ELVIS SUN 1955 (4)
April 1, 1955 to April 30, 1955

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Studio Session for Elvis Presley, Early April 1955
Live Broadcast Recordings for Elvis Presley, April 30, 1955

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

"Sam asked me if I would be interested in doing some studio work", recalled Lott, "and I said I would. I was maybe fifteen or sixteen years old, and I was at home one night and took a phone call from Sam Phillips''. ''I had bronchitis at the time, but I loaded up my drums into my mom's car. Elvis was standing in the doorway of the studio. He had long greasy duck-tails, which was not too cool with my group''.

''We cut three songs, "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone", "You're A Heartbreaker", and "How Do You Think I Feel". "I set a latin tempo to "How Do You Think I Feel", which D.J. Fontana used when they rerecorded the song at Victor. Sam asked me if I would be interesting in working with the group and I told him a had another year of school and couldn't".



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A Scotty Moore rehearsal ''How Do You Think I Feel'' with Elvis' voice, Bill Black's bass off mike. His backup musicians were Bill Black on bass and NOT Johnny Bernero, but Jimmie Lott on drums. Elvis attended the session and can be heard singing the song off mike. "How Do You Think I Feel" remained unreleased until 1987, when it appeared as one complete track in the boxed set "The Sun Country Years 1950 - 1959" and the bootleg CD ''When All Was Kool'' (1991). A few little surviving snippets offered tantalising glimpses of the creative process at work. The last of those little snippets is included on this session.

Unfortunately, Elvis Presley is largely off mike. On the session was Doug Poindexter. The guitar licks heard on this song, used by the Delmore Brothers in a 1949 recording ''Blues Stay Away From Me'' were added by Poindexter. "I listened to the Delmore Brothers and they helped with guitar licks I used at Sun Records", Poindexter revealed. Richard Weize of Bear Family Records have discovered many unknown and unreleased Elvis Presley recordings up through the years.

Composer: - Wayne P. Walker-Webb Pierce
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Gedarwood Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Rehearsal Take 1 (3:17)
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Elvis' voice, Bill Black bass off mike, at rehearsing.
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm boxed set BFX-15211-5/7 mono
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2/34 mono


Composer: - Cindy Walker-Webb Pierce
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Gedarwood Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Rehearsal (1:10)
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm boxed set BFX-15211-5/7 mono
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2/35 mono

On the Bear Family Records LP box-set "The Sun Country Years 1950 - 1959" and the bootleg CD ''When All Was Kool'' released in 1991, ''How Do You Think I Feel'' was released as one complete track here.

Composer: - Ivory Joe Hunter
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Unichappell Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Tape Lost
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955 - Probably Rehearsal

Composer: - Charles ''Jack'' Alvin Sallee
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Tryout – Tape Lost
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955

Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Bill Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 1 – Breakdown
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Released: - Sun Unissued

Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Bill Taylor
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 2 – Pickup
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Released: - Sun Unissued

Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Bill Taylor
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 3 – Pickup  (2:33)
Recorded: - Unknown Date March 1955
Released: - Sun Unissued

Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Bill Taylor
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 4 (2:33)
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Released: - Sun Unissued

Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Bill Taylor
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 5 (2:38)
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Released: - Sun Unissued

Steve Sholes Session Notes

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

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

Jimmie Lott joined Warren Smith's band after returning to Memphis. He recorded several sessions with Smith, but eventually left to pursue a career in sales as his family responsibilities mounted.

"That's the tape of... Sam's putting echo / slapback on my guitar...", recalled Scotty Moore. "This tape is the tape that was on the second machine - the machine that he's only feeding my signal to. It's only a run through, it's not a finished take. The signal being delayed on.

Jimmie Lott claims that the same day, "How Do You Think I Feel" and "You're A Heartbreaker" was recorded. So far though the only tape to surface is one featuring Scotty Moore's guitar part for "How Do You Think I Feel". Elvis is said to be audible in the background, from a session December 8, 1954. Does this show that Steve Sholes didn't list everything on a tape, or prove that someone has a missing tape.

Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Bill Taylor
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 142 SUN - F2WB-8047 - Master Take 6 (2:36)
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Released: - April 25, 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single Sun 217-A mono
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-3/27 mono

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elvis Presley - Vocal and Acoustic Rhythm Guitar (Martin Dreadnought 18)
Scotty Moore - Electric Lead Guitar (Gibson ES 295)
Bill Black - Acoustic Upright Bass (Kay Maestro M-1)
Jimmie Lott or Johnny Bernero - Drums (Gretsch Round Badge Kit)
Probably Doug Poindexter - Guitar

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(Above) The Pierce Ector County Auditorium was built in 1954 and can accommodate more than 5,000 seated people. Nowadays the Ector County Coliseum is the home of an arena football team called the West Texas Roughnecks and an ice-hockey team called the Odessa Jackalopes. It also hosts the Sand Hills Rodeo and the biennial Permian Basin International Oil Show. The building resembles an indoor stadium, and the gracious manager not only took us on a tour of the building, but also told us about the many events that have been held there.


Onie Wheeler opened the 8:15 p.m. show when Elvis Presley played a "Rockin'-Rollin' Dance" in Odessa at the Pierce Ector County Auditorium. Scotty Moore and Bill Black backed Elvis Presley, as usual, along with a local drummer, Charles Ray Scott.

Also backing Elvis were pianist Floyd Cramer and steel guitarist James Clayton "Jimmy" Day, two regular members of the Louisiana Hayride's house band. Tickets were $1.25 per person and attendance was reported at 850. The show's sponsor was the local Voting Home Owners Club.

According to Joyce Trower, ''I worked in the Odessa shop, and Mr. Holifield had him in here, it seems like almost every month. I sold tickets for the show in the shop. My boyfriend stood guard at the door to the dressing room, and he couldn't understand that the girls were climbing over him to get to Elvis. One time they came through here, and they didn't have a drummer. I had been in a band at high school, and I called Charles Ray Scott''.

''He came and played a little for them, and they said, 'Great'! and he played the show that night''. A reported audience of 850 gathered that night.

APRIL 1955

"I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone"/"Baby Let's Play House" (SUN 217) by Elvis Presley is released (April 25). Elvis Presley is now touring with Onie Wheeler. He also appears on the Big ''D'' Jamboree in Dallas, Texas, with Tex Ritter.

Slim Rhodes is signed to Sun Records. Slim and his band The Mountaineers are now on WMCT-TV, Memphis and KVTV, Pine Bluff, Arkansas weekly. Billboard reviews Rhodes'"Don't Believe"/"Uncertain Love" (SUN 216) as "strong talent, despite run of the mill ideas".

"I've Been Deceived" (Flip 502) by Charlie Feathers and "Someday You Will Pay" (Flip 504)by the Miller Sisters are released.

The promoter failed to adequately advertise the concert, and it was a long, dull eveningElvis Presley was depressed. During the show, they played country tunes. Most countryartists didn't use drums, and the tradition-minded country crowd was curious about D.J. Fontana, whom Elvis Presley had brought along. After the performance, Elvis Presley onceagain reasoned that perhaps Bob Neal was not the right person to guide his career.Whenever Elvis Presley felt depressed, ho drove to the "Louisiana Hayride" to spent sometime with his musical friends.


According to a brief article in Billboard, Elvis was booked solid through April. It was mentioned that Onie Wheeler would be working a number of dates in Arkansas with Elvis. (During April, Elvis appeared at a jamboree in El Dorado, which drew a full house to the local High School Auditorium. Appearing with Elvis Presley were Onie Wheeler, Betty Amos, and T. Tommy and his band. Elvis Presley was also reported to have played Texarkana with Chessie Smith, and St. Helena late in April).

From 8:00 to 11:30 p.m., Elvis Presley performed in Houston at the Houston City Auditorium on a remote broadcast of the Louisiana Hayride. Headlining the show was Slim Whitman. Also appearing on this broadcast were Jimmy Newman, Betty Amos, Johnny Horton, Jeanette Hicks, Jack Ford and Hoot and Curley. A later report called the turnout of country music fans, "one of the largest crowds ever to fill the Houston City Auditorium". As many as 2,000 fans were turned away at the door. Billboard magazine wrote, ''Elvis performed, ''Little Mama'', ''That's All Right'', ''You're A Heartbreaker'', and ''Shake, Rattle And Roll''.


Elvis Presley is stopped by officer Nolan Strange for speeding on U.S. Highway 171 in Caddo Parish outside of Shreveport, Louisiana, in the 1954 four door pink and white Cadillac at 80 mph in a 60 mph zone that he has bought since Bill Black wrecked the Lincoln. He post $25 bond and is notified to appear for arrangement on Tuesday, April 5. "I turned around and followed him for eight miles at speeds of 65 to 80 mph ...," says a statement by the trooper who stopped Elvis.

On April 5, his name was called three times at the Caddo Courthouse door but he failed to appear, leading to the forfeiture of the bond, records show.


It is beyond doubt that Elvis Presley played at the Nettleton High School outside of Jonesboro, Arkansas. It was for the class of '55, which means it was definitely no later than the month of May. The photo sold at the show was not used until mid-January of 1955, and most witnesses remember that the weather was mild and they wore short sleeves. Dub Pardew of Pardew's Department Store gave a young man in a yellow outfit driving a pink 1954 Cadillac directions to the school, which puts the show after March 1. Elvis came back from somewhere at 11:30 that night, according to a private source, and would have been able to do that, playing in Nettleton. The show could also have been on some of the other open dates in March and April, and in principle also on May 20, although that seems to be too late in the school year to make sense.

Bob Neal reports to Colonel Tom Parker that he is unable to fulfill the Colonel's request that he find out where Elvis records are selling. Meanwhile, the Colonel and Tom Diskin continue to try to drum up interest in Elvis from promoters throughout the South.

APRIL 5, 1955

Elvis Presley played at the Charleston High School Gym in Charleston Mississippi. According to Otey Sherman an Charleston banker remembers, ''George Bailey Peters was president of the Future Farmers of America at Charleston High School, and Bill Hardin was the facility advisor.

Early in 1955, the rumors started about this country music act that was different and had the girls screaming. Bill contacted Bob Neal, and Elvis was booked for the show on April 5th. The old gym was readied with a small stage just under the goal. He used the boys' dressing room at the left side of the stage to make his entrance''.

Peggy Newman says, ''All the girls were screaming and jumping around in front of the stage. After the show, Elvis looked me up and we had a nice talk. He shared the fact that he had come from very poor people and he wanted to be somebody. Before he drove off, he called me to the car and kissed me goodbye''. George Peters counted the gate and gave Elvis his $175 share.

Songwriter John Marascalco says, ''I had written ''Rip It Up'' and had it on tape. I was talking with one of the disc jockeys there, and he told me, 'Hey, I hear Elvis is going to be in Charleston'. So I jumped in my car that night and went over to the gymnasium in that town. Bob Neal, who was Elvis' first manager, was at the door. I said, 'Bob, I work for radio station WNAG in Granada, Mississippi. I've got a song I'd like to play for Elvis'. He said, Okay, wait 'til intermission and I'll let you go back there'. So, at intermission I went backstage and met Bill Black, Scotty Moore, and Elvis. Elvis was an unbelievable guy, the nicest person you'd want to meet. I told Elvis how great he sounded and how great the crowd was reacting to him. I said, 'I've got a song I'd like to play you', and Elvis said, 'Play it'. I brought my tape recorder with me and played him a demo of ''Rip It Up''. He said, 'I love it'! I said, 'Great'! Hey said, 'I don't pick my songs. Sam Phillips picks my songs. Call Sam and tell him you played it for me tonight. Tell him that I wanted him to hear it, and up to Memphis and play it for him'. I said, 'You got it, man'. So I went up to see Sam Phillips in Memphis to play him ''Rip It Up''. he said, 'I like the song but I'm taking Elvis a new way'. Undoubtedly, the demo had a little more of a country feel than I thought. Sam said, 'I like the song but I'm gonna pass'. But after the fact, that opened the door to allow me to submit other stuff to Sam, and he recorded some of my songs'', said John Marascalco.

Edited from ''Writing for the King'' by Ken Sharp

Eventually, Elvis Presley recorded later for RCA Victor two of John Marascalco's song for his second album, ''Rip It Up'', and ''Ready Teddy'', both hits by Little Richard at this time.


Elvis Presley, and probably Onie Wheeler, appeared at 3:30 and 8:00 p.m. at the meeting room of Alcorn Court House in Corinth, Mississippi. Tickets were 75-cents for adults and 50-cents for "school children". Only a handful of people turned up for the 3:30 p.m. show in Corinth, and the first show was cancelled. Elvis looked quite disappointed as he left the building, then parked his guitar at Borroum's Drugstore across the street from the Courthouse and headed out to pay his hometown Tupelo a visit before the evening show.

Becky Martin, one of Elvis' favourite fifth-grade classmates at Lawhon Elementary School, was walking home from work on Lake Street, having stopped to pick up one of her little sisters from school, when all of a sudden a pink Cadillac stopped on the curb right in front of her. Its pink door opened and, before her dazzled eyes, out sprang a vision clad in bright Kelly green. Before she could take in anything but those colors blazing in the sun, the Kellygreen suit wrapped itself around her in a great big hug and then plucked her little sister clear off the sidewalk with another big hug. ''Elvis''! ''Becky! Come on, hop in, you both''. They rode in style for about ten yards to Becky's father's cafe next to his grocery store. Once there, Elvis ordered them the sodas of their choice and all the candy the youngest Miss Martin could consume on the spot and store up for later. Then, casually, Elvis wandered over to the jukebox, ran his eyes over the titles, and put in a couple of nickels. He strolled back to their table, sat down and began chewing his nails.

The jukebox came to life and made that funny lurching noise it always does before the record clicks into place. Then came the amplified whoosing sound of the needle spinning for a couple of silent groove revolutions and then at last, music. Though the five crisp fast bars of rhythmic strings, Elvis sat silent except for his fingers drumming on the table, and then unexpectedly cutting in somewhere, somehow at the end of the fifth, or was it the beginning of the sixth bar, like silk tearing across the taut strings, came that clear, piercing, unearthly voice, pure and pleading, that voice unlike any ever heard before, ''Well, that's all right, mama...''.

Elvis, grinning from ear to ear, couldn't sit still. Back and forth he slid around in his seat, turning from Becky' to her sister and back again, asking, ''Who's that? Huh? Who's that''?

The record played once round, and then it played for the second time. Becky looked at Elvis amazement. There they were, sitting in the same cafe they had sat in when they were kids of ten, when Elvis used to sing in Mrs. Grines' class.

As for Elvis, in his eyes his old friend Becky remained unchanged; east Tupelo was unchanged and he himself was unchanged, except for the fact that it was undeniably his voice singing to them over the jukebox. It would be hard to imagine by what more satisfactory yardstick Elvis could have measured what he had accomplished than by the expression on Becky's face at that moment.

Elvis looked at his watch and saw that he had to leave. He was on his way up to Corinth to appear on WMCA on Buddy Bain's show that evening, he explained, and he just happened to find himself passing through Tupelo, but here he broke off to confess it wasn't like that at all. The truth was he'd suddenly felt the need that day to get in his car and come down to see Tupelo alone. He didn't know why, really. Didn't know what he expected to find. Then Elvis was kissing Becky goodbye and making her promise to come and see him whenever she came to Memphis. She promised she would, and she meant it. Her mother and father had recently divorced; her father was living with his new wife in Memphis and thereafter, whenever Becky went to visit her father, she stopped in to see Elvis. And often afterwards, whenever Becky recalled their meeting, his Kelly-green suit, his pink car, and his record on the jukebox, she thought whatever it was he was looking for that day, he'd found it.

BECKY MARTIN - Becky Martin of Tupelo, Mississippi, was a classmate and friend of Elvis Presley during the Lawhon Elementary School in East Tupelo, Mississippi, and back in the mid 1940s. In a letter she sent the writer a photograph of herself being interviewed by a BBC TV actor Marc Bannerman who was in Tupelo, birthplace of the late Elvis Presley, with a camera team filming a variety of scenes for a TV documentary on the life and times of Elvis. Over the years Becky has featured in quite a few Elvis related TV documentaries, and is therefore a part of popular music history.

Her present home lies just across the road from the little house where Elvis was born. Becky kindly enclosed a photo of herself and Mrs Grimes who was the teacher who encouraged Elvis to sing the song "Old Shep" to the class. Becky Martin knew Elvis from the very early years, she was also with him at the Mississippi/Alabama Fair show were Elvis won the 5th place in place talent show were he sang ''Old Shep''. Becky has been battling cancer for years; had been in and out of hospitals, always fighting that dread disease with the heart of a warrior; and more recently had been transferred to a Tupelo rehab center.

Becky Martin of Tupelo, Mississippi, died in the early morning hours of June 9, 2004 of heart failure. Becky Martin has been, for decades, the true friend of all Elvis fans who visited the Elvis Presley birthplace home in Tupelo.

(Above) Contract for Elvis’ performance at the B&B Club in Gobler, Missouri on April 8, 1955. It’s signed by Elvis in green ink, but its possible that this is Bob Neal’s penmanship.

According to the contract, Elvis, Scotty, Bill and DJ would receive 75% of the admission money, but had to supply their own window cards announcing their appearance. The contract is between Elvis and Jimmy Haggett, who worked at KBOA radio and booked entertainers on the side.


Elvis Presley was late arriving for his appearance at the B&B Club in Gobler, Missouri. A dangerous ice storm had slowed his progress. Scotty Moore and Bill Black were at the club quite a while before Elvis Presley, and when he made his entrance "the party began".

Onie Wheeler, Bob Neal and Jimmy Haggett and his band the Daydreamers, were on hand for the festivities. Admission was $1.50. The ice storm kept the crowd small, and tickets sales did not leave Elvis Presley enough money for gas to get himself and the band back to Memphis.

After the show, everyone travelled to Sikeston, the home town of Wheeler and his band, where they ate at Little Man's Cafe across from the Armory. The weather was too dangerous for travel, so Elvis Presley and the group slept on the living room floor of the home belonging to Ernie Thompson, a musician with Wheeler's combo. Ernie's wife, Alma, remembers that Elvis Presley subsisted on milk and dough-nuts because he didn't drink coffee. The next morning, Ernie Thompson lent Elvis Presley the money to get home.

B&B CLUB - Peaceful little Gobler, home of the Gobler Mercantile Store, which billed itself as "Missouri's Largest Country Store", was an unlikely candidate to host one of Missouri's toughest roadhouses. The B&B Club was built in 1952 by Gerald Burke and a man named Bounds, and it was managed by the Pughs, Walter and Gleeda. The B&B was as rowdy a dance hall as one could hope to find. The main reason for its reputation was its location. It sat on the Pemiscot County side of State Route 108, with tiny Gobler across the highway in Dunklin County. No matter how often the good people in Gobler complained, their neighbours in Pemiscot County did little to curtail the activities at the B&B. As a result, the club which was open 24-hours a day, justly earned its descriptive nickname, "The Bloody Bucket".

Don "T-Bone" Hall of Kennett, the county seat of Dunklin County, recalled, "The boys would come in wearing their gumbo (a local reference to Missouri's sticky mud) boots. After a couple of beers they would go from one person to another asking them if they wanted to fight". Because of local laws prohibiting the sale of hard liquor in clubs, the B&B sold only beer, along with soup, sandwiches and setups. However, right next door to the B&B was the package liquor store. Morris Browning, a sax player who often played at the B&B, remembers the layout of the club. The dance floor occupied the largest part of the building with the bar and a crap table in a smaller room behind and to the left. The bandstand was very small, with only a white curtain as a back-drop. In front of the stage was a lattice-work fence to protect the entertainers from the customers. After years of legal problems, the B&B passed into history in December 1962, destroyed by a mysterious fire. The Gobler Mercantile Store had already met the same fate in 1956.


Elvis Presley was back in Shreveport on the "Louisiana Hayride". Elvis Presley appear on the show without pay, and members of the "Hayride" remember that Bob Neal and Elvis Presley fought about his future. It was now clear to many that Neal's inexperience was hurting Elvis Presley. Sam Phillips, for his part, worried that Elvis' management problems might affect his concert appearances, which would in turn hurt his record sales.

Elvis performs ''That's All Right'', ''I Got A Woman'', and ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'' on a show that also includes Johnny Horton, Hoot and Curley, and Jim Reeves.


Although there was no advertising, in all likelihood Elvis Presley played at Magnolia Gardens in the afternoon, followed by a show that evening at Cook's Hoedown Club in Houston, Texas


Tickets for Elvis' 8:00 p.m. show at the High School Auditorium in Breckenridge, Texas, were $1.00 in advance at the Harmony House and $1.25 for adults and 75-cents for children at the door after 6 o'clock. Opening the show were a collection of local acts, including Fonda Wallace, eleven-year old "Pretty Little" Dee Don, Ben and Deana Hall, steel-guitarist Weldon Myrick, and future Sun rockabilly singer Dean Beard, who was a regular on KRBS in Abilene.

These performers were followed by Onie Wheeler. Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black took the stage about three-fourths of the way through the two-hour show. Elvis sings ''That's All Right'', ''I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine'', ''Tweedlee Dee'', and ends with ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky''. The paper reports that many of the young women ''swooned with his every appearance on stage''. It is also noted that more than one man is overheard saying: ''I'd like to meet him out behind the bar'', or ''I'd better not see any girlfriend of mine going up after an autograph from that singer''.

The next day's article by Ann Cowan in the Breckenridge American offered the first post-show review of an Elvis concert. Ms. Cowan reported that he arrived in his pink Cadillac and played to a "near capacity crowd of teenagers and adults". On stage, Scotty Moore and Bill Black wore "vivied orange shirts" and charcoal trousers while Elvis Presley emphasized his "cat look" by donning a shirt and slacks in an apricot shade of orange and a black sport coat with inserts of orange in the jacket's back. Ms. Cowan noted that his show was a big success with the young women in the audience, many of whom "near swooned with his every appearance on stage".

However, Elvis Presley had the opposite reaction on their boyfriends, several of whom were over heard exchanging "vicious statements" among themselves about what they would do to Elvis "behind the barn". According to Ms. Cowan, Elvis Presley performed several songs that he had not recorded, including "Tweedlee Dee".

He also sang "That's All Right", "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine", and "Blue Moon Of Kentucky". Jay Thompson, disc jockey at local KTSB radio, recalled that Elvis Presley was paid $300 plus 50% of ticket sales above $300. It was his later impression that Elvis' first appearance in Breckenridge lost money.

THE BRECKENRIDGE STORY - After a break Elvis, Scotty, and Bill started another set of back to back gigs across north central Texas, starting in Breckenridge. Poised on the brink of West Texas, Breckenridge lay in Tornado Alley, about 100 miles. . . from absolutely nothing. Immediately after the show, the boys would have to scoot 166 miles through the "lake district" to their Thursday Gainesville concert, only to back-track past Breckenridge to catch Friday night's double feature in Stamford. On these long drives, Scotty and Bill usually alternated at the wheel, not out of deference to their lead singer, but out of sheer self preservation.

With a country driver certainty that any road they traveled would eventually get him to his destination, Elvis maintained a brilliance for getting lost. Earlier ventures found Scotty jolted awake in the wee hours of the morning by the uneven surface of an abandoned gravel road. When asked for a location update, Elvis contentedly announced that he didn't know, while continuing to rocket through country so remote, even the local roadrunners had to consult their GPS compasses. It's said that when you see road signs printed in Spanish , you should start worrying. Thus, Elvis-the-driver got demoted to Elvis the passer for the majority of their adventures., except when they needed speed. Then Elvis was their man. This agreement lasted until Elvis bought his first car, a 1951 Lincoln Cosmopolitan he was so attached to they had to pry him out with a crowbar.

Scotty pulled up short in front of Breckenridge High School. The dirt that had chased them across the state finally settled across the broad hood of the used pink and white Cadillac, stuffed to the girls with band equipment. Last month, after a valiant struggle, the Chevy Bell Aire got called to a higher service station.

True to his promise in Abilene, disc jockey Sid Foster brought Elvis and the gang to his hometown stomping ground. Sid personally arranged the concert, filling the bill with the local talent of disc jockey/singer Ben Hall; country singer Onie Wheeler; Dean Baird, who played with the Champs of "Tequila" fame; Weldon Myrick, whose steel guitar stylings can still be heard behind many other famous musicians; Gene Funderburk; and Sid himself.

Sid made sure the concert received a plug from every disc jockey who owed him a favor, which constituted most of the state. Packed to the rafters with rock-a-billy aficionados ready to party, the house band found it an easy task warming up the audience. They were already stoked when Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys vaulted on the stage and set the high school ablaze. The girls shrieked their approval of everything that came from Elvis's mouth. He could have sung "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," and the females would still have screamed. And when he gave them the come-hither look and sang, "I'd rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with another man," the women climbed over the beats and their boyfriends' heads to rip the orange and black Ricky Ricardo jacket off his body.

Needless to say, the boyfriends ceased to be quite so thrilled at the evening's entertainment. Bill danced with his bass and slapped it in time to Scotty's mad guitar pounding. Strings flew off Elvis's guitar as he literally ripped the chords off his Martin. Warned by Sid that Elvis played the guitar like a ravenous wolf with a T-bone, the house band stayed out of the range of the Martin jerking violently on the neck strap. Elvis had been known during particularly happenin' moments to slam the instrument backwards so violently that it bashed into the gut of any unsuspecting band member who stood within ten feet behind him. Years later when a newspaper reporter remarked to Johnny Cash that he played the guitar hard, Cash exclaimed, ''I don't play hard. Now, Elvis, he played hard. He broke strings before he got started''.

Tonight the only victim to his enthusiasm was the six-string, five-string, four-string, three string. Bill Black asked backup Gene Funderburk if Elvis could borrow his guitar while the other one went into outpatient surgery. Gene resisted the temptation to clutch it to his chest and take off for parts unknown. Like a parent watching his only daughter moving out of the house, Gene painfully handed over the precious instrument to the wild man. Ironically, Elvis treated it like Gene's daughter, stroking the strings gently instead of wrenching them off the neck.

After the performance, Elvis returned it to its grateful owner/father, not a scratch marring the surface.

During the photograph signings, Elvis found himself a date to take to the Dairy Mart for a burger and Coke. He returned a few hours later to catch Sid's wife, cousin, and Sid himself going out for a late bite at the Why Not Cafe. A second dinner? Why not.

One of the girls at the show walked home that night, proudly bearing a newly autographed Elvis picture. When she got ready to pay the baby-sitter, she realized she'd fust spent her last available dollar on a picture of the King. Instead of waiting for a bank to open in the morning, or an ATM to be invented in forty years, the baby-sitter opted to take the picture instead. Even though she hadn't been to the concert, she thought the man in the photograph looked handsome. That photograph is now worth about $750, pretty much what one night of baby-sitting costs today.


According to Ms. Cowan, Elvis Presley left Breckenridge in the morning driving his pink Cadillac while clothed in pink slacks and a sport shirt the colour of orchids.

That evening Elvis Presley and Onie Wheeler played at 8:00 p.m. show at Owl Park, the local baseball field in Gainesville, Texas. Opening tonight's concert were Frank Starr and the Rock-a-Way Boys.

Frankie Starr recorded for Lin Records, a local Gainesville label. This show was staged by Jerry O'Dell of KGAF radio. Tickets sales at the ball park totalled $257 with ducats priced at $1.00 and 50-cents.

When Joe Leonard, the owner of KGAF Radio and Lin Records, booked Elvis to play at the Gainesville Baseball Field, he didn't exactly have philanthropy in mind. Mr. Leonard wanted to promote his own singer, Frank Starr, and thought that hitching him to the Hillbilly Cat would act as good exposure to him. Mr. Leonard executed the usual advertisements on the radio and newspaper. His promos adorned every telephone pole in town.

He even ordered a 25-count box of Elvis Presley's records from Big State Distributors in Dallas to sell at the show so he wouldn't be accused of playing favorites when he whipped out the trailer full of Frank Starr's single.

Elvis, Scotty, and Bill drove the couple hundred miles from Breckenridge to Gainesville. They arrived in town revved from last night's performance, ready for their Gainesville stint. Unfortunately, Gainesville wasn't ready for them.

The boys zigged through town and rolled out into the sticks, where radio station KGAF perched in the cornfield. Elvis, clad in his orange and pink travel best, crawled out of the Cadi and stretched his back after the long drive. Scotty and Bill spilled out after him. Slicking back his hair and fluffing up his sideburns, Elvis approached the front door of the radio station just in time for the station's chief engineer to spot them coming up the walkway. He yelled into the other room, panic clearly audible in his voice. Someone better lock the door; there's some hoodlum-types outside! The disc jockey swiveled to peer out the window. Oh, it's probably those guys who are going to play tonight.

The three wandered inside and acted so polite during their interview that the engineer feit guilty for planning to bolt the door on them. No one in the station mentioned the "hoodlum" comment to the performers. After the interview, Elvis, Scotty, and Bill drove back to town. They checked into the Curtwood Motel to grab a couple of winks before that night's show.

For the show, a couple of flatbed trucks had been maneuvered onto the Owl Park baseball field, where hundreds of empty bleachers awaited the throngs of eager music lovers. As eight o'clock neared, a handful of folks trickled into the stadium. At showtime, less than 200 people peppered the stands.

Elvis leapt onto the flatbed and played his heart out just as he did in Breckenridge, but the audience response lacked the electricity that zapped the halls of the high school. After the show, folks filed out without a word, leaving two big boxes of unsold records collecting dust on the baseball grounds.

Elvis apologized to Mr. Leonard for not making any money for him. Tickets sales netted $300, of which Elvis, Scotty, and Bill received $270. Leonard tried to console the visibly upset young man that folks around there liked their country music a bit more conservative than he delivered. Leonard told them he personally liked their sound very much.

Unappeased, Elvis promised Leonard that he would do a free show for him to make up for the fiscal disaster. Leonard agreed.

Scotty, Bill, and a couple of KGAF's disc jockeys drove across the Oklahoma border that night to drown their sorrows in a pint at a rustic joint called the B-29. Elvis attended his usual date, drowning his sorrows in another, less alcoholic, method.

A year later Elvis spied Leonard at a disc jockey convention. He marched over to the owner and told him to set a date. ''I'll come do a show for free 'cause I hate people to lose money because of me''. By this time Elvis made several thousand dollars a performance, so his offer set the standard for generosity. Parker decidedly had other plans. The Colonel had scissored the word "free" out of his personal dictionary long ago.


Remaining in central Texas, Elvis Presley gave a stage show at 7:00 p.m. in the Stamford High School Auditorium in Stamford, Texas. Ads promised a combination of "Blue Moon Good Rockin'". The show also featured Onie Wheeler. Tonight's entertainment sponsored by the senior class, which was trying to raise money to charter a bus to New Orleans for their senior trip.

At 9:00 p.m., the entertainers moved over to the Round Up Hall, the High School's Gymnasium, for a dance until the wee hours of the morning. After his part of the show, Elvis Presley was ferried to local radio stations by Miss Roulhac Toledano in her father's Dodge, which was filled with her friends. When Elvis Presley was through making the promotional appearances everyone stopped at Nat's cafe for chicken-fried steak.

Judy Metz Jackson and Susan Ann McKnight grew bored watching the Stamford High School's April track meet, so they decided to leave and grab a coke at the Super Dog in town. When they arrived, the two girls were stopped short by the vision of a pink and white Cadillac, parked like an alien spacecraft outside the dog stand. Curious if these were the Louisiana Hayride singers who were slated to play the high school gym that night, they forgot their weenie fix and followed the strange car to the local radio station, located like most of its kind, in the rural fields outside the city limits. One man hopped out of the car, and the two others sped off. The girls shimmied in the doors after their quarry. They scooted down the hall to their favorite DJ and barged in during an interview. The girls watched as the young man plugged his show that evening at the high school auditorium with a molasses-slow accent and invited folks to come out to the Roundup Hall afterwards. When the interview ended, the girls "hem-hemmed" their DJ until he introduced the handsome young stranger.

Apparently his name was Elvis Presley, and he didn't have a ride back to his motel. Would the girls do a big favor to the station and drive him back to town?

Oh, no problem absolutely, they just happened to be going that way.

Although the girls agreed on the transport, the seating arrangement caused a scuffle, which Elvis cured by sitting in the middle and putting his arm around each girl. He kidded with them all the way into town, and when they pulled up in front of his motel, he prodded Judy for a little kissy-poo goodbye.

''I can't, I'm going steady'', she quavered. (She'd even buckled the back of her hobble skirt so everyone would know her pre-premarital status.)

So am I, but who cares, Sue Ann replied, and Elvis gave her a tonsillectomy of a kiss.

Rumor spreads fast in small towns, but like the game of Operator, the truth got a bit distorted. By the dance at the Roundup Hall that night, everyone believed that Judy had been caught smooching with the musician, much to the girls' envy and her boyfriend's extreme annoyance. He made a scene on the dance floor. Elvis flew off the stage and told the boyfriend that Judy had turned him down because she was going steady with the boyfriend's worthless hide, not that he deserved her. Elvis didn't, however, bother to mention that Sue Ann apparently felt no conflict of interest.

Apparently, April 15 was Damsels-In-Distress night at the Roundup Hall. Shirley Stewart drove from Abilene to attend the dance with her friends. None of them were on hand, however, when she got crushed by the surging crowd after leaving the poorly placed restroom. A wave shoved her petite frame into the stage at Elvis's feet and her teeth into the polisheil wood siding. After a few frantic seconds, she became airborne and landed on her feet facing Elvis, his hand under her arm. The show continued without a hitch, and after the set, Elvis found Shirley and asked her if she'd like to dance.

After touring the floor a few times, Shirley decided that he sure could sing, but he couldn't dance to save his ever-lovin' soul. A few bruised toes did not stop her, however, from accepting his generous invitation to drive her back to Abilene an hour away. On the road to Abilene the two talked about his shows in the area and in particular, his performance in Breckenridge two nights before. Elvis pulled a newspaper slipping out of his wallet about the show. The journalist wrote that girls loved him, but boys wanted to take him out back, presumably to realign his facial features. Elvis told her that he didn't understand why those boys wanted to whip him; he was just trying to earn a living. He said he didn't want her to think he was bragging, but truthfully, he'd made more money at the show in Stamford than anywhere else before.

Shirley told him that speaking of earning a living, she and her friends had appeared on television that day modeling hairdos for the beauty school she attended. Elvis told her, you may have beat me to TV, but I'11 get there.

They arrived at the small apartment Shirley shared with her friends, and she invited him in. Elvis plopped onto the couch and propped his feet on the coffee table, and they gabbed for a while. Very shortly it became obvious that some of the girls had been preparing to go to bed. Elvis stood to leave. Shirley's roommate, Barbara, sauntered by on the way to her room and whispered coyly in her ear, make sure you get a kiss from him before he leaves. He must have overheard her, because just before leaving, Elvis remarked, you know, I like to treat a lady as I would expect someone to treat my sister, if I had one. With that, he bolted to Barbara's room and leapt onto her bed, trying to plant a kiss on her startled, shrieking lips, only to slide off her face. Good ole Golden Pencock Cream #1, face cream so greasy you can lube your car and your face at the same time. And oh yes, it protects you from rock singers with a sense of humor.


Elvis Presley played the "Big ''D'' Jamboree" in Dallas, Texas. The show was held in the Huge Sportatorium from 8:00 p.m. to midnight, and featured Sonny James, Hank Locklin, born in McLellen, Florida on February 15, 1918. In his youth Locklin leaned toward becoming an Irish tenor, Charlene Arthur, the Bellew Twins, Jimmie Collie, Doug Bragg, LeFawn Paul, Orville Couch, Riley Crabtree, Joe Bill and others, including three bands.

According to promoter J.F. Dolan, Elvis "pulled a terrific crowd". "This is the Big ''D'' Jamboree, broadcasting live from the Dallas Sport Auditorium", the announcer said, "and you've just been listening to the great young sensation, Elvis Presley, singing his new platter, "Baby, Let's Play House"!.

It serves as an important vehicle to expose Elvis to listeners across Texas, and Bob Neal arranges for four appearances on the show, despite the fact that Elvis will have to pay a substantial penalty for missed Hayride shows. At this time Neal also commits Elvis to do two Beaumont, Texas, shows in June with the same promoter.

For Elvis' debut on this day, Big State Distributors, the company who sold independent record labels like Atlantic and Sun to the jukebox operators, sent their heavy-hitter, Alta Hayes, out to make sure Presley didn't make a fool of himself on live radio. Convinced that Elvis would strike i big someday, Alta bought a couple hundred copies of ''That's All Right'' from Sun. To hedge her bets, she hired a gaggle of girls to sit in the front row of the arena and yell like they enjoyed the show when he played. She gave them records as bribery. Sure enough, when he appeared on stage, the girls started screaming and carrying on.

It looked like Alta got her money's worth, but as Smokey Montgomery of the Light Crust Doughboys remarked later, those girls didn't scream any louder than the unpaid girls. In June Elvis played under Marty Robbins, but by September he headlined.

Kay Wheeler's first Elvis Presley Fan Club, organized in Dallas, Texas, kept close tabs on the future King of Rock And Roll, helping him receive newspaper publicity.

The club sent out postcards when Elvis Presley appeared in Dallas, and were responsible for the many hand-lettered signs at his concerts. As early December 1954, the Dallas Elvis Presley Fan Club printed membership cards and handed out advertisements on his Texas appearances.

THE BIG JAMBOREE - In Dallas, longtime wrestling promoter Ed McLemore had started the Big 'D' (for Dallas) Jamboree back in 1946 and was similar to the Louisiana Hayride in that it was a weekly country music variety show broadcast locally (over powerful 50,000 watts KRLD station in Dallas.) and carried across a wide region by the CBS-radio network program "Saturday Night Country Style". It is known that some Big D shows were taped recorded a week in advance for the CBS network, but it is not known if this was a regular occurrence.

McLemore's dedication to the folk music business survived his original Sportatorium burning down in May of 1953, and he spent hundreds of thousands building a new modern Sportatorium. It was a big barn-like structure sitting on the corner of Cadiz and Industrial. After the new building was finished, it was realized that the acoustics were all wrong and another 10,000 dollars had to be invested into a sophisticated ''Circa Sonic'' sound system. Wrestling was a main activity at the Sportatorium, but not one one Saturday found Dallas without its Jamboree.

McLemore always insisted that the show had to go on, and the very night after the 1953 fire, the show was held at the fairgrounds. Every third week, the Jamboree was featured as part of the CDS Country Style network broadcast, and on Sundays a smaller production aired on local TV. Ed had more than fifty acts connected to his program. Acts like Lafawn Paul, Sonny James, Hank Locklin, Charline Arthur, and the Belew Twins were the big names in 1955, and like the Hayride, the Big D had house bands, two of them, in fact.

Every Saturday there would be at least one guest star appearing. Hank Snow had been there, so had Lefty Frizzell, and Jimmy & Johnny. Current stars like Webb Pierce, Faron Young, and the Carlisles got their early careers going with performances on the Big D, and on April 16, Elvis Presley made his debut on the show.

Not shy about what they had accomplished, the Jamboree's ''Biggest, Boldest, Oldest and Best Country Music Attraction - Just Like Texas, It Gets Bigger Every Time You Hear About It''. The Big D Jamboree in Dallas like the Louisiana Hayride, saw itself as a rival to the Grand Ole Opry. Ed McLemore and the Sportatorium were synonymous with the fine country music entertainment. With the average Sportatorium attendance around 5,000, it was a perfect showcase for Elvis Presley.

According to Linda Gray Arnold, ''I was 15 years old and lived in Dallas. We were three girls going together on Saturday nights. I was in Sonny James fan club. I was the photographer, so I made all these pictures of Sonny James. We were nine girls sitting in the front row. We wrote requests to radio stations. Willie Nelson was a disc jockey at KFJC in Fort Worth. He would then mention the names on the songs they wanted to hear. Sonny James was a Big D regular. We would invite the stars over the parties at our houses. Burgers and cold drinks, and we would all enjoy it. A cousin living in Fort Worth used to take the bus to visit me and go to the Big D, and stayed with me on the weekend''.


There is no documentation for Elvis Presley shows on this two days. A private source has Elvis arriving home on Monday, and in Memphis on Tuesday. The following two days were small town shows in Mississippi, before closing the week in Texarkana and with the Hayride in Waco on Saturday. Mrs. Edythe Peeler, wife of Randall Peeler, who was a member of the entertainment committee of the VFW Club in Hernando, Mississippi, remembers that Elvis Presley (not with Scotty and Bill) came by the VFW club in Hernando.

Se said that Elvis did an unannounced performance of a few songs with Eddie Bond, whose band was playing a dance there. Elvis mentioned that he had come from the Hayride (not necessarily direct). Mrs. Peeler also remembers that Bob Neal was present that evening.

Eddie Bond's steel guitarist Jody Chastain made a little drawing of Elvis that places him in the VFW building in Hernando. Chastain's show-notes have an entry of him playing with Bond in Hernando on April 19, 1955, but no mention of Elvis. Eddie Bond recalls that he did play with Elvis in Hernando, but has no recollection of when. (Eddie Bond probably meant the appearance of Elvis with his band in 1953). In any case, Jody Chastain's drawing and notes are not definitive proof of placing Elvis in Hernando on this date. Mrs. Peeler's memory of Bob Neal being present would seem at odds with Elvis' just dropping by, but Neal may possibly have been there with Eddie Bond as a booking agent. Mrs. Peeler memory of Presley's comment about ''coming from the Hayride'' obviously puts the show she remembers well after Elvis October 16, 1954 Hayride debut.

JODY CHASTAIN - was born Joe D. Chastain in 1933 in Ennid, Texas. He played with early rockabilly Eddie Bond's band, The Stompers, and wrote the rockabilly great ''Boppin' Bonnie'' for Eddie Bond. Jody later played with Fuller Todd before becoming associated with Charlie Feathers and Jerry Huffman as The Musical Warriors. When Feathers transformed his band from country to rockabilly, Jody changed from steel guitar to string bass, and Jerry Huffman took over lead guitar.

The Musical Warriors played gigs together throughout the mid-south. Charlie Feathers, Jody Chastain, and Jerry Huffman wrote and recorded the famous ''Tongue-Tied Jill''. It was released by Meteor Records.

On June 23, 1958, the Kay music label released a 45rpm rockabilly record containing Jody Chastain's ''My Way'' and ''Jody's Beat'' on the flip side of Charlie Feather's '' Jungle Fever''and '' Why Don't You'' . The three Musical Warriors performed together for the last time on the 1960 release, ''Dinky John''.

Jody wrote songs; he had fourteen of his songs recorded in two years, and he acquired his own studio at 773 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, devoting much of his time working with Buford Cody. Huffman moved to Huntsville, Alabama. Jody's music can be heard in recent compilations,The Complete Sun Singles, Volume 2 (1995), Get With It: The Essential Recordings - Charlie Feathers (1998), and The Complete Sun Singles, Volume 6 (1999).


Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black, along with Onie Wheeler and Bob Neal, played a mid-week show at the American Legion Hut in Grenada, Mississippi. According to Red West, Elvis' High School pal who was now acting as a combination chauffeur and bodyguard, after the 8 o'clock show, he and Elvis escorted two young women back to their house for sodas. A pair of boyfriends appeared, words were exchanged, and Red ended up taking them both on.

It was in Grenada that Scotty Moore told Bobby Ritter he had earlier that day bought a new guitar and amp and, Ritter says, "Scotty was telling me he hoped that (Elvis' success) would last long enough for him to pay for them". After the Grenada gig, while eating in a local diner, a neighbourhood tough picked a fight with Elvis Presley and came out runner-up.

According to Dixie Lyons, ''I was only 15. We were the front band for these shows (they played a handful with Elvis). My brother had the band, and we did sing with Elvis' band too. We would go out and sing three or four songs, and then my brother would sing about that many, and the ''star'' would be on stage''.

John Marascalco, who had pitched his own composition ''Rip It Up'' to Elvis at the Charleston show a few weeks earlier, had arranged with Bob Neal to have Elvis play John's hometown of Grenada. John received 30% of the admission, out of which he would have to cover local expenses.

Elvis Presley performed at Charleston, Mississippi. This show is rumoured to have occurred around the time of the Grenada show, April 20.

Red West said, ''It had to be Grenada, Mississippi. It was a one-night gig. He came over to school one day, as I was getting on a bus to go and play football. He said, 'How would you like to go to some of my shows, just to keep me company''? That's how it all came about. It was a pink and white Ford Victoria. We borrowed money for gas from my father to get down there. I remember we got stuck going down there. There was a detour. I finally took over the wheel starting to go reverse and forward, rocking the wheel, and finally got out. Elvis got some mud on the seat of his pants. He got on stage, he wore what he was going to wear, and that's what caused the confrontation in the restaurant, because we had been to their girlfriend's house, or at least what they thought were their girlfriends, and we went to this gas station afterwards to get something to eat and go home. They came in and started mounthing off, ''Look how he has shit his pants. He's so scared'. And that was it with me and we had a little confrontation''.


Elvis Presley perform at the Belden High School Gymnasium in Tupelo, Mississippi. "Elvis slipped all of his family and friends in through the back window", said Bobby Ritter. At that show, Ritter took a polaroid picture of Elvis and handed it to him while it was still developing. "In those days the chemicals were still wet when the picture came out the camera", said Ritter. "I handed it to Elvis and his thumb print appeared on the picture when the chemicals dried. I gave the picture to him. He later gave it back to me, but now it's one of the many Elvis things I once had that have disappeared".

Bobby Ritter lays claim to being the next disc jockey after Dewey Phillips to play Elvis Presley on the air. He did it as a favour to Sam Phillips, an old friend. "I played "That's All Right" on a Monday. I didn't know anything about Elvis, so after I played it, I filed it back with the black records. I had an early morning show, "Blues Before Dawn", and I planned to play it on that show later. We got a lot of mail in those days and by Wednesday I was getting a lot of mail and phone calls to play that song again and I did. Again on Thursday. We had our own WTUP Hit Parade and that same week "That's All Right" was number one on it.

Elvis, he said, often dropped by his station while he was on the air and visited with his fans via the air waves. He was scheduled to make an appearance there October 2, 1954, but called and begged off, saying he had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to appear on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. "The way that fiasco turned out", said Ritter, "he would have been better off appearing on my show in Tupelo".


A stamp-sized little story ran in the local paper on April 14. With no photo or illustration the newspaper wrote under the heading ''Houlka Senior Sponsor Benefit'', ''The senior class of the Houlka High School will present Elvis Presley with Scotty and Bill, and Bob Neal at the Houlka Gym Thursday night April 21st at 8 o'clock. The Houlka seniors are trying to raise funds to finance an educational trip to Mammoth Gave.


Elvis Presley appeared in Greenwood, Mississippi. This show is rumoured to have occurred around the time.


The specifics of this show are recalled to several Texarkanians, among them Dewanda Jo Smith. She remembers seeing Elvis Presley on two occasions a short time apart shortly before she vacationed in Shreveport for her fifteenth birthday on June 23. And, Ms. Smith is virtually certain that her first time seeing Elvis Presley - which had to have been on a Friday night - was in April.

Dewanda's memory of the event is so clear that she remembers the green-and-white striped sleeveless dress she borrowed from her friend so that she would have something really nice to wear she met Tommy Sands. Gwen and Sands became friends when she wrote to him at KCIJ radio in Shreveport where he was a disc jockey. They even "dated" when he was in Texarkana.

At this time, Tommy Sands was fifteen, but he had been a professional entertainer for several years. he was managed by Colonel Tom Parker and recorded country tunes for RCA Victor. After moving to Hollywood, he had success on Capitol Records with "Teenage Crush" and "Goin' Steady" in 1957.

The date for this show is further authenticated by an item in Billboard (May 21, 1955): "A youngster named Cheesie Nelson brought down the house here (Texarkana) recently with the Elvis Presley unit, singing the old one, "Worry, Worry, Worry'...".

Elvis Presley has only one other Friday night open prior to May 21 and that's May 6. In order to make a show in Texarkana on May 6, he would have to drive from Mobile to Texarkana and on to Daytona Beach - not likely.

This show, like all of Elvis' non-club Texarkana appearances at this time, was held at the Arkansas Municipal Auditorium. Tickets cost $1.00. Besides Nelson, also appearing with Elvis Presley was Jim Ed and Maxine Brown and Tommy Sands.

Dewanda Jo was more interested in seeing the Browns than Elvis Presley, and she bought a souvenir photo of the group and had them autograph it. Scotty Moore also signed the back of the picture.

Since he began his imitations before Elvis became a star, Carl "Cheesie" Nelson is considered the first official Elvis impersonator. The late president of Texarkana College was always known for his impressions, said Tamar Nelson-Pennington, Cheesie’s widow. “He had this talent, he could sound like anybody,” she said. The first time Pennington saw her future husband, he came to her school, Texas High, to entertain the students.


In the summer of 1954, Pat Cupp and family moved from Magnolia Arkansas to Texarkana Arkansas. Pat began his junior year in Arkansas High School. It was during this time that he met a friend, Cheesie Nelson, who introduced him to the world of Country Music. Cheesie had become an Elvis Presley fan and introduced Elvis's early music to Pat.

Cheesie could mimic Elvis and wanted Pat to play the guitar for him. Pat and Cheesie became very popular in Texarkana and performed at the local High Schools. It was in the late fall that Pat and Cheesie met Elvis, Scotty and Bill. Elvis and band had some car trouble south of Texarkana and was late in getting to their stage show on time. The promoter of the show knew of Pat and Cheesie and sent someone to get them to come to the stage show and keep the audience happy until Elvis and band could get there.

Pat and Cheesie made it to the show and performed Elvis's songs until Elvis got to the show. When Elvis came in, he was amused at what he saw and heard. Elvis then thanked Pat and Cheesie for helping out and took over the show. At intermission, Elvis call Pat and Cheesie backstage to his dressing room and spent the intermission time visiting. At this time in Elvis's career, he made many trips to Texarkana and did have contact with Pat and Cheesie again.

In April of 1956, Pat Cupp did a stage show with Tommy Sands, and after this show, was invited to be on the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport Louisiana. It was at this stage show that Pat met Joe Bihari of Modern Records who signed Pat to record on his RPM Record Label. Pat recorded his music in the month of May, 1956 at KWKH in Shreveport Louisiana. After recording "Long Gone Daddy", "Do Me No Wrong", "Baby Come Back", "I Guess It's Meant That Way" "I Won't Remember To Cry" and "That Gal Of Mine", Pat was asked what he would call his band. Pat laughed and said that he wanted to call them "The Flying Saucers". Pat Cupp still lives in Texarkana.

APRIL 1955

Sam Phillips went out with Elvis for a few days at the end of April to help promote the new record ''Baby Let's Play House''. It was the first time he had ever done anything like this, and while it was necessarily tied in with visits to disc jockeys, distributors, and juke box operators, it represented a rare kind of self-indulgence for Sam, it was almost like a busman's holiday.

The first show was a traveling Hayride broadcast on April 23, from the Heart O' Texas Coliseum in Waco, with Slim Whitman, the star of Elvis' debut performance at the Overton Park Shell the previous July 30, headlining. Slim drove up in his brand-new Chrysler New Yorker, with its one-foot-tall ''twin-tower'' taillights, and he told the folks about his first exposure to Elvis Presley, when he had no idea who this kid with his name misspelled in the ads could possibly be. He couldn't believe it at first, he told Sam Phillips backstage, but he saw right away why Elvis appealed to so many people. It wasn't the way he looked, it wasn't the twitches or the moves. It was the way he communicated, the way he spoke to people through his music.

Sam could scarcely believe it himself. It was as if Elvis were drawing inspiration not just from the other performers but from the audience as well, as good as he had been in front of a hometown crowd at Ellis Auditorium just three months earlier, he was that much better now, every aspect of his demeanor and manner reflecting an unwavering faith in the future, it seemed, as much as in himself.


Elvis Presley was a "great hit" when he appeared as part of the "Louisiana Hayride's" remote broadcast from the Heart O' Texas Coliseum in Waco, Texas. The show began at 8:30 p.m. and cost $1.00 for adults and 50-cents for children. More than 5,000 country fans attended, making it one of the Hayride's largest draws. Also on the show were Slim Whitman, Jim Reeves, Johnny Walker, Jimmy Newman, and (probably) Jim Ed and Maxine Brown. Also that night an local act of the Sinclair Sisters.

While other performers watched in awe from backstage, the crowd was on its feet throughout Elvis' part of the show, screaming out the titles of their favorite Elvis rockabilly songs.

A portion of the program will be broadcast nationally CBS network via Waco TV station, KCEN-TV, where country fiddler Jimmy Thomason had just debuted his live broadcast of ''The Home Folks Show'' for the local Saturday-night viewing audience.

Louise Thomason, wife of Jimmy Thomason recalled, ''When he started singing, two of the engineers got up and started running back and forth, like they wanted to climb the walls. They just panicked. They thought he'd throw the station off the air. They'd never seen anything like it''.


Elvis Presley travelled to Houston for another afternoon performance at Magnolia Gardens, followed by an evening show at Cook's Hoedown Club. This specific show is recalled by a fan. Bob Neal had made a deal similar to the one he made with the Big ''D'' Jamboree: four appearances outside Houston at the outdoor Magnolia Gardens venue.

The shows were Sunday afternoon hoedowns held at Magnolia Park on the banks of the San Jacinto River. The stage was a wooden shed, open at the front, with bleachers all around and a dancing floor. It was a place for families to go on picnics during the spring and summer season, and it became notorious for its many drowning accidents, a result of inebriated visitors attempting to swim across the Houston Ship Channel. When Houston-raised songwriter Mark James met Elvis in New York in 1972, Mark brought up the subject of Magnolia Gardens, and Elvis chuckled, 'There sure was a lot of beer bottles flying around''.

According to Ronald pope, ''I saw Elvis perform at Magnolia Gardens when I was 7 or 8 years old. I was there with my parents, who were in their mid-20s and didn't know who Elvis was, and my 15- or 16-year-old uncle who knew. My uncle, Sid, talked my parents into going to see Elvis. Elvis was late. My uncle said Elvis and his band pulled up in a cloud of dust. Elvis exited the vehicle laughing, and said something like, 'Bet ya'll thought we weren't gonna show up, huh'? Elvis performed, and so did Tommy Sands. They both posed for a picture with me standing between them, holding their hands. There were not many people at the start of the show, but as Elvis continued to sing, people began walking up from the picnic and the river area and, after a while, there was a pretty good-sized crowd. two pregnant women got into an altervation right in front of the bandstand; my uncle said that Elvis was greatly amused.

I remember only two things from that day. One, we were seated at the picnic tables outdoors. The second thing was that a fight broke out between two men. There was bloodshed and I had never seen grown men fight, so that memory stayed with me. I remember a police officer leading one of the bleeding men away as the man told the officer, 'I was just sitting there and the guy hit me in the head with a beer bottle''.


Tonight, Elvis Presley played another double header, except his "best laid plans" quickly went awry. The evening began with "Elvis Presley" booked to play the M-B (Miller Brothers) Corral, a night club on Sheppard Access Road near Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls. (The site is now occupied by the VFW Hall).

Elvis Presley headlined the show, which was sponsored by TNT Records of San Antonio. After Chuck Lee, "The Hillbilly Crooner", and Gene Kay and the Walking A Ranch Hands, both TNT recording acts, performed, Elvis was scheduled to sing for a while then take a break, to make the next show.

The M-B Corral was owned by the Miller Brothers, a popular act featuring an instrument lineup one could only hope to find in a Texas band; two fiddles, steel guitar, trumpet, piano, bass violin, and drums. The Miller Brothers even put on a floor show as part of their performance. At this time, their latest record on 4-Star was "Geronimo" b/w/ "Fiddlin' Stomp".

According to Leon ''Miller'' Gibbs, fiddle player with the Miller Brothers, band and co-owner of the club said, ''We just barely took in enough (money). We paid him and two musicians $175. Back then it wasn't much, but he hadn't even got popular yet. The Miller Brothers planned to play the first hour, followed by Elvis the second hour, and Elvis wrapping up the show at the end of the night''.

''Elvis left after his first set to play another show an hour's drive away. He was supposed to be back in time to play the final set, but he never showed up. We kept playing, and people kept asking, 'Where's Elvis'? He had run out of gas at Pioneer No. 3 on Sheppard Access Road, and one of the waitresses ran him back out to the M-B Corral. We stayed open 30 minutes late that night just so he could play. That kind of work ethic really made an impression''.

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


And than that evening, Elvis Presley and the other TNT artists, along with Dub Dickerson of Capitol Records, had been hired by Sam Gibbs of the M-B Corral to play a benefit show for the Volunteer Fire Department in Seymour, a small town 52 miles southwest of Wichita Falls. That show was advertised to begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Auditorium of Seymour High School in Seymour, Texas.

As the acts in Wichita Falls completed their turn on stage, they drove to Seymour. However, the show at the M-B Corral was running late. Elvis Presley didn't take to the stage until after 10:00 p.m. The promoter in Seymour halfheartedly assured the crowd at the Auditorium during intermission that he had talked to Elvis Presley by phone, and that Elvis was on his way.

As soon as they wrapped up their first show in Wichita Falls, Elvis Presley hopped into his pink Cadillac with Scotty Moore and Bill Black leading the way in a second car. Ten miles from Seymour, in the small town of Maybelle, Elvis ran out of gas, but Scotty and Bill were too far out front to notice. There was not a gas station open at this time of night and Elvis Presley feared he was stranded.

Fortunately, a carload of High School girls from Throckmorton was trailing Elvis from Wichita Falls. They were more than happy to give him a ride to Seymour where he bought a can of gas and caught a ride back to Maybelle.

By 11:00 p.m. all the opening acts in Seymour had already been on stage twice stalling for time. Even Scotty Moore and Bill Black performed for a time. Nevertheless, an anxious crowd still filled the Auditorium.

Finally, Elvis Presley pulled up to the High School just before midnight, and he performed for thirty minutes. Tickets were $1.00 at the door, but the promoter had already refunded 50-cents at 10:30 p.m. when it looked as Elvis was going to be a "no-show".

Scotty laughed and plugged his guitar into the amp. Bill took his customary position on the right. Elvis landed on the stage wearing appropriately enough, a fire-engine red sportcoat, white shirt, bow tie, and blue trousers two sizes too big, so he could perform his gyrations without ripping his pants.

Guitar suspended in front of him, Elvis ambled to the microphone, tugged on his pants, and stood with half closed eyes. Scotty looked him over for a few moments and stepped behind the singer, pretending to wind him up. Leg shaking, Elvis launched into "That's Alright, Mama" and the show took off.

Billy Thompson & Elvis Presley, backstage at M-B Corral, Wichita Falls, Texas, April 25, 1955. After five back-to-back numbers, Elvis spoke to the crowd. "Ladies and gentlemen, we aren't really supposed to be here tonight. We were booked into the M-B Corral over at Wichita Falls for a dance. We didn't know about this booking until we got a phone call earlier in the evening and found out about the mix-up.

We weren't gonna come, but we found out all you folks were waiting for us, so we talked the Miller Brothers into letting us run over here for a little while. We were in such a hurry, we ran out of gas about twelve miles out of town and had to hitch a ride in. Hectic man. Anyway, we made it and we appreciate you waiting for us''.

The band played for forty minutes to the delighted crowd. When Elvis wrapped up the show, fans rushed the stage seeking autographs and kisses. One girl leaped into his arms asking, Do you remember me?

Yes, I met you in Stamford. Elvis never was one to forget a face, especially a female one.

Scotty and Bill packed the equipment in the car, and the three sped back to Wichita Falls, some of the teenagers trailing them to catch the show for the second and third time that night. When the trio arrived at the Corral, the carriage had already reverted into a pump-kin and the footman into a hound dog. Pal Billy Thompson and the Miller Brothers entertained the throng as they promised until Elvis returned, but much of the audience had already left the house, muttering darkly under their breath.

Elvis never accepted another booking from TNT Records again, partly because he didn't trust them, but mostly because they folded shop a few months later. Despite Elvis's Herculean attempt to play both places that evening, he managed to satisfy neither. Gene Wagner, one of the owners of the M-B Corral, remained furious that "that snotty-nosed kid" had returned to the Corral way too late. The promoters of the Seymour gig simply didn't pay him.

THE TRUE STORY FROM DOUG DIXON - ''It was late March 1955 and my dad was taking me to school in our old '42 Buick. The radio was tuned to the local station, and suddenly Elvis' voice burst upon the airwaves, singing ''That's All Right''. Then, just suddenly, Elvis' voice faded into the background and the announcer declared in an excited voice that Seymour Volunteer Fire Department was sponsoring a country music show on April 25, at 7:00 p.m. in the Seymour High School Auditorium, presenting a host of TNT recording stars, with special guest star... Elvis Presley! I could hardly believe my ears'', Dixon said.

''I was familiar with Elvis, having listened to him perform on the Louisiana Hayride every Saturday night since that first night in October of 1954, when he made his debut. By April of 1955, Elvis had become the Louisiana Hayride's most popular star, and here he was to perform in a town whose population was less than 4,000. Elvis had been appearing quite regularly in several of the larger surrounding town, playing mostly for dances, as he toured the South and Southwest. Elvis had gained somewhat of a following in this part of Texas, and that is why I was surprised when I got to the auditorium around 6:30 p.m. to find only about 150 people present. There was a man standing at the entrance with a cigar box taking the admission, but giving no tickets. You just paid your $1.00 and walked in. By the time the show started, there were perhaps 200 people in attendance''.

''TNT's recording stars were obscure artists, and the little independent San Antonio based label would fold a short time later. They put in a pretty good show, however, but of course the crowd was impatient to see Elvis. Every singer there sang twice, even the man who had taken our money at the door got up and sing. Someone up front shouted, 'We want Elvis'! That was when the MC admitted that Elvis wasn't there, but the he would be there pretty soon. Then he announced an intermission''.

''A most unusual thing happened next. The man with the cigar box came around and gave us back 50 cents of the $1.00 we had paid. 'The boss said we have overcharged you folks', he explained. That's when I suspected that Elvis wasn't going to show, and that they were attempting to soften the blow. However, when the show resumed about thirty minutes later, the MC still insisted that Elvis would show. He claimed to have just spoken to him on the phone''.

''The second half of the show was pretty good, much a rerun of the first half. One thing I did notice was that now the house was full. People had wandered in off the street during intermission. 10:30 came and still no Elvis. People were up roaming around; paying little attention to what was going on on-stage. Finally, the band just quit and disappeared backstage. Eventually, most of the audience left, grumbling about being ''took''. Even some people, who had come in during intermission without paying, complained. Only the hardcore Elvis fans remained, hoping for a miracle''.

''Suddenly a girl sitting in a position to see the stage door screamed: 'He's here. He's here'! It was almost midnight. Scotty and Bill, Elvis' band members, came on stage. Scotty stepped to the microphone and said, 'Sorry, folks, Elvis couldn't make it'. The same girl screamed, 'He's here, I saw him come in'! Scotty laughed and plugged his guitar into the amplifier. With the two-piece band in place, Elvis appeared. He was wearing a fire engine red sport coat, bow tie, white shirt, and blue trousers. Both coat and trousers were about two sizes too large, so he could make his moves without ripping something. Elvis approached the microphone, legs straddled, with his guitar hanging in front of him. For a moment he stood there with half-closed eyelids, not saying a word. Scotty stepped up behind Elvis and pretended to wind him up, as one winds up a wind-up toy. With this done, Elvis suddenly grabbed his guitar and broke into ''That's All Right, Mama''. His two-piece band followed suit, and the show was on''.

''What a show it was! Elvis shook, danced and twisted, as he sang one song after another. Later, I would see Elvis on TV, but none of those performances could compare with the one I witnessed that night. Bill Black rode his bass like it was a horse, as he slapped out a rockabilly beat. Scotty Moore's guitar lashed out adding to the frenzy of the crowd. Girls screamed, cried and several appeared to faint. The girl sitting next to me moaned and slid the floor and lay there jerking, as if she was having some kind of a seizure. I got as big a kick out of the crowd's reaction as I did watching Elvis''.

''After four or five songs, Elvis paused long enough to explain to the audience why he had been so late. 'Ladies and Gentlemen, we really aren't supposed to be here tonight', he said. 'We were booked into Miller Brothers, over at Wichita Falls for a dance. We didn't know about this booking until we got a phone call earlier in the evening... some kind of a mix-up. Anyhow, we started not to come, didn't really have to. Then we heard that you folks were waiting up for us, so we talked the Miller Brothers into letting us run over here for a little while. We were in such a hurry, we didn't check our gas, and 'bout twelve miles out of town here, we ran out of gas and had to hitch a ride in. Hectic, man... real hectic. Anyway, we made it, and we sure appreciate y'll waiting for everything and us. We would also appreciate someone taking us back to out car with a can of gas after the show'. Almost every girl in the audience volunteered'', said Dixon.

''Then Elvis broke into another round of songs. He sang all of his recordings released to date, plus a few that he had added to his show. At 12:35, he ended his performance, once more thanking us for waiting up for him. Of course, fans rushed the stage, seeking autographs and kisses. One girl jumped into his arms asking, 'Do you remember me'? Yes', he replied, 'I met you at Stanford, Texas''.

''It was almost 1:00 a.m. before Elvis got back on the road to Wichita Falls, some fifty-two miles away. I don't know if Elvis ever got paid for his Seymour performance, if he did, it couldn't have been much. However, it was this sort of devotion to his fans that would some day make him ''the King'''.


Elvis Presley remained in Texas, playing an 8:00 p.m. date in Big Spring, Texas. Appearing on the bill were the same artists as the previous night. Tickets for the show at the Big Spring Auditorium cost 50-cents and a dollar.

Scotty, Bill, and Elvis rolled into Big Spring with sleep on their mind. The previous night's double booking had kept them playing until the wee hours of the morning. They fond a motel in Big Spring and crashed for a few hours.


Elvis and the band perform at American Legion Hall in Hobbs, New Mexico. While playing these West Texas dates, the band stayed at the Holiday Inn near the airport in Midland. Scotty went out to get guitar strings, constantly in demand because of Elvis' habit of breaking some at every shows. Elvis spent the time somewhat more leisurely.

Just before lunch, Elvis burned some of his restless energy by visiting the town's records shop, famous for both their selection of new releases and also for its eccentric owner, Oscar Glickman. Elvis spotted Glickman behind the register and after some introductions, tried to strike up a deal. Elvis had the back and of the car filled with boxes of records. He told Clickman he'd cut him a deal to carry them.

Selling records out of the back of your car was standard operating procedure for smalltime recording artists in those days. Most musicians had to do a great deal of self-promotion to ever heard.

Glickman hesitated. He didn't need another box of unsellable 78s cluttering up his store. Instead, he invited the kid to lunch at his favorite place around the corner. The restaurant was so small that if you wanted a table, you had to ask people to vacate the seats... nicely of course. The two maneuvered into the narrow restaurant and picked out something delicious and thoroughly unwholesome to eat. Meanwhile, Glickman appraised Presley for sales profitability. Elvis chatted in such a self effacing, charming manner that Glickman reluctantly agreed to buy a box of records.

You really need to change your style, Glickman told Presley as the young man scooped a box from the back of the car. You won't ever make the big time looking like that.

A few dollars richer, Elvis drove off to prepare for the evening's performance. Glickman put one record on the shelf and hauled the rest of the Sun label 78s to the basement, where forty years later, Glickman's grandson stumbled across them.

Today, many of the records are worth $250 each.


After selling those records in Big Spring, Elvis, Scotty, and Bill had arrived in town that afternoon with a few extra bucks burning a hole in their pockets. So they decided to partake in their favorite pastime, eating. The threesome rolled over to the White Elephant Cafe in next door Eastland and snagged a booth in the back, scanning the female life forms for possible date prospects.

When what to their wondrous eyes should appear, but Billie Garrett, daughter of a Texas oil man, sashaying in the door. They hadn't seen Billie since the Tyler show, so Scotty waved her over to join their progressive dinner club.

Upon paying the waitress, the boys discovered they still had a quarter or two left and decided they still had time to catch the cowboy flick playing at the downtown theater before their show that night. Twenty minutes into the film, the group acquired a serious case of Bmovie giggles. The film was so awful that Elvis improved the dialog with a little of his own, more artistic stylings.

Scotty and Bill rolled in their chairs, unable to suppress snorts of laughter, earning them dirty looks from their fellow patrons. Billie punched Elvis to make him shut up to no avail. When his comments teetered slightly into blue territory, Billie hissed at him to hush his face or they'd be kicked out by the ushers, a thought that only seemed to amuse him more. They managed to escape the movie before the credits rolled and the theater gestapo could arrest them for disturbing the peace.

Elvis and Scotty invited Billie to catch the show that night. She accepted, telling them she'd drag her great uncle and aunt with her. They could use a night out.

With the same precise planning that hallmarked the Seymour/Wichita Falls fiasco, TNT Records arranged the Cisco concert. They booked the Cisco Community Hall and the band but forgot to invite the audience. When Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys arrived, only a handful of people stared disinterestedly back at them. Billie and her family's arrival nearly doubled the audience.

Billie waited until the "crowd" subsided, then introduced her aunt and uncle to the boys. She told them how much she enjoyed the concert, and Elvis seemed to appreciate the gesture. Billie left them that night with a promise that she'd catch up with them whenever they played in a town near her. The following month she fulfilled her word by appearing at the KOCA Radio concert in Kilgore.

During the poorly attended show at the small baseball park near the high school, some particularly obnoxious teenage boys heckled the singers. Elvis responded to their slings and arrows with all the maturity and understanding his age would permit ... he bent over and pointed his butt at them in mid-stanza.

Billie tracked her favorite singing group to a modest turnout for Midland in May, where she snapped a picture of him hanging out in the gym before the show. In August Billie convinced her father to see Elvis perform at the Reo Palm Isle in Longview. Although substantially more people turned out for this concert than the last time he played there, a majority of the 1,800 glitzy chairs still sat vacant.

After the show she introduced her father to the singer and held her breath. The oilman and Memphis boy faced off. When Elvis spoke, his southern, polite background always seeped through. He respectfully called everyone "sir" or "ma'am" and seemed genuinely interested in listening without judgment. He and Mr. Garrett liked each other immediately. They joked back and forth, her father tossing out questions just to see what the young man would say. Elvis good-naturedly answered each one, seemingly aware of the scrutiny. After about ten minutes, Billie remembered to breathe.

Halfway into the conversation, Mr. Garrett asked if Elvis gave autographs at these concerts. Elvis admitted he did sign photographs mostly, but occasionally other things.

Like, what other things? the oilman wanted to know.

One girl once wanted me to sign her petticoat, Elvis told him.

The oilman laughed and asked if he signed French cuffs.

Oh, absolutely, Elvis confirmed.

Mr. Garrett proffered his sleeve, and laughingly, the young man signed it. The oilman supervised the job to make sure Elvis spelled his own name correctly. Since the suggestion had only been a joke, her father threw the shirt out soon after.

You could have knocked Billie over with a feather when the following year the same soft spoken young man who had nearly gotten them kicked out of the theater appeared on the big screen with Debra Paget. She had visited four or five of his shows during the year, and none of them pulled in more than 150 people ... tops. He was always just one of the gang. How did this guy suddenly become so famous?


Other sources suggest that Elvis Presley played in Andrews, Texas on April 28. This show featured Sonny James, Hank Locklin and Charlene Arthur. A careful search through the Andrews County News before the show does not unearth any mention of Elvis Presley with this group of performers. However, he did appear with Sonny James and Charlene Arthur on June 20-21. Mrs. Bullock of Andrews remembers that Joe Young, head of the local Rotary Club, asked her to set up chairs for the Elvis Presley show. According to the News, the Sonny James concert was supervised by Joe Young.

Another Andrews resident recalls that Elvis Presley appeared with Leon Payne, and Elvis Presley and Leon Payne were together in Oklahoma on June 23-24. Payne was blind, living in a trailer out near Magnolia Gardens by the San Jacinto River, where Elvis was scheduled to play that afternoon.

Royce Coats, who visited Andrews from June to August 1955. Vividly remembers the show because Elvis Presley was more than an hour late. Elvis Presley explained to the audience that he was late because his pink Cadillac burned up on route to the gig. This apparently refers to the mishap on June 17. In fact, Elvis Presley purchased a replacement car the next morning in Andrews. However, Royce feels certain that Elvis Presley appeared alone, not as part of a major show, and he is positive it was indoors at the High School Auditorium, not outdoors in the stadium.

Here some sources suggest, according to Ann Smart, ''I belonged to this ladies' reading club. The only place for Elvis to play, in Andrews, would be in the high school auditorium. In order for someone to came in and charge for an appearance, it had no be sponsored by a local organization. So he appeared under the auspices of the club I was in. We serviced, we did the staff, we manned the box office, and we did the ushering. I was one of the ushers. We had a pretty big crowd; I won't say it was packed. There were several hundred people there. That, the show, was a little ahead of its time. It was something we hand't seen before. One of the ladies in our club said, 'We can't sponsor something like this'. So at the intermission, she went backstage, and she told him, 'You either got to clean up your act or pack up your instruments, because we can't sponsor this kind of show'. So after the intermission he calmed down considerably. He still, out od habit I guess, gyrated a little, but he was pretty calmed down the second part''.

David T. Seay said, ''I was 12 years old at the time, I attended the concert in the Andrews High School auditorium. I was present because my mother was a member of the Andrews Study Club, which as far as I can remember was the sponsor of his appearance. I recall that Elvis was about two hours late arriving in Andrews, but no one left the auditorium in eager anticipation of his eventual arrival. My mother apparently represented the study club in regard to Elvis' appearance. As a result, I was able to go backstage, during what I believe was either before he began his show or during an intermission. I was able to stand within three feet of Elvis while my mother talked to him. I don't remember what my mother said, but a few years ago, I had a lady tell me that she was also present at that meeting with Elvis and that my mother apparently informed Elvis that he should not swivel and thrust his hips as he was accustomed to doing during his performances''.

Billy Joe Sinclair said, ''He was staying in Midland, and he was dating a girl who worked at the record store over there. And he introduced us to her, and he stood up in the audience. He was dressed in pink and black and so was she. He dated her quite a while. She was beautiful''.

According Shirlee McDade, ''We drove to Andrews in Elvis' car along with the band, and I belief it was in the pink Cadillac. It was in the spring of 1955, and I remember wearing a pink linen skirt with pink sleeveless shirt that had black polka dots. He asked me to wear pink and black as that is what he had started wearing. He performed in the high school auditorium, and he was the only entertainment that evening. The girls were going crazy and trying to ripp off his clothes during and after the show. I was always backstage, and he always sang a song for me. This was the first time that my parents allowed me to ride with Elvis unescorted. We usually had to ride with them or Mrs. Holifield''.

Serena nelson: ''We played his records. We had a radio station here, and we could always call and request songs. We went backstage to get his autograph. I guess in my mind I thought he would be perfect and not perspire. The auditorium was so hot. He said something like, 'Hey, babe, will you hold my coat'? And he had on a pink jacket. It was just so wet from perspiration. So I just stuck out my finger, and lifted it by the end of my finger. He had on a lace shirt underneath. He had a little purple spot on his chest. We got our autographs, and when he was through signing, he came back and got his coat''.

D on Ingram, editor of Andrews County News remembers, ''No mention was put in the newspaper. I suspect my Baptist grandmother (editor in 1955) would not allow it. My sister, however, Lavonne Adams, did attend the concert although she was ordered to her room and forbidden to attend. The story goes that she climbed out of her bedroom window and attended the show with a friend''.

Jerry Sue Scott Smith said, ''One night, he came over from Midland, because he was stying out there close to the airport. The Holiday Inn. He was about an hour and a half late getting here and Big Springs. And the man who owned the Ford House was Johnny Smith. He had Elvis' Cadillac hauled in, and he gave Elvis one of his cars to drive on to Lubbock in. He fixed his car and took it to him in Lubbock the next day''.


A Snyder show about this time is inferred from a brief mention in Billboard (May 21, 1955): "Dub Dickerson (Capitol), Chick Lee (TNT), and Gene Kay (TNT) visited with Wink Lewis at KSNY, Snyder, Texas, while touring that area recently with Elvis Presley's (SUN) unit". Snyder is certainly a possibility to fill one of the open dates this week, but there is no concrete evidence.


Elvis Presley and the rest of the group stopped by the Cotton Club in Lubbock, Texas, for a show and dance lasting from 8:00 p.m. to midnight. Also on the list Capitol recording artist Dub Dickerson plus TNT's newest recording star Gene Kay and Chuck Lee.


Elvis' fourth single "Baby Let's Play House"/"I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" (SUN 217) was released. This was the first of Elvis' singles to be pressed outside of Memphis, with several thousand copies produced at Monarch Records in Los Angeles. Sam Phillips launched an energetic promotional campaign to popularize the record. So quickly did it become a regional big hit.

Elvis Presley performed Gladewater High School Gymnasium on a remote broadcast of the Louisiana Hayride from 8:00 to 11:30 p.m., from Gladewater, Texas, the single's flip-side, "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" was featured in the show. This time, Elvis headlined the show. Also appearing were Slim Whitman, Jim Reeves, Johnny Horton, Jimmy Newman, Billy Walker, Tibby Edwards, Buddy Attaway, Jack Ford, Jim Ed and Maxine Brown, Hoot and Curley, Betty Amos, Jeanette Hicks, Jimmy and Wayne, Floyd Cramer, Jimmy Day, and the Lump Lump Boys. Emcees were Horage Logan, Frank Page and Norman Bale.

AND THEN THE STORY... - Honey, you won't believe what just walked through my door! The owner of the Blue Grill Cafe eyed the threesome that entered just before closing time.

What is it, Mama?

Three of the most outlandish creatures I've ever seen, wearing clothes not fit for a doghanging. And one of 'em has sideburns down to his kneecaps.

I'll be right there.

Elvis, Scotty, and Bill hobbled tiredly into the restaurant. They'd just driven across the breadth of the state from Lubbock in far West Texas to Gladewater in East Texas. They looked famished and exhausted, and they smelled like they'd just traveled 430 miles on two-lane roads. Mrs. Landers led them to an isolated table.

Do you mind if I move the car around back? Elvis asked the owner. I want to keep an eye on the instruments.

Mrs. Landers nodded her approval and followed him out the door to satisfy her curiosity. She was not disappointed. The big pink car swelled with boxes, clothes, and unidentified shapes. A huge bass fiddle reclined on top, a hillbilly mobile if she'd ever seen one.

Carol Landers came pelting around the corner in time to see the car pull behind the cafe. Her eyes grew very wide and she looked at her mother for explanation.



The two ladies returned inside to take their guests' order. When Mrs. Landers entered the kitchen, Elvis stood propped against the counter talking to the cook, Clarence Cobb. Apparently Clarence played music himself, and they had a great deal in common. The two men chatted amiably for over an hour, Elvis never seeming to notice that his actions would be considered peculiar in the segregated South.

The concert that nigh starred the displaced Louisiana Hayride cast, headed Slim Whitman, Johnny Horton and Jim Reeves. Their standard auditorium in Shreveport bounced for yearly carnival, so the Hayride moved to the high school gymnasium in Gladewater, compliments of KSIJ Radio and disc jockey Tom Perryman. KSIJ already broadcast the Hayride on their station, so why not play it live from there as well?

The Jaycees sponsored the show and copiously sold the tickets, stuffing 3,000 people into a 2,500 capacity hall and turning hundreds of procrastinators away at the door. Just before the first act captured the stage, master of ceremonies Horace Logan announced that their headliner, Slim Withman, had taken ill.

We've got this new kid that's going to sing for you, named Elvis Presley, he told he
disappointed audience.

They didn't stay disappointed long. This was Elvis's night to sparkle. He dazzled the onlookers with his clothes, his, moves, the Tony Curtis sneer he'd been perfecting in the mirror for months, and most especially, the music, which before seemed edgy and unpolished, now sounded wild and magical.

He set the stage on fire and incinerated the walls of the high school and the libidos of the young woman. Backstage, the girls swarmed around Elvis, their friendly pats and comradely hugs turning more provocative by the minute. They rubbed up against him, and Elvis responded playfully ... too playfully, it seems, to suit the local police. They dragged Elvis away from the throng. warning him that if he didn't knock off the touchy-feel-games with the underage girls, they would make sure he had a great deal of solitan time to rethink his participation. As our hero did not spend quality time at the Gladewater A-Rest-Mor motel, we can only assume that he wisely heeded the local authorities.


The Jaycees promoted the event and raised $1,500 for several civic projects including the local Little League program. Six teams of tickets sellers were dispatched by the club on April 12 to canvass the area. During the weeks before this show, the Hayride heavily promoted it and there were requests from all over the south and Southwest for tickets. The weekend of the show, there was not a vacant hotel or motel room in Gladewater.

By show time, approximately 3,000 country music fans were jammed into the 2,500 seats as the Gladewater High Gymnasium, and everything that would be used to fan the air was brought into service. To protect the basketball floor, a combination covering of paper and canvas was laid down. Admission was $1.00 for adults and 50-cents for children.

A half-hour portion of the show was broadcast nationwide on the CBS radio network, and the entire evening was aired on KWKH in Shreveport and KTHS in Little Rock. During Elvis' performance, little three and a half years old Royce Hanson, who was standing in the aisle mimicking Elvis' wiggle, was invited to come on stage. The youngster got almost as many squeals from the teenage female fans as Elvis.



Composer: - Winfield Scott
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Unichappell Music Incorporated - Intersong
Matrix number: - WPA5 2535 - Not Originally Issued (2:46)
Recorded: - April 30, 1955 - Frank Page ask Elvis a question.
Released: - 1979
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm single 526 mono (bootleg)
This single is one of the best early Elvis items for the collector. La Vern Baker even bought one.
Other Elvis releases: - 1983 Louisiana Hayride (LP) 33rpm NR-8973 mono
Reissued: - November 2011 MRS (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 30001256-11 mono

Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Bill Taylor
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - April 30, 1955 - Probably

According to the recollections of several Louisiana Hayride personnel including Horage Logan and Frank Page, Elvis Presley, who had originally planned to debut "Milkcow Blues Boogie" had an car trouble and was late arriving for this show, and he had time to sing only one song. He chose "Tweedlee Dee", a recent hit for LaVern Baker, Georgia Gibbs and Bonnie Lou.

It has also been mentioned that Scotty Moore and Bill Black missed the shoe altogether, so Elvis Presley was backed by members of Ray Price Band, the Cherokee Cowboys. When Ray Price suggested that his band didn't feel comfortable with Elvis' music, Presley exploded, asking them if they had listened to any of his songs.

The argument had more to do with Price's ego than with his band's musical interests. In the end, to Elvis' surprise, the Cherokee Cowboys provided excellent backing after he practised "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" with the band. When Presley announced that he would perform LaVern Baker's recent rhythm and blues hit, "Tweedlee Dee", the band immediately broke into it. This is only partly true, and the differences may be the result of combining memories of this show with Elvis second Hayride remote in Gladewater in November 1955. Scotty Moore and Bill Black were definitely present, and by all indications, Elvis Presley gave a rousing, full-length performance. Ray Price, on the other hand, was not booked. Everyone agrees hat "Tweedlee Dee" was tape-recorded on a Hayride remote in Gladewater, and this was the first such show. The steel guitar heard behind Elvis on "Tweedlee Dee" was by Jimmy Day who did record with Ray Price, but at this time Day was a regular performer with Elvis Presley.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elvis Presley - Vocal and Acoustic Rhythm Guitar (Martin Dreadnought 18)
Scotty Moore - Electric Lead Guitar (Gibson ES 295)
Bill Black - Acoustic Upright Bass (Kay Maestro M-1)
Dominic Joseph Fontana - Drums (Gretsch Round Badge Kit)
Jimmy Day - Steel Guitar


After the Gladewater show, Elvis Presley talked at length with James Clayton Day about music. Not only was Elvis Presley surprised about Day's broad musical knowledge, but he was intrigued by Price's flirtation with rockabilly records. Day, in turn, was impressed with Elvis' familiarity with the new music. There was also a great deal of talk about country music shows. Elvis Presley discussed the "Midway Jamboree Show" in Gaston, Alabama, and laughed about his attempt to get on the show. Elvis Presley didn't elaborate, and Day didn't inquire further. Then Elvis Presley remarked how lucky he was to be a "Hayride" regular.

James Clayton Day wasn't the only one interested in young Elvis Presley. The Cherokee Cowboys as a group were intrigued by Elvis' musical interests. When Elvis talked about Little Walter's "My Baby" and Pat Boone's cover version of the Clovers "Two Hearts", the Cowboys got a true picture of the extent of Presley's devotion to music. Elvis Presley had discovered Little Walter in 1954 while going through a stack of records in Ruben Cherry's House of Records, and, in April 1955, Boone's tune was high on charts.

When Stanley Kesler heard about the crowd's reaction, he was tickled that one of his songs had gone over so well. Kesler, who wrote "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone", had convinced Sam Phillips to release the country-influenced version of his song, which Elvis Presley had originally recorded in a blues vein, because he, Kesler, believed that the country styling was more commercial. It was. Kesler was also the one who urged Sam Phillips to have Elvis Presley debut the song on the "Louisiana Hayride", where the live crowd and the radio broadcast would lead to heavy record sales. The "Hayride" audience, Kesler argued, would prefer a country song, and other country stations would soon pick it up. Kesler was right again, as the tune showed up on playlists across Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas.

RAY NOBEL PRICE - Popular country singer born in Perryville, Texas, on January 12, 1926, and nicknamed "The Cherokee Cowboy". Price was once a member of Hank Williams's Drifting Cowboys. Years later Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, and Johnny Paycheck would become members of his band, the Cherokee Cowboys. Price's first record label was Bullet Records of Nashville, founded as the first label in Nashville by Jim Bulleit, who owned an interest in Sun Records from 1952 to 1954. Ray Price recorded versions of "Release Me" (Columbia 21214) in 1954, "For The Good Times" (Columbia 45178) in 1970, "She Wears My Ring" (Columbia 44628), and "Help Me" (Columbia 19503), all of which Elvis Presley recorded. Ray Price appeared on a few bills with Elvis Presley in 1955 and 1956. The Cherokee Cowboys backed Elvis Presley on the "Louisiana Hayride" on April 30, 1955.

BILLBOARD - According to a May 28 report in Billboard, Elvis had appeared in Kilgore, Texas, with the Browns and a "Louisiana Hayride" unit, and he was a guest on KOCA radio. Also in the May 28 issue of Billboard, it was mentioned that Elvis had played a ball park in Gainesville, Texas, with Scotty and Bill, Onie Wheeler, Frank Starr and the Rock-a-way Boys. This show was staged by Jerry O'Dell of KGAF radio. Elvis may have also appeared at the American Legion Hall in Breckinridge, Texas, at this time. He was paid $300 and attendance was over 1,000.


Elvis Presley performed in Lufkin, Texas. From another brief article in Billboard (May 28, 1955): "Guesting with Rex Lawrance over KOGA, Kilgore, Texas, recently were J.E. and Maxine Brown, Elvis Presley and the Louisiana Hayride' Band". Elvis Presley had last worked with the Browns for the Gladwater remote broadcast of the Louisiana Hayride, April 30. In all likelihood, this item refers to a live radio station promo a day or two before the Gladewater show. Unfortunately, there are no known show-dates for Lufkin.

The period from January through April 1955 was transitional for Elvis Presley. His career was attracting national attention. When Elvis' fourth single "Baby Let's Play House"/"I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" was released on April 25, 1955, it became the first Sun single distributed in the Northern and Western record markets. Sam Phillips pressed two thousand copies at Monarch Records in Los Angeles, and they were wholesaled in California, Oregon, and Washington.

The most significant change in Elvis Presley's career was his increased concert activity. Every day new promoters were contacting Bob Neal or Sam Phillips about Elvis Presley, and there was less and less haggling over money. Elvis Presley was on his way to becoming a mainstream rock and roll act.

During this period, Elvis Presley, himself a product of divergent influences, was already influencing a number of fledglings musicians. They watched him, liked his style, and got into the music business as a result of what they saw.


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