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1955 SESSIONS 10
October 1 , 1955 to October 31, 1955

Studio Session for Jack Earls, October 15, 1955 / Sun Records
Sam Phillips opens WHER radio, ''The World's First All-Girl Radio Station'' in Memphis, Tennessee, October 29, 1955

For Biographies of Artists see: > The Sun Biographies <
Sun recordings can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on 
> YouTube <
 

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

OCTOBER 1955

Sally Wilbourn begins working for Sam Phillips, later as his secretary, bookkeeper and office manager: she will remain his personal and professional companion until his death. The eighteen-year-old Sally Wilbourn's first day of work. A brand-new high school graduate from Coffeeville, Mississippi, a town of less than a thousand, out in the country between Water Valley and Grenada, she had been sent over from Miller-Hawkins Business School, where she was learning typing and shorthand.

Sally had never heard of Sun Records, had no idea who Elvis Presley was, and Marion Keisker had left her with instructions to answer the phone, but with no idea of what to say when she did.

''My first impression of Sam was a nice-looking man'', said Sally, ''he was extremely polite to everybody that came in that studio, never rude to anybody. It didn't matter what they wanted or how they talked or what they said, he was just always nice to them, and that just had to register with you, and it did. But yet you could hear him on the phone talking business with somebody, there was nowhere to go, really, to hide from anybody, we all were right there together, you know, and he made a great impression with everybody that met him''.

OCTOBER 1955

Malcolm Yelvington has "Yakety Yak"/"A Gal Named Jo" issued on Meteor 5022. It is released under the pseudonym Mac Sales and the Esquire Trio since Yelvington was still under contract to Sun Records.

Sam Phillips sells Elvis Presley's recording contract to RCA Victor Records. He then buys out Jud Phillips's share of Sun Records and becomes sole owner again. Jud Phillips might have promoted the sale of Elvis Presley's management contract to Jud's former boss, Tom Parker, so that he can recoup his investment.

Ekko 1015 "Talkin' Off The Wall" is released by Eddie Bond, who had already auditioned, and been turned down, by Sun Records.

Johnny Cash's ''Cry Cry Cry'' enters the national country top fifteen for one week only.

OCTOBER 1955

''My father wrote me a letter'', Roy Orbison remember later. ''He said he had seen a concert with Elvis Presley and it was terrible. He said this greasy haired kid came out and stole the show. Anyway, Elvis came to town and about four hundred of us showed up. It had to be late summer because everyone had gotten on trains and gone to Abilene to see a football game. Elvis came out and I thought I saw him spit onto the stage. As he walked out, he just went Puhhh. It was him, Scotty Moore, Bill Black, Floyd Cramer, and my old drummer. The show was pretty good. He sang a lof of other people's song''. Elvis was in Odessa in October 1955 with Cramer... and October was football season, so perhaps that's the date Roy was talking about.

OCTOBER 1955

The original Mickey Mouse Club television program made its debut on ABC. The show was billed as a variety show for children and would feature cartoons, educational segments and serials like “The Hardy Boys” and “Spin and Marty.” The show also featured child actors as “Mouseketeers” who would perform in musical and dance numbers as well as the other segments. The original run of the Mickey Mouse Club lasted four seasons until it was canceled in 1959 and would feature a rotation of 39 different “Mouseketeers''.

OCTOBER 1, 1955 SATURDAY

George Jones makes his debut on The Louisiana Hayride.

Patsy Cline makes her final appearance with Bill Peer and His Melody Boys at the Brunswick Moose Hall in Winchester, Virginia, ending a three-year relationship. During that time Peer gave the former Virginia Hensley her stage name.

''The Honeymooners'' debuts as a weekly show on CBS-TV. The lead role of Brooklyn bus driver Ralph Kramden belongs to Jackie Gleason, who goes on to write Jimmy Dean's 1962 country recitation, ''To A Sleeping Beauty''.

Res Allen is a featured guest as Red Foley hosts ABC's ''Ozark Jubilee''.

OCTOBER 3, 1955 MONDAY

Earl Scruggs suffers a fractured hip in an early-morning automobile accident 15 miles east of Knoxville, Tennessee. Also injured in the crash are his wife, Louise, and sons Gary and Randy Scruggs.

The children's show ''Captain Kangaroo'', starring Bob Keeshan, makes its debut on CBS-TV. It's referenced a decade later in The Statler Brothers' first hit single, ''Flowers On The Wall''.

OCTOBER 7, 1955 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley attends a Bob Wills concert at Cook's Hoedown Club in Houston, Texas.

OCTOBER 8, 1955 SATURDAY

Sonny James joins the ''Ozark Jubilee'' radio show in Springfield, Missouri.

Future country hitmaker George Burns shares the cover of TV Guide with wife and comedic partner Gracie Allen.

Eddy Arnold registers a number 1 country hit in Billboard with ''The Cattle Call''.

OCTOBER 10, 1955 MONDAY

Hank Penny and Sue Thompson have a son, Greg Penny, in Los Angeles.

Capitol released Faron Young's double-sided hit, ''It's A Great Life (If You Don't Weaken)'' and ''For The Love Of A Woman Like You''.

OCTOBER 11, 1955 TUESDAY

Sun labelmates Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins begin an 11-day concert tour at the Fair Park Auditorium in Abilene, Texas.

OCTOBER 15, 1955 SATURDAY

One day after opening for Bill Haley and The Comets, Buddy Holly performing with future record producer Bob Montgomery, opens an Elvis Presley show in Lubbock, Texas. In the audience is the 13-year old Mac Davis.

ABC-TV premieres ''Grand Ole Opry'', which runs every fourth Saturday night. Special guests on the first show, Les Paul and Mary Fold.

Chess Records released Chuck Berry's rhythm and blues single, ''Thirty Days (To Come Back Home)''. Just 11 days later, Ernest Tubb recorded a country version.

Jim Reeves joins host Webb Pierce on ABC-TV's ''Ozark Jubilee''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

With a voice so barbed and rural that Carl Perkins sounds uptown, Jack Earls recorded timeless rockabilly during his two years hanging around Sun Records. Unlike most of his Sun contemporaries, he was originally from east Tennessee, so he knew the secrets of true hillbilly music. Only one record was released and the reasons are pretty clear. Earls was not onto too countrified for the market that Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins had found, he lacked dedication to music. With a wife and a young family, he was unable or unwilling to tour. He couldn't take a shot at the Top 40 from his weekend gig at Memphis's Palm Club, but by never letting the Top 40 cross his mind, his music kept its untutored country soul intact.

STUDIO SESSION FOR JACK EARLS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR FOR SUN RECORDS 1955

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SATURDAY OCTOBER 15, 1955
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Jack Earls was an eccentric figure who ran off briefly with the carnival in his early teens and was exhibited in a cage as The Wild Bot. He arrived in Memphis in 1959, at the age of seventeen, and went to work driving a delivery truck for a bakery. Elvis turned his mind around. He had heard that Elvis had been discovered by just walking in and cutting a demo at Sun, so, sometime in early 1955, he hot together the guys he had been playing with, ''about six or eight guitars'', paid his money, and cut a record himself. One of the guys in the band said, ''You know, when we get this demo made, they're gonna be hammering on your door''. Nobody ever hammered, said Earls, but Sam called me back. He liked my voice, and he told me, 'We're gonna have a hit record. But you gotta get a band. Your band ain't worth a shit''. So Sam helped Jack put together a band and told him, ''When you get something going, come back and we'll have an audition''.

Jack Earls appearances in England in 1996 confirmed that his raw mountain tenor was engagingly intact. The many years out of the music business had kept him healthy and kept his voice from the burn-out that afflicted so many of his peers. Jack was born in Woodbuty, Tennessee on August 23, 1932, and moved to Memphis in 1949.

He formed a country band and Jack Earls made his debut as a unit at the Sun studio just as Elvis Presley was preparing to make his exodus from Sun. In fact on that precise day Elvis Presley was performing at the Cotton Club in Lubbock, Texas, where the opening act was Buddy and Bob.

Although Earl's song "A Fool For Lovin' You" had met with Sam Phillips approval, by the time the boys came to the studio, Jack had worked up a new repertoire. "I'd sit up all night writing songs. I'd sit in my car a '52 Buick Roadmaster, pick away and write. That's how I wrote "Hey Jim".

This was one of the songs that was recorded at the session, and it so impressed Sam Phillips that he promptly named backing group "The Jimbos". They recorded the number several times and on one take Jack slipped up and sang "Hey Slim".

01 - "THEY CAN'T KEEP ME FROM YOU" - (1) - B.M.I. - 2:59
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 15, 1955
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15273 mono
LET'S BOP
Released: - 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16935-1-4 mono
JACK EARLS – THE SUN YEARS PLUS

02 - "WHEN I DREAM" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 15, 1955
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15273 mono
LET'S BOP
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16935-1-11 mono
JACK EARLS – THE SUN YEARS PLUS

It would appear that the group recorded the "Hey Slim" on a number of different occasions, but only one "Hey Jim" and "Hey Slim" taken and they donated all proceeds to relief-work charities.

03(1) - "HEY JIM" - (1/1) - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - October 15, 1955
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CPCD 8161 mono
SUN ROCKABILLIES VOLUME 3
LET'S BOP
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16935-1-8 mono
JACK EARLS – THE SUN YEARS PLUS

03(2) - "HEY JIM" - (1/2) - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 15, 1955
Released: - 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16935-1-1 mono
JACK EARLS – THE SUN YEARS PLUS

03(3) - "HEY SLIM" - B.M.I. - 2:51
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 15, 1955
Released: - 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30128-A-8 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 13 - ROCKABILLY SUNDOWN
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16935-1-22 mono
JACK EARLS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Sam Phillips targeted a couple of songs from this session for a future release. As he had done for Presley and Perkins, he planned to pair a rocking song, ''Hey Jim'', with a country number, ''A Fool For Loving You''. With the band's approval, Phillips dubbed them the Jimbos.

However, in October 1955 Phillips was running Sun Records on a shoestring budget while negotiating a deal orchestrated by Colonel Tom Parker who wanted RCA Victor Records to buy out Presleys Sun contract.

This, combined with several more Sun issues and recording sessions kept Phillips very busy through the end of November. Parker's deal was finalized.

04(1) - "A FOOL FOR LOVING YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:42
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 185 - Master Take 1
Released: - April 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > SUN 240-B < mono
A FOOL FOR LOVING YOU / SLOW DOWN
Reissued: - 1987 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm SUN 8 mono
THE SUN CD COLLECTION - COUNTRY MUSIC ORIGINALS - VOLUME 3

04(2) - "A FOOL FOR LOVING YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:40
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 15, 1955
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15273 mono
LET'S BOP
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16935-1-23 mono
JACK EARLS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

05(1) - "CRAWDAD HOLE" - (1) - B.M.I. - 2:16
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 15, 1955
Released: - 1975
First appearance: - Redita Records (LP) 33rpm Redita 110-10 mono
SHELBY COUNTY COUNTRY 1948-1964
LET'S BOP
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16935-1-17 mono
JACK EARLS – THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jack Earls - Vocal & Guitar
Warren Gregory - Guitar
Johnny Black - Bass
Danny Rehnquist - Drums

For Biography of Jack Earls see: > The Sun Biographies <
Jack Earls' Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

OCTOBER 17, 1955 MONDAY

Capitol released Tennessee Ernie Ford's ''Sixteen Tons''.

Jerry Reed holds his first recording session for capitol Records at the Castle Recording Studio in Nashville.

Decca released Bill Monroe's ''Wheel Hoss''. Ricky Skaggs turns the song into a Grammy-winner in the 1980s.

Columbia released Carl Smith's double-sided hit, ''You're Free To Go'' backed with ''I Feel Like Cryin'''.

OCTOBER 19, 1955 WEDNESDAY

The Ames Brothers recorded ''It Only Hurts For A Little While'' at the RCA Recording Studio in New York City. Margo Smith has a country hit with the song in 1978.

OCTOBER 21, 1955 FRIDAY

Mary Louise Smith (18) was arrested for violating Alabama bus segregation laws in Montgomery, Alabama. Colvin, Browder, and Smith were all arrested for refusing to give up their seats to white passengers.

OCTOBER 22, 1955 SATURDAY

Jim Reeves joins the Grand Ole Opry, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.

Former ''National Barn Dance'' star George Gobel is on the cover of TV Guide.

Sonny James and Jim and Maxine Brown appear on the ABC series ''Ozark Jubilee', hosted by Red Foley.

OCTOBER 24, 1955 MONDAY

Elvis Presley, billed as "The King of Western Bop", appeared as the headliner at the Silver Moon Club on Highway 67, north of Newport, Arkansas. The 9:00 p.m. show cost $1.50 and the only other act on the bill was Sonny Burgess and his band the Moonlighters from Memphis, who later also recorded for Sun Records.

When Elvis Presley came to the Silver Moon Club, Sonny Burgess organised the supporting act, and put together Newport's version of a supergroup combining some of Punky's men and the Moonlighters.

According to Sonny Burgess, Elvis Presley tried to hire Punky and Kern Kennedy that night to flesh out the meagre sound of Scotty Moore and Bill Black. Also, according to Sonny Burgess, Elvis Presley got the idea to record "One Night" from the Pacers, who often performed it as much as five times a night. For his part, Elvis Presley's contribution to Sonny's career was to implant the idea of going to record at Sun.

The newspaper advertisement promises: "If you like GOOD Western Music (and who doesn't) You'll enjoy Elvis Presley and the Moonlighters singing and playing your favorite western tunes." Show time is "9 til''? According to Alfred McCullar, manager of the Silver Moon, ''They called me about two weeks earlier and said they had an open date on the way back from a show, if I could fit them it. That night, they had even more people, than the night they had Louis Armstrong there''.

A few weeks after the Silver Moon gig, Sonny and the Moonlighters drove to Sun Records in Memphis for an audition. Sam Phillips told them that they needed a fuller sound to Sonny recruited Jack Nance and Joe Lewis from another local band. It was Lewis who came up with the name Pacers for the group from Pacer airplanes. Both Smith and Lewis played drums so Nance (who had been a music major in college) switched to his other instrument, trumpet. Sonny had wanted a saxophonist like Punky Coldwell, but figured that the trumpet gave the Pacers a little different sound.

OCTOBER 26, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Ernest Tubb recorded Chuck Berry's ''Thirty Days (To Come Back Home)'' during an evening session at the Bradley Film and Recording Studio in Nashville.

OCTOBER 27, 1955 THURSDAY

Red Sovine and Webb Pierce recorded ''Why Baby Why'' in Nashville at the Bradley Film and Recording Studio.

The iconic teen movie ''Rebel Without A Cause'' debuts in theaters, with James Dean in the starring role. The picture's title is borrowed by a Bellamy Brothers country hit, ''Rebels Without A Clue''.

OCTOBER 28, 1955 FRIDAY

Colonel Tom Parker receives a telegram from RCA saying the label will pay no more than $25,000 to buy out Elvis Presley's contract from Sun Records. Sun owner Sam Phillips holds out for $35,000.

Ray Price recorded ''Run Boy'' during an evening session at the Bradley Film and Recording Studio in Nashville.

OCTOBER 29, 1955 SATURDAY

Slim Whitman joins the Grand Ole Opry, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Louvin Brothers recorded ''I Don't Believe Met My Baby'' at the Castle Studio downtown Nashville.

Mac Wiseman and Speedy West are featured in the Red Foley-hosted ABC music series ''Ozark Jubilee''.

OCTOBER 29, 1955 SATURDAY

Sam Phillips opens WHER radio, The World's First All-Girl Radio Station in Memphis with lawyer Roy Scott and Clarence Camp, president of Southern Amusement together with Kemmons Wilson, president of Holiday Inn.

The station has an easy-listening format and an all-female staff. "When I started WHER…people thought I had rocks in my head. A girl could do a cooking show, but no one thought girls could handle hour-to-hour programs and commercials. I felt differently. I had always wanted a radio station, but Memphis already had nine. I had to do something different. An all-girl crew, and pleasant, light music, was the answer'', recalled Sam Phillips in 1960.

WHER ALL-GIRL RADIO - Record producer and label owner Sam Phillips is probably best known for signing Elvis Presley to his first record contract and introducing him to the world. But he also founded and owned the country’s first ''All Girl Radio Station''.

Living in Memphis, Sam Phillips had long wanted to own a radio station. In 1955, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) awarded him the rights to 1430 AM. Phillips put together a group of investors to assemble the station, including Kemmon Wilson, who at the time had just begun his ''Holiday Inn'' hotel chain. The station was based in a Holiday Inn on South Third Street in Memphis. Phillips wife Becky had worked as an announcer on a local station and suggested the ''all-girl'' gimmick.

At the time, most stations had a single female voice that might give the time or station identification and read some commercials. Phillips decided that women listeners might relate better to a station where all you heard were women’s voices: All the on-air personalities were women, women read the news and programmed the records. The station even employed all female salespersons and management.

Phillips promoted the angle relentlessly and he never missed a chance to point out the differences between his ''All-girl'' radio and the other male-dominated stations. Media coverage at the time reported that the disc jockeys were renamed ''jockettes'', the studio was called ''the doll's den'', the WHER stationary was perfumed and exit signs were replaced with ''Bye bye till next time''! While these affectations seem dated and downright condescending today, at the time they were seen as innovative and drove home the fact that this station was by, for and about women.

Programming was a mix of talk, jazz and easy listening. Women program directors screened new releases for inappropriate lyrics or suggestive content. The station proved popular with female listeners and advertisers alike, lasting for 11 years and spawning a handful of copy-cats, most of which duplicated the on-air female voices but didn’t follow through and employ women behind the scenes as producers, copywriters and salespeople, as WHER did.

Today (1966), radio is still seen primary as a man’s business, with few women on air and even less behind the scenes, but for a brief period, women ran the show in Memphis. As Assistant Manager and Program Director Dorothy Abbott ( a.k.a ''Dot Holiday'') was quoted saying, ''We are not trying to prove that we can get along in a world without men. We are simply trying to prove that when a group of women make up their collective minds that they are going to do something successfully, no force on earth can keep them from it''.

As of 2008, the 1430 kHz frequency is occupied by WOWW, a radio Disney affiliate.

OCTOBER 30, 1955 SUNDAY

Sam Phillips set off for Houston, Texas, with Marion Keisker for a preliminary injunction hearing in federal court on his lawsuit against Duke Records. In order to be in U.S District Court the next morning for his long-awaited hearing (it had been more than eighteen months now) of the Little Junior Parker theft-of-personal services case.

For all practical purposes, of course, the outcome had been long since established, Little Junior was at this point a recognized star on Don Robey's Duke label. But even though many might have, and had, been deterred by Robey's reputation and associations (as one of his short-term associates put it, ''he wasn't scared of the forked-tongued devil himself''), Sam Phillips was not going to be deflected or scared off. He was determined to have his day in court.

The regular judge, Ben C. Connally, was clearly more sympathetic to the case than his superannuated substitute back in April of 1954 and, after several days of court testimony by Sam Phillips, Marion Keisker, Don Robey, and others awarded unspecified damages to Sun Records for what he found to be a clear case of contractual interference. Eventually cumulative damages, including punitive, were set at $17,500, and after lengthy appeals, which wound their way all the way to the Supreme Court in what was deemed an historic case, Sam Phillips finally got his $17,500, plus interest.

OCTOBER 31, 1955 MONDAY

Charlie Feathers signed an AFM (American Federation of Musicians) contract for a Charlie Feathers session for his engagement at Sun Records.

The Wilburn Brothers recorded ''You've Not Play Love''.

Capitol released Hank Thompson's ''Don't Take It Out On Me''.

> Page Up <

For Biographies of Artists see: > The Sun Biographies <
Sun recordings can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on 
> YouTube <
 

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©