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ELVIS SUN 1954 (8-9)
August 1, 1954 to September 30, 1954

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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 <
Elvis Presley's Sun recordings can be heard on the playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <
 
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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'''. You 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 clientèle.

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 rockabilly oriented.

"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

For Elvis Presley's Sun recording(s) click on the available > buttons <

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.

> ''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.

> ''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)

> ''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

> ''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

> ''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.

> ''BLUE MOON'' - B.M.I. - 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

For Elvis Presley's Sun recording(s) click on the available > buttons <

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.

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

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

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

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

"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".

"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

For Elvis Presley's Sun recording(s) click on the available > buttons <

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.

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

> ''TOMORROW NIGHT'' - B.M.I. - 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

> ''TOMORROW NIGHT'' - B.M.I. - 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.

> ''TOMORROW NIGHT'' - B.M.I. - 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

"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

"I'll NEVER LET YOU GO (LITTLE DARLIN')" - A.S.C.A.P. - 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

> ''I'lLL NEVER LET YOU GO (LITTLE DARLIN') '' - A.S.C.A.P. - 3:08 <
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.

"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

"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 gospel influenced 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 up-tempo tune. Sam Phillips, trying to calm Elvis Presley, agreed, reasoning that a rocking rhythm and blues song was the solution.

"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.

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

> ''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.

"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

"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

"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

> ''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

> ''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.)

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)

"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

"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

"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 I'll 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!".

> ''I DON'T CARE IF THE SUN DON'T SHINE'' - B.M.I. - 1:13 <
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 sized 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.

> ''I DON'T CARE IF THE SUN DON'T SHINE'' - B.M.I. - 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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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.

For Elvis Presley's Sun recording(s) click on the available > buttons <

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".

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