorite: Marguerite Piazza. She debuted with MOAT in 1950 playing the lead in Rose Marie and went on to become a MOAT star as well as one of the Shell's most beloved regulars.

Peaking at season attendance highs of 105,000 during 1946-1948, MOAT's days in the sun faded in 1951 as it sank under the weight of continuing deficits and sagging attendance, caused in part by the advent of air conditioning and television.

Resiliently, the Shell revived again in the 1950s with Music Under The Stars, a Tuesday evening series led by Noel Gilbert and the Memphis Concert Orchestra. These programs marked a significant change for Shell attendees: free admission. That Tuesday tradition continued for over 30 years, funded by a partnership of the Park Commission and National Federation of Musicians.

It was also in the 1950s that the Shell unwittingly became the launching pad for a uniquely American form of music: rock and roll. Elvis Presley made his first major concert appearance in Memphis at the Overton Park Band Shell on July 30, 1954 as the opening act for Slim Whitman marked the "coming out party" for rock music at the Shell. Less than two weeks later, on August 10, 1954, Elvis Presley performed two show at the Overton Park Band Shell. One year later, on August 5, 1955, Elvis Presley was the headline act at Overton Park. Opening for Elvis Presley, and making their first concert appearance were Johnny Cash and The Tennessee Two. By this time Elvis' popularity was well established; he was pushed farther into fame with every hysterical scream from the crowd.

Following his performances, Elvis Presley's work at the Shell fuelled public recognition, and his career skyrocketed, igniting national enthusiasm - and disdain - for this new music phenomenon. Whether viewed as a gift of a curse, rock and roll was here to stay.

The Shell played host to other rock and roll pioneers - many were artists for Memphis' Sun Record label: Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Warren Smith, Roy Orbison, Eddie Bond, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Then showcase rambles joined hometown favourites from the rhythm and blues sector. Booker T. and the MGs, Rufus Thomas, Furry Lewis, and Isaac Hayes helped give Memphis a musical signature from the legendary Shell stage. But by the late 1960s, many in the community considered it a "white elephant", and, in 1965, it became the target of the Memphis Little Theater, which wanted to replace the Shell with an indoor theater.

A reprieve came when the Memphis Park Commission decided to find another site for the popular Music Under The Stars before destroying the structure. The grim reaper came around again in 1966 when the Park Commission placed the Shell's destiny in the hands of the Memphis Arts Council, which had plans for a $2 million performing arts complex in Overton Park. Once more, the Shell faced extinction. This time, conductor Noel Gilbert became the saviour who defied the bell's toll, gathering enough protest signature to force the Park Commission to reconsider.

Ironically, rock and roll posed the next threat to the Shell's survival. Although the performances that audiences had enjoyed continued in their diverse variety through the early 1970s, rock and roll had undergone significant changes resulting in younger audiences.

Rock's voice had become more influential than ever, issuing a clarion call to young people. Nationally, this incurred the wrath of more hidebound elders, who were appalled and irritated at the social and more changes assaulting their social equilibrium. Long hair, drugs use, and the rebellious, freestyle attitudes of the "hippie generation" arrived in Memphis, flaunting openly and unabashedly in Overton Park. A collision between youth and the establishment was inevitable.

Local Newspapers covered the Shell in depth, focusing on the peculiarities of the patrons. Run-ins with the police were common, and headlines trumpeted these confrontations. Noise level complaints from area residents and clashes with security brought out a virtual army of police. Concert promoters and the Park Commission shared the steep cost of these security measures.

Then the Park Commission suddenly changed the ground rules. Where rental of the Shell had been an affordable $300 an additional $2,000 deposit was now required. Adding insult to injury, the entire cost for the additional security would be borne solely by the promoters instead of being shared. Outraged, promoters struck back vocally, and antagonism coloured the relationships.

Though loud and crude, these rock concerts remain some of the best-attended events in Shell history. Over 50 concerts were scheduled in 1971, drawing 8,000 to 9,000 spectators listening to popular groups that included the Allman Brothers, the James Gang, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, ZZ Top, Jimi Hendrix, and Poco.

Rock's last gasp at the Shell in this era occurred after a 1975 Seals and Crotts concert, which drew 21,000 people. For an arena designed to seat only 4,000, this scene of potential disaster was remarkably incident-free. Regardless, the Shell afterwards settled into a formula of showcasing free events by local artists. Notably absent were regular rock and roll performances.

September 1982 saw this outdoor facility dedicated with a new name: Raoul Wallenberg/Overton Park Shell. Wallenberg, Sweden's ambassador to Austria during World War II, was credited with saving over 100,000 Jews from Nazi concentration camps, and a plaque was erected in his honour.

In light of this celebration and the lack of any other controversies, Shell supporters became cautiously optimistic for a secure, if somewhat subdued, future. But a new threat now came from its next door neighbor, the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Their expansion plans called for a parking lot and the Shell's demise. It was April, 1984, and the old amphitheater was drawing its last breath.

With demolition already underway, John Vincent Hanrahan, an environmentalist who grew up attending Shell events, begged for permission to intervene before the historic arena completely disappeared. This time, Hanrahan was the Shell's saviour, arriving at more realistic cost estimates to repair the Shell by relying heavily on volunteer labor and donated materials.

Only in 1985 was the Shell dark and empty as bureaucratic indecision left its continuity in limbo. Finally, then-mayor Dick Hackett committed to the Shell's refurbishing if a private group would coordinate an ongoing arts program for it. Hope glimmered briefly, then was snuffed out again when Hanrahan was killed in an on-the-job accident.

Yet when Hanrahan's brother, Michael, brought a wreath to the Shell stage the day after his brother's funeral, family members and friends gathered and began sprucing up the dilapidated setting. That day marked the inception of today's Save Our Shell (SOS).

Volunteer labor, donated materials, community support, and SOS' first president, David Leonard, ensured the Shell's half-century celebration on September 13, 1986 - 50 years to the day after its premiere. The phoenix-like Shell was reborn in an atmosphere welcoming home old friends, as a capacity crowd of over 4,000 watched hundreds of multicolored balloons drift upwards, signalling the start of the evening's entertainment.

Since that night in 1986, the all volunteer SOS has preserved the Shell from extinction by tirelessly scheduling hundreds of events and continuous upgrading. Today, the Overton Park Band Shell is still stands today, and even though the stage and rows of wooden seats have a new coat of white paint, the feeling of the place vintage 1954 remains. Stand on the stage and look out into the rows of seats; it is not difficult to imagine a nineteen-year old Elvis Presley standing on the same stage, or to imagine what he felt when he began to sing. The stage that first showcased rock and roll and gave extensive exposure to blues recording artists has contributed to fulfilling Overton's vision "to make Memphis the musical center of the Mid-South".

The Shell has been preserved from demolition by a "Save the Shell" committee "Sedroc", located at 1725 B Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38104 by secretary Joel Hurley. We are fortunate to have this priceless bit of place history today.

SLIM WHITMAN - Country singer born Otis Dewey Whitman Jr. in Tampa, Florida, on January 20, 1924. After the service in the Navy after World War II, Whitman worked at a shipyard in Tampa, Florida, and played baseball in the Orange Belt League. In 1948, Whitman worked for the local radio station and performed at the Louisiana Hayride.

Whitman was on the same bill with Elvis Presley in Elvis' first stage appearance, on July 30, 1954, at Memphis' Overton Park Shell, before a crowd of 2,000. Slim Whitman, who was managed for a short time by Colonel Tom Parker, was the first country entertainer to perform at the London Paladium.

The Jordanaires, who seem to have backed almost every country singer at one time or another, sang backup on some of Whitman's recordings. In 1957 Whitman recorded "A Fool Such As I" (Imperial 8322), which Elvis Presley would recorded in 1958. The only song that Whitman ever charted on Billboard's Hot 100 chart was "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen" (Imperial 1310) in 1957, a song that Elvis Presley would record in 1971.

In 1979, Whitman produced a TV commercial to support Suffolk Marketing's release of a greatest hits compilation titled All My Best, which went on to be the best-selling TVmarketed record in music history, with almost 1.5 million units sold. Just For You (also under the Suffolk umbrella), followed in 1980, with a commercial that claimed Whitman "was number one in England longer than Elvis and The Beatles''.

The Best followed in 1982, with Whitman concluding his TV marketing with Best Loved Favorites in 1989 and 20 Precious Memories in 1991. During this time he toured Europe and Australia with moderate success.

In late January 2008, a false rumor of his death spread through the Internet, believed to have been started by an erroneous report posted on the Web site of the Nashville Tennessean newspaper. Country singer George Hamilton IV even dedicated and sang a hymn in Whitman's honor at a concert appearance. In February 2009, his wife of sixty-seven years, Alma Geraldine (Jerry) Crist, died of kidney failure complications. She had been on dialysis. Whitman has a daughter, Sharon, and a son, Byron K. Whitman, who is also a performer and has toured and recorded with Whitman on numerous occasions.

Since 1957 Whitman has lived at Woodpecker Paradise, in Middleburg, Florida, a suburb of Jacksonville.

In 2009, Whitman's wife of 67 years, Alma Geraldine "Jerry" Crist Whitman, born in Kansas, died at the age of 84. She was a songwriter and embroiderer as well as the daughter of a church minister, A.D. Crist, founder of the Church of the Brethren. Whitman and his wife had a daughter, Sharron Beagle; and a son, Byron K. Whitman, who is also a performer and music producer who has released a number of recordings and who toured and recorded with his father on numerous occasions. They had two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Slim Whitman died of heart failure on June 19, 2013, at age 90, surrounded by family at Orange Park Medical Center in Orange Park, Florida.

CHARLIE TORIAN JUNIOR - August 1977. Elvis had died on August 16, 1977, his body was placed in the entrance hall of Graceland and an estimated ninety thousand people all tried to catch one last glimpse of him lying in state on August 17 before his funeral the next day.

At Elvis Presley's request, a military honour guard from the 164th Air Transport Group of the Tennessee Air National Guard stood at attention in white gloves and leggings and polished silver helmets while surrounding the casket.

Also on hand was a Memphis Police Department honour guard from the nearby South Precinct. And one of the Memphis Police Department sergeants in that honour guard was that little boy backstage at the Overton Park Shell on July 30, 1954, now all grown up, Charlie Torian Junior.

JULY 31, 1954 SUNDAY

Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black performed at Bon Air Night Club (8:00pm), 4862 Summer Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee. This gives Dixie Locke the opportunity to see where Elvis has been playing when they go back to pick it up.

"We quickly had to learn two or three other tunes that would kinda fall into the pattern", recalled Scotty Moore, "Tweedlee Dee" was one, and I think we did "Shake, Rattle And Roll" a lot before we ever recorded it. There were a couple of others, I can't recall them right off hand. We probably got it up to where we had about four of five songs".

"Most of it was up-tempo. "Maybellene" was another one. They would have other bands on - so we'd only do two or three songs or so. We didn't have any kind of repertoire at that time. We were lucky if we were getting a hundred dollars a night between us".

AUGUST 1954

''Presley's first release on Sun has just hit the marked'', read the two-page typed sheet by Marion Keisker, which called attention to the earlier discovery of B.B. King, Rosco Gordon, Little Junior, the Prisonaires, and the Howling Wolf by the company's ''youthful president'' and cited ''reports from key cities indicating that it is slated to be one of the biggest records of the year. Music Sales Company, Memphis distributor for SUN, sold over 4,000 of the disc in the first week, something that no record has done since Patti Page's across-the-board, 1950 number-one pop hit ''TENNESSEE WALTZ''. It went on to call attention to the ''three-way'' appeal of the record, pop, hillbilly, and rhythm and blues, declare that with this new signing the label was poised to ''move strongly into the country and western field'', and to point out that the nineteen-year-old artist had ''never done any professional work before his recording stint for SUN''. At his ''big-show'' debut, however, at Overton Park Shell, ''with such established artists as Slim Whitman, Billy Walker, and the Louvin Brothers, his reception was overwhelming, with autograph seekers refusing to go home until he gave an impromptu performance of the two top-riding numbers backstage''.

AUGUST 1954

Elvis Presley reaches the Memphis country charts on August 28. "That's All Right" is the first significant chart action for Sun Records since the blues hits "Bear Cat", "Feelin' Good" and "Just Walkin' In The Rain" in the summer of 1953.

Recording activity at Sun Records now slows as the label concentrates on marketing Elvis Presley. When activity picks up at the end of the year, the emphasis has shifted from blues to country.

Carl Perkins observed, there were many country boys who were playing with the blues feel and working on the hybrid that later became known as rockabilly music. On of those who had independently worked up a similar style of course, was Elvis Presley. "The first time I heard Elvis was when my wife, Valda, was in the kitchen", recalled Carl Perkins to Dave Booth, "and she said, 'Carl, that sounds just like y'all. Hearing him do "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" set a flame afire in me and oddly enough I'd been doing that song too". It did not take long before Carl Perkins found out that the singer of "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" recorded for the Sun label.

UNKNOWN DATE AUGUST 1954

Elvis Presley perform at the Whirlaway Club, located a mile west on 3092 Lamar Avenue, toward the Mississippi River. Where the Eagle's Nest catered to rednecks, country and western fans and pickup truck drivers from across the state line in Mississippi, the Whirlaway Club drew the Yuppie crowd. Though that term had yet to be invented - the college students, young lawyers and businessmen and their decreed dates. The pedigreed crowd.

Wanting to improve his lot in (entertainment) life, Elvis Presley approached the Whirlaway's owners, Johnny and Jean Ogden, about playing the Whirlaway Club. "We mostly played jukebox music", said Jean, "but now and then we would have life music. We had been down to the Eagle's Nest to hear Elvis Presley and we liked him, but when he came to us after one performance, we had to turn him down". "I told him, 'Elvis, honey, we love you and we love your music, but we just don't want the crowd you would bring here".

AUGUST 1, 1954 SUNDAY

When Elvis Presley came over to Bob Neal's house the morning after the Overton Shell show, Elvis Presley was ecstatic. "This isn't just another singer", Helen Neal remarked to her husband, "this boy is different". Helen Neal urged her husband to manage Elvis Presley. She pointed out that she could work until they made some money. Although they had five sons, Neal's radio job and the money he earned booking Elvis Presley would be enough to get them through the hard times. Elvis Presley liked the idea, because Bob Neal had a reputation for honestly and integrity. He was also the best-known promoter in Memphis.

Bob Neal says, ''When I returned to the microphone, one of the first people to visit was Elvis. Shy and polite, he was waiting in the lobby that morning when I left the studio. 'Well, good morning, Elvis', I said. 'Mornin', Mr. Neal, I just wanted to thank you for playin' my records. And for letting be on the show at the Shell'. 'It's certainly been my pleasure, Elvis. I've been on vacation, but it looks like the requests are still coming in strong'. The shy smile twinkled. 'I'm sure glad'. 'Elvis, you know there's something that I wanted to ask you', I said, 'When I first met you, I had a feeling of some kind that I knew who you were. I just don't know why, but I had that feeling'''. Ýou know where you seen me?' He chuckled, 'You been seein' me right here'. 'What do you mean'? 'Mr. Neal, I been comin'to see the High Noon Roundup, especially the Blackwood Brothers off an on for the past year or so. I guess that's where you saw me'''. With this trigger for my memory it all became evident. Now I could remember seeing the shy, slim youth with the long sideburns sitting as inconspicuously as possible in the studio audience, obviously enjoying the performances that were broadcast each Monday through Friday. 'When are you going to have another record out'? I asked. 'We have been working on it with Mr. Phillips', Elvis said. 'I'll bring you a copy as soon as it's out'''.

In the afternoon, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black may have a brief appearance on Doug Poindexter's regular KWEM radio show in West Memphis, Arkansas. Dixie Locke and Scotty Moore's wife Bobbie accompanying them.

By August 1, 1954, after feverish efforts to garner publicity, radio time and distribution for Elvis' record, Sun Records reported that "That's All Right" had sold more than six thousand copies. Sam Phillips finally had a strong regional artists. The sales of "That's All Right" and "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" so buyed Phillips' hopes for a major country music booking, that he contacted the "Grand Ole Opry" to inquire about an appearance for Elvis Presley.

Sam Phillips made a call, but found that "Grand Ole Opry" chief talent scout Jim Denny was reluctant to book Elvis Presley. The reason for Denny's refusal remains a mystery. He was not the confirmed country purist that some have suggested. In fact, during the 1940s, Denny modernized the "Grand Ole Opry" by introducing new singing stars and deemphasizing the old string bands that had dominated the "Opry". This ended the barn dance atmosphere of the "Grand Ole Opry", turning it into a highly commercial vehicle for country musicians. As a result of Denny's foresight, such country stars as Hank Williams, Webb Pierce, Ray Price, and Faron Young made their mark at the "Grand Ole Opry". Denny was always looking for new, undiscovered performers. He was a shrewd judge of talent, but Denny's decisions were often influenced by other musicians. Many Memphis musicians were critical of Elvis Presley, and most of the country acts appearing on the "Grand Ole Opry" were hostile as well. Malcolm Yelvington, one of Elvis' strongest supporters, urged other musicians to leave him alone. When Yelvington and his Star Rhythm Boys played at Eagle's Nest, he was impressed with Elvis' intermission sets. "I never played with Elvis, but I certainly admired him and his music", Yelvington reflected. Finally, however, although the negative opinions had severely prejudiced Denny, Phillips' perseverance paid off, and Jim Denny agreed to audition Elvis Presley.

AUGUST 6, 1954 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley performed at the gym in DeKalb, Arkansas, and was paid forty dollars. Dr. Carl Nelson, now president of the Texarkana College, but in the mid-fifties, as a teenager he was known to his friends and followers as Cheesy Nelson. He had a band called Cheesy And The F lying Saucers, Nelson was sixteen at the time.

On this day at the Melody Record Shop, a record salesman approached Nelson and gave him a record to listen to. It was "That's All Right", by some new singer out of Memphis named Elvis Presley. Nelson bought the record, took it home, put it on the turntable and began playing it. Before the evening, he could imitate Elvis Presley.

AUGUST 7, 1954 SATURDAY

The Billboard, the national music trade weekly magazine, founded in 1894, in its "Review Spotlight" section, critiqued Elvis' first single (SUN 209), calling Elvis "a "potent new chanter who can sock over a tune for either the country or the rhythm and blues markets... A strong new talent. (Hereafter, The Billboard will be referred to simply as Billboard).

AUGUST 7, 1954 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black was the headline attraction at the Eagle's Nest Club (9:00pm) in Memphis, located at Clearpool on 4090 Lamar Avenue, operated by John Lepley, a local discjockey. The club sometimes booked larger acts from the Hayride or the Opry but mainly consisted of local acts. The regular house band for the evening was Tiny Dixon's combo (Including at one time or another future Stax Records founder Jim Steward and future Sun producer Jack Clement).

Tiny Dixon was a great local player, a very large man with hands the size of a Virginia Ham. He played a Fender Esquire guitar and played primarily western swing. Hugh Jeffries was a pedal steel player that played jazz.

Sleepy-Eyed John Lepley's club charged a $1.00, plus 20-cents local tax admission, and a sign on the wall proclaimed: "Don't wear a tie unless your wifes makes you". It was a boisterous club with a large dance floor and a noisy, hard-drinking clientele.

Elvis Presley had trouble with his performance that night, according to Ronald Smith. The doors opened at 8:30 p.m. The mean entertainment featured dancing to Dixon's music from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black split $15.00 for their brief two- or three-song performances that were presented several times during the evening. Elvis Presley sing that night "That's All Right" and "Blue Moon Of Kentucky".

After Elvis Presley finished the spot at the Eagle's Nest, for example, Elvis Presley drove quickly to the Bel-Air Night Club at 1850 South Bellevue to sit in with Doug Poindexter and the Starlite Wranglers. Because of Elvis' popularity, Poindexter allowed him to appear as a guest vocalist. Poindexter realized that the future of country music was rockabillyoriented.

"I knew Elvis was something special by the way people reacted to him. We drew a lot of people when Elvis sang", Poindexter observed.

For the next six months, the Eagle's Nest played a very important part in launching Elvis' career. When they first appeared at the Nest in August, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black were little more than musical filler during intermission when the house band took a break.

As their popularity grew over the next few months, they would gradually play the Eagle's Nest more frequently, especially on the evening that were advertised as "ladies nights".

Hugh Jeffreys and Turman Enlow began working together at the Eagle's Nest where Elvis Presley briefly became their intermission attraction. According to Thurman Enlow, ''We'd play 40 minutes and then Elvis, Scotty and Bill would play for 20 minutes while we took our break'', said Enlow. ''When we were playing, Elvis would sit by the piano on a bar stool. I'd say, 'Elvis, could you get me a beer'? and he'd get one. I'd say, 'Don you want one'? and he'd say 'No, no'. Finally, one night, he said that he would have one so I bought him a beer and he drunk half of his class and poured the rest into my glass and said, 'I don't see how you can drink that slop'''.

THE EAGLE'S NEST - The Eagle's Nest (Now named as American Club) is a single-story, cinder block roadhouse located ten miles southeast of central Memphis on the intersection of Lamar Avenue and Winchester Road on 4090 Lamar Avenue (US Highway 78) at its junction with Clearpool Circle Road.

The club was part of a recreation complex known as Clearpool that also included a swimming pool, restaurant, ballroom, and teen club. Along with the Rainbow Lake recreation area, which was also on Lamar, Clearpool was one of only two public swimming pools in the Memphis area.

The nightclub itself consisted of a single room upstairs above the Clearpool Room, had men's and women's dressing rooms, approximately 40 feet wide by 90 feet long. It seated about 350 and had a two-tier floor plan, and the stage was located at the end of the room opposite the main entrance. The low-slung ceiling aided in broad-casting the music from the stage to the back of the crowd.

One can gain a good idea of the high-spirited atmosphere at the Eagle's Nest by the club's motto: "Don't wear a tie unless your wifes makes you". Like the Bel-Air Night Club, The Eagle's Nest is still situated on the edge of Memphis. The Eagle's Nest was named in honour of Delta airlines pilots who drank here; it was close to the municipal airport. The Garavelli family had built the entertainment complex, later selling it to the Pieraccini family owned and operated Clearpool. Members of the Pieraccini family are among those who remember a very young and shy Elvis Presley taking the stage before a fidgeting crowd and crooning ballads.

The Eagle's Nest drew from all classes of people, though mostly middle-class whites. They came from Memphis and from nearby north Mississippi. With mixed drinks taboo at the time, patrons were well familiar with "brown bagging" - buying your booze at a liquor store within the Parkways in Memphis (outside the Parkway and the rest of Shelby County was totally dry at the time), putting it in a brown paper bag, then entering the nightclub and ordering Cokes, 7-Up or water as a "chaser", or a "set-up". These would run a dollar-fifty, up to two dollars.

On weekends, the Eagle's Nest would be filled to capacity, the dance floor jammed. As one musician once noted, "Memphis is the dancing-est town in all the United States". Smoke filled the room. It was loud. It was, in short, a sort of juke joint.

Today the Lamar and Winchester intersection is in an industrial and warehouse district in Memphis. Little remains of the Clearpool entertainment complex, except for the Americana Club at 4090 Winchester Avenue. The Americana Club house band is now (1995) the famous Memphis hillbilly band, Bubba Feathers and the American Club Band, and promotes its connection to Elvis Presley and the fabled Eagle's Nest, and often hosts live country-and-western music. Bubba Fathers is the son of rockabilly singer Charlie Feathers.

(Above) Houseband of the Eagle's Nest 1954 to 1956. From left to right: Jim Stewart, fiddle; Howard McNatt, fiddle; Joe Bracciante, fiddle; Sleepy Eyed John (mic); Ed Morgan, drums; Dan McHugh, bass; Tiny Dixon, guitar; Hugh Jeffreys, pedal steel; Ted Enlow, piano; Ginny Ford, vocals.

SLEEPY-EYED JOHN LEPLEY - Memphis disc jockey at radio station WHHM who booked the Eagle's Nest ballroom, where Elvis Presley made some of his first professional appearances in early 1954, earning $10 a night.

In many ads the club is called "Sleepy-Eyed John's Eagle's Nest. According to legends, Lepley tried to become Elvis Presley's manager, but Scotty Moore beat him to it. (There is a little confusion as to whether Lepley once served as Elvis' manager.

In several sources it has been alleged that in the early 1950s Lepley booked Elvis Presley into some clubs in Memphis). Lepley was one of the first disc jockey’s to play "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", the country side of "That's All Right" in July 1954 on radio WHHM.

Lepley recorded several songs on Sun Records in April 1952. Singer Johnny Horton charted a song in 1961 called "Sleepy-Eyed John" (Columbia 41963).

AUGUST 7, 1954 SATURDAY

Johnny Cash married Vivian Liberto, and they set up home on Tutwiler Avenue in Memphis. Cash's older brother Roy had found him a job selling appliances, but Cash was, by his own admission, "the world's worst salesman. I spent more time in my car listening to the radio than I did knocking on doors".

Cash's trips into the black neighborhoods of Memphis gave him his first exposure to black music. "I heard a lot of blues. I became friends with some of the musicians''.
''I met Gus Cannon one day on the porch of his home. He had written "Walk Right In" way back, and he was sitting there playing the banjo. I sat and listening to him, played with him, and it got to be quite a regular affair with me".

Once exposed to black music, Johnny Cash became a convert, spending money he did not have at the Home Of The Blues record store at Beale Street in Memphis. "Southern blues, black gospel, black blues, that's my favorite music", he told Bill Flanagan.

"People like Pink Anderson, Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe... Blues In The Mississippi Night Alan Lomax did, is my all-time favorite album", recalled Johnny Cash.

AUGUST 1954

Elvis Presley at the Earl's Hot Biscuits, located at 179 Crump Boulevard, Memphis. After shows at the Eagle's Nest, Elvis Presley would join his band members and their wives at Earl's and order up hamburgers, fries, and milk shakes. One of the carhops who waited on Elvis Presley's during that period in the early 1950s was W.W. Herenton, a future mayor of Memphis.

"He looked different", Mayor Herenton said. "He dressed different. He cut his hair different. He was a unique, fun-loving guy. He hadn't become famous yet, but I remember him clearly".

EARL'S HOT BISCUIT - Across the street from K's Drive-In was Earl's, another Memphis landmark known as "King Of The Homemade Hot Biscuits". Located at 179 Crump Boulevard, the restaurant's huge neon sign, towering thirty-five feet in the air above the restaurant and drive-in area, featured a cook rolling biscuits. Though the restaurant was busy serving country cooking at all hours, it was busiest late at night, when it became a hangout for young people. What ether Elvis Presley continued to go the Earl's in the 1960s, is anyone's guess. In 1964 a second Earl's opened in West Memphis, Arkansas. Though the original restaurant has closed, the second location still draws a crowd.

AUGUST 10, 1954

Sam Phillips of Sun Record Company send a letter of two pages to Miami, created two weeks after Elvis signs with Sun. This letter from Sam Phillips to Marvin Leiber of Pan American Distributors in Miami really delves into the lingo of the day pertaining to radio formats and racial divides in the South, in pleading for people to pay attention to Elvis's first single: ''…please make sure that all the Rhythm and Blues and Hillbilly Jockeys have a copy of the record… also all the pop boys that cater somewhat to the ''cat'' trend on their pop shows… it is being bought by operators for all locations, white and colored… one leading retail store called to tell us, everybody from white teenagers to old colored people are buying it with equal zest''.

And: ''Here in Memphis… both sides are being played daily on every disc jockey show on every station. As soon as they hear it, they buy it. We’ve got a big one; don’t let it get away''!

What’s hilarious and remarkable about this particular letter is that nowhere, not once in this two-page letter, does Phillips mention the words ''Elvis'', ''Presley'' or ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky''! That's because Elvis was a total nobody, an absolute zero at this point, so why bother mentioning him? Phillips just kept calling it ''this record'' and ''209'', and just once mentions ''That's All Right'', a song that would change the world.

AUGUST 14, 1954 SATURDAY

From 1953 until the end of 1954, the ''Saturday Night Jamboree'' was a Memphis stage show held every Saturday night at the Goodwyn Institute building's second floor auditorium at 127 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Founded by local guitarist and early morning radio entertainer Joe Manuel, whose band shared the jamboree's hosting duties with future Sun Records session bass player Marcus Van Story and his band.

Manuel also booked local talent on the program and broadcast live by KWEM Radio, with musicians like Ronald Smith, Kenneth Herman, Eddie Bond & The Stompers, Johnny and Dorsey Burnette, Paul Burlison, and of course Charlie Feathers all part of the show on one more occasions.

When the single ''That's All Right'' (Sun 209) had been released and hotted in Memphis since the release in July 1954, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black accepted an invitation to perform on the famous Saturday Night Jamboree led by Ray Sexton on August 14, 1954.

Cash Box magazine ran Sam Phillips' press release virtually unchanged as a brief feature on August 14, along with a ''B'' (''Excellent'') review near the top of their ''Rhythm 'N' Blues Reviews'', that cited ''a feeling vocal with more than a backer-upper bass and guitar support... Listening and re-listening convinces one that the deck could make a great deal of noise''.

AUGUST 16, 1954 MONDAY

Sleepy-Eyed John Lepley called Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black at home appeared as an unadvertised added attraction with Jack Clement's eight-piece band at the Eagle's Nest. It is known that Elvis Presley played with Clement at this time, and Elvis reportedly made at least one unadvertised appearance with Jack Clement at the Bel-Air Club.

Jack Clement agrees that Elvis Presley appeared as the "floor show" during at least one of his engagements at the Eagle's Nest. Lepley offered Elvis Presley $15 for the night. Since Elvis Presley was paid $5 to $10 for most guest spots, he readily agreed.

Doug Poindexter and the Starlite Wranglers were the Eagle's Nest house band that week, but Clement's band filled in on Monday nights. Clement hadn't drawn well and Lepley hoped that Elvis Presley might attract a larger crowd.

"Elvis got paid ten dollars a night to sing during intermissions", said Jack Clement. "Sleepy- Eyed John booked the bands then and he thought that western swing music was about to take over, with things like Ray Price was doing. He put together a similar band, eight pieces, and I was the singer".

"On those nights when Elvis was to appear, my job, at the end of one of our sets, was to introduce Elvis Presley. And Elvis would always tell me, just before my introduction, 'Give me a big buildup, Jack'. And when I was up there singing, often Elvis would be down at my table, hitting on my girlfriend. But I turned out to be the better man in that match. I married her!".

"Even when he wasn't singing, Elvis would hang out at the club. I got to know him fairly well. It's amazing how people went for him. A lot of people didn't understand what it was Elvis was doing, but when he was on stage, they jammed the dance floor, bot to dance, but to stand there and watch him and clap. The people were totally sold on him".

"Elvis played his own rhythm. Some notes might change from one playing to another, but it seemed to work for him", recalled Jack Clement.

Ace Cannon was also playing at the Eagle's Nest when Sleepy-Eyed John was hosting this show. He remembers one night Dewey Phillips brought a young man in and asked if he could sing with the band. "We let him sing - I don't remember what - and he did fine. The crowd loved him", Ace recalls.

"But I thought at the time he would be a flash in the pan". He said as much at his day job at Laye Bowler. Years later, his co-worker were still laughing at his prediction. Ace, too, became a recording artist who achieved international fame. He continues playing today in Mississippi gambling casinos in Tunica.

Elvis Presley also agreed to pleasy two local benefits during the month. He appeared at the Kennedy Hospital, located at 1030 Jefferson Avenue, forty-five minutes from the center of Memphis. The B'nai Brith Society benefit attracted a boisterous but appreciative audience. For almost a year, Eddie Bond, Kenneth Herman, and Ronald Smith had played at Kennedy Hospital. It was one of the easiest places to play, because they were always looking for free entertainment. Elvis Presley was prepared to perform country songs, and he was surprised when a number of people requested "That's All Right". Equally flattering was the fact that some of the patients had seen Elvis Presley perform at Doc's Bar in nearby Frayser.

According to Monte Weiner, a classmate of Elvis Presley at Humes, whose mother booked the shows at Kennedy. "My mother brought a group out once a month, and she knew of Elvis through me, though I didn't really know him in school. He did it for several months in a row, the first time was right after the record came out, and they'd bring people on stretchers and wheelchairs down to the little room where he was going to perform. I remember they rolled the beds out into the middle of the floor, and I watched their faces while he and his group were performing, doing something completely different from anything I had ever heard before. The patients couldn't move at all, but their facial expressions, it was like they were trying to clap by their facial expressions. It was a really remarkable thing, that's all I can tell you".

AUGUST 18, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Elvis Presley performed a benefit show prior to a baseball game at Bellevue Park at the corner of Bellevue Boulevard and South Parkway in Memphis. During the show they "passed the hat" to raise money for Gene Marcotte, an ex-Humes High School student who was confined to a wheel chair. Elvis Presley's portion of the show brought the crowd to its feet with a rousing version of "That's All Right".

Billboard's regional Country and Western chart for Memphis shows Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black at number 3 with "Blue Moon Of Kentucky".

AUGUST 18, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Sam Phillips of Sun Record Company letter to Boston, created just three weeks after Elvis signs with Sun, two pages. This letter from Sam Phillips to Cecil Steen of Records, Inc. in Boston starts off mundane enough, discussing routine business matters, but then takes off with Phillips’ first mention of all the ingredients: “Elvis Presley,” “Sun 209,” “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky.”

Finally Phillips is plugging his artist by name! And he gets a little confrontational with the distributor: “We are a little perturbed over the fact that you have not seen fit to order on any of our releases in the past several months.”

Calling the Elvis single “a tremendous number that is a two-side, three way hit,” Phillips cites both Billboard and Cash Box magazines in tagging the release “unique and exciting.” And he utters those great, prescient words, “We hope you will get on this number, because it is a big one, and we ought not to let it get away''.

Sam Phillips splurged what little money he could put together on a halp-page ad in the same weekly trade: POP - HILBILLY - R&B - A HIT! ALL THREE WAYS ELVIS PRESLEY'S ''THAT'S ALL RIGHT'' AND ''BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY'' read the headline in a slanted cross between cursive and block lettering, with a cash register ringing up crudely rendered dollar signs. ''Not in history'', Sam wrote with the same blunt directness that typified all of his promotional efforts, ''has a record sold as many records in less than two weeks (in the Memphis territory) as the new and different release just out by ELVIS PRESLEY.... Operators have placed it on nearly all locations (white and colored) and are reporting plays seldom encountered on a record in recent years. According to local sales analysis, the apparent reason for its tremendous sales is because of its appeal to all classes of record buyers. In fact, the owner of one large local retail store says: ''I BELIEVE PEOPLE WHO NEVER BOUGHT A RECORD ARE BUYING IT. I NEVER SAW ANYTHING LIKE IT!''.

AUGUST 19, 1954 THURSDAY

Sam Phillips returned home from a promotional trip with a big surprise. Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black were going to audition for the "Louisiana Hayride". Sam Phillips mentioned that the "Hayride" booking agency had also secured two other club appearances, and the money earned from these jobs would pay for the trip. It didn't matter whether or not they were booked on the "Louisiana Hayride", the audition would result in at least two club dates. The group drove this day the four hundred miles to Shreveport, Louisiana, and Elvis Presley performed briefly before Horage Logan and the "Hayride" staff. It was an awkward moment. Elvis Presley was extremely nervous, although he had no trouble singing "That's All Right" and "Blue Moon Of Kentucky". After the audition, Sam Phillips and Logan talked at length. The "Louisiana Hayride" agreed to an appearance by Elvis Presley, but not until he performed at the other dates the "Hayride" had booked for him (the "Hayride" needed to book Elvis Presley in nearby clubs to guarantee expenses). This was fine with Sam Phillips, who urged Logan to send observers to the dates the "Hayride" had booked for Elvis Presley in Texas.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

With ''Blue Moon'', one of the first true discographical dilemmas arrives. The sticker on the label reads "Wednesday Night, 8/19", but August 19, 1954 was a Thursday. Perhaps Sam Phillips was simply re-using tape and the sticker refers to another session by a totally different performer from 1953, when August 19 was a Wednesday. There is (or was) a full tape of "Blue Moon" cuts somewhere in the RCA-Victor archives.

It's also possible that ''Blue Moon'' was recorded at the next session (September - It's sound would be consistent with that theory), since it seems more than odd that Elvis' second full SUN session should have focused on a single song with virtually no commercial potential.

In the Outtakes section of Ernst Jørgensen's book, 'A Life in Music', the '50's Box' version of ''Blue Moon'' is listed as take 2 and the 'Platinum' version as take 3. The '50's Box' booklet says take 1 so at least one of the notes are wrong. There's no doubt that the two false starts and the complete outtake released on 'Sunrise' are equivalent to "track 3" (not take 3) on the tape box notes. This is the only complete take that comes close to the original time note of 2:20. So the only question is which one is take 1 and which is take 2 of the 'Platinum' and '50's Box' versions. It ought to be more likely that typing errors occurred in just one place rather than two. If this is the case, take 1 is on the 50's Box and take 2 is the version released on 'Platinum'.

As could be heard on the outtake as released on 'Sunrise' back in 1999, the original SUN ''Blue Moon'' tape appears to be very worn. It was recorded at lower level as well and this does result in a lot of tape hiss that has been left intact on 'Elvis at SUN' in order to preserve the signal and ambiance. On the other hand, the dropouts have been repaired. The result is a big improvement over the 'Sunrise' outtake and of course an even bigger improvement over the previous BMG master.

STUDIO SESSION FOR ELVIS PRESLEY
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION 3: AUGUST 15-19, 1954
MOST LIKELY AUGUST 15, 1954 SUNDAY
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

A big fan of Ivory Joe Hunter, Elvis Presley suggested to Sam Phillips that they try and record a Hunter ballad. After a great deal of discussion, they selected Hunter's rendition of "Blue Moon". When Elvis Presley was still at Humes High, Ivory Joe Hunter had a minor hit with "Blue Moon", although it was not as popular as Billy Eckstine's 1948 million-selling rendition. Elvis Presley brought Hunter's MGM recording into the Sun studio and played it for Sam Phillips, remarking that Hunter had a country way with the blues. Elvis Presley's own recording of "Blue Moon" was more in the Ivory Joe Hunter mould, a nice substitute for Elvis botched later version of "Tomorrow Night". Sam Phillips didn't like the results. He was disturbed by the soft, melodic style of "Blue Moon", and shelved it. Several takes of "Blue Moon" were recorded. These will remain unreleased by Sun.

01(1) - "BLUE MOON" - B.M.I. - 0:37
Composer: - Lorentz Hart-Richard Rodgers
Publisher: - Frances Day and Hunter Limited
Matrix number: - None - FS Take 1 -FS Take 2 - FS Take 3 -Tape Box 8
Recorded: - Between August 15-19, 1954
Released: - August 3, 2012
First Appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-16 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955
Reissued: - 2016 Memphis Recording Service (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 10053055-2-8 mono
ELVIS PRESLEY - THE COMPLETE WORKS 1953-1955

The first tune of "Blue Moon" was a warm-up. Changing the style and musical direction of the session, "Blue Moon", a Rodgers-Hart song and a 1949 pop hit for Mel Torme, was a ballad suitable to Elvis' tastes. Sam Phillips remembered how the girls swooned over the song when Elvis Presley sang it at the Eagle's Nest. In the end, though, Sam considered the vocal on "Blue Moon" too inferior for commercial release.

01(2) - "BLUE MOON" - B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: - Lorentz Hart-Richard Rodgers
Publisher: - Frances Day and Hunter Limited
Matrix number: - None - Complete Take 4 - Tape Box 8
Listed as Take 1 on The Complete 50s Masters
Recorded: - Between August 15-19, 1954
Released: - June 1992
First appearance: - RCA BMG (CD) 500/200rom PD 90689-5 mono
THE COMPLETE 50'S MASTERS
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-17 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

Steve Sholes Session Notes

Box 8
1. Blue Moon 2:53 Pretty Good
2. Blue Moon 3:11
3. Blue Moon 2:23 (Breakdown False Start)
4. Blue Moon 2:39 (M)

01(3) - "BLUE MOON" - B.M.I. - 3:24
Composer: - Lorentz Hart-Richard Rodgers
Publisher: - Frances Day and Hunter Limited
Matrix number: - None - Complete Take 5 - Tape Box 8
Listed as Take 2 on The Complete 50s Masters
Recorded: - Between August 15-19, 1954
Released: - July 14, 1997
First appearance: - RCA BMG (CD) 500/200rpm 07863 67469 2-1 mono
PLATINUM - A LIFE IN MUSIC
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-18 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

01(4) - "BLUE MOON" - B.M.I. - 0:52
Composer: - Lorentz Hart-Richard Rodgers
Publisher: - Frances Day and Hunter Limited
Matrix number: - None - FS Take 6 - FS Take 7 - Tape Box 8
Take 6 Listed as Take 3 on Sunrise
Recorded: - Between August 15-19, 1954
Released: - February 5, 1999
First appearance: - RCA BMG (CD) 500/200rpm 07863 67675 mono
SUNRISE ELVIS PRESLEY
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-19 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

01(5) - "BLUE MOON" - B.M.I. - 3:00
Composer: - Lorentz Hart-Richard Rodgers
Publisher: - Frances Day and Hunter Limited
Matrix number: - None - Complete Take 8 - Tape Box 8
Recorded: - Between August 15-19, 1954
Released: - February 5, 1999
First appearance: - RCA BMG (CD) 500/200rpm 07863 67675 mono
SUNRISE ELVIS PRESLEY
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-20 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

They spent hours doing take after take of "Blue Moon" in an eerie, clippity-clop version that resembled a cross between Slim Whitman's "Indian Love" and some of the falsetto flights of the rhythm and blues "bird" groups, the Orioles, the ravens, the Larks. After it was all over, Sam Phillips wasn't satisfied that they had anything worth releasing, but he never uttered a word of demurral for fear of discouraging the unfettered freshness and enthusiasm of the singer.

"I had a mental picture, as sure as God is on his throne I had a mental picture of what I wanted to hear, certainly not note for note, but I knew the essence of what we were trying to do. But I also knew that the worst thing I could do was to be impatient, to try to force the issue, sometimes you can make a suggestion just one bar and you kill the whole song. And sometimes you can be too cocky around people who are insecure and just intimidate them.

I mean, as far as actually saying, 'Hey, man, don't be scared', I've never told anybody in my life not to be scared of the microphone, don't go calling attention to the thing you know they are already scared of. I was never a real forward person, because I didn't give a damn about jumping out in front to be seen, but I tried to envelop them in my feelings of security", recalled Sam Phillips.

Surely the influence of Slim Whitman, Elvis' co-star on the "Louisiana Hayride", is here. The butt of countless jokes, Whitman is unique in country music history in that he sold millions of records without influencing anyone - except, it seems, Elvis Presley. Elvis' falsetto is unlike Slim's; its a chilling, clue falsetto, closer in some ways to Jimmie Rodgers. Lorentz Hart had put several sets of words to Richard Rodger's melody before he emerged with "Blue Moon" in 1935. It sold over one million copies of sheet music and had been recorded so prolifically that its hard to know where Elvis Presley heard it. Tellingly, Elvis skips the bridge and the final verse that contains the happy ending, neatly transformed the 32-bar pop classic into an eerie 16-bar blues. Why did Phillips let Elvis record songs like this and "Tomorrow Night" without any intension of releasing them? He said he didn't have the heart to tell Elvis to stop.

01(6) - "BLUE MOON" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:44
Composer: - Lorentz Hart-Richard Rodgers
Publisher: - Frances Day and Hunter Limited
Matrix number: - F2WB-8117 - WP Master Take 9 - Tape Box 8
Recorded: - Between August 15-19, 1954
Released: March 23, 1956
First appearance: - RCA Victor (LP) 33rpm LPM-1254 mono
ELVIS PRESLEY
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-1-9 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elvis Presley - Vocal and Acoustic Rhythm Guitar (Martin Dreadnought 18)
Buddy "Blake" Cunningham - Drum Sound

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

MID AUGUST 1954

Disc jockey Rufus Thomas, deeply entranced on black WDIA radio station, began playing "That's All Right" on his show. The black listeners ate it up. Things were going well until David James, the white program director, ordered Thomas to quit playing Elvis Presley, saying that "he's stealing the back man's music".

"Music belongs to everybody", Rufus Thomas claims. "How can you steal something that belongs to everybody? All Elvis did was to begin singing songs black folks were singing. He wasn't stealin' nuthin'". "What he did was to give black folks' music an injection like it never had before! Now, more white folks began listening to rhythm and blues than ever before", Thomas recall. "That's what Elvis did!".

DID ELVIS STEAL THE BLACK MAN'S MUSIC?

In the beginning, one powerful black station in Memphis pulled Elvis' records off the air charging he was stealing. Ageless entertainer Rufus Thomas got that edict turned around in a hurry.

In the very beginning of a radio/entertainment career that has now spanned six decades and toured the world, and is still up and running, Rufus Thomas was happy to have his first gig in radio, a one hour Saturday program on WDIA Radio called ''Hour of Happiness''.

A young man named Riley B. King came on a little later in the afternoon for 15 minutes, pushing a product called Pepticon. ''When he'd start that Pepticon jingle, I'd turn my radio off'', said Rufus, his eyes going wide with the statement, a longtime trademark of the man who found fame with two big hits, ''Walkin' The Dog'' and ''Do The Funky Chicken'' in the 1960s.

This guy King graduated to having a daily show, Sepia Swing Club, from 3 to 4 p.m., playing his guitar and singing the blues in clubs at night and cutting records in studios in the area.

A young white boy from Lauderdale Courts used to sneak into those Beale Street clubs and spend hours listening to this guitar magician pick and sing the blues. Some folks said his name was Elvis. Nobody knew much more than that about him, except they remember he had greasy hair and long sideburns.

''When his records started becoming popular, he went on the road and I moved into his time slot. And once he started out on the road, he became known as B.B. King, B.B. Standing for Blues Boy'', recalled Rufus Thomas.

A year or so later, Thomas now deeply entrenched on WDIA, heard a record on the Sun label, ''That's All Right''. He liked the beat. And after all, he knew the Sun label. He had recorded one of the first record for Sam Phillips on that Sun label, a cover of Willie Mae Thornton’s hit, ''Bear Cat''. The lyrics went.... ''You ain't nuthin' but a bear cat...''. Sound familiar?

Rufus Thomas began playing ''That's All Right'' on his show. The black listeners ate it up. Things were going well until David James, the white program director of WDIA, ordered him to quit Elvis' records, saying that ''he's stealing the black man's music''.

''Music belongs to everybody'', Rufus claims, those eyes popping wide again. ''How can you steal something that belongs to everybody? All Elvis did was to begin singing songs black folks were singing. He wasn't stealin' nuthin''!

''What he did was to give black folks' music an injection like it never had before''! ''Now, more white folks began listening to rhythm and blues than ever before. That's what Elvis did!''. Thomas met Elvis once, at the December 7, 1956 WDIA Goodwill Revue at the old Ellis Auditorium.

''When they brought Elvis backstage, James wanted to put him out on stage right away, but I told him we needed to hold off'', said Thomas. ''About that time, my daughter Vaneese, who was only 3 at the time, began pulling on Elvis' pants leg and looking up at him and telling him, 'You're my boyfriend'. Elvis was very nice to her. Paid her a lot of attention. He bent down and talked to her. Sat her on his lap. She liked that''. Then it came time for Elvis to be introduced to the packed house.

''All he did was go out there on that stage and wiggled that leg two or three times. That's all he did'', said Thomas, ''but it sent that crowd wild. They started storming backstage after he went off, wanting to see him, meet him, get his autograph''.

It was OK to begin playing Elvis' music on the air again. If Elvis were a boon to black music. ''Pat Boone was a dud'', said Thomas, ''but Pat Boone was white and when he sang Little Richard's ''Long Tall Sally'' it hit the charts. He did a lot of Little Richard's songs''.

The blues, he says, ''were born black; they grew out of just being black. But in this day and age, you play the blues and 90-95 percent of your crowd is white. And today there are more white gooks (singers) doing rhythm and blues than ever before in history. ''Why is that?''.

Rufus Thomas and his daughter Carla were among the first artists on Memphis' new Stax
label, Carla giving Stax its first gold record with ''Gee Whiz'' in 1961.

Vaneese today (1997) is writing commercials in New York and has a studio in her home. The third Thomas sibling, Marvell, is a noted keyboard player who continues backing his ageless father on the road. Thomas has his own musical note on the Beale Street sidewalk. Rufus Thomas Boulevard and monument salute him in the area.

''I want all my flowers while I'm alive'', says Rufus, ''because I can't smell 'em after I'm gone''. Rufus Thomas was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001. He was interviewed by the public radio program American Routes (aired in February 2002). His last appearance was in the D.A. Pennebaker-directed documentary Only the Strong Survive (2003) in which he costars with his daughter Carla. Rufus died of heart failure in 2001, at the age of 84, at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis. He is buried next to his wife at the New Park Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee.

AUGUST 21, 1954 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black appeared in Gladewater, Texas. Jerome Mills of Gladewater, refused to put "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" on the jukeboxes he had in restaurants and nightclubs in the area "because it wasn't anything but a bunch of gruntin", he said. Later, by popular demand, the record was on all his jukeboxes. "It only got hotter", said Mills. "One night, after a show at the Gladewater high school gym, Elvis Presley walked out of his car, parked in the grass on the side of the gym, and the girls nearly tore his clothes off", he said.

AUGUST 22, 1954 SUNDAY

Elvis Presley and his band appeared at Magnolia Gardens in Houston, Texas. Although he was a virtual unknown, Elvis Presley was cheered by the large crowd at the Magnolia Gardens and brought back for an encore. Elvis Presley hadn't prepared for an encore, so he sang a shaky version of "Uncle Pen". Management at the Magnolia Gardens telephoned Horage Logan the next day and asked for Elvis Presley to return within the next two months, confirming Logan's intuition that Elvis Presley was a special act.

While in Houston, Elvis Presley became friendly with a number of disc jockey’s who helped his fledgling career. Tommy Sands remembers Elvis Presley hangout out late in the night with local disc jockey’s at small hamburger joints. Elvis Presley would eat two or three hamburgers, a double order of fries, and drink half a dozen Cokes. "He was the cat", Tommy Sands chuckled. "We called him that because he purred softly around the girls. Elvis had an enormous attraction", Sands recalled.

200,000 MILES OF DRIVING AND 200 STORIES TO TELL

For Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black, the Blue Moon Boys, the long, sometimes lonesome, road started out with a gig August 21, 1954 (see above), in Gladewater, Texas.

Little did they know, driving in Scotty's old beat-up Chevrolet down U.S. Highway 70 across Arkansas, that these miles were only going to be the start of a seemingly never-ending trek that would cover more than 200,000 miles over the next 16 months.

That this long, winding road would take them from Richmond, Virginia, in the east to New Mexico in the west, sticking mostly to the country music-loving folks below the Mason-Dixon Line, with that lone exception of running up to Cleveland, Ohio, in October 1955 to appear on Bill Randle's TV show, hopng to get national exposure.

At times it seemed they would play any town big enough to hold a flatbed trailer in its town square. They played hot, un-air conditioned gymnasiums and school auditoriums. They paid their dues in roadside beer joints. Old-times they would leave Memphis for a gig a hundred or so miles away, with the promise of a $75 paycheck, to be split three ways after subtracting for the gasoline in Scotty's car.

On many of those solo town gigs, while en route home, they would stop off in some small Southern hamlet and offer to play an impromptu concert at the local hangout or movie theater if they could get all the money at the door. Normally these tickets cost $1. In Nettleton, Arkansas, one night, the Blue Moon Boys split a whopping $32, three ways plus petrol.

At every stop, they tried to cut expenses. On that first gig in Gladewater, for instance, the three shared a room for $6, total, not each! Bologna and cracker sandwiches were like filet mignon to them. Looking back, their meandering ways followed a predictable routine.

The first time they played a town, the crowd would be small. Never having seen anything like Elvis on stage before, reaction was mixed. But you could be quaranteed the next day talk about ''this crazy guy wiggling his hips all over that stage'' swept through the coffee shops and beauty parlors.

The second time Elvis, Scotty and Bill blew in, the crowds were somewhat larger, more vocal. And the third time, it was standing room only, girls screaming so loudly no one could hear the music. And it was easy to see, by then, Elvis' growing confidence. And everywhere he went, as his reputation, on and off stage, grew, the girls got more numerous and more bold.

There was one young girl in west Texas who, on learning what room Elvis was occupying at the hotel, climbed up the outside by holding onto the drain pipe. Imagine Elvis' surprise when he entered his room and there she was. There was the one girl in Bono, Arkansas, who got into his one-day-old shine new Cadillac and refused to get out until he had given her a ride. And that's just what he did! Bono's the town where the crowd was so large it poured onto the gymnasium floor, buckling the floor. And it remains buckled today!

As we ran across several damsels who enjoyed mad, passionate flings with Elvis. Many told of how he was proposing marriage after only a couple of dates. What's going to surprise these women, when they read when they read Sun Years, is that he often had a handful of romances going at the same time within a 60-mile radius, proposing marriage at every turn. And each young thing was thinking she was the lone love in his life!

Not being able to handle the competition with their hometown girls; the guys would ofttimes try to sabotage Elvis' cars, slashing tires, flooding one with popcorn. At Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport, Louisiana, a sergeant caught his wife flirting with Elvis backstage and took a swing. Elvis blocked it and punched the dude out, then, in private, cried because he had lost his temper, fearing he had hurt the sergeant.

On one road trip, Gladys Presley, Elvis mother, asked Faron Young to ''watch after my boy''. Young promised he would. And when he heard a commotion coming from Elvis' room, he rushed over to see trouble was brewing. He found Elvis slipping out the window into the arms of a thrilled young girl. Young didn't tell Mama Presley about this escapade.

AUGUST 27, 1954 FRIDAY

Charlie Feathers caught Elvis' act at the Eagle's Nest and couldn't believe the roar of the crowd. Elvis Presley was the main attraction at the Eagle's Nest Club in Memphis, for a special ladies night, and Feathers remembered: "It was an event, but no one listened to Elvis' music". Ladies were admitted for fifty cents and the men paid one dollar and twenty cents.

Elvis' Eagle's Nest show was the first where the women noticeably outnumbered the men. The reason for being there was simply to be close to Elvis Presley, not to listen to him sing!

Unwittingly, Elvis Presley was instrumental in helping to develop the type of entertainment "event" that had little to do with people actually being able to hear a performer's music. That evening, Elvis sings ''That's All Right'' and ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', and probably other selections.

AUGUST 28, 1954 SATURDAY

Billboard reported in its chart of "Country and Western Territorial Best Sellers" that "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" was number 3 on its "Country and Western Territorial Best Seller" chart in Memphis for the week ending August 18th. Elvis Presley was elated. There was a minor problem with success, however. Sam Phillips received 6,000 copies orders for Presley's record, and he didn't have the money to press more copies. There simply wasn't enough money coming into Sun Records from the one-stop distributors. The wholesalers didn't pay Sun for ninety days, and then it was still difficult to fully collect the money.

As far as Elvis Presley goes, Sleepy LaBeef first reaction when he heard "blue Moon Of Kentucky" on the radio was the shock of recognition. "Cause I knew exactly where he was coming from. I thought, this is really something. Here's somebody singing just like we have in church for years. Only he was putting that gospel feeling to blues lyrics, that was what was so different about him".

Dewey Phillips celebrates his fifth anniversary on the air with a rhythm-and-blues package show at the Hippodrome, with performances at 7:00 p.m. for whites and 10:10 p.m. for "colored". The show stars Roy Hamilton, the Drifters, Faye Adams, LeVern Baker, the Spaniels, the Counts, and Big Maybelle, and while it is by no means certain that Elvis Presley attends, it seems likely both from anecdotal accounts and from the very strong influence that Hamilton, the Drifters, and LaVern baker in particular exert on Elvis Presley over the years.

AUGUST 29, 1954 SUNDAY

Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black appeared on the entertainment portion of the (VA) Kennedy Hospital's benefit show, sponsored by the B'nai B'rith Society. (The date of August 29 is recalled by Ronald Smith and others but remains unconfirmed).

On this date, Johnny Burnette walked over to Elvis' house to talk about his upcoming show at the opening of the new Lamar-Airways Shopping Center, a small retail complex that Elvis Presley was scheduled to appear at during the Katz Drug Store opening. Johnny Burnette's Rock And Roll Trio, featuring Paul Burlison's lead guitar, were playing down the blocks at an Airways Avenue Chevrolet dealership. Johnny and Elvis talked a lot about their musical success, and Elvis Presley proudly brought out the copy of Billboard with the comments on his record.

That afternoon Elvis Presley and Johnny Burnette went to the Strand Theater to see the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis movie "Living It Up". After the show, they walked to Ruben Cherry's record store, forgetting that it was closed on Sundays. Instead, they walked down the blocks for a hamburger and coke and walked down Beale Street.

AUGUST 31, 1954 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley probably attended the S.E.J. Fan Club Dance at the Eagle's Nest Club sponsored by Bob Neal to honour Sleepy-Eyed John. By September, Bob Neal was booking Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black on one-night stands in school Auditoriums and Gymnasiums in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi. With the trio still working day-jobs, these gigs were held within easy, after-work driving distance from Memphis. Neal would promote the show on his daily radio program on WMPS radio, so there was no need for expensive newspaper ads or posters. Other aspiring local artists filled out the bill. Neal's wife, Helen, would sell 50-cent tickets at the door, and Neal would act at the show's comedian/emcee. Elvis Presley played the Eagle's Nest only three times in September and these were during the latter half of the month, which is a good indication that he was occupied elsewhere.

SEPTEMBER 1954

The Carl Perkins Band drives in from the Bemis/Jackson area of Tennessee where they have also been pioneering the rockabilly style of country music. They gain the first of several audition sessions which will lead to a contract with Sam Phillips' Flip and Sun labels. The contract is signed on October 25.

Around this time, Johnny Cash telephones Sam Phillips to enquire about recording gospel music. He told to come into the studio with country material only. "Good Rockin' Tonight" (Sun 210) by Elvis Presley is released.

SEPTEMBER 3, 1954 FRIDAY

One source lists a show with Elvis Presley at Art's Bar-B-Q in Memphis. It has not been substantiated. Other sources suggest that Elvis Presley played this period with his friends many times at the basement of Saint Mary's Church & Schools on 155 Market Avenue, across the Lauderdale Courts in Memphis.

SEPTEMBER 4, 1954 SATURDAY

''That's All Right'' enter the charts as well, just behind ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', holding the number 4 spot.

SEPTEMBER 8, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Elvis' photo was part of a twenty-page supplement to the Memphis Press-Scimitar announcing the next day's a opening of the new Lamar-Airways Shopping Centre, Memphis' first. The photo's caption read, "Memphis Newest Hit In The Recording Business Elvis Presley" in front of Katz Drug Store the following night between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.

(Above) Sterling Store opens in Lamar-Airways area Dave Grundfest of Little Rock, president of Sterling Stores, was on hand for opening ceremonies of his new store at Lamar-Airways Shopping Center in September 1954. He and clerks were swamped at the dish counter, where housewives clamored for bargains during the three-day grand opening of the shopping center.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Elvis Presley was paid $10 dollars to perform at the grand opening of the Lamar- Airway Shopping Centre at 2256 Lamar Avenue in Memphis. About 300 people, including an aspiring young singer from Arkansas named Johnny Cash with his wife Vivian, attended the 9:00 p.m. performance, and John Evans, who later achieved fame as the keyboardist on the Memphis' the Box Tops.

"My dad had wired our house so that we had an intercom running through the house", says Evans. "That way the radio could be heard throughout the house''. ''We listened to Dewey Phillips that way. He played that song all the time. Those were magic moments in broadcasting history".

When Evans, who was about six, and his brother heard on the radio that Elvis Presley would be performing at the shopping center, they went to watch since it was just a short distance from their home. "People came from all over the neighbourhood and swarmed down on the place", he says. "My brother held me up to where I could see. I remember they were dressed like real weird country musicians. Elvis was wearing pink and gray. I was struck by that. They had a big string bass and the guy would twirl it around. There was only one amp and it was sitting on a chair. There was a little guy playing a big guitar".

For an hour, Elvis Presley performed with Sleepy-Eyed John and the Eagle's Nest band from the back of a flatbed truck parked in front of the new Katz Drug Store, the shopping centre's central business. Elvis Presley sang, "Old Shep", "That's All Right", "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", a Bill Monroe-inspired version of "Uncle Pen", "Crying Heart Blues" and "Tennessee Saturday Night".

The parking lot was jammed when Elvis Presley arrived with Dixie Locke. The lineup at the three-day festivities included an Indian band, the radio WDIA band, the Air Force marching band, and George Klein, who was back at Memphis State for the fall semester, was broadcasting from inside the giant wooden Indian.

Scotty Moore and Bill Black were already present, and Sleepy Eye John was all set up on stage, but the crowd seemed restive.

On the first day of the grand opening, Elvis Presley arrived with Scotty Moore and Bill Black. Opal Walker, who liked Elvis' music after listening to Dewey Phillips radio show, snapped a couple of pictures as the band stood near their car. Elvis Presley wore black pants with a pink stripe down the side of each leg and a pink shirt. He had a very faint mustache. She remembers how little fanfare there was before the show. "Nobody
knew who he was", she said.

LIVE APPEARANCE FOR ELVIS PRESLEY

KATZ DRUG STORE OPENING,
LAMAR-AIRWAYS SHOPPING CENTER,
2256 LAMER AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SEPTEMBER 9, 1954 THURSDAY
SESSION TIME: BETWEEN 9:00 AND 10:00 A.M.

01* - "OLD SHEP" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Red Foley-Willis Arthur
Publisher: - L. Writh Music Limited
Recorded: - Unknown

02* - "THAT'S ALL RIGHT" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Arthur Crudup
Publisher: - Crudup Music
Recorded: - Unknown

03* - "BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Bill Monroe
Publisher: - Peer International Music
Recorded: - Unknown

04* - "UNCLE PEN" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Bill Monroe - Written in 1951
Publisher: - Hill and Range Songs Incorporated
Recorded: - Unknown

05* - "CRYING HEART BLUES" - B.M.I.
Composer: - James Brown - Written in 1951
Publisher: - Unknown
Recorded: - Unknown

Elvis Presley sang "Crying Heart Blues" late in 1954. There has been speculation that Elvis Presley recorded the song at Sun Records, but no tape has surfaced. Included in the 1955 folio "The Elvis Presley Album of Jukebox Favourites".

06* - "TENNESSEE SATURDAY NIGHT" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Billy Hughes
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Recorded: - Unknown

Peter Morton, manager of the Katz Drug Store, thanked Elvis Presley for singing the country songs and paid him ten dollars. This appearance was an excellent tune-up for a recording session scheduled the next night at Sun Records.

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)
Sleepy Eyed John - Guitar

"This was the first we could see what was happening. 'Cause it was a whole parking lot full of kids, and they just went crazy", recalled Scotty Moore. "When we see it begin to start, Elvis goes one way and we go the other", Scotty said just two years later. "We call it being foxy. We scatter like quail".

Ralph Moore, the brother of Scotty Moore, was also at the shopping center that day. What struck him was the fact that it was a racially mixed audience. "The coloreds were dancing and they'd get up on these barrels and they would fall off", he says. That was the first time he met Elvis Presley, and he walked away that day carrying an impression of the man that stuck with him over the years. "He was a plain ole country boy - very polite", he says. "It was 'yes sir' and 'yes m'am'".

After the show Elvis Presley hung around a little, there were a bunch of people that he know in the crowd, and they all wanted to talk to him, some of them even wanted his autograph.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

(Above) The three photographs of Elvis Presley with his band were taken by Opal Walker after the grand opening of the Lamar-Airways Schopping Center show, September 9, 1954 in Memphis Tennessee.

OPAL WALKER - was a young girl from Memphis at the time who was at the Katz Drug Store Opening show that night and took 3 photos that have since been reprinted in countless books and articles. They are the only known photos of the appearance there though none show the actual performance. Opal recalls, ''Elvis had that one record out, and it was a smash locally, and I loved it. I had a girlfriend who was a friend of Dewey Phillips, the first deejay to play him. My girlfriend and I went down and sat in with Dewey while he did his show, and he told us all about Elvis and where he went to church.

You can bet we were at First Assembly next Sunday, and he was there with a friend. After church we flirted with them. He teased me about my long blonde hair''.''This show at Lamar-Airways shopping center came up and I went alone and took my camera. I rode a streetcar, I believe and waited for Elvis to arrive. They all came up in that Chevy, and I asked him to pose and he seemed happy to. There were a lot of people there, but few besides me seemed to know who he was. I had him all to myself. I could have shot a whole roll''.

''But I didn't know then what I know now. He went on stage and started singing and shaking... the girls went wild. Me, too. That was the first time I saw Elvis perform, but I didn't miss any opportunities in the future''.

(Above) Most spectacular store front at Lamar-Airways Shopping Center is the Katz Drug Store, first in Memphis. This is the Katz chain's 32nd drug store. All the stores are located in big cities. The cat head on top of the building rotates and can be seen high over the center from all directions. (1).

Until 1954 the triangle was a field that was considered a no-man's-land of sorts, one of the few places where white and black kids from the surrounding areas could encounter each other on a regular basis.

When the center was built it was at the time, the largest of its kind. Anchored by a Katz Drug Store, it included a Kroger, a Pic-Pac, Shainberg's Department Store and several clothing and shoe stores. Its opening on September 9th was blessed by Chief Wishackchihumma of the Choctaw Indians, and its emblem was a 28-foot paper-and-plastic Indian chief, in homage to Lamar Avenue's past a Chickasaw trail. (2).

KATZ DRUG STORE / LAMAR-AIRWAYS SHOPPING CENTER - Located at Airways Shopping Center, 2256 Lamar Avenue, Memphis, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black played a lot of small gigs during 1954 and 1955 at colleges, clubs, and special events throughout the South.

On September 9, 1954 the trio performed at the grand opening of the Airways Shopping Center including its central shop, Katz Drug Store. The Airways Shopping Center is about a mile south from the Presley's Lamar address. The "Blue Moon Boys" played from the back of a flatbed truck to an energized audience which included Johnny Cash as well as Becky Yancey, Elvis Presley's future secretary.

Today, the drug store is no loner operating from this location, but the shopping center is still in existence, as part of a strip mall, next to the roadhouse, Kentucky Fried Chicken.

SEPTEMBER 1954

On the north end of the shopping center was a Shoney's restaurant, wich offered drive-in service under the row of white canopies along the railroad tracks. They later built their own out-building on Parkway, where the restaurant is now. Next to Shoney's, with the large white marquee on top, was the Paramount Theater. Next to that was Katz Drug Store, which later became Skaggs Pharmacy, then a Super D, and is now Fresh Market.

SEPTEMBER 1954

As Elvis Presley prepared for his next set of Sun recording session, Sam Phillips was optimistic. Although the "Grand Ole Opry" hadn't booked Elvis, he felt confident that the negotiations with "Louisiana Hayride" would make Elvis Presley a regular.

SEPTEMBER 1954

Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black had a series of recording sessions beginning September 10. These sessions probably lasted throughout the weekend and may have continued for several evenings into the next week. From this effort, they came up with about a half-dozen songs, two of which were set for their second single, "Good Rockin' Tonight" b/w "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine". Sam Phillips rushed the record into production, and it was officially released on September 22.

SEPTEMBER 10, 1954 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black appeared at the Eagle's Nest Night Club (9:00pm) in Memphis, Tennessee.

On this time, Elvis Presley was becoming a regular visitor at Scotty Moore's household. This day Bobbie and Scotty Moore were home alone when Scotty decided to go to the store to get some cigarettes. He left the front door unlocked. "I was standing in the bathroom combing my hair", says Bobbie. "Somebody opened the front door and I thought it was Scotty". I heard footsteps in the living room. Then I looked up and saw Elvis standing in the bathroom. 'Where's Scotty' he asked. I says he had gone for cigarettes. 'He'll be back in a minute I said". 'Uh, I'll be back' Elvis mumbled, and he left". Although Elvis said he would return, he did not. They never did find out why he stopped by the house.

According to Johnny Cash, ''I remember Elvis' show at the Eagle's Nest as if were yesterday. The date was a blunder, because the place was an adult club where teenagers weren't welcome, and so Vivian and I were two of only a dozen or so patrons, fifteen at the most. All the same, I thought Elvis was great. The thing I really noticed that night, though, was his guitar playing. Elvis was a fabulous rhythm player. He'd start into ''That's All Right'' with his own guitar alone, and you didn't want to hear anything else. I didn't anyway. I was disappointed when Scotty Moore and Bill Black jumped in and covered him up. Not that Scotty and Bill weren't perfect for him, the way he sounded with them that night was what I think of as seminal Presley, the sound I missed through all the years after he became so popular and made records full of orchestration and overproduction. I loved that clean, simple combination of Scotty, Bill and Elvis with his acoustic guitar. You know, I've never heard or read anyone else praising Elvis as a rhythm guitar player, and after the Sun days I never heard his own guitar on his records''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

According to Steve Sholes' original notes on the fifteen Sun tapes purchased by RCA, the following number of takes were definitely recorded: ''Tomorrow Night'', "Satisfied", "I'll Never Let You Go", "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine", "Just Because", "Good Rockin' Tonight". There may have been more, as Sam Phillips recorded over many Presley tapes. The Sun tapes that RCA did receive from these sessions were lost in a vault "clean-out" in 1959.

"Bill, myself, and Sam, our feelings were, 'Hey, this guy is going to be big', but none of us felt it was going to be as big as it was as fast as it way", says Scotty Moore. "We weren't in any rush. It busted loose so fast we didn't really have time to think about it". In the studio Sam Phillips gently nudged them as he had done before. "He was like one of the guys", says Scotty. "He would have made a great preacher. You can get him started on any subject.

Sometimes we'd get to drinking and he would get off on a tangent. Him and me would argue like you would not believe - really get into each others face - but we were having fun with it. He had his own set of beliefs on everything. He was a taskmaster when we were working, pushing everybody to the limit - and he was right on a lot of it. 'Let's do it one more time', he would say. He couldn't tell you what he wanted, but he would suggest you try something. He wanted it loose. We couldn't have taken direction even if he had known what he wanted".

STUDIO SESSION FOR ELVIS PRESLEY
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION 4: BETWEEN SEPTEMBER 12-16, 1954
MOST LIKELY FRIDAY/SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 10-11, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Although Elvis Presley was exhausted, he finished off this day of recording with excellent versions of "Just Because" and "Tomorrow Night". Sam Phillips believed that, like "Blue Moon", "Just Because", or "Tomorrow Night" had no commercial potential. He placed these songs in the same category as "I Love You Because", "Harbor Lights", and "I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')", all of which Phillips was uncomfortable with. In November 1955, the tapes for these tunes were shipped to RCA when Presley's musical rights were purchased from Sun Records. "Just Because" was later released on Elvis Presley's first RCA album, as well as on an RCA single.

"Tomorrow Night" was never finished, as the guitar solo was never done. The song was first released on the "Elvis For Everyone" album, and it featured overdubs done by Chet Atkins on March 18, 1965. A version of the undubbed master was released on "The Complete Sun Sessions". but with the guitar instrumental left out. Sam Phillips urged Elvis Presley to record Lonnie Johnson's country blues song "Tomorrow Night", a tune well suited to Elvis' unique rockabilly style. When Johnson's "Tomorrow Night" appeared on the Billboard race chart in 1948, Sam Phillips had been struck by its broader commercial appeal. Then six years later, when Elvis Presley walked into the Sun studio to begin another session. Sam Phillips recalled the song. He was surprised to learn that Elvis Presley was well aware of Johnson's music. Elvis Presley knew that, in December 1947, when King Records released Johnson's original version of "Tomorrow Night", it had included a background chorus to enrich the sound. Elvis Presley had probably listened to LaVern Baker's recent Atlantic recording of "Tomorrow Night" (not only did Elvis Presley keep up with Atlantic releases, but he performed Baker's hit "Tweedlee Dee" in his act).

An important aspect of Lonnie Johnson's music was that it was the product of his New Orleans environment. The vocal on "Tomorrow Night" features a far away sound from Johnson as the background singers come in to support his distant vocals. Elvis Presley also admired Johnson's piano-guitar background on songs like "Working Man's Blues", and the plaintive guitar on another song, "Careless Love". Typical of Elvis Presley, who was able to copy blues singers in a highly commercial manner, he urged Sam Phillips to use the guitar technique employed in Johnson's recordings, especially "Careless Love", as a model for his own version of ''Tomorrow Night". After spending hours listening his favourite Lonnie Johnson songs, Elvis Presley was ready to record. When they cut "Tomorrow Night" on this date, however, the completed version was too rough for release; it sounded too much like Ivory Joe Hunter's.

01(1) - "TOMORROW NIGHT" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:55
Composer: - **Sam Coslow-Will Grosz
Publisher: - Bourne Company
Matrix number: - None - Complete Take 1 - Tape Box 7
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: Sun Unissued

01(2) - "TOMORROW NIGHT" - A.S.C.A.P. - 3:04
Composer: - **Sam Coslow-Will Grosz
Publisher: - Bourne Company
Matrix number: - None - Complete Take 2 - Tape Box 7
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: Sun Unissued

01(3) - "TOMORROW NIGHT" - A.S.C.A.P. - 3:22
Composer: - **Sam Coslow-Will Grosz
Publisher: - Bourne Company
Matrix number: - None - Complete Take 3 - Tape Box 7
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954 - Probably Long Version
Released: Sun Unissued

01(4) - "TOMORROW NIGHT" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:47
Composer: - **Sam Coslow-Will Grosz
Publisher: - Bourne Company
Matrix number: - None - Complete Take 4 - Tape Box 7
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954 - Probably Long Version
Released: Sun Unissued

01(5) - "TOMORROW NIGHT" - A.S.C.A.P. - 3:03
Composer: - **Sam Coslow-Will Grosz
Publisher: - Bourne Company
Matrix number: - None - Complete Take 5 - Tape Box 7
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954 - Probably Long Version
Released: Sun Unissued

01(6) - "TOMORROW NIGHT" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:56
Composer: - **Sam Coslow-Will Grosz
Publisher: - Bourne Company
Matrix number: - None - Complete Take 6 - Tape Box 7
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: Sun Unissued

 "DIALOGUE FRAGMENT BEFORE TOMORROW NIGHT" - 0:10
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued - Tape Box 7
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - August 3, 2012
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-22 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

 01(7) - "TOMORROW NIGHT" - A.S.C.A.P. - 3:00
Composer: - **Sam Coslow-Will Grosz
Publisher: - Bourne Company
Matrix number: - PPA5-2671 - Complete Master Take 7 - Tape Box 7
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: 1987
First appearance: - RCA Records (CD) 500/200rpm PD 86414-13 mono
THE COMPLETE SUN SESSIONS CD
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-10 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

Steve Sholes Session Notes

Box 7
Tomorrow Night (F2WB-8115)
1. (Slow Tempo) Bad Start N.G.
2. (Slow Tempo) 3:04
3. (Slow Tempo) 3:22 (Fair)
4. (Slow Tempo) 2:57 (Weak)
5. (Slow Tempo) 3:03
6. (Slow Tempo) 2:54
7. (Slow Tempo) 2:58 M

01(8) - "TOMORROW NIGHT" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:48
Composer: - **Sam Coslow-Will Grosz - Written in 1939
Publisher: - Gladys Music Incorporated - Bourne Company
Matrix number: - F2WB-8115 - RCA Master Take 7 - Tape Box 7
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - July, 1965
First appearance: - RCA Victor (LP) 33rpm LPM-3450 mono
ELVIS FOR EVERYONE (OVERDUB)
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-1-27 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

A new backing track was recorded for ''Tomorrow Night'' in RCA's Nashville Recording Studio B. on March 18, 1965. Chet Atkins was the producer on this overdubbing session. Chet Atkins on guitar, Grady Martin on guitar, Henry Strzelecki on bass, Charlie McCoy on harmonica, Buddy Harman on drums, and background vocals by the *Anita Kerr Singers consisting by Anita Kerr, Dottie Dillard, Gil Wright, and Louis Nunley.

01(9) - "TOMORROW NIGHT" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:25
Composer: - **Sam Coslow-Will Grosz - Written in 1939
Publisher: - Gladys Music Incorporated - Bourne Company
Matrix number: - F2WB-8115 - RCA Master Take 7 - Tape Box 7
New Dubbed Version Without Harmonica Solo
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - July, 1965
First appearance: Privately Owned

Under the name the Little Dippers, the Anita Kerr Singers had a number nine hit in 1961 with "Forever" (University 210). However, in listening to the tape of Elvis visiting and jamming at the home of Eddie Fadal (circa May, 1958) "Tomorrow Night" by LaVern Baker is played in its entirely. During the song Elvis does not sing along at all as he did on many of the other songs that were played. Prior to its playing, Elvis is asked if he likes the song. His reply is simply "oh yea". Never does he even hint to the fact that he had ever recorded the song himself? Can you imagine him resisting the opportunity to mention that he had recorded the song while he was at Sun. Its just very difficult to conceive his silence, and seeming total uninterested in this song at the time. Again, were not disputing the Sun recordings date. Just questioning what seems to be an interesting inconsistency.

This session continued for yet another two hours, however. There were two attempts to record "I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')". Between these two cuts Elvis Presley sang a minute-long version of the gospel song "Satisfied". By this time, though, Elvis Presley was tired, and these final cuts were also laboured ones. Sam Phillips set up another recording session for the following night to cut the songs that Elvis Presley hadn’t completed.

No permanent written record of this sessions exists. Not only did Sam Phillips not keep precise records, but he was very casual about dating his sessions. When Sam Phillips collected the evening's recordings, he placed them in Scotch magnetic tape boxes. There were no numbers on the boxes, and they were simply stacked next to the production board. After Sam Phillips shipped the tapes to RCA in November 1955, it was Steve Sholes who numbered the boxes; the songs from this session are probably from boxes 2, 12, 13, and 15.

Steve Sholes Session Notes

Continued Box 7
I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darin') (F2WB-8116)
8. Band 8 (Slow Tempo & Fast) N.G.
9. Band 9 (Slow Tempo & Fast) 2:21 Fair

02(1) - "I'LL NEVER LET YOU GO (LITTLE DARLIN')" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:20
Composer: - Jimmy Wakely
Publisher: - Sunshine Music
Matrix number: - None - Take NA - Tape Box 7
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

 02(2) - "I'll NEVER LET YOU GO (LITTLE DARLIN')" - B.M.I. - 0:49
Composer: - Jimmy Wakely
Publisher: - Peter Maurice Music
Matrix number: - OPA1-4197 – Incomplete Take
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - 1974
First appearance: - Bopcat Records (LP) 33rpm LP-BP-100 mono
GOOD ROCKING TONIGHT
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-23 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

02(3) - "I'LL NEVER LET YOU GO (LITTLE DARLIN')" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:26
Composer: - Jimmy Wakely
Publisher: - Sunshine Music
Matrix number: - F2WB-8116 - Master Take NA - Tape Box 7
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954 - Edited probably from two Takes
Released: March 23, 1956
First appearance: - RCA Victor (LP) 33rpm LPM-1254 mono
ELVIS PRESLEY
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-1-11 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

Although Sam Phillips never released this cut, with a tagged-on, double-time ending, both are characterized by the kind of playfulness and adventurousness of spirit that Sam Phillips was looking for, the fresh, almost impudent attitude that he was seeking to unlock.

02(4) - "I'LL NEVER LET YOU GO (LITTLE DARLIN')" - A.S.C.A.P.
Composer: - Jimmy Wakely
Publisher: - Sunshine Music
Matrix number: - None - Take NA - Tape Box 12
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

02(5) - "I'LL NEVER LET YOU GO (LITTLE DARLIN')" – A.S.C.A.P. - 2:27
Composer: - Jimmy Wakely
Publisher: - Sunshine Music
Matrix number: - None - Take NA - Tape Box 12
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

Steve Sholes Sessions Notes

Scotch Magnetic Tape
Master Tapes Acquired
Box 12
01. I'll Never Let You Go Take 1 F2WB-81161
02. I'll Never Let You Go Take 2
03. Satisfied Take 1 1:15
04. I'll Never Let You Go Take 3
05. I'll Never Let You Go Take 4
06. I'll Never Let You Go Take 5
07. I'll Never Let You Go Take 6

Martha Carson's Sun version of "Satisfied" was the model for Elvis' next recording. Carson, a gospelinfluenced vocalist, blended traditional country music with a blues feeling. After Sam Phillips played her version, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black felt they could cover it. After two false starts, however, Elvis Presley found "Satisfied" difficult to complete; he complained that gospel songs were hard to interpret. At this stage in his career, Elvis Presley wasn't able to record a gospel song in his own style. He asked instead for an uptempo tune. Sam Phillips, trying to calm Elvis Presley, agreed, reasoning that a rocking rhythm and blues song was the solution.

03 - "SATISFIED" - B.M.I. - 1:15
Composer: - Martha Lou Carson
Publisher: - Copyright Martha Lou Carson
Matrix number - None - Small Fragment - Take 1- Tape Box 12
Tape has yet to be located
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: Sun Unissued

"Satisfied" was written and first recorded by Martha Carson (Capitol 1900) in 1952. She sang the song quite often on the "Grand Ole Opry". In 1953 Johnny Ray recorded the song (Columbia 40006). Elvis Presley undoubtedly heard Martha Carson sing "Satisfied" on the radio, as well as in joint personal appearance the two made on tour. On September 10, 1954, at Sun Records, Elvis Presley "Satisfied" between takes of "I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')". The one-minute, 15-seconds song has never been released. Apparently, RCA Records can't find the song among its Sun tapes.

Next, because Sam Phillips had a nagging suspicion that the version of "I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')" recorded the previous night was not suitable for commercial release, he had Elvis recut the song. There was tension and frustration as Sam Phillips searched for the right tune for Elvis Presley's second single. Since the Sun label had made inroads into the country music field, it was natural for Sam Phillips to focus on releasing a country song. Sam Phillips often had Elvis Presley cut a familiar tune to calm him down; consequently, Jimmy Wakely's "I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')" was recorded again (Elvis had recorded the Wakely's tune his first night in the Sun studio). The version was forced, however, and Sam Phillips shelved it.

04(1) - "I'LL NEVER LET YOU GO (LITTLE DARLIN')" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:21
Composer: - Jimmy Wakely
Publisher: - Sunshine Music
Matrix number: - None – Take NA – Breakdown - Tape Box 12
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954 - Fragment or Complete Take
Released: - Sun Unissued

04(2) - "I'LL NEVER LET YOU GO (LITTLE DARLIN')" - A.S.C.A.P.
Composer: - Jimmy Wakely
Publisher: - Sunshine Music
Matrix number: - None – Take NA – Breakdown - Tape Box 12
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

04(3) - "I'LL NEVER LET YOU GO (LITTLE DARLIN')" - A.S.C.A.P.
Composer: - Jimmy Wakely
Publisher: - Sunshine Music
Matrix number: - None – Take NA – Breakdown - Tape Box 12
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

Sam Phillips had an idea. When he worked at the Peabody Hotel, Sam remembered, there seemed to be an endless stream of requests for Frankie Yankovic's polka hit, "Just Because", a song that Elvis Presley knew by heart. Sam Phillips reasoned that "Just Because" might be the perfect choice as the b-side for something like "Blue Moon". Although Sam Phillips finally did package the "Just Because"/"Blue Moon" combination from acceptable versions, it was not released until 1956 when RCA purchased the Sun catalog. Sam Phillips just didn't have a strong feeling about the two songs at the time, and opted instead to have Elvis Presley recorded a gospel song.

"Just Because" was a rollicking, honky-tonk blues which the Shelton Brothers had originally recorded as the Lone Star Cowboys in 1933. The great good humor and burbling effervescence of the trio's version can be traced in equal parts to the singer's confident exploitation of his gospel-learned technique, Bill Black's almost comically thumping bass, and Scotty Moore's increasingly rhythm-driven guitar. "It was almost a total rhythm thing", Scotty said. "With only the three of us we had to make every note count".

Steve Sholes Session Notes

Box 10
1. Just Because 2:17 NG F2WB-8118
2. Just Because 2:14 NG
3. Just Because 2:13 Bad In Spots
4. Just Because 2:15 Not So Good As 3
5. Just Because 2:24 Best

05(1) - "JUST BECAUSE" – B.M.I. - 2:17
Composer: - Bob Shelton-Joe Shelton-Sit Robin
Publisher: - Southern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None – Take 1 – Tape Box 10
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

05(2) - "JUST BECAUSE" – B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Bob Shelton-Joe Shelton-Sit Robin
Publisher: - Southern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None – Take 2 – Tape Box 10
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

05(3) - "JUST BECAUSE" – B.M.I. - 2:13
Composer: - Bob Shelton-Joe Shelton-Sit Robin
Publisher: - Southern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None – Take 3 – Tape Box 10
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

05(4) - "JUST BECAUSE" – B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Bob Shelton-Joe Shelton-Sit Robin
Publisher: - Southern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None – Take 4 – Tape Box 10
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

05(5) - "JUST BECAUSE" – B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Bob Shelton-Joe Shelton-Sit Robin
Publisher: - Southern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None – Take 5 – Tape Box 10
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

05(6) - "JUST BECAUSE" - B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Bob Shelton-Joe Shelton-Sit Robin
Written July 12, 1912 in New York City
Publisher: - Southern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - F2WB-8118 - Take NA – Tape Box 3
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Doug Poindexter put paper through his guitar strings
and made it sound like a washboard.
Released: March 23, 1956
First appearance: - RCA Victor (LP) 33rpm LPM-1254 mono
ELVIS PRESLEY
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-1-13 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

Although Elvis version shows the written team of Shelton, Shelton and Robin in 1937 and recorded that year by Dick Stabile (Decca 716). Bunny Berigan played trumpet on Stabile's recording. The written credits on the McGuire Sisters version list Edna Lewis, Dick Jacobs and Murray Kane as the composing team.

05(7) - "JUST BECAUSE" – B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Bob Shelton-Joe Shelton-Sit Robin
Publisher: - Southern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None – Take 7 – Tape Box 3
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

05(8) - "JUST BECAUSE" – B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - Bob Shelton-Joe Shelton-Sit Robin
Publisher: - Southern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None – Take 8 – Tape Box 3
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

05(9) - "JUST BECAUSE" – B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - Bob Shelton-Joe Shelton-Sit Robin
Publisher: - Southern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None – Take 9 – Tape Box 3
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

Steve Sholes Session Notes

Box 3
1. Just Because 2:32 OK (F2WB-8118) M
2. Just Because 2:35 ? Bad Start Twice
3, Just Because 2:23 Talk At End.
4. Just Because 2:23 Bad Start

06(1) - "GOOD ROCKIN' TONIGHT" - B.M.I. - 0:10
Composer: - ***Roy Brown
Publisher: - Blue Ridge
Matrix number: - None – Fragment Take 1 - Tape Box 9
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Reeltape With Alternate Takes Complete Destroyed
Released: - August 3, 2011
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-1-13 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

06(2) - "GOOD ROCKIN' TONIGHT" - B.M.I. - 2:12
Composer: - ***Roy Brown
Publisher: - Blue Ridge
Matrix number: - U-131 SUN – Tape Box 9 – F2WB-8043-NA
Reeltape With Alternate Takes Complete Destroyed
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - September 25, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 210-A mono
GOOD ROCKIN' TONIGHT / I DON'T CARE IF THE SUN DON'T SHINE
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-3-13 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

With the session of "Good Rockin' Tonight" everything finally fell into place. By this time everyone may have been getting a little testy, and no one was really sure whether they had anything or not, but as Scotty said, "Sam had an uncanny knack for pulling stuff out of you. Once you got a direction, he'd work you so hard you'd work your butt off, he'd make you so mad you'd want to kill him, but he wouldn't let go until he got that little something extra sometimes you didn't even know you had". He would insist that they play nothing but rhythm, he would have them change keys just when they finally got used to the one they were in, and he called for tempos so slow sometimes that everyone was ready to scream.

"A lot of times it was a tempo that I absolutely knew they weren't going to like, but we were in a situation where we just weren't getting anywhere, and when they came back, to the original tempo, it was like they'd hit a home sun".

Steve Sholes Session Notes

Continued Box 9 (Could be an assembly reel of what Sam Phillips heard as the best takes, although not necessarily the actual masters released by Sun and RCA.)

1. Good Rockin' Tonight 0:06 2:18 N.G. (F2WB-8043)
2. Good Rockin' Tonight 2:30 Fair (8043)
3. Just Because 2:53 Fair (8118)
4. I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin') 2:21 N.G.
5. I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin') 3:21 (8116)

07 - "JUST BECAUSE" – B.M.I. - 2:53
Composer: - Bob Shelton-Joe Shelton-Sit Robin
Publisher: - Southern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None – Take 10 – Tape Box 9
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

08(1) - "I'LL NEVER LET YOU GO (LITTLE DARLIN')" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:21
Composer: - Jimmy Wakely
Publisher: - Sunshine Music
Matrix number: - None – Take NA – Breakdown - Tape Box 9
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

08(2) - "I'LL NEVER LET YOU GO (LITTLE DARLIN')" - A.S.C.A.P. - 3:21
Composer: - Jimmy Wakely
Publisher: - Sunshine Music
Matrix number: - None – Take NA – Breakdown - Tape Box 9
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

To Marion Keisker it was like a puzzle to which only Sam Phillips had the key. "I still remember the times when everyone would be so tired, and then some little funny thing would set us off, I'd see Elvis Presley literally rolling around the floor, and Bill Black just stretched out with his old brokendown bass fiddle, just laughing and goofing off. It was a great spirit of "Good Rockin' Tonight", everyone was trying very hard, but everyone was trying to hang very loose through the whole thing.

Elvis Presley would do something absolutely extraordinary and somebody would hit a clinker or something would go wrong before the tape was completed, Sam Phillips would say, 'Well, let's go back, and you hold on to what you did there. I want that'. And Elvis would say, 'What did I do? What did I do?'.

Because it was all so instinctive that he simply didn't know". Sam Phillips organizing principle was that it had to be fun. "I could tolerate anything, we could have tensions as long as I knew that we all had confidence in what we were trying to do, and I could get everybody relaxed to the point where they could hear and react to something without that threshold of apprehension where you almost get to a point where you can't do anything right. Every time we did a number I wanted to make sure to the best of my ability that everybody enjoyed it", recalled Sam Phillips. In the case of this number, that sense of enjoyment comes through from the very first note, as Elvis Presley's voice takes on a burr of aggression that is missing from the previous recordings, the band for the first time becomes the fused rhythm instrument that Sam Phillips had been seeking all along, and there is a sense of driving, high-flying good times almost in defiance of societal norms. "Have you heard the news" is the opening declaration, drawn out and dramatic. "There's good rocking tonight".

The other dramatic element to declare itself was the quality that Sam Phillips thought he had sensed in Elvis Presley from the start, that strange, unexpected impulse that had led the boy to launch himself into "That's All Right", in the first place, it seemed to come out of nowhere, and yet, Sam Phillips felt, he heard something of the same feeling in the sentimental ballads, too. "I had to keep my nose clean. They could have said, 'This goddam rebel down here is gonna turn his back on us. Why should we given this nigger-loving sonofabitch a break? It took some subtle thinking on my part, I'm telling resolute facts here. But I had the ability to be patient. I was wasn't looking for no tall stumps to preach from. And I sensed in him the same kind of empathy. I don't think he was aware of my motivation for doing what I was trying to do, not consciously anyway, but intuitively he felt it. I never discussed it, I don't think it would have been very wise to talk about it, for me to say, 'Hey, man, we're going against', or, 'We're trying to put pop music down and bring in black". Sam Phillips knew that he had found a new kindred spirit in other ways as well.

Elvis Presley was 13 when "Good Rockin' Tonight" was a hit for rhythm and blues stars Roy Brown and Wynomie Harris, he was 19 when he recorded it. Clearly, it never strayed far from the forefront of his mind. "Rockin'" was usually a cryptogram for "sex" in rhythm and blues songs, but in Elvis Presley's hands its somehow more innocent. Was it Roy Brown's original or Wynomie's cover record that Elvis Presley remembered? The only clue is that Elvis Presley, like Brown, begins "Well, I heard the news"; Wynomie began simply, "I heard the news". Unable to re-create Brown's horn voicing or his plummy baritone, Elvis Presley is forced to reach within himself for something new. His confidence is growing record by record.

"That's All Right" (SUN 210), Elvis first single, might have been a fluke. But "Good Rockin' Tonight" was more of the same, and better, establishing that all concerned - Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and Johnny Bernero, Sam Phillips, but especially Elvis himself - knew exactly what they were up to and, indeed, had already created a new and improved model. Forty years later, "Good Rockin' Tonight" still sounds like what about to happen. Elvis wrote no songs, and none of his Sun Records material was written for him. In fact, the best of his Sun songs had already been hits for others. Of them all, only "Good Rockin' Tonight" was already great, having been done superbly in the late forties both by author Brown and by Wynonie Harris, the most famous blues shouter of the period. If you're sufficiently familiar with Brown's style, you'll easily spot his influence. But its still hard to believe that this is the same song, not because Elvis' version is particularly country and God knows, not because he rocks harder - try rocking harder than Wynonie Harris and you'll rupture something. Some of the differences are in the arrangement, with Bill Black's rubbery bass and Scotty Moore's stinging guitar replacing the original, horn-based jump blues patterns. But the difference that counts is Elvis. This was only his second single, but he'd already established his weird mixture of ferocious self-confidence and complete easefulness, and he sings "Good Rockin' Tonight" as if he's inventing it. Which for all practical purposes he is. By the time gets to the repetitions of "rock" which close out the record, Elvis has crossed over into glory.

One of Elvis Presley's favourite rhythm and blues songs was "Good Rockin' Tonight". In 1947-1948, Roy Brown and Wynonie Harris had both had hit versions of the song on rhythm and blues chart. Their records were part of Elvis' personal collection, and he had performed the tune many times in local clubs. "Elvis knew all the recent records and loved to perform them", Eddie Bond remembered. "He prided himself in knowing rhythm and blue songs". Wynonie Harris "Good Rockin' Tonight" was also one of Sam Phillips' favourite songs, so he urged Elvis Presley to cover its in Harris jump blues style. (After the session, however, Elvis' "Good Rockin' Tonight" ended up owing more to Roy Brown's version). As Elvis Presley worked on "Good Rockin' Tonight", Sam Phillips realized that he needed to strengthen Presley's sound. Doug Poindexter, the leader of the Starlite Wranglers, was brought into the studio to revitalize the guitar parts.

Although he was a country musician, Poindexter was thoroughly schooled in blues guitar licks. "I was always experimenting with my guitar", Poindexter remarked. "Sam asked me to add a blues tough to "Good Rockin' Tonight". Since Sam Phillips listed only union members on the session sheet, Poindexter's contribution went unrecorded.

Short of tape as usual, Sam Phillips pulled a reel of Elvis Presley's out-takes of "Good Rockin' Tonight", and recorded over the top an later session, end of 1954, or early 1955 from The Prisonaires. Little tastes of "We're gonna rock, rock, rock...", can be heard between the Prisonaires cuts.

Ray Harris recalls, "I had a job on the graveyard shift at the Firestone plant working next to Bill Black. One day we was taking a break, and I asked Bill what he was doin' in music. He said that on Saturday nights he was playin' down at the State Line, some li'l ol' club down on the Tennessee-Mississippi state line. He also said he was tryin' to cut a record up at Sun with a boy named Presley. He asked me to come by during the next session. I went up there one afternoon. I was shy, sat in the car and waited for Bill. We went inside and Bill introduced me to Sam, Elvis, and Scotty. They was cutting "Good Rockin' Tonight". "I sat with Sam up in the control room. He would listen to the playbacks and say, "This is it! This is it!". I didn't see it at first, 'cause you gotta remember I was raised on Hank Williams, but even before the end of the session it was startin' to hit me. I'd played a little back around Tupelo - wienie roasts and the like - and I listened to Presley and thought, "Hell, that boy ain't doin' anything I can't do!".

09(1) - "I DON'T CARE IF THE SUN DON'T SHINE" - A.S.C.A.P. - 1:12
Composer: - Mack David - Marion Keisker (added verse to Elvis' version)
Publisher: - Famous Chappell Limited
Matrix number: - OPAI-4195 - Incomplete Take 1 - FS Take 2 - Tape Box 9
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - 1974
First appearance: - Bopcat Records (LP) 33rpm LP-BP-100 mono
GOOD ROCKING TONIGHT
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-25 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

Marion Keisker, added verse to Elvis' version. "Elvis came up with just one verse, that's all he knew", say Marion Keisker. "So we took a break and I wrote the second one. We recorded it and Sam took the only dub to a record convention. He called back and says, 'Everybody loves it... taking orders like mad'. Then I got a call from New York, from a music firm, and they said we understand you're releasing a record of "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine". They said, well, Mack David wrote that song and he's very particular about what you do with his songs and he reserves the right to hear the material before you release it". Marion Keisker told Sam Phillips and he sent the record airmail to the publisher the next day. When Marion heard back from the publisher, he was ecstatic. Mack David walked into his office while he was playing the record. "He thinks it's great - go ahead", said the publisher. "But I noticed you added a verse and I'm sending you some disclaimers that say whoever wrote the verse can't put their name on the label, can't collect any royalties and so on". "I said, okay", recalls Marion. "I just wanted to get the record out... every time I turned the radio on, I'd hear Elvis singing my lyrics".

The Sun session concluded with Elvis Presley cutting "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine" in three takes. Buddy Cunningham was in the studio, and he produced a bongo drum sound by beating on a empty record box. "Wait a minute", he said, and went into the back room. He returned with two or three different sixed boxes, which he taped together into a bongo-drum configuration. His box-playing rhythms can clearly be heard on the record. Elvis Presley recorded it so professionally that Sam Phillips decided to release it as the "a" or hit side on Presley's second Sun single, relegating "Good Rockin' Tonight" to the b-side.

The decision was surprising, considering that Sam Phillips normal process of gauging popular reaction to the songs should have suggested to him that he should do the reverse. With most Sun acts, Sam Phillips proceeded slowly with a master of the song before he pressed the record in quantity. In order to measure the response to "Good Rockin' Tonight", Sam Phillips persuaded Elvis Presley to perform the song in several local clubs.

09(2) - "I DON'T CARE IF THE SUN DON'T SHINE" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:27
Composer: - Mack David - Written for the Walt Disney animation "Cinderella".
Publisher: - Famous Chappell Limited
Matrix number: - U-130 SUN – F2WB-8042-NA Master Take 3 - Tape Box 9
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - September 25, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 210-B mono
I DON'T CARE IF THE SUN DON'T SHINE / GOOD ROCKIN' TONIGHT
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-3-14 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Rumours tells that Elvis more songs have been recorded on this session.

Steve Sholes Session Notes

Box 3
1. Just Because (Slow Version)
2. Just Because Break Down
3. Just Because
4. Just Because Break Down
5. Just Because Break Down
6. Just Because N.G. 2:28
7. Just Because Slower

10(1) - "JUST BECAUSE"* – B.M.I.
Composer: - Bob Shelton-Joe Shelton-Sit Robin
Publisher: - Southern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None – Take NA Break Down – Tape Box 3
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

10(2) - "JUST BECAUSE"* – B.M.I.
Composer: - Bob Shelton-Joe Shelton-Sit Robin
Publisher: - Southern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None – Take NA – Tape Box 3
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

10(3) - "JUST BECAUSE"* – B.M.I.
Composer: - Bob Shelton-Joe Shelton-Sit Robin
Publisher: - Southern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None – Take NA Breakdown – Tape Box 3
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

10(4) - "JUST BECAUSE"* – B.M.I.
Composer: - Bob Shelton-Joe Shelton-Sit Robin
Publisher: - Southern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None – Take NA Breakdown – Tape Box 3
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

10(5) - "JUST BECAUSE"* – B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Bob Shelton-Joe Shelton-Sit Robin
Publisher: - Southern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None – Take NA NG – Tape Box 3
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

10(6) - "JUST BECAUSE"* – B.M.I.
Composer: - Bob Shelton-Joe Shelton-Sit Robin
Publisher: - Southern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None – Take NA Slower – Tape Box 3
Recorded: - Between September 12-16, 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

*- All slow versions.

The rhythmic approach couldn't have been more different, but is was Dean Martin's version on which Elvis Presley is clearly based; for all the energy that Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black impart to the song, and for all the high spirits of Elvis' vocalizing, it is Martin's lazily insouciant spirit that comes through. Its as if Dennis the Menace met the drawling English character actor George Sanders. "That's what he heard in Dean", said Sam, "that little bit of mischievousness that he had in his soul when he cut up a little bit, he loved Dean Martin's singing".

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)
Buddy "Blake" Cunningham - Bongos on F2WB-8117
Doug Poindexter - Acoustic Rhythm Guitar

Doug Poindexter stated that Sam Phillips had him play guitar on Elvis' recording of "Good Rockin' Tonight". Poindexter employed a technique in which he ran a strip of paper through his guitar strings to come up with the unique guitar sound that characterized the recording. Since Phillips didn't want to pay union costs, he failed to list Poindexter's guitar work. Sam only reported the union musicians on these early recordings.

It was during this time that Scotty Moore really developed the guitar style that stayed with him the rest of his life. "Although a song might be like something we did before, it made no sense to play what I played earlier", Scotty says. "I tried to come up with something different. I tried to play around the singer. If Elvis was singing a song a certain way, there was no point in me trying to top him on what he just did. The idea was to play something that went the other way - a counterpoint. Sometimes it got pretty rough. A few times it was just pure anger and I got frustrated".

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

*ANITA KERR - Born as Anita Jean Kerr on October 31, 1927 in Memphis, Tennessee. At the age of eleven, Anita Kerr started there own group, sing, wrote, and arranged song for the local church. In 1956, Kerr performed at the Arthur Godfrey Talentshow in New York City, and than worked constantly for the Godfrey TV and radio shows. After living for many years in Hollywood, in the mid-1970s, Anita Kerr and her husband, Alex Grob, moved to Geneve, Switzerland and built their own recording studio.

Members of the Anita Kerr Singer are: Anita Kerr, Dottie Dillard, Gil Writh, and Louis Nunley. Nunley is also a member of the Nashville Sounds Quartet.

The Anita Kerr Singers recorded on several albums included Red Foley in 1960, Jim Reeves in 1960, and The Browns in 1960. In the 1960s Anita Kerr worked together with bandleader Al Hirt on several recordings. In 1962, Anita Kerr recorded with her group under the name Anita & The 'So-And-So's, the song "Joey Baby" (RCA 47-7974) reached at number 91 in the Billboard Top 100 chart. On March 18, 1965, the Anita Kerr Singers overdub in RCA's studio B. in Nashville, Tennessee, the Elvis Presley song "Tomorrow Night" for his LP "Elvis For Everyone". Al the albums of Anita Kerr Singers are released all over the world.

**SAM COSLOW - born in New York City on December 27, 1902. He attended Erasmus Hall High School and began writing songs while he was still a teenager. His first success came in 1920, with a song called "Grieving For You". He had a number of hit songs over the next few years, and contributed songs to Broadway's Artists and Models revues. Together with composer Larry Spier, he founded his own publishing company, the Spier & Coslow Music Company and in those beginning years, he also had a minor career as a performer, recording for RCA Victor, Decca and Columbia Records.

In 1929, Spier and Coslow sold their publishing firm to Paramount Pictures. Spier continued on in publishing, while Coslow signed up with Paramount as a songwriter for their movies.

It was the early days of sound movies, and Coslow was the first Broadway songwriter to be hired by Paramount. During his decade with Paramount, he wrote songs for many of their films, including most of the early Bing Crosby pictures. His songs from this period include "True Blue Lou" (written in 1929 with Leo Robin and Richard Whiting for The Dance of Life); "Sing You Sinners" (1930, with W. Frank Harling, included in Honey); "Just One More Chance" (1931, with Arthur Johnston); "Thanks" and "The Day You Came Along” (both songs written with Arthur Johnston for 1933's Bing Crosby picture Too Much Harmony); "Learn To Croon" (1933, with Arthur Johnston, for a Bing Crosby film College Humor); "Cocktails For Two" (1934, with Arthur Johnston, for Murder at the Vanities); and "My Old Flame" (1934, with Arthur Johnston for a Mae West film Belle of the Nineties).

Leaving Paramount, he wrote songs briefly for MGM, including both words and music for "I'm In Love With the Honorable Mr. So And So" (1939, from Society Lawyer). With Will Grosz, Coslow, in 1939, composed the song "Tomorrow Night", which Elvis Presley recorded in 1954.

In 1940, his life took a new turn. The Mills Novelty Company of Chicago, a leading manufacturer of jukeboxes, had come up with a device to extend the concept of the jukebox into the world of film. It was called the Panoram. Coin operated, like a jukebox, it could show short three-minute music films called "soundies" on a rear projection screen. Coslow joined with Herbert Mills, of Mills Novelty, and with James Roosevelt, son of then- President Franklin Roosevelt, to found RCM Productions in order to produce soundies for the Panoram machine. By 1943, there were some 10,000 Panorams in bars, diners, and wherever else you might find a jukebox. RCM was producing at least one reel of eight soundies every week, featuring every possible type of musical entertainment with not only dancers and singers, but ice skaters, knife throwers, and more. Soundies were produced in every popular music style of the day, and many of them featured African-American performers neglected by Hollywood.

In the late 1940’s through the 50’s Coslow produced a number of films. A two-reel short film, Heavenly Music, produced by Coslow for MGM, won the Academy Award for Best Short in 1943. He also produced and wrote screenplays for full-length musical feature films, including Out of This World (1945) and Copacabana (1947). In 1954 and 1955, he lived in London, where he wrote for film and stage musicals. Coslow also collaborated with Hoagy Carmichael, Sigmund Romberg, J. Fred Coots, Fred Hollander, and Will Grosz. Sam Coslow died in New York City on April 2, 1982.

***ROY JAMES BROWN - Also known as "Good Rockin', and Tommy Brown, the Roy Brown story is one of the tragic, but typical, tales of the music business, and serves as an example of how black artists were treated.

Roy Brown, one of the hottest rhythm and blues acts in America, like many black artists, didn't receive proper royalty payments. "They treated me like a little coloured boy", Brown remembered. "I could never convince them that I had both talent and brains".

When Roy Brown wrote and first recorded "Good Rockin' Tonight" (as "Good Rocking Tonight"), he provided Elvis Presley with his first rock and roll song. Born in New Orleans, Orleans Paris County, Louisiana on September 10, 1920.

Roy Brown was influenced by Wynomie Harris, and Brown influenced artist like Bobbie Bland, Little Milton Campbell, Larry Davis, Little Richard, Little Junior Parker, Elvis Presley, Tommy Ridgley, Joe Turner and Jackie Wilson. Brown is one of the greatest blues shouter extraordinary and he was the first singer of soul.

His father was Yancy Brown and his mother, Tru-Love Warren (part of a Algonquin Indian), were musicians, singers who frequently sang in church choirs in the local area. Brown learned the piano from his mother at the age of 5 and the family moved to Eunice, Louisiana, where he was raised and attended the elementary school and he frequently sang in local church as youth and worked outside the music in the area into the 1940s.

Brown began his career in 1945 in Shreveport, Louisiana, with a weekly engagement as MC/pop-blues singer at Billy Riley's Palace Park. Brown sang old standards like "Stardust" and "Blue Hawaii". "I was a black guy who sounded white", Brown remarked. "For the time I was a real novelty act". It was a story that Elvis Presley would recreate in reverse at Sun Records.

In 1938, Brown formed The Rookie Four gospel quartet and working in local churches in the area from 1938 and moved to the West Coast to work outside the music as professional boxer in Los Angeles, California. In 1942, Brown won the first prize as singing pop songs in amateur talent show in the Million Dollar Theater in Los Angeles. In 1946, Brown worked with Joe Coleman's group in local club dates in Galveston, Texas and formed The Mellodeers, working extended residency at the Club Grenada in Galveston and he frequently appeared on KGBC-radio in Galveston in 1946 to 1947.

From his earliest days, in 1947, with the Houston's Gold Star label, Roy Brown was a recording and performing genius, although, initially, his audience was limited to the black or so-called "race" charts. Roy Brown was one of the first black acts in Houston to escape the relegation of most blacks to performing in small clubs located on "the other side of town". He was a strong nightclub draw, and it was not long before white club owners booked him in Texas' better night spots. Unfortunately, Roy Brown had to leave Texas in a hurry when he was discovered making love to a club owner's girlfriend. He formed his own band and working at the Starlight Club in New Orleans and Dallas, Texas, in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Los Angeles, California circa the and of the 1940s. Worked with Paul Gayten's Band at the Club Robin Hood in New Orleans in 1947 and toured extensively with his own Mighty Men Band or as single he working as one-nighters in clubs, theaters, ballrooms across the United States from 1947. He also worked at the Lincoln Theater in New Orleans in 1947, the Rip's Playhouse in New Orleans in 1947 and the Hilltop in Pine Bluff, Arkansas circa 1948.

He worked with Clarence Samuels as the "Blues Twins" in the residence Downtown Club in New Orleans in 1947, and recorded with Bob Ogden Orchestra and others for DeLuxe label in New Orleans, Los Angeles in 1947 to 1951.

Cecil Gant encouraged Roy Brown to take his act north, Gant introduced him to Jules Braun, the owner of Cincinatti's DeLuxe label. In 1948, Roy Brown wrote and recorded "Good Rockin' Tonight" for Deluxe Records (Deluxe 1093) and became a rhythm and blues superstar. He wrote the song while performing in Galveston, Texas. Originally, Brown didn't sing it, because he did only ballads; the singer in his band sang it. One day his singer was ill and Brown was forced to sing "Good Rockin' Tonight" himself, and the crowd reaction was good. With the lyrics written on a paper sack, Brown approached Wynonie Harris to record the song, but Harris wasn't interested. Later, Cecil Gant had Brown sing "Good Rockin' Tonight" over the telephone to the president of Deluxe Records at 3:00 a.m. Brown was soon signed to a recording contract. Ironically, Wynonie Harris covered Brown's version in 1948 and had a more successful hit (King 4210). Roy Brown, appeared at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee in 1948; the Armory in Flint, Michigan and worked at the Royal Peacock Club in Atlanta, Georgia; the Meadowbrook Club, Savannah, Georgia; the Gavalcade of Jazz in Wrigley Field, Los Angeles, California; the Richmond Auditorium, Los Angeles; the 5-4 Ballroom (with frequent remotes) in Los Angeles; the Savoy Ballroom in Los Angeles; the Ox Club, Los Angeles; the Fox Theater in Brooklyn, New York City, and the Apollo Theater in New York City, all dates from early 1950s.

In 1950, the prestigious King label bought out Brown's contract. His records were eagerly bought by a new generation of rhythm and blues aficionados. Soon Brown's singing style influenced such diverse talents as Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Bobby Blue Bland, and Elvis Presley. As one of the first rhythm and blues singers to sell to white record buyers, Roy Brown was in an enviable position. He was not only an established black act, but he had his music covered by white artists.

Roy Brown performed at the Howard Theater in Washington, District Columbia; Royal Theater in Baltimore, Maryland. In the mid-1950s, Brown recorded with Bill Doggett Bans as "Tommy Brown", for the King label in New Orleans; recorded for the Imperial label in New Orleans and toured as MC on Universal Attractions Rock and Roll package shows across the United States in 1957, and frequently worked at cob dates in Las Vegas, Nevada in the late 1950s. In 1959, Roy Brown worked at the Apollo Theater in New York City, and recorded in 1960 to 1961 for the Home Of The Blues label in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1960, Brown settled on the West Coast to work mostly outside the music in the Los Angeles area. In 1962, he recorded for the DRA/Connis/Mobile labels in Los Angeles, and make recordings for the Chess label in Chicago in 1963 (All unissued). He performed occasional gigs with the Johnny Otis Show on the West Coast in the late 1960s into the 1970s. and recorded that time for the Blues Way label in Hollywood, California; recorded for the Gert/Summit/Tru-Love labels in Los Angeles during the end of the 1960s.

Unfortunately, Roy Brown wasn't able to continue his career because he challenged the way black artists were treated within the industry. He had the audacity to file a protest with BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) over the payment of songwriting royalties. It had always been understood among black artists that if they complained about such payments, they simply wouldn't work or record anymore, so it took great courage to spell out against this racist system. In 1950, "Hard Luck Blues" further established Brown's rhythm and blues credentials. In 1951, therefore, when Brown complained that his manager, Jack Pearl, had cheated him, the musicians union investigated, Pearls management license was suspended, but thereafter no booking agent would touch Brown. By challenging the manner in which the booking agencies and record companies treated black artists, Roy Brown had destroyed his promising future.

In 1970, Roy Brown worked with Johnny Otis Show on the Monterey Jazz Festival in Monterey in Los Angeles, California (portion released on the Epic label); he formed and recorded his own Friendship label in Los Angeles in 1971; make recordings for Mercury in Los Angeles and worked long residency at the Parisian Room in Los Angeles in 1975. In 1978, Roy Brown toured in England and Sweden and in 1979 on the San Francisco Blues Festival in San Francisco, California (portion released on Solid Smoke label); he toured with Roomful of Blues into the 1980s and in 1981 on the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana.

In order to continue as a performer, Roy Brown was forced to change his career strategy. To survive financially, he had to act as his own booking agent, leaving the north to play in small southern towns. Tupelo was typical of these concert sites. The Tupelo sheriff and an assortment of local businessmen made good money promoting community dances, affairs where racial lines were dropped for a night and everybody enjoyed the music. In a lengthy interview in San Francisco before his death, Roy Brown recalled that: "Tupelo had a code; the black people on one side of town and whites on the other; however, at the dances everyone came together". It was common for a black and white audience to mix quietly over the music, some bootleg alcohol, and a little gambling. The presence of segregation in the schools, on the job, and in residential neighbourhoods just didn't prevail at such nighttime affairs.

Elvis Presley was among those who attend these dances, as well as other small town affairs at which Brown played. In an interview with John Broven, Brown remembered that "Elvis was on the bandstand singing" on a number of such occasions. "I used to play for the high sheriff; it's a dry town and Elvis Presley would came around, he wanted to sing". When Elvis Presley found out that Brown's guitar player, Edgar Blanchard, loved to drink, he brought Elvis Presley some of Tupelo's finest moonshine straight from Shakerag. The moonshine allowed Elvis Presley to get on stage with Brown's band. "That boy said he was on vacation", Brown remembered. "He sure didn't live in Tupelo, but he was down there seeing family". The hard-rocking vocal style of Roy Brown had later a direct impact upon Presley's own stage show.

Roy Brown couldn't date the times that Elvis Presley played with him, but it is known that Elvis Presley played and loved Brown's 1950 tune "Hard Luck Blues". Brown originally recorded the tune in Cincinnati at King Records, and it was his last hit before he was blacklisted. Elvis Presley apparently came to the Tupelo concerts regularly, however. Apart from dances in Tupelo, Elvis Presley got to see Brown at Memphis club dates. The Flamingo Club, Beale Street, was typical of these hangouts, and it is known that Elvis Presley saw Roy Brown perform there a number of times between 1952 to 1954. Roy Brown remembers Elvis Presley hanging around both his Tupelo and Memphis appearances. "Elvis loved the music and he was everywhere. We thought he was just another nice white kid", Brown chuckled. Brown was surprised when his bass player, Tommy Shelvin, brought a copy of Elvis' Sun recording of "Good Rockin' Tonight" to a Hollywood club date. Roy Brown sat in the dressing room listening to Elvis' version. "It was a fine blues song. I couldn't believe it". Elvis Presley's rendition, of course, eliminated the sexual innuendos that prevented Roy Brown and Wynomie Harris from having crossover hits of the song.

According to one story, Elvis Presley invited Roy Brown to Graceland, where he gave him a check for a few thousand dollars when Brown fell behind in paying his federal income tax. Roy Brown's mother True Love Brown had the same middle name as Elvis Presley's mother, Gladys Love Smith. Roy Brown died on May 25, 1981 in San Fernando, California, suffered fatal heart attack. Roy Brown is buried at the Eternak Valley Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

****WYNOMIE "MR BLUES" HARRIS - Born on August 24, 1915 in Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska. His father was Luther Harris and his mother was Mallie Hood, Wynomie was only child. He attended the Technical High School and Central High School in Omaha, Nebraska in the late 1920s into 1930s, and attended the Creighton University in Omaha in the early 1930s. Harris was married 1934 through 1946 and have a son named Wesley Devereax, a singer, and guitarist from his second marriage to Gertrude.

He later dropped out to work as comedian, as dancer at the Jim Bell's Harlem Club, the McGill's Blue Room, the Apex Bar and others. He taught self drums and formed his own small combo to work in local clubs, bars in the Omaha area into the 1940s.

In the early 1940s, Wynomie Harris moved to the West Coast and go to work as MC-singer and dancer at the Alabam Club in Los Angeles, California. He also appeared as dancer in the film "Hit Parade Of 1943" and he frequently produced stage shows in the Lincoln Theater in Los Angeles, California in 1944. He worked at the Chez Paree Club in Kansas City, Missouri and in the Club Rhumboogie in Chicago, Illinois in 1944. In 1944, Harris appeared with the Lucky Millinder Orchestra at the Savoy Ballroom in Los Angeles, California, and recorded with the Lucky Millinder Orchestra for Decca Records in New York City, New York.

He also performed at the Loew's State Theater and the Apollo Theater in New York City in 1944 and recorded with Johnny Otis All Stars for the Aladin label in Los Angeles in 1945; recorded with Illinois Jacquet Orchestra, with Jack McVea All Stars, the Oscar Pettiford All Stars and others for the Apollo label in Los Angeles in 1945.

Wynomie Harris was a jump blues performer who recorded "Good Rockin' Tonight" on December 28, 1947. He beat Roy Brown out with this song and Elvis Presley listened intently to Harris' blues sounds.

In the mid-1940s, Harris toured with the Illinois Jacquet Orchestra for working on gigs, he recorded with Hamp-Tone All Stars for the Hamp-Tone label in Los Angeles, California and recorded for Bullett in Nashville, Tennessee in 1946; recorded for Aladdin label in New York City in 1946-47; and worked at the Club 845 in the Bronx, and with Ernie Fields Band at the Apollo Theater in New York City in 1946; recorded extensively for the King label in New York City, and worked at the Foster's Rainbow Room in New Orleans in 1947. In the late 1940s, Harris toured with Lionel Hampton Orchestra and worked on club dates; appeared on local radio show in Generva, New Yersey in 1948; toured with Big Joe Turner and working on club dates through the South.

From 1949 through 1951, Harris appeared and toured with Dud Bascomb's Combo and working one-nighter, recorded with Lucky Millinder Orchestra for the King label in New York City, toured with Larry Darnell and working on theaters dates; worked at the Regal Theater in Chicago, and toured on package shows working on theaters, clubs and many one-nighters across the United States.

In 1953, Wynomie Harris settled in St. Albans, New Yersey and go to work outside the music. From the late 1950s to 1963, Harris owned and operated his own cafe in Brooklyn, New Yersey. Moved to the West Coast in 1963, Harris owned and operated his own cafe in Los Angeles, California, and recorded for Cadet label in Chicago, Illinois in 1963; worked at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California in 1963, but worked mostly outside the music in the Los Angeles area.

In 1967, Harris worked at the Apollo Theater in New York City, but entered the USC Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he died of cancer on June 14, 1969. Wynomie Harris is buried at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

Wynomie Harris influenced by Louis Jordan and Jimmy Rushing and he influenced to artists like Roy Brown, Screaming Jay Hawkins, and Elvis Presley. Wynomie Harris was billing as "The Mississippi Mockingbird", the "Peppermint Cane" and could sing either (blues or ballads) though the blues was really where he shone, everything about Wynomie was strong, a set of vocal chords seemingly made of steel.

MACK DAVID - Lyricist born in New York City on July 5, 1912. He is the older brother of lyricist Hal David. Mack David composed the song "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine" for Walt Disney's 1950 animated film Cinderella. David, who is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, also composed the theme song for the TV series "77 Sunset Strip", "Hawaiian Eye", "Lawman", and "Surfside 6". He also wrote, with Sherman Edwards, "I'm Not The Marrying Kind", which Elvis Presley sang in his 1962 movie Follow That Dream. Mack David died on December 30, 1993 in Rancho Mirage, California on heart attack at the age of 81.

JIMMY WAKELY - Popular singer of the 1940s, born in Mineola, Arkansas, who appeared in movies with Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. Merle Travis and Spade Cooley have both played in Wakely's band. Jimmy Wakely has recorded duets with Margaret Whiting (the daughter of composer Richard Whiting (1891-1938), and is the composer of "I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')". Wakely was a good friend of Charlie Hodge's, having toured with him in the 1950s and 1960s.

Jimmy Wakely was once asked his opinion of Elvis Presley. His reply was: "Man, he's great! Fifteen years ago I wrote a song called "I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')", and nothing happened. Presley put it into one of his albums and so far I've gotten $4,300 in royalties".

BOB AND JOE SHELTON - Composers of the song "Just Because". Bob and Joe sang duet honky tonk as the Shelton Brothers, after starting out in 1933 with Leon Chapplear as the Lone Star Cowboys. They recorded their version of "Just Because" (Decca 5872) as the Shelton Brothers in 1942. Joe Shelton recorded in 1935 "Matchbox Blues", which Carl Perkins would record on December 4, 1956, as "Matchbox" (SUN 261), just before the famous Million-Dollar Quartet session.

SYDNEY "SIT" ROBIN - Composer, born in New York City on July 12, 1912.

MARTHA CARSON - Singer born Martha Amburgay in Neon, Kentucky, 1921, and nicknamed The "Queen of Country Music. Martha is the sister of Sun artist Jean Chapel, and their brother, Don Chapel, was the second husband of singer Tammy Wynette (who also married singer George Jones). In the 1940s Martha was married to singer James Carson, the son of Fiddling John Carson.

SEPTEMBER 11, 1954 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black appeared again at the Eagle's Nest Night Club (9:00pm) in Memphis, Tennessee. "When they played at the Eagle's Nest, they didn't get paid until they went to the union", say Bobbie Moore. "Elvis never had any money. We'd go out to eat and we had to buy his burger and milkshakes. One night he want ed another milkshake. He asked Scotty if he could have one.

Scotty said he would have to ask me. I was the only one who got paid". Elvis had cleaned his plate, he had a tendency to much off the plates of those around him. It was Bill Black's wife, Evelyn, who discovered, quite by accident, the secret to protecting her meal from Elvis' wandering fingers. "We stopped once to get a sandwich and some french fries, and I put ketchup on my potatoes - you know so I could dip them", says Evelyn. "Elvis would get a potato off my plate, and I noticed he always got one that didn't have ketchup on it. From then on, I learned to put ketchup on my fries or else Elvis would eat them all".

SEPTEMBER 11, 1954 SATURDAY

Sam Phillips of Sun Record Company letter to Wichita, created less than two months after Elvis signs with Sun.

This letter from Sam Phillips to Len Carl of the Campbell-Carl Company of Wichita is entirely about Elvis’s first single, all four paragraphs of it. At this point, as Elvis was becoming a bit of a local phenomenon, Phillips mentions Presley’s name and both song titles in his first sentence, quite a contrast to letters of the weeks before.

Phillips cites sales figures and radio airplay, the latter accentuated with the description of radio formats as “C&W, R&B and Pop ‘cat’”. Crazy, man! We also suspect that Phillips is doing a bit of exaggerating if not outright lying, by naming quite a few cities that “are all doing a big volume on it,” but another letter in this series states unequivocally that sales of Elvis records in Los Angeles “stinks.” Oh well, just a promo man doing his job…

Phillips also has some local track record now that he can start to boast about: “Dallas, Houston, Nashville, Boston, Miami, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Charlotte… and in Memphis more than 6,000 were sold in less than three weeks. Bill Fitzgerald of Music Sales says never in his experience in the record business has he seen any record hit so hard and so fast. It is on virtually every Juke location in town and the ops are ordering and re-ordering and re-ordering''!

''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'' takes over the number 1 spot. ''That’s All Right'' dropped a few places, but it will stay on the Memphis chart for the next month.

UNKNOWN DATE SEPTEMBER 1954

Just before Elvis Presley's second Sun single was released, Sam Phillips suggested that Billy "The Kid" Emerson take Elvis Presley over to the Flamingo Club on Hernando Street to see Pee Wee Crayton. "Pee Wee was good", Emerson remarked, "and Elvis learned about stage personality". Emerson remembered that Elvis Presley didn't perform at the Flamingo, but young Presley did sing a couple of songs with Phineas Newborn.

Emerson grew to like Presley, despite the fact that he was cornering most of Phillips' attention. "Elvis was a real sweet kid", Emerson recalls. "The white guys didn't talk to us coloured guys too much back then, but Elvis was different - until they poisoned his mind. I remember one time we took him out to see Pee Wee Crayton at the Flamingo Club".

SEPTEMBER 17, 1954 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley likely played at Bethel Springs, Tennessee, not far from Jackson. By Carl Perkins' account, this took place at the high school gym, where his appearance had "an electric effect" on the small audience, "particularly the girls". Perkins asked Elvis Presley after the show whether he thought Sun might be interested in someone else who sang in a similar style, and while Elvis professed ignorance of Sam Phillips' inclinations, it was this event that led to Perkins' first visit to Sun Records in October.

SEPTEMBER 18. 1954 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley appeared at the Eagle's Nest Club in Memphis. He headlined the 9:00pm show, which featured Sleepy-Eyed John and Tiny Dixon Band. Admission was one dollar. Sam Phillips sat in the back of the club. He was pleased with the crowd's reaction.

''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'' lost the topspot, while Jimmy & Johnny are the best selling act this week in Memphis. In just two months time, Elvis Presley and Jimmy & Johnny will appear together at the Eagle’s Nest.

UNKNOWN DATE SEPTEMBER 1954

Roundman Knowland, a Greenwich, Mississippi, promoter, signed Elvis Presley to appear at the towns American Legion Hall. Local Legionnaires soon complained that Presley's record had too much of a "Negro Sound", and, in what was the first protest against Presley's music, the American Legion club members demanded that Knowland book another act. The promoter succumbed to the pressure, and the Freddie Burns band was hired in Elvis Presley's place, scooping up the $375 performance fee. Marcus Van Story, who was hired to play the Greenwich date with Elvis Presley, was surprised that it was cancelled. "Elvis had a following down there", Van Story remarked. "It was his show that some people didn't like. I guess you could say this was the first protest against Elvis", Van Story chuckled. The reason that Roundman Knowland gave for cancelling the contract was that Presley's stage show was too raucous.

To be sure, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black were an energetic act on stage, and they excited the country crowds. Scotty and Bill never performed the same way, and Elvis Presley always mixed his country songs with blues and rhythm and blues tunes.

SEPTEMBER 24, 1954 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley performed at the Eagle's Nest Club (9:00pm) with Tiny Dixon's Band. It was a special ladies night at the club with admission 50-cents for ladies and a $1.00 for men.

SEPTEMBER 24, 1954 FRIDAY

September 24, 1954 incoming letter to Sam Phillips of Sun Record Company from a Miami record distributor, created two months after the release of “That’s All Right”/“Blue Moon of Kentucky.” An intriguing account of the struggles that Elvis Presley’s seminal first single faced in the marketplace during the summer of 1954.

After covering other business in the first part of the letter, printed on blue Pan Am company stationery with a blue & red letterhead, Marvin Lieber of Pan American Distributing Corp. in Miami describes the problem he’s facing with jukebox operators throughout Florida and their resistance to “That’s All Right” / “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” aka Sun 209.

He writes, “Your record 209 is giving me a little problem in that certain locales throughout the State have operators which have them on every machine, and in other locales, they won’t even touch it. That is one of the strange things about the record business. I think it is a great record, my immediate reaction in Miami was good but in the northern part of Florida, they won’t touch it as they consider it too racy.”

Once again, Elvis is not known enough to even be mentioned by Lieber; he just refers to the song that later changed the world as “record 209.”

This exact artifact was displayed at the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art's “Rock 'N Roll 1939-1959” exhibit in Paris, France in the summer and fall of 2007. The exhibit was a lavish affair, with a Grand Opening attended by Little Richard, Tina Turner, Wanda Jackson, Jerry Lieber of Lieber & Stoller, etc.

In addition, Cartier published a large, gorgeous, massively expensive, 400-page coffeetable book, with hardshell slipcase, to commemorate the event. The book contains many of photographer Alfred Wertheimers’ famous 1956 photos of Elvis (because Alfred was part of the exhibit), and they gave this exact artifact a full-color full page all to itself, on pg. 253.

SEPTEMBER 25, 1954 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley's second single "Good Rockin' Tonight"/"I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine" (SUN 210) was released. Elvis appeared again at the Eagle's Nest Club (9:00pm). He performed with the Tiny Dixon Band.

Following release of "Good Rockin' Tonight", when singer Roy Brown played a series of dates in Mississippi in late September 1954, he was surprised to hear Elvis Presley's version of his old song on local radio. "I remember some local Tupelo station playing "Good Rockin' Tonight", Brown recalled. "It tickled me, but I didn't pay no attention to it".

Sometime after making his first record Elvis Presley trades in his beat-up old guitar at O.K. Houck Piano Company, a music store on Union Avenue, for a 1942 Martin D-18 costing $175. Some months later, he recalls to Memphis Press-Scimitar reporter Bob Johnson how the music store proprietor gave him $8 for his old guitar and then promptly threw it in the trash. "Shucks, it still played good", Elvis remarks sorrowfully to Johnson. Elvis has his name spelled out in metal letters attached at an angle to the guitar body just below the strings. A photograph taken at Memphis State on November 8, 1954, shows him with this new guitar, but very likely he bought it prior to his October 2 appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Sometimes after the first of the year, the letters spelling out his name appear parallel to the strings on what is presumably the same D-18.

Blue Moon Of Kentucky has regained the number 1 spot. Elvis’ success has now also reached Nashville, ''That’s All Right'' found his way to the local chart in Music City.

SEPTEMBER 1954

Elvis Presley frequent with friends at Krystal Restaurant, located 135 at Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. George Klein remembers Elvis would come into WHBQ studio to visit Dewey Phillips, Elvis would ask him to come along for a bite to eat. He and George usually would go get a sack of Krystals. Later, the first time he took out Anita Wood, and went to Krystal.

The Krystal that Elvis Presley used to frequent, the one at Union Avenue and Second Street across from the Peabody Hotel, was torn down years ago, but there are still a lot of the restaurants in Memphis. The Krystal location nearest to that original location is at 1377 Union Avenue.

SEPTEMBER 1954

Scotty Moore and Bill Black dissolved out with the Starlite Wranglers for continued working with Elvis Presley on the road. "Well, we had already tried to continue doin' some of the gigs around town using the country band and then with Elvis, Bill and myself stepping out as another act", recalled Scotty Moore.

"But the problem was that from the radio play, the people comin' to clubs were more the rhythm and blues side of it than they were the country side, so we saw real quick that that just wasn't gonna work". "So the band just dissolved, more or less... well, we dissolved out of it, and I think they kept goin' for a while. There was no hard feelings or anything... it was just the bottom line".

Continued: Elvis Sun 1954-3

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