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ELVIS SUN 1955 (9)
September 1, 1955 to September 30, 1955

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SEPTEMBER 1955

There is a rumour that Elvis Presley performed in Hope, Arkansas, during the late summer at the town's Watermelon Festival. It turns out, the Festival - now a very successful event – was discontinued in the 1930s and was not reinstated until 1977.

There are no indications that Elvis worked during the early part of the week. He did cut a radio promo for Jim Le Fan in Texarkana, and the most certainly got ahaircut. The Colonel had managed to find Elvis a place on a show at Pontchartrain Beach in New Orleans, where disc jockey show host Red Smith had listen ''Baby Let's Play House'' in his top ten for weeks.

(Above) The Louisiana Hayride Crew. From left: Scotty Moore, Jack Cardwell, Roy Parker, Jimmy Swan, Ernie Chaffin, Mrs. Jimmie Rogers, Al Terry, Jim Reeves, Jeff Bidderson, Lawton Williams, Luke McDaniel, Joe Clay, Elvis Presley. In front: Ann Raye with Red Smith.

SEPTEMBER 1, 1955 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley, the fourteen year old Ann Barhanovich and the "Fireball Star of Records and Louisiana Hayride Fame", performed at the "Second Annual Hillbilly Jamboree" at the Lake Pontchartrain Beach amusement area in New Orleans for 23,000 fans.

The show was a celebration for disc jockey Red Smith of WBOK radio. The entertainment began at 7:00 p.m. with the Flying LaVals as well as Risko and Nina.

At 7:20, everyone enjoyed the Miss Hillbilly Dumplin' Contest featuring "lovely, luscious teenagers" who competed to win an all expenses- paid vacation to Ocean Hills Resort in Biloxi The musical portion of the entertainment began at 9:30 p.m. Prior to Elvis' portion of the show, Mrs. Jimmie Rodgers made a personal appearance, followed by Jim Reeves, Al Terry, Jack Cardwell, Jimmy Swan, Ernie Chafin, Ann Raye, Ray Parker, and Hillbilly Evans. The show was open to everyone at the fairgrounds, and rides, including one of the world's largest roller coasters, were $ 1.00 for adults en 50-cents for children under twelve. That night, Joe Clay sat in on drums, because D.J. Fontana wasn't feeling well.

"That was the first time I'd ever seen anything like that", said Ann Barhanovich. "I sang on the same bill with Elvis Presley in quite a few places, from Florida to Louisiana, that summer. We performed together May 26 in Meridian at the Jimmie Rodgers Celebration. That was my birthday".

Later that night, Elvis Presley appeared at the Golden Cadillac Lounge on St, Clade Avenue near Poland Avenue, The Cadillac was a white club with a black band. Danny White and the Cavaliers were the house band during its heyday. The booking agent, Keith Rush, was a wheeler-dealer on the New Orleans music scene, and he envisioned big profits because of the popularity of Presley's records.

The night that Elvis Presley appeared at the Golden Cadillac, it was filled with excited spectators. His show was truly unique. After opening with "That's All Right", Elvis interspersed rhythm and blues songs with his Sun recordings. Elvis Presley knew that the audience was an rhythm and blues one, and he tailored his song selection to include tunes like "Shake A Hand" and "What'd I Say". A local New Orleans rhythm and blues singer, Bobby Mitchell, was in the audience. Mitchell was stunned by Presley's "black sound".

The night at the Golden Cadillac is a microcosmic example of how Presley's small club dates helped to sell his records. Responding to customer demand, Johnny Vincent, the owner of Ace Records and distributor for Sun Records in New Orleans, immediately told his chief employee, Joe Corona, to order more Presley records. At Joe Assunto's One-Stop Record shop, there was a run on Elvis Records. All disc jockey’s played Presley's music after he appeared at the Golden Cadillac Lounge. On WJMR, WNOE, and WWEX, Elvis' Sun records were carving a territorial nice for his music.

As usual, as a result of his uncontrolled energy and passion for music, Elvis Presley combined his performing with the interest of a fan, and so drove out to Rampart Street and looked in on the Astora, Blue Eagle, and Tiajuana clubs before calling it a night in New Orleans.

Frank Barhanovich said once when Elvis Presley and his daughter, Ann, were appearing on a New Orleans television interview show, "he told Ann, 'How about being my girlfriend?'. And Ann told Elvis, 'You're like a sailor. You got a girl in every port'. At that time, he asked me to manage him. I told him I had a career in the insurance business and I was devoting a lot of my time to me daughter".

He said, also, he felt managing both young singers would have been a bit uneasy. Ann had made up to seven hundred and fifty dollars when she was only fourteen and he was dedicated to advancing her career at that moment.

"I had an opportunity", he said of Elvis' offer, "but I passed it up. My daughter had never appeared in a night club. I wouldn't do it. One time we were booked with Elvis Presley in Lafayette, Louisiana. The contract called for her to go to the Moulin Rouge night club, but I told the manager, 'We don't take our daughter into a night club. You can take Elvis, but not my daughter". Elvis, he said, was not the first name entertainer to ask that he become a manager. Hank Williams had asked earlier. "I just felt like it would be a conflict of interest", he said. "If he would have let me manage him in addition to my insurance business, it would have been OK, but I would have had to travel all over". Barhanovich said he never felt regrets about his decision later. "I think I made a career out of my business", he said. He later became a district manager before retiring from the insurance profession.

Martha Ann Barhanovich Ebberman, Barhanovich daughter, remembers her New Orleans introduction to Elvis Presley quite well. "I hardly knew who he was, what he looked like", she said. "I was singing in quite a lot of high schools in the area at the time. Dad was booking me with a lot of older singers. I mean, they may have been twenty-five or thirty, but when you're fourteen, that's old! I was at that point I would have given anything if dad would just book somebody young".

According to Shirley Fleniken, ''On September 1, my whole family went to New Orleans to see Elvis Presley. He was playing at Pontchartrain Beach, for a Labor Day Show. Elvis, Scotty, and Bill had to walk quite a way on the sand to get to the stage where they were performing. There were policemen walking with them, to keep the crowd back. The show was absolutely wonderful. I didn't think Elvis could get any better, but he was!. Afterwards, we attempted to go backstage but were turned away by the police. It was a bittersweet moment, feeling so proud of Elvis and happy for him that he was doing so well, but a little bit melancholy that I couldn't just to talk to him like the other times I'd seen him, but I would get over that. Yes, those days were over. The main thing was, Elvis was going places! He deserved it, he put his whole heart and soul into his performances, because he cared about us, his fans. My mother summed it all up, after seeing Elvis that day, she said to us, 'You all better take a good look at him, 'cause you won't be seeing him around here anymore, he's going to the top'''.

Joel Scarborough says, ''I knew Red Smith when I was 14 years old. He allowed me to hang around the radio station of WBOK on Saturday mornings to pull requested records for his radio show. I met Elvis when he and Scotty Moore came to the radio station before the Pontchartrain Beach show. I was a poor kid from the St. Thomas housing projects and Elvis noticed that the soles of my shoes were flopping. They took up a collection and gave me $11 to buy a pair shoes. Elvis also gave me an autograph copy of ''Mystery Train'' on Sun label''.

SEPTEMBER 2, 1955 FRIDAY

In the early morning hours, while driving from New Orleans to Texarkana, Elvis Presley was once again ticketed for speeding. In the late afternoon, someone other than Elvis Presley (probably one of his cousins) was behind the wheel as they were headed north about fifteen miles from Texarkana.

A man named Robinson was in his pickup truck going south when he unexpectedly turned in front of Elvis' car. No one was seriously hurt, but damage to Elvis' three-month old 1955 Cadillac was estimated at more than $1,000. The incident made news broadcast from Florida to Texas. (This information is from Ailene Ray who lived on Highway 71 at the site of the accident).

According to Elvis' manager Bob Neal, ''They had done a show in New Orleans, got paid off late, got a speeding ticket on the way.

Time came for them to show, and they weren't there, so the other performers kept working. Then Elvis called and told about their having a wreck about seven or eights miles from town. Scotty was driving, passing a pick-up truck, which pulled to the right, then made a left turn. Scotty chose a ditch. No one was seriously hurt''.

Elvis Presley and his band were booked to perform in Texarkana with Johnny Cash, Charlene Arthur, Floyd Cramer and Jimmy Day at the Arkansas Municipal Auditorium. The first show began at 7 o'clock, to be followed by another at nine.

When it was learned that Elvis Presley would be arriving late, a call went out for Cheesie Nelson, who was located with Pat Cupp at Lee's Drive Inn where they had gone following their High School football game. The pair rushed to the Auditorium. When Elvis Presley failed to arrive for his entrance, Nelson entertained the crowd for about thirty minutes.

He was backed by Scotty Moore and Bill Black, who apparently were travelling ahead of Elvis Presley and knew nothing about the accident. As soon as Elvis Presley showed up, he was rushed on stage in the same clothes he had been wearing in the car.

Elvis Presley informed the crowd: "I've had a few surprises recently, now here's one for you...". Elvis Presley than began to perform a cover version of Faye Adams' 1953 rhythm and blues hit, "Shake A Hand". An interesting sidelight to the evening is the fact that Floyd Cramer played the piano during Elvis' appearance. The show, however, was generally lackluster, with Elvis Presley showing signs of fatigue. Obviously under great strain, Elvis Presley complained to Johnny Cash that the price of sudden fame was becoming burdensome. As his tour continued, Elvis Presley betrayed visible signs of the strain brought on by constantly being in the public eye.

That night in Texarkana, Elvis Presley and Bill Black went out for something to eat. It was unusual for Elvis Presley to hang out with Bill Black, and it was obvious that young Presley had something on his mind. Elvis Presley was having misgivings, and wondered if he was headed in the right musical direction. Tired and anxious, he asked Black whether country music was the road he should follow, or whether he should continue to mix his songs. Country music audiences were often critical of Elvis Presley, and he was concerned about his future. Bill Black did his best to reassure Elvis Presley. After telling young Presley a string of jokes, Black had a serious talk with him, advising Elvis Presley to just perform his songs and forget about the opinions of other people. In effect, Bill Black became a temporary surrogate father figure and helped to nurture Elvis Presley through a difficult period. Ronald Smith and Kenneth Herman, too, recalled that Elvis Presley was reassessing the state of his career after returning his Shreveport dates.

The primary evidence for this performance is the date and location of the accident and the recollection of the people who were there. One other piece of documentation is a recording from late August. Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black were interviewed in Memphis by Bob Neal before a Friday night Texarkana show. The interview, which was either tape recorded or made into a transcription disk, was sent to Texarkana radio stations to promote the show. During the conversation, the foursome mention Elvis' "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" and Charlene Arthur's "Kiss The Baby Goodnight", both of which were released in August 1955.

There exist a late August 1955 interview done to promote the September 2, 1955, Texarkana gig. This interview sheds some light on Elvis' appearances here. The five-minute recording includes the voice of Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black, and Bob Neal. During the discussion, the foursome said that the upcoming show would be their first in Texarkana in four months (making the last one in April or May), their fourth or fifth time in Texarkana altogether (good guess!), and the second trip for D.J. Fontana (it would appear so).

All Texarkana shows are in the main body of text even though in some cases the exact date is, at best, an educated guess.

The true story of the Tale of two friends: Inspired by Elvis, Cheesie Nelson’s impersonation now a part of local history by Jim Williamson, published in the Texarkana Gazette, November 24, 2011 .

A car crash near Fouke, Arkansas, in September 1955 created one of the earliest Elvis Presley impersonations. The circumstance added to the legend of Carl ''Cheesie'' Nelson, who stood in for Elvis at the Arkansas Municipal Auditorium. The friendship of Nelson and Pat Cupp, a Texarkana rockabilly artist who was later inducted into that music genre’s hall of fame, added to the story of the highway of rock and roll, U.S. Highway 67. The chain of events started with the crash involving Elvis’ car, delaying his scheduled performance and creating a 30-minute performance of Nelson imitating Elvis.

''Cheesie did his perfected impersonation of Elvis for 30 minutes'', wrote the late Jerry Atkins, a local music historian, in an article ''I'm a Long Gone Daddy; The Music of Pat Cupp''. Cupp was a guitarist, and shortly after Elvis’ first song, ''That’s All Right'', was released, Nelson and Cupp learned the song. It was Cupp's influence that helped develop Nelson’s skills. ''Pat Cupp was the musician, and he helped develop Cheesie’s singing skills'', said Tamar Nelson-Pennington, Cheesie's widow.

The first time Nelson-Pennington saw her future husband, he came to her school, Texas High, to entertain the students. He brought Cupp with him and he performed the song ''My Babe''. She remembered the song had the lyric ''When she’s hot, she tells me to cool her'', which Nelson sang. The crowd gasped about the forbidden implication. The high school principal banned him from a return engagement. He continued his performances in other venues and bought the Elvis single record. He and Cupp worked out songs to perform for their friends.

The fateful collision near Fouke that created one of the earliest Elvis impersonations occurred about 8:45 p.m. Friday, September 2, 1955. It resulted in slight injuries to J.B. Wiley, 54, of Fouke, according to the Texarkana Daily News article published September 3, 1955. According to the Arkansas State Police, a car driven that evening in September 1955 by Scottie Williams, a steel guitar player in Elvis Presley’s band, hit Wiley’s pickup about one mile north of Fouke on U.S. Highway 71 as the truck was preparing to make a left turn. The truck was knocked back several feet by the impact. Both vehicles were heavily damaged.

The car was owned by Elvis Presley, and he was a passenger. Officers said the car was in passing position at the time of the accident. Presley and Williams were traveling to Texarkana to appear at the Arkansas Municipal Auditorium. Elvis' car was taken to Bert Getty’s Auto Shop for repairs.

Jim LeFan of radio station KOSY had sponsored a group of performers at the Texarkana Municipal Auditorium, and when Elvis was late for the show, he started to panic. He knew Nelson and asked him to perform until Elvis showed up. Other students at the concert said Nelson had performed in a student assembly imitating Elvis. That was good enough for LeFan.

Nelson was forced to go on stage when members of the Arkansas High football team lifted him up from the floor and placed him on the stage. ''Cheesie sang, and Elvis got there and walked on stage in the middle of a song'', Nelson-Pennington said. Someone in the audience reportedly yelled, ''Oh, Elvis, let the boy sing''. So Elvis let Cheesie have the stage.

Decades later, at least one local believes Nelsons willingness to stand in gives Texarkana some unique bragging rights.'''We’re taking claim for having the first Elvis impersonator. Until someone can prove us wrong, we’re calling Cheesie the first Elvis impersonator'', said Mark Shoptaw, a former president of the Arkansas Municipal Auditorium Commission. Nelson became a regular part of Elvis' Texarkana experience. The two were known to have jam sessions at the auditorium after concerts.

When Elvis performed in DeKalb, Texas, Nelson rode with Elvis to the show. He witnessed the promoter paying Elvis ''either $10 or $15 for the show'', Nelson-Pennington said. She never met Elvis and didn’t see him perform. ''I learned to like him'', she said. ''I was a snob in 1954 and 1955. I studied piano and thought of Elvis as a hillbilly. I wrote a letter to a girlfriend in Dallas and said this singer was coming to Texarkana and he was a hillbilly named Elvis Presley. Then I saw him on the Ed Sullivan TV show the next year and changed my mind'', Nelson-Pennington said. ''He excited teenagers, and his music made you feel good. When you’re a teenager, everything can excite you and make you feel good. I'm 72 now, and I don't feel as good as I used to'', she said.

Cupp grew up in Nashville, Arkansas. His home was a musical environment, where his father, Burton, played ukulele and drums and mother, Ruth, played the piano. His brothers, Skippy and Mickey, and sister, Bea, also played music. Pats part in the musical family was singer and guitarist.

By 1953, the Cupp family was living in Texarkana, where music was always popular. Cupp and his band, The Flying Saucers, made their first recording in 1956 at the Radio Ranch, KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Cupp left the rockabilly world but served in the Air Force from 1957 to 1961. When he was discharged, Cupp came home to Texarkana, married, raised a family and worked as an engineer at Lone Star Ammunition Plant, wrote Atkins in his musical history of Texarkana. Atkins was also music director of radio station KTXK in Texarkana, Texas.

Cupp appeared as an extra in the 1976 film ''The Town That Dreaded Sundown'', starring Ben Johnson. He was a police officer in the film and wasn’t paid for his performance. The story was a true story of several murders in Texarkana during the late 1940s that remain unsolved. Cupp was honored in Hemsby, England, 150 miles north of London, during a rockabilly festival in October 1995, recognizing the first-generation rockabilly artist from 1954-1957. The show was his last stage performance before he retired from music.

His retirement was attributed to a hearing problem that started in 1978. Cupp had lost nearly all of his hearing.

''I have lost 90 percent of my hearing, which has made music almost impossible'', wrote Cupp on an electronic page on the Rockabilly Hall of Fame Website. ''I hurt my hearing when I sold public-address systems to rock bands in the area. I did not wear any protection against loud music and did damage that cannot be helped'', Cupp said. ''It took me out of the music business for good in 2007, after a show in France'', he said. Former Arkansas Govener Mike Huckabee honored Cupp with a reception at the state capitol in Little Rock and a letter July 8, 2000, congratulating him for his induction into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

''I have always admired the people who dedicate themselves to music and commend you for the recent induction to the Rockabilly Hall of Fame'', said Huckabee in the letter. The Elvis influence also motivated Cupp. ''I heard Elvis here in Texarkana and wanted to get involved in the kind of music he did. The music was exciting to the young and quickly became popular'', said Cupp in a recent email to the Texarkana Gazette. ''I was raised in a musical family, and they helped me live my dream. I also liked the music of Carl Perkins and wrote the same kind of songs he did'', said Cupp.

The trio of Elvis, Nelson and Cupp converged on the Texarkana auditorium stage by accident. When the shows in 1954 and 1955 ended and the curtains went down, the men walked out of the auditorium to the beats of different drummers. The path for Nelson would be education, where he would eventually become the president of Texarkana College. Cupp would form a band called Pat Cupp and the Flying Saucers and followed the rock ‘n’ roll highway 67 out of Texarkana. Elvis would become a worldwide entertainer.

After 1955, Elvis never performed in Texarkana again. His career created a separate industry of Elvis impersonators. However, Nelson may have been the first impersonator.

Years later, Cheesie said, ''I've been a president of a college and have done a lot of volunteer work. But I'm always going to be known as an Elvis impersonator'', Nelson-Pennington said.

SEPTEMBER 2-9, 1955 FRIDAY / FRIDAY

Chuck Berry arrived at Brooklyn's Paramount Theater in New York City for Alan Freed's Big Rock And Roll Show, he checked into the Alvin Hotel and went over to Manhattan to Meet Alan Freed. It was from Freed that Berry heard the gossip about Elvis Presley. Berry told Freed that he was already aware of Elvis. Not only had Elvis played St. Louis, Berry's hometown, but Chuck had heard about him all over the South.

The conversation about Elvis Presley was all but forgotten as Berry performed his first show at the Paramount. "I realized during those shows that my music and Elvis Presley's records were creating a new sound", recalled Chuck Berry.

SEPTEMBER 2-3, 1955 FRIDAY / SATURDAY

The same August 6, 1955, item in Billboard that referred to Elvis Presley returning from the West Coast, mentions the following items of interest: "Casey Clark, Detroit, has the same unit (Elvis Presley and the Browns) set for September 2-3, 1955, with other dates in the Motor City area pending".

It is unclear whether Clark had "set" Elvis Presley for Detroit, Michigan, which would seem to be what is implied, or whether the bookings were elsewhere. At any rate, Elvis Presley reportedly played the Big D Jamboree on September 3 and, so far as can be determined, did not play Detroit until May 1956.

The band were now in desperate need of transportation, as the pink Cadillac needed serious repair work. Either before the trip to Dallas, or on the way back, Elvis bought a yellow Cadillac Convertible for $4,995 in Texarkana. Due to the three accidents Elvis had already piled up to date, Sam Phillips ended up having to put the new vehicle on his insurance policy.

SEPTEMBER 3, 1955 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley appeared on the Big D Jamboree in Dallas, Texas. Each ticket also allowed fans a free bus ride home. Tommy Sands remembered that Elvis Presley looked worn out.

Elvis Presley discussed his feelings with Sands, and went on at length about Bill Black's idea that Elvis Presley should record more country songs. "Elvis had a weary look to him", Sands remarked. "The strain showed in his face and his clothes hung on his thin frame. Elvis weighed about 160 pounds and appeared haggard in concert", Sands noted. When he graduated from Humes High, Elvis Presley had weighed 185 pounds. The road was taking its toll, but he drove on relentlessly in pursuit of stardom.

Starring this night also the Belew Twins, Helen Hall, Jimmie Collie, Lafawn Paul, The Big D Gang. Show broadcast on KRLD at 8:30 midnight CBS Saturday night country style, coas to coast.

Dallas newspaper article says: FOR JAMBOREE
The Big D Jamboree country music show at the Sportatorium Saturday night will feature one of the brightest new stars in the field when Elvis Presley returns for a special guest booking.

Presley will have Scotty and Bill as sidemen to back him up on his latest tunes, three of which are listen in the top 10 on the country music charts. Presley hit first with ''That's All Right'' and followed with ''Baby Let's Play House''. His latest which has got off to a good start sales-wise, is called ''Mystery Train''.

Presley, now 21 years old, has his largest following in the bobby-sox field. A special feature of the Jamboree starting this Saturday will be the show's new policy of paying bur fare home for patrons.

SEPTEMBER 4, 1955 SUNDAY

Elvis Presley appeared at the Round-Up Club, 2005 South Ervay in Dallas, Texas. There was often virtually no profile of his audience available to Elvis Presley when he was booked into new places like the Round-Up Club until he arrived, although this ended up being an important part of his musical training. Adapting to the crowds, which were now invariably large, continually tested the limits of his versatility. Changing his song selection, he experimented on this occasion with some old country standards, "Old Shep" and "Uncle Pen".

After the show, Elvis and the group traveled to Forrest City, Arkansas and make a stopover in Marshall, Texas.

Washington D.C, based promoter, Connie B. Gay says that a 19-year-old boy named Elvis Presley will be the next sensation of the country and western (hillbilly) music field, it was announced in the "TV and Radio People" column of a Tidewater newspaper on September 4. "Presley has crossed bebop with country music and", according to Gay, "is the hottest thing in the hillbilly field". "All the disc jockey polls and fan magazines showed Elvis Presley rising to the top of "the folk music world, not through picking, yodelling, or balladeering, but by belting out his numbers in a rock 'em sock 'em rhythm style".

It was a week of more or less familiar locations in the areas where Bob Neal's radio show was popular.

The behing-the-scenes haggling between the Colonel and Bob Neal reached new heights during the week. Bob Neal and Elvis were upset about the fee Elvis would get for the upcoming tour. Neal argued that he had a firm $500 offer for Elvis in Richmond, and that the $250 fee negotiated by the Colonel was unacceptable. Neal additionally pointed out that several of these towns were already established Elvis territory from the May tour. Neal went on to say, ''I can make well over $200 for Elvis and the unite playing small towns near Memphis''. Neal additionally quoted Bill Reilly in Richmond saying that ''Baby Let's Play House'' was the biggest selling record he had ever had, even surpassing any of Hank Williams' records. The Colonel countered that this was a two-week package tour, some of the places were first for Elvis, but ended up basically saying that he'd be happy to dissolve the relationship for a flat fee of a $1,000, and all expenses paid.

The Colonel wrote: ''I'm sure you can pick up single dates in localities, where I have promoted Elvis, at $350, $400, and possibly $500''. Colonel Parker completely ignored the fact that, with a few exceptions, the only areas where Bob Neal and his connections hadn't done the groundwork, were Florida and the Carolinas. The nature of the Colonel's promotion was basically to include Elvis on the show, pay him modestly, and Elvis would then himself do the real promotion by stealing the show. The Colonel did get Elvis $5000 for each of the Norfolk dates, but those dates included two shows per day. Bob and Elvis' protests did, however, make some impression, as the colonel was quick to come back with a deal to bring in $300 per show for five shows in Cleveland and St. Louis. The shows were actually arranged by promotion man Oscar Davis.

SEPTEMBER 5, 1955 MONDAY

This week, Elvis Presley headlined another travelling roadshow. The Jamboree also featured Johnny Cash, Bud Deckelman, Eddie Bond, with Floyd Cramer on piano. Guitarist Jimmy Day also appeared, but ads for this evening's show mistakenly listed his name as "Tommy Day". These performers continued with Elvis Presley through September 9.

A crowd of 3,000 was expected for Elvis' 8:00 p.m. headline performance as part of the "Gala Labor Day Celebration" at the St. Francis County Fair and Livestock Show in Forrest City, Arkansas. The appearance was outdoors in Smith Stadium at Forrest City High School. Tickets $1.00, with children seats half-price. Proceeds from the show went to construct a fence around the Fair Grounds. The show was booked through Bob Neal, who advertised it over his WMPS radio show.

This was the first time Elvis Presley had worked professionally with Eddie Bond since their honky tonk days in 1953. At this time, he was recording for Ekko Records in Memphis. Bond soon began filling in as a part-time disc jockey at KWEM in West Memphis. By 1957, he was a regular on the Louisiana Hayride and had formed a talent agency, going into business with Uncle Richard (Dick Stuart) also of KWEM.

A local musician and sometime drummer for Roy Orbison, Ollie Warren, a high school student at the time, recalls meeting Gladys Presley at this show as she sat in the Crown Victoria parked behind the flatbed trailer on which Elvis was performing. Warren says, ''Elvis was playing on a flatbed trailer at the football field when I was in high school at Forrest City, Arkansas. My best friend Bobby White and I had just finished high school band practice, and decided to walk over to the football field to see what was going on. We saw a pink and white Ford Crown Victoria parked behind the flatbed. As we stòod there admiring it, the field lights were reflecting off the windows and we couldn't see inside, so I put my face up to the window to shield it from the light. Gladys Presley was looking at me from the other side, 'Honey, can I help you\ ? I told her I was just admiring the car. She told us that Elvis was her son and asked if we'd ever met him. We said we hadn't, and she invited us to sit in the back seat until he finished his set and said she'd introduce us to him. In a few minutes, he showed up. We talked for a while, he autographed a picture for me, and then he headed back for the next set. Gladys hugged us and invited us to visit them in Memphis. She was really a nice person''.

SEPTEMBER 6, 1955 TUESDAY

In Bono, Arkansas, population 311, Elvis Presley and his show drew a reported 1,152 paid admission for their 8 o'clock appearance at the Bono High School Gymnasium. Elvis' play list included "Milkcow Blues Boogie", "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", "Mystery Train", "I Forgot To Remember To Forget", "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Amazing Grace".

Also on stage were Eddie Bond, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. Outside the building, cars were parked on both sides of U.S. Highway 63 all the way to the city limits, and when Elvis Presley arrived he had difficulty finding a place to park his Cadillac. According to Larry Donn Gillihan, an aspiring rock 'n' roller from Bono at this time, the crowd was double the normal capacity of the small gym, and the floor began to sag near the front entrance. Elvis Presley performed wearing black pegged pants and matching shirt, with a rust-colour jacket.

During the show, he complained that his pants were too large and teased the younger women that they might fall down at any minute.

The show came about when, as with so many other shows at the time, a school class looked for a way of raising funds for their senior class trip. Glenn and his classmate Betty J. Craft were discussing the idea of bringing a country show to their school. Betty's father owned a company called ''Craft Pride of Dixie Syrup Co''., and was a regular sponsor of a country music show on KLCN in nearby Blytheville. Betty was a very determined young lady, and in a matter of days, she and Glenn obtained the permission from their school and drove down to Memphis to make a formal deal with Elvis' manager, Bob Neal. When the posters arrived, the classmates split the area between them, making sure there were posters at all the right places, and definitely at the high school of the area, including the one in Nettleton, where Elvis had performed before.

On the day of the show the kids had to take care of everything, from making sure that there was enough candy and cokes to ensuring that the dressing rooms were ready, and that Bob Neal's wife was not left alone to work the ticket booth. With the class taking 25% of the door that night, it was a resounding success on all levels. The money enabled the ''Class of '56'' to make a senior trip to Florida and New Orleans.

"I was working at the telephone company and my younger sister was an Elvis fan", said Doris French. "When she first heard an Elvis record, she thought he was a black man. When he came into that gymnasium, he bumped into her and to this day that was the thrill of her life''!

"I was talking with Carl Perkins's brother and Carl walked up behind me. I stepped back for some reason and stepped right on Carl's blue suede shoes, and he told me, 'Don't step on my blue suede shoes'".

"The girls had come to me and said they wanted to bring Elvis over to raise funds for their senior class trip", said Phillip Shewmaker, then principal at Bono High School. "I called Bob Neal and we worked out a sixty-forty deal - we'd get forty percent of the door. When Elvis arrived, he told me he had just bought his Cadillac the day before and he was afraid someone would scratch it up, so I had him park it in my yard across the street and my wife watchdogged it while he was up at the school playing".

"Man, we really had a crowd that night. People came from Jonesboro, Walnut Ridge, Newport, Swifton, Bald Knob, Batesville College and even from as far away as Searcy. I'd say we had about eleven hundred people packet all over that little gymnasium". At the time, Bono's population was less than 300, though now it has grown almost to the point the natives could fill the gymnasium all by themselves.

"In the beginning of the show, when Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins were playing, the crowd stayed in the bleachers on both sides of the floor", said Shewmaker. "When Elvis got started, they jumped out of the bleachers and crowded onto that floor, and the gym floor buckled and sank in one section. You wouldn't believe a gym floor would have done something like that. After the concert, we had to go in there and jack the floor back up. That cost us more than we got (from Neal) at the gate". After the show, Phillip Shewmaker guarded the door to Elvis dressing room.

"I'd let one or two girls at a time go back there to see him", he said. "I'll never forget how really bashful Elvis was at the time. We talked about some of the places he had been and he was really concerned about pleasing people and drawing crowds. But to tell you the truth, I never thought then that he would hit it really big". Don Douglas, fourteen and "diddling in music at the time", remembers Elvis Presley wearing an orange outfit at the Bono concert and scarring up the floor with his shoes.

"I remember when that floor caved in", said Glen Swindle. "Elvis was up there banging away on that guitar and he just looked out at all that mess, like wow!, and kept right on playing".

"I thought that was the most exciting thing I'd ever done and I guess it was about the most exciting thing to come to Bono", said than twelve-year-old Joan Richey, who would grow up to become Bono's mayor. "I was stepped on, pushed, shoved that night. Little did I know what the future would hold that night in 1955. Our gym still suffers from that night. You can still see where the floor sags from that concert".

"We all pounded down to his dressing room after the show. I got in and he autographed a picture for me. I look back at that time of my life and my heart skips a beat because it was a wonderful era, to have enjoyed one-of-a-kind music. We began trying to make the circuit whenever Elvis, Johnny or Carl were playing. I've carried that event close to my heart all these years and some part of me is still twelve years old''!

Patricia Hanks went to the Bono concert and said, "Because it was something to do; wasn't anything good on TV that night. I had never seen Elvis Presley, but he had playing around here, in Egypt, Arkansas, the C&R Club, Trumann, Arkansas, was an old aluminum quonset hut, and Bob King's Place. I had heard him on the radio. I knew he was a young rock and roller, that's about it". "Thought everybody had gone nuts. They were screaming and yelling, just like they would still be doing today if he were still alive. Elvis has always been my daughter's favorite. She calls him, 'My Elvis'. And there was a lot more going on in Bono that night than just Elvis singing. I heard there was a baby born from that night".

After the hundreds had finally filtered down two-lane U.S. 63 and left town, Elvis Presley and Glen Swindle walked across the street where Elvis climbed into his brand-spanking shiny new Cadillac. A couple of the locals pulled up on their Harley Davidson motorcycles and began talking with him.

"Someday, I'm gonna get me one of them", Elvis told them. "While he was talking to them", said Swindle, "a right pretty girl in a flowery dress opened the right front door and slid onto the seat beside him". "Hop out, missy, I've gotta go", Elvis told her. "Not until you take me for a ride", she replied. "It looks like I'm gonna have to take her for a spin", Elvis told the boys. "We watched him as he drove up the street a ways, then pulled off into a cotton field with her. We never saw him again that night. A little later, the Jonesboro Sun printed a story about a maternity suit involving Elvis and some Bono girl, but that story got hushed up real quick like".

Gwen Swindle and Ernest Goodon began following Elvis Presley around in northeast Arkansas following the Bono concert - to Nettleton, Jonesboro, Newport, Swifton, and Brookland.

"I kept the door at Porky's in Newport", said Goodon. "We had music up there on Friday nights and illegal gambling on Saturday nights. Elvis wore a shirt with ruffles the night he played Porky's upstairs. It was dry back then, but people brought their own liquor and put it right out on the table. I also saw Elvis a time or two at the Silver Moon in Newport".

"But going back to Bono, a little later the Gamble Brothers played there and someone threw a big wad of snuff into the fans. Can you imagine what would have happened had they done that the night Elvis was there?".

Jimmy Day, the steel guitarist, remembers Elvis showing off a newly purchased yellow 1954 Cadillac Eldorado convertible at this date. Day says, ''A few months after buying the '55 Cadillac, he bought a Cadillac Eldorado convertible, used, but just a year old. I rode back with him from Bono to the Holiday Inn in Memphis''.

According to Glenn Pfeifer remembers that it was Eddie Bond who introduced Elvis Presley that night, ''Elvis ran out and slung on his guitar, then looked at the girls. As that Elvis grin popped out of the corner of his mouth, the crowd roared. As I recall, he wore dark pants with white, long-sleeved shirt and a rust colored jacket. Several times he referred to his pants as being too big, with his grin seeming to say: 'they might fall down', and he would grab them and pull them upwards. There seemed to be a touch of magic in the air mixed in with a little shyness, as Elvis' grin would set off giggles that turned into screams and shrieks while he jumped about''.

''Elvis performed all the music that he had recorded, beginning with ''That's All Right'' and including ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'' and ''Milkcow Blues Boogie''. At one point, as the floor group bounced and swayed to the beat of the rocking music, the floor suddenly sank six inches in front of them, with Elvis hollering, 'Whoa'! Laughter broke out, and then on with the show. He spent a lot of time laughing and joking with the girls, as they would scream at every move. He closed with a gospel song''.

SEPTEMBER 7, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Elvis Presley and the rest of his group: Johnny Cash, Bud Deckelman, Eddie Bond, Floyd Cramer, Jimmy Day, performed at 8:00 p.m. in Sikeston, Missouri, at the National Guard Armory. Tickets were $1.00 for adults with children half price. Before the show, Elvis Presley had dinner with an unidentified sixteen-year old Sikeston women, a relative of one of the performers.

In anticipation of the upcoming expiration of his one-year contract with the Hayride, a completely new document was drawn up on September 8.

It was probably signed in Memphis as Elvis Presley passed through en route from Sikeston to Clarksdale. There were three major changes. First, the contract was only for Elvis Presley and did not include Scotty Moore and Bill Black, who signed separate contracts. Second, the clause in his original contract allowing only one missed performance every three months was altered to allow him to miss one show each 60 days without penalty. Finally, Elvis' fee jumped from union scale (418) to $200 per show. The contract, was effective November 12, 1955, and ran for 52 consecutive Saturdays. As in November 1954, this document was co-signed by his parents since Elvis Presley was four months shy of his twenty-first birthday.

According to Earl Wade, ''When Presley returned on September 7, attendance topped 1,100 at the Armory, with some even turned away at the door. Johnny Cash also appeared with Presley. This time, Presley was dressed a little better and arrived in a Cadillac. His parents, Gladys and Vernon Presley, were also along''.

SEPTEMBER 8, 1955 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley returned to Clarksdale, Mississippi, for an 8:00 p.m. show at the City Auditorium. Prices for tickets were $1.00 for adults and 50-cents for children.

In Houlka, Mississippi, if there were special events at the local High School at night. The yellow county buses would go out to the farms and bring the students back to the event. Elvis Presley was the "something special" this night at Houlka High School, and Glenda Hatcher, despite objections from her parents, boarded a bus and headed for the high school gym.

"None of our parents wanted us to go", recalls Hatcher. "Elvis was something new and they didn't very much approve of him. But the place was packed and we screamed all the way through his performance. Afterward, we went down and talked with him and he was so down to earth".

Vernon and Gladys Presley, she said, sat right behind her during most of the show. Despite the money his school raised with the show, the school principal was miffed with Elvis Presley because of all the shoe marks left on the gym floor.

Bob Neal complains to Tom Parker that Elvis' fee is too low and receives a scrathing telegram in return. Parker informs Neal in no uncertain terms that he can either accept the older man's expertise or go his own way. It might be possible, he lectures Neal, to get $500 for certain scattered dates, but it is impossible to get this sum every night of a two-week tour. Parker is paying Elvis $250 in locations that he has already played and can be counted on to draw a crowd, and $175 for shows in new territory. ''I would like to have a telegram from you immediately'', Parker concludes, ''which way do you want it to go: your way, the way Elvis wants it, or the way I have set it up? It is immaterial to me''.

According to singer Dixie Lyons, ''When I was with him on the show in Clarksdale, he had just gotten a new Cadillac convertible, and during the intermission, he wanted me to see his car. He was so proud of this car. I was a very shy 15-year-old girl, and I remember him kissing me while we where outside. Lots of girls would have given an eye or their teeth to have been kissed by Elvis, but it scared me to death''.

Bobby E. Moore says, ''He was here three times. The first time, there were very few people there. The second and the third time, it was packed. Elvis used to hang around a drive-in called ''The Ranchero''. It used to have carhops coming out. He was sitting backstage on a piano and everybody filed by, and he was singing autographs. They sold pictures in the intermission time. He said, 'If you buy pictures, I will autograph them when the show is over'. I don't remember if it was pink jacket and white pants or the other way around. In the auditorium we had these old, big Shure mics with the big stands, and he would roll them around, and tangle them all up, so the engineers would have to redo all the mic chords after the show. He would sing, and then turn his back to the audience, and he'd pull the comb out''.

SEPTEMBER 9, 1955 FRIDAY

A receipt from Plastic Products Company, the pressing plant for Sun Records, to Binkley Distribution Company in Jacksonville, Florida, shows the strength of Elvis' records. The Florida company ordered fifty 78s and a hundred-seventy-five 45s of "That's All Right", fifty 78s and a hundred 45s of "Good Rockin' Tonight", fifty 78s and a hundred 45s of "Milkcow Blues Boogie", and a hundred 78s and three hundred 45s of "Baby Let's Play House".

McComb, Mississippi, played host to the "Folk-Music Fireball", as the quarter-page announcement in the local paper referred to Elvis Presley. Still touring with Elvis Presley were Johnny Cash, Bud Deckelman, Floyd Cramer and Jimmy Day. The show, which was promoted by Ralph Mathis, was held in the McComb High School Auditorium at 8:00 p.m.

Following the show, Scotty Moore, Bill Black and D.J. Fontana took the instruments and drove east toward Norfolk, Virginia. Elvis Presley travelled west to Shreveport.

McComb is the most famous native of this southern Mississippi town, 20 miles from the Louisiana border, was born Elias Bates McDaniels on December 30, 1928. As a child he saw adults play a strange custom-built instrument, little more than a piece of wire stretched against a door and bridged in the middle by a stone, which they called a didleybow. He inverted the word to get "Bo Didley", which he used both for his stage name and for the title of his 1955 debut single, a Top 10 rhythm and blues hit.

Lynyrd Skynyrd's Convair 240 plane was on its way to an emergency landing at McComb on October 20, 1977, when it crashed in a swamp 8 miles from the airport at Highway 568, near Gillsburg, and a good distance from the nearest road. A dirt track had to be cut through the underground to remove the wreckage from the accident, in which singer Ronnie Van Zant, his sister, and guitarist Steve Gaines were killed. There is no maker for the site.

According to Smithie Buie of Magnolia, ''The musicians thought the school would have a P.A. system, and of course it didn't. At that time, I ran a Saturday night jamboree, broadcast on WHNY. The guys were about thirty minutes late and had no sound equipment. They came here with guitars only. So, I ran down to Magnolia to get the P.A. system I had. I was running sound. Buie remembers the door receipts totalled $635.

Sam Miller says, ''I was eighteen, I think. I met my first wife by going to that thing. I remember how silly the girls were acting. We laughed at them. We saw Elvis when he came out of the side door. We were awed at the way the girls were acting so stupid over Elvis. We hated him. He had on a pink shirt''.

And Curtis Wilkie who played with the Summit High School football team that night, wanted to go hear both Johnny cash and Elvis Presley, he says, ''After our game was over, a carload of three couples went down to the auditorium and pecked in through the window and saw the last number. I don't remember if it was Johnny Cash or Elvis. Then we went out and cruised around, as kids will do. Later we decided to swing back by there and see if we could meet Johnny Cash or Elvis. We got there and the musicians were loading up and we said, 'Is Johnny Cash here'? They said, 'He's done gone, but Elvis is here'. We said, 'Can we meet Elvis'? Somebody hollered at Elvis, and he came over to the car, very politely, and talked to us. Well, there were three cute little high school girls in the car. He talked to us for a few minutes and was very pleasant. I remember, I asked him where his pink Cadillac was, and he said, 'I wrecked that one up the road, but I've got a nice yellow one here'. He autographed our arms with a red ballpoint pen. I got home that night, and got in a later than I was supposed to. My mother was up, and we explained we were out with Elvis Presley. She wasn't too impressed. She saw it, the autograph on the arm, and told me, ; Go wash that off''''.

Bobbie Moore, Scotty Moore's wife says, ''I had to drive home from McComb, Mississippi to Memphis that night. Scotty and them were playing down there. So Scotty was supposed to ride with Bud Deckelman down there, something got mixed up and he didn't show up, so I had to take Scotty down. Bob Neal was down there, he was going to fly back, and when he found out that I was driving back, he decided to ride back with me. He went sleeping. We came back to Memphis about six o'clock the next morning, and he had to go to the radio station''.

Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and D.J. Fontana, loaded up the car and took the long drive up to Norfolk for the scheduled show on Sunday, while Elvis headed for Shreveport to do the Saturday Hayride show on his own, then fly onto Norfolk.

SEPTEMBER 10, 1955 SATURDAY

Billboard, based on the intensive chart action of "Mystery Train" and "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" placed the single in "This Week's Best Buys" section, reporting that "Presley has been coming more and more to the forefront. His current record has wasted to time in establishing itself".

Billboard placed "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" at number 1 in Memphis. "Mystery Train" was number 4 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and number 5 in Houston.

The chart gains were due to the promotional efforts of the Big State Record Distributors, which concentrated upon Tennessee and Texas, where Elvis Presley was a strong regional act, but also had field representatives in Louisiana, Missouri, and Virginia, something which paid off in large record sales in these areas. In New Orleans, "Mystery Train" was number 8 on the local charts.

"Baby Let's Play House" was number 4 in St. Louis, and number 8 in Richmond, Virginia. Billboard placed "Mystery Train" number 14 and "Baby Let's Play House" number 15 on the Country and Western charts. In terms of radio airplay, "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" was rated 10, and "Baby Let's Play House" number 15.

Also by September, Music Merchants in Philadelphia had inquired about Presley's records. Since 1952, Elliot Wexler's Music Merchants had been one of the premiere record jobbers in the country, setting up record racks in drug stores, supermarkets, and variety stores. Given a small amount of space, Music Merchants guaranteed local stores a profit. After ordering a small quantity of "Mystery Train", they began marketing it in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, where it sold well. Safeway and Woolworth stores, two of the chains that Music Merchants serviced, sold Presley's records in large numbers. After signing a management agreement with Elvis Presley, Colonel Tom Parker kept in touch with Elliot Wexler, from whom he learned a great deal about merchandising.

Elvis Presley returned to the Louisiana Hayride without the Blue Moon Boys. Following his performance, he took a commercial flight from Shreveport to Norfolk, Virginia.

Tom Parker writes Tom Diskin to tell him te remind Elvis how difficult it is to get enough dates to make up a good tour. In a second letter Parker tells his lieutenant to be sure to ''talk to Presley alone, take him to lunch or get him in your room'', so as to convey two linked ideas: first, that Parker is doing more for Elvis than he would for anyone else, unless he was being paid ''big dough''; and second, that while ''we are going ahead with great plans.. if we are to be checked every time, we better work out a finish''.

SEPTEMBER 11-12, 1955 SUNDAY / MONDAY

In Norfolk, Virginia, Elvis Presley joined another leg of the "Hank Snow All Star Jamboree" tour. However, according to the advertisement in the Virginia Post, this time Elvis Presley was the headliner. The remainder of the Snow aggregation featured the Louvin Brothers and the Alabama Sand Dusters, Cowboy Copas, Jimmie Rodgers Snow, and Hank Snow's Rainbow Ranch Boys.

This "Return Engagement" in Norfolk by Elvis Presley was "By Popular Demand". There were two shows on Sunday at the Norfolk City Auditorium, at 3:00 and 8:00 p.m., and one show, at 8:00 p.m. on Monday. Portions of at least one performance were broadcast over WCMS radio, which promoted the show. According to Sheriff Tex Davis of WCMS, the show "broke all attendance records for the town". Reporting on the crowd's reaction to Elvis Presley, Davis told Billboard that "the teenagers went wild when he went into his act. The girls mobbed him afterward and literally tore his cloches apart for souvenirs". Admission was $1.50 with Children only $1.00.

An easy going atmosphere was evident during this performances, and this encouraged Elvis Presley to experiment with his song selections. During the tour, Elvis Presley tried out "Blue Guitar", a 1954 song written and recorded by Sheb Wooley. It is likely that Elvis Presley recorded a demo of "Blue Guitar" at Sun Records, but a tape has never surfaced.

Witnessing the pandemonium of Elvis' performance from the audience was Eugene Vincent Craddock who had recently been released from Veteran's Hospital with his left leg in a cast, the result of a motorcycle accident. He would win an "Elvis sound-alike" contest in April 1956 sponsored by Capitol Records. The top prize was a recording contract. Thus the career of Gene Vincent was launched. His manager was Sheriff Tex Davis. "I wasn't influenced by his voice, except that he was obviously young like me and I was encouraged by this, 'cause I was just a shy kid". There is no doubt that Elvis Presley affected Gene Vincent's career. Much like Eddie Cochran, Vincent saw his own rock and roll future after watching Presley's stage show. Gene Vincent's band, the Blue Caps - Jack Neal, Cliff Gallup, Willie Williams, and Dickie Harrell - also watched Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and D.J. Fontana with great interest. Impressed with Elvis' band, they felt reassured that they, too, had a future in the music business.

The battle for control between Colonel Tom Parker and Bob Neal continued. In a letter dated September 15, Bob Neal told the Colonel that Elvis' calender was full until November 19, and a tour that Colonel Parker proposed, with Elvis as part of a Hank Snow package, would have to wait until the new year. Neal concluded that ''the best thing in view of Elvis' own opinions'' would be an arrangement, where the Colonel would just buy Elvis for future shows, like any other promoter.

Two days later, Bob Neal wrote Colonel Parker to inform him that he was withdrawing from their arrangement. The Colonel immediately sent Elvis the correspondence trying to secure his relationship with the young, indecisive artist, inviting him to stop by his Madison office after the last show of the current tour and get the speaker the Colonel had for him.

Whether Elvis accepted the Colonel's invitation to visit on his way home is not known. two days earlier, Bob Neal had invited Colonel Parker and Tom Diskin down to Memphis on the weekend so that they could ''settle the matter'', and then Jamboree Attractions could go back to being just another talent buyer. Although it seems such a meeting never took place, there's indication that this was indeed the arrangement until October 18.

GENE VINCENT - (1935-1971) Rockabilly singer born Vincent Eugene Craddock in Norfolk, Virginia. Vincent was born on February 11, 1935 (just thirty-four days after Elvis Presley). Discovered by disc jockey Bill Randle, Vincent was one of the early rock and roll artists, reaching the charts in 1956 with "Be-Bop-a-Hula" (Capitol 3450).

Before 1956 Vincent served in Korea with the Navy. He won an Elvis Presley impersonation contest sponsored in 1956 by Hollywood's Capitol Records, who hoped to find another Elvis Presley.

He became the first singer to perform in black leather. Capitol Records signed him to their label, hoping he could compete with Elvis. Vincent's backup group was called the Blue Caps.

Tommy Facenda, who had the 1959 hit "High School U.S.A." was once a member of the Blue Caps. (Members of the Blue Caps were: Galloping Cliff Gallup, Wee Willie Williams, Be-Bop Harrell, and Jumpin' Jack Neal). The group had named itself after President Dwight D. Eisenhower's favorite blue golf cap. In 1968 Gene Vincent recorded the song "Story Of The Rocker" (Playground 100) and (Forever FR 6001), in which he mentioned Elvis Presley. Gene Vincent died on October 12, 1971.

SEPTEMBER 1955

The Presley's moved from 2414 Lamar Avenue, just around the corner, to 1414 Getwell Street. The house was a relatively simple one on a busy street. The rented Memphis house in which the Presley's resided from December, 1954 to May 11, 1956, their telephone number was 48-4921, and was listed in the Memphis phone book, and he was generally accessible to his fans and loved the fame and adulation. Elvis Presley loved to cruise around downtown when he was not on tour. At this point in his life, neither Elvis Presley nor anyone else thought of him in mythic terms - when not on stage, he was basically no different than his fans.

To some observers, there were signs of change in Elvis' life, however. Ronald Smith remembers Elvis' circle of friends tightening. "One night Elvis wanted to go roller skating. It was too hot and muggy", Smith recalled. "So Kenneth Herman and I decided to do something else. Before we left, George Klein stared hostilely at us". Smith was perplexed. Klein seemed abusive and aggressive. "If Elvis wants to go roller skating, guys", Klein stated, "then we go roller skating". In disgust, Smith and Herman left Elvis' inner circle - they couldn't believe the sycophantic behaviour of some of Elvis' superficial friends, and were annoyed about the way Elvis' so-called friends were simply using him to meet girls. "Elvis also had a dark side", Smith recalled. "He was a wonderful guy, but the pressure from his friends changed him".

1414 GETWELL STREET - By mid-1955 (September), Elvis Presley was making enough money to move the family again, a little farther east, to 1414 Getwell Street. The family lived here until May 1 956, but because of increasing numbers of performances Elvis Presley was seldom home. The family life here between January and March of 1956, Elvis Presley appeared on the program "Stage Show", hosted by big band leaders Tommy Dorsey and Jimmy Dorsey, six times.

On April 3, 1956, Elvis Presley was a guest on "The Milton Berle Show" broadcast from the deck of the USS Hancock, then docked in San Diego. Gladys and Vernon Presley, and Minnie Mae were home at 1414 Getwell Street watching Elvis Presley and Milton Berle perform.

In 1989 the house was moved to make way for a Chief Auto Parts Store. A few years ago the intersection where the Presley's house stood was zoned for business. However, the neighbourhood retains the flavour from when they lived there, clearly an improvement from their Lamar Avenue home. The owner tried to restore it as a tourist attraction, but all attempts to preserve the Getwell house failed when it burned in 1994. This location is now a business in a strip of shops on Getwell.

SEPTEMBER 13, 1955 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley split off from Snow, headlining his own group of performers. Working the next few shows with Elvis Presley were Cowboy Copas and the Louvin Brothers. This evening, the Shrine Auditorium in New Bern, North Carolina, was the site of their 8:00 p.m. show.

Elaine Lawton took her grandparents, ages seventy-eight and eighty, to this concert at Shrine Auditorium, not to see Elvis Presley, but to see the Louvin Brothers.

"They enjoyed the Louvin Brothers", said Lawton, "but when Elvis came on, all bedlam broke loose. "Granny said to me, 'If these people would sit down and quit screaming' and hollerin' and hush so I can hear and see him, he might be right good'". They didn't. He was.

In order to be certain that Elvis and the band are fully covered (and Sun Records does not suffer any undue liability exposure), Sam Phillips takes out an insurance policy on the yellow 1954 Eldorado that Elvis purchased earlier in the month. Phillips lists himself as ''named insured'', and 2414 Lamar (Elvis' residence) as the principal place of garaging, though within a matter of weeks the Presleys will move around the corner, to 1414 Getwell Street, where they will pay $85 a month in rent.

SEPTEMBER 14, 1955 WEDNESDAY

The Elvis Presley group moved on to Wilson, North Carolina, for an 8:00 p.m. show at Fleming Stadium. Elvis Presley was brought to Wilson by Slim Short (real name Bob Allen), a local disc jockey on WGTM. Tickets for the show, which were only $1.00 in advance and $1.25 the night of the show, were badly oversold. Some 2,000 fans crowded the stadium. Elvis Presley came on stage last, following Cowboy Copas, the Louvin Brothers and the Alabama Sand Dusters.

When he bounded up the stairs to the stage, he slipped and fell. His composure was rattled, and he told a few jokes while he got his bearing. Following the show, Elvis Presley ate at Cliff's Drive-In. Slim Whitman said in an interview that he and Elvis Presley played in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, presumably in 1955. It is possible that Whitman confused the similar-sounding High Point or even the nearby town of Wilson.

SEPTEMBER 15, 1955 THURSDAY

The Elvis Presley group rejoined the Hank Snow Jamboree when they played the American Legion Auditorium in Roanoke, Virginia, at 8:00 p.m. Elvis Presley was billed as "extra special by popular demand", and the Roanoke Times referred to him as the "Hillbilly Frank Sinatra".

Tickets were $1.00 in advance from the Roanoke Record Shop or $1.25 at the door. The show was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, which was raising money to support the children's sandlot baseball program.

As the Hank Snow tour progressed, Elvis' charismatic touch was repeated in city after city. There were signs at all the concerts of a special feeling between Elvis Presley and his fans, who threw flowers, notes, and assorted gifts onto the stage.

The feeling of love and identification with the music seemed to go far beyond previous concert scenes. Such a feeling was evident between September 11 to 22, 1955, as crowd grew larger and more boisterous, and audience cheered Elvis Presley while ignoring the other acts.

The promoter who brought the Jamboree to town - who was also the owner of the Roanoke Record Shop and was not only unable to keep Presley's records in stock - quickly ran out of dollar concert tickets as well.

There was an air of excitement on September 15, 1955, when the Jamboree opened in the American Legion Auditorium. There were whispers backstage that Hank Snow was unhappy with the way that Elvis Presley had upstaged him during the tour. It was to Colonel Parker's benefit to initiate bad blood between Elvis Presley and Hank Snow. Since Hank Snow was a fifty-fifty partner with Tom Parker in Hank Snow Enterprises, he would be entitled to half of Elvis' future royalties if young Presley signed with their company rather than going with Parker personalty. During the tour, much to Parker's satisfaction, it was very uncomfortable backstage. There was also common agreement among the performers that the crowds turned out to see and hear Elvis Presley.

Although all decisions with respect to Elvis' career must by contract go through Parker's office, Bob Neal negotiates a new one-year contract with the Hayride, at $200 a performance, a raise of over 1000 percent. Vernon Presley signs the agreement, which goes into effect November 11, 1955, and carries a penalty of $400 for each missed performance beyond the one every two months allowed. One can only surmise that this represents one last attempt by Neal to assert his independence and that it is endored by Vernon out of an ingrained hunger for financial security and an almost desperate uncertainty about the future.

SEPTEMBER 16, 1955 FRIDAY

The Hank Snow caravan stopped for an 8:15 p.m. show in Asheville, North Carolina, at the City Auditorium. Emcees for the show were Red Kirk and Ken Marvin. Tickets were $1.25 for adults and 50-cents for children.

The Asheville newspaper ad read: "Grand Ole Opry Will Play Here Tomorrow Night. A none night showing of the Grand Ole Opry will be held in the City Auditorium beginning at 8:15 p.m. tomorrow.

Highlighting the program will be Hank Snow, Louvin Brothers, MGM recording stars, Cowboy Copas, Rainbow Ranch Boys, Scotty and Bill, Alabama Sanddusters, Ken Marvin, Red Kirk and Elvis Presley. Tickets may be purchased at the record counter of J.J. Newberry's Store, 41 Patton Avenue".

According to Lois Angel, ''It was a beautiful September day; I'd looked forward all day to being with my friends and going to the big show. Hank Snow Jamboree was performing that evening. My date and I were especially fond of the Louvin Brothers, a popular group at the time. We were anxious to see them perform live and in person. We got with our friends and set out together to see the show. The tickets were a whopping $1.00 or 1.25 for adults, more than the price of a movie at that time. We had center seats near the front and close to the stage. Only one person in our group had ever heard the name ''Elvis'' and none of us knew anything about him. We'd never seen him or listened to him on the radio. Unknown to us, he had performed in Asheville a few months earlier and was back by popular demand. So, when the group of girls seated behind us started screaming his name all during the show, we wondered, 'Who is this Elvis'? We actually laughed a little at the unusual name''.

''As the show progressed act after act, the girls behind us continued to scream for Elvis. They saved Elvis, Scotty, and Bill for last act of the show and, finally, the time arrived. I was getting prepared to laugh at this character with the strange name. I thought he must be a comedian. The music began, the curtain opened with Scotty and Bill in their places on the stage. The screaming grew louder as Elvis burst onto the stage in his rose red suit, white bucks, and pink shirt. His brownish hair bounced around on his forehead as he moved so gracefully onto the stage. He was tall, slender, and very handsome. He appeared to be in complete control and totally comfortable with what he was doing. His mannerisms were just smooth and wonderful. One of the first things he did amidst the screaming was to walk over to an old piano on stage, take a big wad of chewing gum out of his mouth and stick it on the side of the piano. He turned to the audience and said, 'Don't let me forget that'. They had us laughing at their antics. Elvis pretended to forget the names of the songs as he told us what they were going to do next. He'd scratch his head and turn to Scotty and Bill for help with the song titles when he obviously knew exactly what he was doing. They made us laugh, they made us clap and scream as they played, and Elvis sang and played, ''That's All Right'', Shake, Rattle And Roll'', and a few other songs, which titles I no longer recall. Bill got excited and started riding that bass fiddle around the stage as the audience clapped and screamed. The sounds they made together were absolutely magical. They were perfect together. The audience loved them''.

SEPTEMBER 17, 1955 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley had one of his biggest weeks on the Billboard chart for the week ending September 7th. On the Country and Western Territorial Best Sellers", "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" was number 1 in Memphis; "Mystery Train" was number 4 in Dallas-Fort Worth, 5 in Houston and 8 in New Orleans; "Baby Let's Play House" was number 4 in St. Louis and 8 in Richmond. On the National Country and Western charts, "Mystery Train" was number 14 and "Baby Let's Play House" was number 15 in sales, while "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" was number 10 and "Baby Let's Play House" was tied for number 15 (with Carl Smith's "There She Goes") in radio airplay.

Beginning this evening, Elvis Presley, the Louvin Brothers and Cowboy Copas split off from the main Hank Snow unit for the rest of this tour of the East Coast. This evening they performed in Thomasville, North Carolina. There was no local newspaper advertising, but residents recall that the show was at the High School Auditorium.

The bickering between Tom Parker and Bob Neal continues. After being pushed mercilessly by Parker, Neal pulls out of their joint arrangement, terming his withdrawal a ''pleasant parting''. Parker immediately sends copies of the correspondence to Elvis, expressing the hope that they will be able to work together again in future and concluding somewhat disingenuously, ''Sincerely, Your Pal, The Colonel''.

SEPTEMBER 18- 19, 1955 SUNDAY / MONDAY

Elvis Presley, again headlining the smaller unit, began a two-day stand at the WRVA Theater's Old Dominion Barn Dance in Richmond. Tickets were $1.00 before each show and $1.25 at show time. Children were 50-cents. Tickets were marketed as far away at Thalhimere and Petersburg. The show was promoted by Bill Railey. Performances on Sunday were at 2:20 and 8:30 p.m. On Monday the group entertained at 8:00 p.m. It was later reported by a fan who was in attendance that only about fifty people attended the Monday show.

A Richmond newspaper article says: ''Elvis Presley, the 20-year-old headliner from the Louisiana Hayride, will come to the WRAV Theater for performances at 2:30 and 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 18, it was announced yesterday by Bill Railey under whose auspices the show will be presented.

Presley was here with the Hank Snow in May, and was given the greatest ovation ever accorded a hillbilly performer here. Since then his records have enjoyed great popularity with the local patron and his newqest recording ''Mystery Train'', is reported as a best seller in its field.

Other headliners on the two-hour shows will be Cowboy Copas and the Louvin brothers''.

SEPTEMBER 20, 1955 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley was second on the bill behind "The Nation's Number One Gospel Group", as the Louvin Brothers headlined this evening's "Grand Ole Opry" show at 8:00 p.m. in Danville, Virginia. This local barn dance was held at the Danville Fairgrounds and was broadcast over WDVA radio. Following the concert, there was round and square dancing until midnight to the music of Clyde Moody and his Woodchoppers. Admission for this abundance of entertainment was only $1.00.

Artikel in the Danville newspaper says, ''The greatest hillbilly show ever to be presented in Danville is coming to the WDVA Barn at the Danville Fairgrounds this Tuesday evening. It's the big Grand Ole Opry Show, a mammoth hour-and-a-half of solid entertainment! Be on hand for songs by the popular Louivin Brothers, the Nation Number One Singers of Gospel Songs, with their Alabama Sanddusters; handsome Elvis Presley, the 17-year-old hillbilly sensation of Louisiana Hayride; and famous Cowbow Copas! Following the show will be round and square dancing 'til midnight, to the music of Clyde Moody and his Woodchoppers! This double-header brings you all this entertainment for just $1.00, tax included.

SEPTEMBER 21, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Elvis Presley, the Louvins, the Alabama Sand Dusters, and Cowboy Copas appeared at the Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh, North Carolina at 8:00 p.m. Tickets in advance $1.00. On sale at Thiem's Record Shop, Ambassador Theatre Boulevard. At door $1.25.

The Raleigh newspaper reports, ''Elvis Presley, the 20-year-old fireball from the Louisiana Hayride Show, is coming in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium for a personal appearance on Wednesday at 8 p.m. Presley combines country music with bop. Some of his hit records have included, ''That's All Right'', ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', ''Good Rockin' Tonight'', and ''Milk Cow Blues Boogie''. His musical sidekicks are Scotty Moore, playing the hot guitar, and Bill Black, thumping the bass.

SEPTEMBER 22, 1955 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley's tour of Virginia and North Carolina came to a close with an 8:00 p.m. show at the Civic Auditorium in Kingsport, Tennessee. Admission was $1.25 with children being admitted for 50-cents. The Louvin Brothers opened the evening's entertainment and were followed on stage by Elvis Presley, who reportedly kicked off his portion of the show with "Rock Around The Clock", followed by his regular fare as well as three frequently performed tunes: "Mystery Train", "Milkcow Blues Boogie", and "I Love You Because". Cowboy Copas closed the show.

According to Vince Staten, ''Elvis opened with ''Rock Around The Clock'', followed by ''Mystery Train''. My notes say he sang all his Sun Records hits. While playing ''Milkcow Blues Boogie'', he broke a guitar string. While he was restringing his guitar, he took off his jacket, to the swoons of the girls in the crowd. He closed his segment of the show with ''I Love You Because''

When it was all over, Elvis Presley and his band loaded their vehicles and truck out for Shreveport.

ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK - "Rock Around The Clock" was written in 1953 by Max C. Freedman and Jimmy De Knight (real name: James E. Myers).

At the time, Freedman was 58 years old! The title first considered for the composition was "Dance Around The Clock". Freedman and De Knight reportedly based the tune on an old rhythm and blues song called "My Daddy Rocks Me With A Steady Roll".

"Rock Around The Clock" was originally recorded by Sonny Dae and His Knights (Arcade 123) in 1953. The following year, on April 12, 1954, Bill Haley recorded the song in the same session as "Shake, Rattle And Roll". The famous guitar breaks was played by Danny Cedrone. When first released, "Rock Around The Clock" (Decca 29124) sold poorly.

The label listed the song as a fox-trot! It wasn't until the 1955 movie "Blackboard Jungle" hit the theatres that "Rock Around The Clock" gained popularity. The song served as the film's opening and closing theme.

"Rock Around The Clock" reached number one on Billboard's Top 100 chart, where it stayed for eight weeks. Over the years, it has been on the charts for a total of 43 weeks. The song also reached number 4 on the rhythm and blues charts. Sales of over 25 million copies worldwide are claimed for Bill Haley's release. It was the first record in England to become a million-seller. Because it was used as the theme song for the TV series "Happy Days", "Rock Around The Clock" re-entered the Hot 100 chart in 1974, reaching number 39.

SEPTEMBER 23, 1955 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley returned for one day to Memphis, he found that Colonel Tom Parker had been working diligently to secure a recording contract for him. Elvis Presley called Tom Parker shortly after coming home to inquire about negotiations with the major record labels.

The Colonel didn't have good news. It appeared that many of the labels were still unsure about marketing Elvis Presley, although there was strong interest from RCA Victor.

Back home, Elvis attends an All-Night Singing put on by the Blackwood Brothers at Ellis Auditorium. When James Blackwood discovers that Elvis has purchased his own ticket to get in, he sends his apologies along with a refund check.

SEPTEMBER 24, 1955 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley headlined an appearance on the Louisiana Hayride. Also appearing on this evening's broadcast were Jim Ed and Maxine Brown.

Newspaper advertisement now lists Elvis Presley at the top of the bill.

SEPTEMBER 26, 1955 MONDAY

Elvis begins another tour booked by Bob Neal in familiar territory. It is possible that Elvis played in Houlka, Mississippi, during this week.

Elvis Presley started a West Texas tour with Johnny Horton, Betty Amos, David Houston, Sonny Trammell, Ray Gorman, Tillman Franks, and "Woody Birdbrain". The first show was in Wichita Falls. Later, Elvis Presley performed at Gilmer, Texas. The show was held in the Junior High Gymnasium.

The librarian in Andrews, Texas informed that the librarian in Big Spring had given her the information that Elvis Presley had appeared in Big Spring at the Ritz Theater. Upon checking with the librarian in Big Spring, she did not know where that information came from and she was unable to come up with anything concrete. Too bad - its an open date.

The Gross receipts for touring in September totaled $3,300, it would be the last month for the original 50-25-25 split between Elvis, Scotty, and Bill. As of October 1, Elvis' band, including D.J. Fontana, got weekly salaries of $200 when they were working and $100 when they were not.

_______________________________

Gilmer newspaper article with a headliner says, ''Lion Club Brings ''Louisiana
Hayride To Gilmer for Monday Night Show''

''Radio's famed Louisiana Hayride is coming to Gilmore, next Monday night for an appearance at 8 p.m. in the Junior High School Gym. The Gilmore Lions Club will sponsor the show and the Lions urge everyone who is planning to attend to buy tickets in advance. Most of the club's profit will come from advance ticket sales. Each Lion has tickets in sell and they have been distributed to most schools in the country. Price is $1 for adults and 50c for children.

The club will use the money for work with cripped children including the Lions cripped children camp at Kerrville, and to help Upsher County childrens who need glasses or have other vision handicaps.

Elvis Presley, popular ''Hayride'' singer, will be on hand along with Scotty and Bill and two other stars, J.E. and Maxine Brown. The gym will ring with such numbers as ''That's All Right'', ''Heartbreaker'', ''Looking Back To See'' and ''You Thought What I Thought''.

JOHNNY HORTON - Horton was from Tyler, a town in East Texas, and had a rabid local following. Like Elvis, he also appeared on the "Louisiana Hayride", and was an accomplished honky-tonk singer. Horton's vocals featured a growl borrowed from T. Texas Tyler, and his rockabilly signature song, "Honky Tonk Man", was a crowd pleaser. Rising to the challenge, Elvis Presley unleashed Scotty Moore's strong, angry electric guitar for some extended solo play. Moore's guitar licks, like Horton's, borrowed elements of Onie Wheeler's lead solos. Elvis Presley smiled at Horton as he left the stage; the healthy competition added some spice to the evening's routine.

Although he was relatively unknown at the time, Johnny Horton's abilities were not lost on Elvis Presley. With a style similar to Onie Wheeler's, Horton employed primarily acoustic instrumentation, but from time to time he used a driving lead guitar hook-up in his rockabilly songs. "Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor" was the best example of how Johnny Horton could harness a growling electric guitar. Elvis Presley thought that Johnny Horton's sound was too hillbilly, and opted for straight-ahead rockabilly.

Billie Jean Williams, Hank Williams' ex-wife, had married Johnny Horton in 1954, and she was along on the tour. Billy Jean had given Elvis Presley some food money during one of his earliest performances on the "Louisiana Hayride", and they remained close friends.

SEPTEMBER 27, 1955 TUESDAY

The tour stopped for a show in Bryan, Texas, at the Saddle Club.

SEPTEMBER 28, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Elvis Presley returned to Gobler, Missouri's B&B Club. There were no local advertisements this time, but a contract for this date does exist. According to Gerald Burke owner of the B&B Club, ''The last time, the place was packed, the parking lot full, and my five waitresses couldn't even move around to wait the tables''. And J.G. McCuin, musician in the band of Jimmy Haggett says, ''I knew he was gonna make it big, 'cause that last time we played, the girls at the club jumped up and started tearing off his shirt, and he borrowed my coat to wear out to his car''.

UNKNOWN DATE SEPTEMBER 1955

Elvis Presley performed in Cardwell, Missouri at the Rebel Club, a local hangout. William C. Clark, now the Mayor of Cardwell who was the principal at Southland High at the time, visited the club with two other men. Clark, who was also the football and basketball coach at Southland, did not enter the Rebel. He was fearful that he might see one of his players and be forced to drop him from the team for visiting such an establishment. Further research has uncovered that the opening acts were two local boys, Jimmy Smith and Jimmy Blunk. It is presumed that Elvis Presley performed here either right before or right after his September 28 appearance in nearby Gobler.

SEPTEMBER 29, 1955 THURSDAY

The tour played a show in Austin at the Sports Arena. A photo of Elvis Presley on file at the Austin History Center is identified as coming from Dessau Hall, September 29, 1955. Elvis Presley was definitely in Austin on October 8, and it would be unlike for him to appear in Austin twice in the space of a week. It may be that the photo is mis-captioned. On the other hand, Elvis Presley was not booked anywhere else on September 29. Serious researchers believe that Elvis Presley played Dessau Hall much earlier than September 1955, but there is nothing more to go on.

SEPTEMBER 30, 1955 FRIDAY

Actor James Dean, killed in an automobile accident while driving his 550 Porsche Spyder. He crashed into a Ford sedan driven by Donald Turnupseed near Salinas, California.

In September 1955, Country Song Roundup published a nationally-circulated article on Elvis Presley entitled "Folk Music Fireball". The article was a complimentary piece of journalism extolling Elvis' unique talent, and helped to break his music in a number of northern markets.

JAMES BYRON DEAN - Actor born in Marion, Indiana, on February 8, 1931. After a short, but successful, movie career during which he became a cult figure. During the years 1954 to 1956, Elvis Presley was one of the three rebels on the scene. The other two were James Dean and Marlon Brando.

Elvis Presley once remarked to producer Hall Wallis about an observation he had made, that successful actors in films never smiled, e.g., James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Humphrey Bogart.

There have been a number of comparisons made between Elvis and Dean. Elvis Presley took over where Dean left off; he was referred to as "the musical James Dean". Actor Nick Adams was a close friend of Dean's (he even dubbed a part of Dean's dialogue in the 1956 movie "Giant"), later becoming a good friend of Elvis Presley.

Actress Ursula Andress had been romantically involved with both Jeames Dean and Elvis Presley. Elvis Presley's favorite movie was Dean's 1955 film "Rebel Without A Cause", from which Elvis Presley had memorized every line.

Dean's love interest in the film became Elvis' real-life love interest, actress Natalie Wood. Both Elvis and Dean have been the subject of many books, magazine articles, and songs. Country singer Jimmy Wakely recorded four songs in tribute to Dean, "Giant"/"His Name Was Dean" (Coral 61706) and "James Dean"/"Jimmy Jimmy" (Coral 61722). After Dean's death on September 30, 1955, he was killed in an automobile accident, Elvis Presley reportedly wanted to star in the film "The James Dean Story". Producer David Weisbart, who produced "Rebel Without A Cause", the film ended up as a documentary.

A modest Elvis Presley once said of James Dean: "I would never compare myself in any way to James Dean because James Dean was a genius. I sure would like to, I mean, I guess a lot of actors in Hollywood would like to have had the ability that James Dean had, but I would never compare myself to James Dean in any way".

SEPTEMBER 30, 1955 FRIDAY

The week-long tour ended with a show in Gladewater, Texas. A resident recalls that Elvis Presley broke down and cried in Gladewater, Texas, when he heard the news that James Dean had died. In the finest tradition, he was still able to "go on with the show". This makes a nice story, and Elvis Presley is conveniently idle that day.

The piece presented the picture of a wholesome, boy-next-door entertainer who had a talent which excited his audience. The article, which included a photo of Dixie Locke seated next to Elvis Presley during the interview, was followed by a 1955 Hillbilly popularity poll. The feature article was "Hank Snow's Journey to Fame".

Colonel Tom Parker and Hank Snow had been instrumental in setting up this piece of publicity, hoping that it would promote increased ticket sales for Elvis' upcoming tour with Snow. The magazine, distributed widely in the east and Midwest, did just that, but also helped "Mystery Train" to creep onto playlists in Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Cleveland, and Philadelphia.

SEPTEMBER 1955

COUNTRY SONG ROUNDUP - Second magazine to feature an article about nineteen-year-old Elvis Presley, titled "Folk Music Fireball", in their September 1955 issue. Previously, Country Song Roundup had been the first magazine to feature an article on Hank Williams, for which he dedicated to the magazine a new song that he had just written, "Moanin' Blues". Country Song Roundup held a contest to win a date with Elvis Presley in their August 1956 issue. Both Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins were shown on the cover of that edition.

FOLK MUSIC FIREBALL - Elvis Presley Every so often a newcomer to the Country music scene stirs up a fuss with a different kind of record, an unusual singing style or a 'gimmick' of one sort or another. The latest sensation these days is a 19-year-old Elvis Presley, a handsome, strapping Mississippi boy who's a ball of fire when it comes to putting over a tune.

Recording on the Sun label and a regular member of the KWKH Louisiana Hayride, in Shreveport, young Presley is enjoying the reality of his life's dream: to sing for people and hear the spontaneous applause that means he's a hit.

When Elvis was a youngster down in Tupelo, Mississippi, folks used to stop him on the street and say, "Sing for us, Elvis". And he would...standing on the street corners, in the hit Mississippi sun... or in church... or at school... anywhere someone wanted to hear him, he'd sing. Now the same thing is happening all over again. When he's recognized on the street or at any public place, people call out: "Sing for us, Elvis".

"That's All Right" and "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", Elvis first Sun waxings, were also his first professional work of any kind. He's a self-taught musician and worked out his unique style while listening to records and picking out the tunes on a cheap ($2.98) guitar.

One day he drifted into a Memphis recording studio to make a personal record - just to get an idea about how he sounded - and was heard by Sam Phillips, prexy of Sun Record Company, who thought that with a little work and polish the boy might make the grade as a commercial artist.

Several months of hard work did the trick, and "That's All Right" and "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" had an astounding reception all over the nation. The disc also represented something new in records: the unusual pairing of an rhythm and blues number with a country standard.

Just 19, Elvis has been out of High School but one year - and the big (6-footer) blonde guy likes nothing better than to spent an afternoon practising football with some of the youngster in his neighbourhood. Other hobbies of Elvis' include movies, listening to records - and eating! Stories of the singer's appetite are many. His girl friend, Dixie, declares that recently, at one sitting, he ate 8 deluxe Cheeseburgers, 2 Bacon-Lettuce-Tomato sandwiches - and topped it off with three chocolate milk shakes.

Since the release of his two-sided hit, Elvis has been making personal appearances and bringing the house down every time. As the featured entertainer at the grand opening of a new business arcade, he played to a wildly enthusiastic audience of more that 3,000 who couldn't restrain themselves and started dancing and jitterbugging when Elvis sang "That's All Right". At the recent Jimmie Rodgers Day Celebration in Meridian, Mississippi, Elvis was called back for encore after encore, singing such tunes as "Milk Cow Blues Boogie", "You're A Heartbreaker" and his latest pairing: "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" and "Baby Let's Play House".

There's no doubt about it - this youngster is a real "Folk Music Fireball".

SEPTEMBER 1955

NEW POLICY COMBINES POPS-COUNTRY AND WESTERN

New York - Colonel Tom Parker of Jamboree Attractions, one of the nation's major bookers and promoters of country and western talent, instituted a new policy when he presented a combination of popular and country and western music on a recent one-nighter tour.

Parker teamed Bill Haley and His Comets with Hank Snow for an extended tour, which opened in Omaha Oct. 10. Jimmie Rodgers Snow replaced his father on the show in Lubbock and Amarillo while Hank hopped to Nashville for an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry TV show. Elvis Presley joined the Snow-Haley tour in Oklahoma City.

SEPTEMBER 1955

The band's gross income for September is $3,300, with Elvis still getting only 50 percent of the net, and Scotty and Bill 25 percent, after the new drummer has been paid. This is the last month that this arrangement will remain in effect. At the Colonel's instigation, as of October 1 Scotty and Bill are put on a fixed salary of $200 a week when they are working, with a retainer of $100 when they are not.

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