ELVIS SUN 1955 (10)
October 1, 1955 to October 31, 1955

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Live Broadcast Recordings for Elvis Presley, October 1, 1955

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Sam Phillips buys out Jud Phillips's share of Sun Records and becomes sole owner again. Sam also opens WHER radio in Memphis with Roy Scott and Clarence Camp of Southern Amusements.

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

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


There were serious negotiations, and the prolonged dealings served only to heighten interest in Elvis Presley within the record industry.

This again worked to Colonel Tom Parker's advantage, because he dutifully alerted RCA Victor to the overtures he had received from its potential competitors.

Despite the pressure, there was the problem of finding suitable financing for Elvis Presley's contract as far as RCA Victor was concerned.

The $40,000 purchase price that Sam Phillips had asked RCA to pay included a $5,000 bonus to cover past royalties owed Elvis Presley by Sun Records. Initially, RCA Victor management balked at this high price. The figures were bandied about for the press by Colonel Tom Parker, but RCA wouldn't settle.

A means had to be found to raise the money for Elvis' contract.


Elvis Presley returned to Shreveport for his regular appearance on the Louisiana Hayride at the Municipal Auditorium tonight on 8:00 till 11:30 p.m. The guest artist on this date was Billy Walker, a Hayride semi-regular, Buzz Busby and the Bayou Boys, Johnny Horton, Hoot and Curley, Betty Amos, Jack Ford, Jimmy and Linny, David Houston, Werly Fairburn, Jeanette Hicks, Buddy Attaway, Jimmy Day, and many others. General admission, adults $1.00, children 50 cents, tax included. Tickets on sale at Harbuck & Womack.

The bookings for the week came trough Tillman Franks and the Hayride office, and the towns played were all in the East Texas area where the Louisiana Hayride has its strongest following. Elvis and his band would spend all of October without drummer D.J. Fontana, who had to recover from an illness. Elvis didn't have a show on October 7, so he used the free time to accept an invitation to see Bob Wills at Cook's Hoedown in Houston.




Here Horace Logan introduces at the Louisiana Hayride on Saturday, October 1, 1955 the fabulous three, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black with their live version of ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget'' . Horace Logan indicates ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget'' has been doing well for weeks.

Composer: - Charlie Feathers-Stan Kesler
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued (3:17)
Recorded: - Probably October 1, 1955
Released: - April 16, 2016
First appearance: - MRS Records (2LP) 33rpm MRV 4000 1256-C/4 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)



Elvis Presley kicked off the week playing small venues in Texas, headlining a seven-act touring group calling itself the Louisiana Hayride Jamboree. Featured, along with Elvis Presley, were Jimmy and Johnny, Johnny Horton, Betty Amos, David Houston, comedian Willie Birdbrain, and Daldon and Lulu. Also on hand were Tillman Franks, who booked the tour, and Horace Logan, who acted as emcee.

Tonight there was a 7:30 p.m. concert in College Station at the G. Rollie White Coliseum on the campus of Texas A&M University in Bryan, Texas. The show was sponsored by the Office of Student Activities. Advance tickets cost 35-cents for children and 75-cents for adults. At the show, seats were 50-cents and $1.00.

Elvis was dressed in a pink dinner jacket, black open-collar shirt, pink socks, and red shoes. He stood there with his chin thrust forward, sneering. Like a sledgehammer, his right hand crashed across the guitar strings, splintering two. He sneered some more and glared at the crowd.

When Elvis rolled onto campus that evening of October 3, the Aggie footballers couldn't believe their eyes, much less their ears, as hundreds of squealing girls wiggled and cavorted like Elvis himself. The girls had gone gaga over the man on stage. Some pulled their shirts mid-high, seeking approval, while others went further, removing their panties and throwing them onto the stage.

Elvis needed to look no farther than the front row to know it wasn't a normal college crowd. There stood military officers, sabers on their hips, shoulders-to-shoulder facing raucous fans. No one had ever seen anything like it at A&M. But, for the most part, the kids seemed to be having fun, until Elvis did the unthinkable. He spit his gum onto the stage floor.

In the blink of an eye, the crowd rushed to the edge of the stage. Corps members moved in waves, shoving their dates aside. They shook their fists and cursed the swivel-hipped rocker. ''You desecrated our stage''! they screamed. ''Somebody knock that sonofabitch off of there''. Swords were suddenly drawn. A company commander grabbed the microphone and began barking orders; 'Men, get back to your seats'! This boy didn't mean any harm. We've already picked up his gum. Everybody get back. Now, goddammit''.

Amazing, the cadets retreated. Elvis held his arms above his head and apologetically smiled. 'Sirs and ladies', he said, 'I'd like to say I didn't mean anything by it. I'll try to do better'. With those two strings still dangling from his guitar, Elvis went into ''Shake, Rattle And Roll'', a song made famous by Bill Haley and the Comets. Even the cadets started moving to the music. By the time he tried ''Good Rockin' Tonight'', the audience was his once more. He even returned for encores, including ''Maybellene'', a song made famous by Chuck Berry.


Tonight's performance was in Paris, Texas. The show was held in the Gymnasium of the Boys Club and was sponsored by the Paris Optimist Club. The day after the show, the Paris News wrote, ''A standing-room-only crowd filled Boys Club Gymnasium here Tuesday night for the Optimist-sponsored Louisiana Hayride Show.

Sponsoring Optimist Club officials said the seats were filled and standing room tickets were being sold 20 minutes before the starting time. Hundreds of persons were turned away because there was no room. Elvis Presley, the Western 'bop' king of Louisiana Hayride, headed the show that drew heavy applause and floor patting from the crowd. Jimmy and Johnny stole the show, however, with their country music and imitations of famous stars. Their best was a take-off on Liberace and his brother, George''. The Optimists counted 1,285 paid admissions for the show.


The Paris News from October 3, 1955 wrote in an article: Western Bop King Heads Show in Paris Tuesday.

''The King of Western Bop, Elvis Presley, head the Louisiana Hayride show that appears in Paris, Tuesday night. Presley and company will appear at 8 p.m. at the Boys Club Gym, under the sponsorship of the Paris Optimist Club. Advance tickets for the show are now on sale. They may be obtained at Corner Drug No. 2. Boyers Printing Shop or from any member of the Optimist Club.

Profits from the show will go into the Optimist Boys Work Fund. A sell-out crowd is expected. The advance tickets are 75 cents. Admission at the door will be $1. Ten performers will make up the Louisiana Hayride cast, coming here from Radio Station KWKH in Shreveport. Presley heads the group, which includes Scotty and Bill, Jimmy and Johnny, Johnny Horton, Betty Amos, Dalton and Lula Jo, Comedian Willie Birdbrain and Master of Ceremonies Horace Logan.

Elvis Presley, ''the king of Western bop'' is a 20-year-old youngster who has set the field on country music to talking with his unusual combination of folk music spiced with a rock and roll beat. His Sun Records are in demand by folk music fans coast to coast.

Presley was born in Tupelo, Miss. and moved to Memphis, Tenn. at the age of 12. A natural sence of rhythm along with a unique voice quality benefied from his childhood surroundings in which country music and negro blues were everyday music to him. But aside from a few non-professional efforts while in high school in Memphis, his first real work was done when the Sun Record Company of Memphis heard his voice on a personal record and encouraged him to make his first release, ''That's All Right'' and ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky''.

Since he started his career with the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, Presley's career has come along by claps and bounds. He has drawn record crowd in Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Virginia, as a matter of fact, all through the South.

Elvis is 20, his birthday being on January 8. He is unmarried. His main interest are his cars a 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood sedan in a striking pink and black color, and q 1854 Cadillac convertible collections of unusual and flashy clothes any artists owns, preferring the 'cool cat' type of dress rather than Western apparel. When near water, Elvis is an avid water-sking fan, having learned at Memphis this summer.


The Greenville City Auditorium in Greenville, Texas was the site of this evening 8 o'clock Elvis Presley show. Along with Elvis, Jimmy and Johnnie, Johnny Horton, Betty Amos, David Houston, Daldon and Lula Jo, Willie Bird Brain, and the master of ceremonies, Horace Logan. Advance tickets, adults 75 cents, and children 35 cents. Tickets for sale at Clark's Drug Store.


Today there was another double-header. In the afternoon, the group played at Sam Marcos College Auditorium of the Southwest Texas State University In Austin, Texas.. Replacing David Houston for both shows were Sonny Trammel and Ray Gomer.

In the evening, "the King of Western Bop" and his review moved north thirty miles to Austin and the Skyline Club, owned by Warren Stark. The local ad did not mention tickets prices, but if one were so inclined, reservations could be made by calling GL-3-9089.

An article announcing Elvis' appearance said the show would feature "a full load of hillbilly music and performers as its cargo".

Tillman Franks of the Louisiana Hayride was specifically mentioned in the ad as scheduled to make an appearance the show's M.C.

On Friday, while the rest of the group relaxed in Austin, Elvis Presley took a "busman's holiday" as he literally caught the Greyhound with Franks and Logan for a trip to Houston to catch Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys as they performed at Cook's Hoedown Club.

According to musicians Leon Carter, ''He came back, to Austin, and played the Skyline Club, and I used my whole band to play behind him and other Hayride artists. My rhythm guitarist, who played with Elvis that night, said they had played a show at Sam Marcos. They did a double show that night. He didn't have his guitar with him, and he borrowed my rhythm man's guitar. He wanted to hire my drummer, and he broke two or three guitar strings, and he got a little upset about that, and my guitar player said, You're gonna have to buy me some strings', and he said, 'Well, I'm gonna get you some when my guitar gets here'. After a while, the rest of the show came in, and Elvis gave me the strings to my guitar player. He had a pink Cadillac sittin' out front almost at the back door where he unloaded his stuff. We got through playing, closed the doors, and everybody was loading up their equipment, and me and Elvis was standing at the back door with two or three musicians talking, and we opened up the back door and people were stealing hubcaps off his car. He said, 'I don't guess that these people know I have insurance on it. I guess they just like to have something off my car. I'll let them, and buy some more'. He just laughed about it''.

Tillman Franks remember, ''While in Sam Marcos, Elvis stopped by the garden club's plant sale and loaded my car so full of plants, (he purchased to take to his mother back in Memphis) that the rest of the band had to take a separate car to their next gig in Austin''.


An article in the local newspaper says: Hillbilly Ace Will Appear At Skyline.
Elvis Presley, high-riding young hillbilly hipster who has become an overnight sensation by combining country and western music with bop rhythms, returns to Austin Thursday night to headline a big Louisiana Hayride show at the Skyline Club.

Backing up Presley, now rated the no 1 attraction in the hillbilly field, will be Scotty and Bill, who accompany him on his recording dates and personal appearances tours.

Also on the bill at the Skyline will be such popular Louisiana Hayride stars as Jimmy and Johnny, the country vocal duo, Johnny Horton, Betty Amos, Ray Gorner, Sonny Tremmell, the steel guitar specialist. Tillman Franks and Horace Logan, whe'll emcee the show.

Presley's Thursday night appearances will be his second local stand in as many months, his last being a record-breaking date st the Sportcenter. The 20-year-old Memphis singer, whose fans have labeled him ''the king of western bop'' first came to the public's attention with his recordings of ''That's All Right'' and ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky''.

Since that debut, his unique rhythm style and flashy stage manner have combined to make him one of the hottest young personalities to hit the country and western field in several years.

In the last few months, however, Presley's popularity has become as strong in the rhythm and blues field as it is among fans of hillbilly music.


Tillman Franks and Elvis traveled by Greyhound bus from Austin to Houston that day, while the band made its way in the Cadillac. After registering at the Holiday Inn in Houston, they got a call from disc jockey Biff Collie, who invited them down to Cook's Hoedown that night. According to Tillman, Elvis and Bob met, neither one impressing the other.


Elvis Presley remained in Houston as the Louisiana Hayride moved it's broadcasting location to the City Auditorium (Jesse H. Jones Hall) located at 615 Louisiana Street, for the evening. The Holiday On Ice Revue was booked into the Shreveport Memorial Auditorium.

Ballad-singing rhythm and blues heartthrob Johnny Ace blew his brains out in a game of Russian roulette backstage on this City Auditorium on December 23, 1954; he died the following day. Some reports claim that he was trying to impresses a girl sitting on his lap at the time. The hall, now renamed houses the Houston Symphony Orchestra.


Elvis Presley may have performed Cherry Springs Tavern in Cherry Springs, Texas. Admission $1.50. Also on the bill Jimmy and Johnny, Johnny Horton, Betty Amos, Dalton and Lula Jo, Billy Birdbrain, emcee Horace Logan, and many others.

CHERRY SPRINGS DANCE HALL – Located at 17662 North, Highway 87, Cherry Springs, Texas 78624, 16 miles North West of Fredericksburg in Gillespie County. Circa 1889, German heritage dance hall. Currently not open for business. The dance hall was established along the old Pinta Trail in 1889 as a stop for cattle drives. It was originally run by Herman Lehmann, son of German immigrants, Apache captive and adopted son of Comanche chief Quanah Parker.

Cited by the State of Texas Music Office as "one of the most historic dance halls in the world'', the venue has played host to some of the greatest legends of country music. Hank Williams once played here, as did Patsy Cline, Buck Owens, Webb Pierce, Ernest Tubb, George Jones, and many others.

It was here on October 9, 1955, that the Louisiana Hayride Tour played, with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and others, on the cusp of international fame for the performers. Geronimo Trevino III in his book Dance Halls and Last Calls - A History of Texas Country Music Dance Halls in Texas, 1800s - Present day likens the talent who have played there to "The history of country music''.


Elvis Presley headlined his own "Elvis Presley Jamboree" with featured guests Jimmy Newman, Porter Wagoner, Bobby Lord, Johnny Cash, Floyd Cramer, Jimmy Day, and Wanda Jackson. The bill remained the same through October 14. The tour was booked by Bob Neal.

Tonight the group appeared Brownwood, Texas, in a show presented by the Brownwood Volunteer Fire Department. The 8:00 p.m. performance took place at the Soldier's and Sailor's Memorial Hall. Tickets were $1.00 for adults with children half price.

Wanda Jackson recall, "I have a ledger that tells me my dates... my daddy kept that for my book-keeping. It tells of the tors I worked with Elvis, and the last tour we did together was in early 1956. I'm not sure where it was. I think it was in Colorado, but it was right before he went to Hollywood. I think he'd already done his TV things. We may have been up in Oklahoma... we worked Tulsa and Oklahoma City".

"I think of him on stage. I didn't miss his shows at all when I worked with him. I'd stand in the wings and watch. I'd get a kick out of watching the girls, and afterwards we would have to fight to get through the crowds. He had to finally stop autographing because they were afraid people would get hurt".

"Another thing, and my mother remembered this and reminded me, she said, 'Don't you remember when you used to rush home everyday from wherever you were. You used to make sure you were home by 4:30 because that's when Elvis would call you'. I told her, 'Now that you mention it, I do remember that'. Everybody knows that he was a gentlemen. He always called a lady "Ma'am". "He was a real gentlemen. He truly loved his fans... he loved people, you could tell he genuinely loved people. Elvis was easy to be with... like an old show! Like a pair of old shoes!".

"He never put on any airs or grazes and he was always kind of fidgety. He used to make me nervous because I'm a relaxed person. Nowadays you would say that he was hyper, but we didn't have a word for it back then. But he'd sit there and click his fingers and tap his feet and I'd say, 'Keep still! You're making me nervous'. I just remember liking him very much. He had a soft voice and a soft manner".

According to musician, Harry Marlin, ''His (Elvis) trouble started after the concert when he went to Chisholm's Chicken Hut to eat. He took his coat off and hung it on a coat rack. It didn't hang there long. A group of high school boys thought it would be great to take the coat as a souvenir, and they did. I was a member of the Brownwood Police Department at the time, and we always got our man, woman, or boy, as the case might be. Our efficient police department quickly rounded up the usual suspect and got the coat back and took it to the police station where Elvis came to get it. At that time, he had not yet attained the fame and fortune he would later have heaped upon him. He was glad to get his coat back. He needed it. No charges were ever filed. After all. it was just a bodyhood prank''.

A Brownwood newspaper article says, Presley Headlines Show Here Monday.
Members of the Brownwood Volunteer Fire Department will present an outstanding entertainment program here Monday night at Memorial Hall.

Healining the show will be Elvis Presley, renowned radio entertainer. Other featured artists will be Jimmie Newman, Johnny Cash, Floyd Cramer, Jimmie Day and Wanda Jackson of the Louisiana Hayride show, and Bobby Lord and Porter Wagener of the Ozark Jubilee.

The program will begin at 8 p.m. Monday. Admission will be $1 for adults and 50 cents for children under 12.


Elvis Presley as the Western Bop and his band of musical gypsies appeared at 7:00 and 9:15 p.m. at the Fair Park Auditorium in Abilene, Texas.

Guests were Jimmy Newman, Jean Shepard, Bobby Lord, Johnny Cash, Floyd Cramer, Porter Wagoner, Jimmy Day, and Wanda Jackson. Tickets were $1.00. Tax included.


The Elvis Presley Jamboree moved on to Midland, Texas, where they played the Midland High School Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Tickets prices were $1.25 in advance and $1.50 at the door and at The Record Shop, 2507 West Wall, Midland, Texas.


At 8:00 p.m., Elvis' show was sponsored by KZIP when he played one performance at the City Auditorium in Amarillo, Texas. Adults were $1.25 in advance and $1.50 at the door. Children were 50-cents, either way.

"I was thirteen and in the eighth grade", said Glenda Eschle. "My sister didn't want to go, but she got her boyfriend to take me. We sat up in the balcony, above the crowd, but you couldn't hear Elvis singing for all the yelling.

After the concert, my sister's boyfriend too me to dinner. He really treated me royally, and I'. still an Elvis fan today", she said.

The advertisement refers to Elvis as "the king of western bop," but notes that "his wardrobe runs to the 'cool cat' type of dress rather than western apparel."


The tour stopped for shows in Odessa, Texas. According to Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash appeared on Orbison's local show on KOSA-TV to promote the evening's entertainment. There were no ads in the Odessa American for this show, but the information was part of a tour list in Billboard, October 8, 1955.

The other eight specific dates in this brief item in Billboard were accurate. The show was held at the High School Fieldhouse 8:00 p.m.. Also on the bill, Bobby Lord, Jimmie Newman, Wanda Jackson, Porter Wagener, Floyd Cramer, and Jimmie Day. Tickets $1.25

According to Mary Hale, ''I was a sophomore at Odessa High School in 1955 when Elvis was performing there. I heard his first songs ''That's All Right'' and ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', on the radio stations. They were also on some of the jukeboxes in the local cafes. I still have a ticket stub to the one at Midland High School on October 12, 1955. He performed in a pink suit, and my redheaded boyfriend was so jealous, he vowed he would use his next paycheck to go buy a pink suit! Elvis signed our 8 x 10 black and pictures on the top of his Cadillac. Elvis stayed at a very modest motel in Midland, on Highway 80, I think, while he was doing that show. We drove all around it trying to see him before the show. He also came to a small record shop on North Grant in Odessa one afternoon before one of his shows. He talked to everyone, boys and girls, and was very very nice. I remember him wearing a watch with blue stones on it. He was 'gorgeous'! When my girlfriends and I left the shop, he walked us out to my parents '51 green Chevy and opened the car door for me. He chatted with us a few minutes, then said he would see us at his show that night. I can't tell you how very polite and well mannered he was. We were all on cloud 9 the rest of the day. I begged my parents to remove the door handle on that car before they sold it the next year''.

Dub Hollowell says, ''I had a small four-piece hillbilly band at the time. Our small band was the second to perform, and I do remember I was scared out of my pants. When Elvis came on, he twanged his guitar so hard that he broke all but two of his strings. At the time, I was playing an old Sears Roebuck $49.95 electric guitar. Elvis asked if he could borrow it, and I gladly let him have it. It was returned to me with my strings broken and a very nice 'sorry fellow' and a warm handshake from Elvis. I remember at the time Elvis had a pink stretchy web type belt on and he pulled it off and threw it out to the crowd. I think that the belt never did hit the floor because the girls had cut it into a million pieces''.

Joyce Weathers, of the Holifield's record store in Odessa says, ''Elvis came back to Odessa with Johnny Cash. That day, Elvis drove his pink and black Cadillac into Odessa. When I closed up the shop, I found Elvis sitting outside. I asked, 'Elvis, what in the world is wrong'? and Elvis said, 'I'm so homesick that I just like to chunk it all and go home'. When he came out after the show that night, the girls had stripped that car of everything that you could remove. He was quite heartbroken''.


On the final night of this "Elvis Presley Jamboree" tour, Elvis Presley and his group performed at 8:00 p.m. at the Fair Park Coliseum located at 1012 Avenue in Lubbock, Texas. Buddy Holly and Bob Montgomery - Lubbock's own "Buddy and Bob" - had opened the show. Bob Montgomery was a country music star and industry figure with limited success, and Holly, of course, was destined to become a rock and roll legend.

At the time, though, Buddy and Bob were simply another act looking for a record contract. Hi Pockets Duncan, a country disc jockey on KSEL, remembers that the weekend was an exciting one for Holly.

Not only was he able to play on the same bill with his idol, Elvis Presley, but Buddy Holly had played with Bill Haley and the Comets the night before Elvis Presley came to town. Dave Stone, the owner of KDAV, allowed Buddy Holly to open the Haley show. Jimmie Rodgers Snow, Hank's son, was one of the acts appearing with Haley, and he spoke glowingly of Holly's talent. A Nashville talent agent, Eddie Crandall, accompanied Snow, and was struck by the commercial possibilities of Holly's material. In fact, Crandall was so impressed with Buddy Holly that he began negotiations that led to a Decca recording contract.

After the show, Elvis Presley stayed backstage signing autographs and talking with the other musicians and told them he never dreamed he would become this big, not in his wildest imagination, and he said he loved what he was doing. "There were probably two hundred girls backstage and he autographed everything, including a few body parts!", said Bill Myrick. "Each time he was in the area, he would drop by the station and we would go down to the Club Cafe and have hamburgers and fries and he'd drink a Pepsi and we'd talk about music", he said.

Kay Grimes, twelve at the time, attended at Fair Park Coliseum. "My friend's mother took us", she said. "Just as we were arriving, a long, white Cadillac convertible drove by. We thought that was him. I had never heard or seen him before, so I didn't know. The guy at the door let us in and we got on the front row before the show started. The band, Scotty and Bill, came out and talked with us. When Elvis Presley came on stage, he was surrounded by policeman. He was wearing a burgundy coat, black pants and black and white shoes".

Gloria Maples, a sixth grader when she went to the Fair Park to see this new star, came away with one impression: "The thing that stuck in my mind was how dark his eyes were", said Maples. "It was a raw show. The crowd was rowdy".

Following this show, and leaving the Hi-D-Ho Drive-In, Elvis Presley and the group were paid an additional $400 to entertain a late-night show at Lubbock's Cotton Club as guests of the Western Swing Kings. The opening act at the Cotton Club was the locally popular group, Buddy and Bob.

"We had gone to Fair Park in my girlfriend's pink Cadillac convertible", said Carole Kelley. "I was seventeen and a freshman at Texas Tech at the time. After the show, Elvis asked us where to go to party in Lubbock. I called a friend who had a band, but he said he was studying and we couldn't come there".

"We went to the old Tech Cafe on Broadway - me, June, Jean, Elvis, Scotty, Bill and D.J. Elvis ordered two cheeseburgers and two orders of French fries. He talked a lot about his mom. We were sitting there eating and Elvis got up, walked around the table to me and kissed me. I told him, 'You've got the neatest touch'. I hadn't considered myself a fan, until that moment. I cut classes the next day and drove to another town to see him again. And after that show, he invited us to keep going with them, telling us, 'We've got room for two more'".

Though only in junior high school at the time, Rosemary Leftwich, convinced her date, Richard Weisen, to take her to the Cotton Club to see Elvis Presley. "My sister came with us and when Elvis came in, I left her at the table and walked up toward the bandstand", said Leftwich. "Elvis saw me and said, 'Hi, baby'. He was flirty. He asked me if I would go out with him and I told him I already had a date. After the show, we saw him standing by his Cadillac and I said to my sister, 'Is he ever the cutest thing I ever saw". She would meet Elvis Presley once more, at a dinner party for Petula Clark in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It seems that bare-breast autograph Pat Hankins had heard about at the Cotton Club was more than just someone's fantasy gone wild. Confidential magazine, in its January 1956 issue, printed a photo of a young girl fan dropped her dress below her shoulder and Elvis Presley approaching her, pen in hand, at the Cotton Club. Confidential magazine, a forerunner to today's supermarket tabloids, reported this was not an isolated incident. Here's the way Lou Anderson reported it in Confidential magazine:

"Elvis "The Pelvis" Presley had just finished an undulating show that still had a lot of kids wriggling. making his way down the bandstand steps and through the fans hovering around him. Elvis drops into a chair for a few minutes rest, then, picking up a cluster of friends, he heads for the front entrance and one of his famous Cadillacs. 'Oh Elvis!' he hears, 'wait for me!".

Turning, he watches as a pretty young girl rushes toward him. "Would you please autograph me", she shrieks. "And with that, she pulls a sheer blouse off her shoulder, revealing a low cut bra. Older and wiser entertainers might have hesitated at having a three-quarters-bare bosom thrust at them for a signature. But not Elvis. With a flourish, he hauled out his ballpoint pen and signed just above the dotted Swiss line".

"Elvis" on the righty, "Presley" on the lefty. A rarity? Far from it. The incident was just one more example of how free the Pelvis is with his ink around the pigeons. You've never read it in your local gazette, but reporters in the know can tell you there are any number of chicks who've sported Presley's print on their superstructure. They can't cash themselves in, like a check, but it's fun while it lasts. It's nice pen-pushing if you can get it and just how this newest wacky stunt got its start is anyone's guess. Probably only penman Presley could gave the real answer. But there is more than one Elvis club that requires a chest stencil for membership!".

"Presley wound up a jump-and-gyration show in Lubbock by going driving with a couple of chicks who should have been in bed at that hour. Around and around they drove, until finally they wheeled into State Park on the edge of town and parked the car. Elvis was sitting in the middle. The radio was on. Expertly, he'd flip the dial till he picket up one of his own recordings; them he'd tell the cute kids how good it was. The babes agreed. They were enjoying themselves, too. How were they to know scribbling time was coming up?".

"One of them just sat there while Elvis nuzzled the girl driver. Now and again he'd roam a little too far, but after all, everybody's heard about the Pelvis' technique. Finally Presley wearied of that game and reached for his pen. The babe had heard about Presley's penmanship before. She just giggled as Elvis flicked the point into position for notations. Then, with one grab of his hand, Presley peeled the top of her strapless dress, leaving enough space to write the Gettysburg Address!".

"Recovering from his work, he went to work scripting. Wiggling only when it tickled, the girl allowed him to inscribe "Elvis" on the right and "Presley" on the left. Embarrassed? You'd never have known it by the chick's reactions".

"Next, the three drove around for another hour, then Elvis and the signed siren dropped the extra girl off at her house. What happened after that, only they can say. But it must have been a memorable evening because at three in the morning the unautographed girlie got a call from her chum, asking if it would be okay to come by and have her autographed bosom photographed".

It was reported several girls in the Lubbock area had similar autographs and, to preserve them, would paste band-aids over the writing so it wouldn't wash off in the shower. When these gals wore peekaboo blouses, it looked for a moment like an epidemic had hit town!


Elvis Presley closed out the Lubbock, Texas weekend by appearing at Hub Motors, the local Ford dealership, singing from a hastily construction stage on the used car lot. The subdued crowd of curious onlookers was thoroughly entranced. Mac Davis, then a young high school student, had seen Elvis Presley in Lubbock. Inspired by what he saw, Mack Davis wrote his first song, "Mau Mau Mary", complete with Elvis Presley's rockabilly inflection.

That day Elvis appearing at the Municipal Auditorium, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, at 3:30 and 8:00 p.m. For one night Elvis joins yet another Hank Snow tour, this one costarring Bill Haley, whose ''Rock Around The Clock'' is in its fifth month at the top charts.

The phenomenal success of Hayley's 1954 record, released when the song was used over the credits of the movie; The Blackboard Jungle'', in some ways certifies the success of the new music and validates its name once and for all as rock and roll. In subsequent weeks Billboard will note the clever strategy of ''Colonel Tom Parker of Jamboree Attractions, one of the nation's major bookers and promoters of country and western talent (who), instituted a new policy when he presented a combination of popular and country and western music on a recent one-nighter tour''. It might further be noted that Bill Haley and Elvis Presley are advertised on the top half of the poster, above Hank Snow.

According to Bill Haley, ''The first time I remember talking to Elvis was in, Oklahoma City. He was standing backstage, and we were getting ready to go on. And he came over and told me he was a fan of mine, and we talked, an awful nice kid. He wanted to learn, which was the important thing. When I came back after doing my shows, he was kind of half crying in the dressing room, very downhearted''. Elvis was very competitive, and with Haley's success at the time, he had not been able to steal the show from the current top name in the business. Haley had an auditorium full of fans, and Elvis very few, if any. Haley sat down with Elvis, encouraged and comforted him, saying, ''Look, you have a lot of talent''.


An article in The Daily Oklahoman says, Young Star On Bill Today
Elvis Presley, a 20-year-old fireball from Louisiana Hayride, will be an added starter Sunday when Bill Haley, Hank Snow, and many other top-notchers put on two western music hoedowns at Municipal Auditorium.

Shows are scheduled for 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.. Admission at the door will be $1.75 with children under 12 admitted for 50 cents. It is hard to pick an individual standout from the array of stars scheduled for appearance Sunday, but Presley might be the one the teen set will be watching most closely. His combination of country music and bop has captured the fancy of the younger set in a way few stars have managed, and his extreme youth and good looks add to his popularity.

However, Presley will have plenty of competition on the two shows today. There will be, for example, Bill Haley and his Comets, a rock and roll aggregation that is another major sensation with the younger set. The troup includes six young whizzes in vocal and instrumental arrangements, and is making recording history.

After the show's appearance in Omaha, Nebraska, early this week a reviewer noted: ''The spectators really cut loose when Bill (Shake, Rattle And Roll) Haley and his Comets took over the stage. These seven musicians produced some of the wildest jazz Omaha has ever heard, and the Arena practically shook with the screams, whistles and applause.

Hank Snow and the Rainbow Ranch boys, Little Jimmie Rogers Snow, Sleepy McDaniel and others also are tabbed for steady appearance.


It seems most likely, certainly possible, that Elvis could have gone home to Memphis after the El Dorado show, before leaving for Cleveland, as suggested in a flurry of activity starting on that day.

Colonel Parker's meticulous collection of correspondence shows nothing in writing between him and Bob Neal since Neal's letter of September 21, where it was basically confirmed that Parker was now just a talent booker for Neal and Elvis. The lack of communication would be only natural under these circumstances, as no Colonel Parker bookings emerged during these weeks. On October 18, however, Colonel Parker wrote to Neal saying that he understood that Neal had told Elvis to ''advise me to go on with our present contract'', implying he had talked to the Presleys earlier in the day and they had reached a decision to move ahead with the Colonel in the driver's seat. This shift of power didn't come about without hard work from the Colonel. Ever since the break at the end of September, Parker had bombarded Elvis and his parents with phone calls, emphasizing that they had to see the bigger picture (a new record deal and national TV exposure) and that he, the Colonel, would be able to deliver the goods. It's clear Elvis and his parents were impatient, as nothing much and changed since the August meeting, least of all the grueling schedule of live performances. Elvis had been on the road for almost two months solid, and at various points he felt lonesome, tired, and generally pessimistic about his situation. The checks were a little larger, but so were his expenses, both travel costs and the addition of drummer D.J. Fontana, and something drastic seemed necessary.

From the Colonel's point of view, the urgency was even greater. In the past month, he had lost his grip on the situation. Parker knew Elvis' ambitions and his own were unfulfilled under Bob Neal's management. It was Elvis or his father Vernon who told Neal of a change, while not letting him know that Parker was clear to negotiate a new record deal. Neal was definitely frustrated, wrote to the Colonel of a ''loose nut'' in the set-up, meaning Elvis, Vernon, or both. On Saturday, he called for a meeting in Memphis the following Tuesday not knowing that Colonel Parker would already be in New York, for a four-day stay at the Warwick Hotel with his wife.

The Colonel now made his definitive move. Armed with a document, signed by Elvis' parents, he was now authorized to negotiate a new recording deal for their son.


At 8:00 p.m., Elvis Presley and his band headlined the "Free Hillbilly Amateur Show" at the Memorial Auditorium in El Dorado, Arkansas. The Chitling Switch Roadrunners opened the show for Elvis Presley. The Chitling Switch Roadrunners consisted of the brothers Bobby Dwitght, Gary Bird and Mickey and Lavon Davis. Mickey later joined Malaco Records in Jackson, Mississippi, as a session fiddler and there founded the Jackson Strings. The group continues performing today, but now under the name of Union Kun-tree. On August 19, 1996, the governor of Arkansas gave them an award for their enduring impact on music on the Wonder state.

The Jaycee-sponsored the appearance in El Dorado and was promoted locally over KDMS radio as part of "Oil Progress Week". Prior to Elvis Presley taking the stage, there was an amateur talent contest with a first prize of $75. Ads promised at least fourteen local acts.

Admission was free to anyone presenting a folder that could be picked up at local auto service stations.

After performing at the Jaycee stage show in El Dorado, Arkansas, Elvis Presley drove his pink Cadillac to Cleveland, Ohio, for two shows with Roy Acuff and two daytime high school performances that were being filmed for a movie. Little did Elvis Presley know that his drive to Cleveland probably represented the last moments of privacy and obscurity in his career.

According to Bobby Bird, ''The second time we olayed at the football stadium, the Memorial Stadium, Elvis was in the Cadillac signing autographs, and I said, 'You need to tune the guitar'. And he said, 'Yes'. And I tuned it to Scotty's guitar and Bill Black's bass. No drummer in El Dorado in October. The high school boys were so jealous, because their girlfriends were just literally going bananas. I'm talking about 50 or 60 girls passed out. The boys got so mad that when Elvis was on stage, they let the air out of all four tires on his Cadillac. They had to get one of the local service stations down here with a compressor on the truck to blow the tires up. Everybody was laughing about it, even Elvis''.


Elvis Presley opened for Roy Acuff in two shows, at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. at Cleveland's Circle Theater. Also on the bill were Kitty Wells, Johnnie and Jack, Benny Martin, Shot Jackson and Lester Wilburn, the oldest brother of the family that produced the Wilburn Brothers, Teddy and Doyle. Later that afternoon, Elvis Presley appeared on the Brooklyn High School, Cleveland.

After this second concert, Elvis Presley and Pat Boone backstage and they talked briefly about their musical interest. Boone's first impression of Elvis Presley was "real slinky, you know, with his coat a little too big and his pants a little too long".

Pat Boone urged Elvis Presley to sing faster rockabilly songs. Boone commented that Elvis' enunciation was weak. Roy Acuff, although he praised his interpretation of Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", urged Presley to accentuate his songs with a country swing. The observations of Pat Boone are particularly interesting, inasmuch as the press attempted to make much of the differences between the two singers. Boone remembered that Bill Randle predicted quick stardom for Elvis Presley, although Boone himself wasn't so sure. He could hardly understand Elvis Presley, and was sceptical about his clothing.

"Elvis Presley was just starting to prove himself up north, when we became friends", Boone recalled.


Remaining in Cleveland, Elvis Presley took part in the filming of a movie short-subject centered on Bill Randle, a disc jockey at Cleveland's WERE and New York City's WCBS. The film project went through several name changes. At this time it may have been referred to as "Top Jock". Later, it was given the unwieldy title "The Pied Piper of Cleveland: A Day In The Life Of A Famous Disk Jockey".

In addition to Elvis Presley's musical talent for the film included Bill Haley and the Comets, Pat Boone, and the Four Lads. The primary reason that Elvis Presley was on the show was because Arnold Shaw had convinced Bill Randle that Elvis Presley could boost his credibility as a disc jockey. Universal hoped to use this short promotional movie to break rock and roll music in its films as well as aid in shifting Randle's popularity to the lucrative New York market, where he aspired to become the heir to Alan Freed's rock and roll crown.

The two performances were to be spliced into a short documentary. At 1:00 p.m., Elvis Presley, Pat Boone, Bill Haley and His Comets and the Four Lads performed at a "staged" assembly in the Auditorium of Brooklyn High, 9700 Biddulph Road, in the Cleveland suburb of Brooklyn. Elvis Presley sang "That's All Right", "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", "Good Rockin' Tonight", "Mystery Train", and "I Forgot To Remember To Forget". For his part in the film, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black (photos shot by Tommy Edwards of the event do not show D.J. Fontana) were reportedly paid $350.

"To the best of my memory it was probably something we were conned into", recalled Scotty Moore. "We didn't go up there knowing about it - we went up there to do a show... I don't know what they called it back then, but it'd be like a pilot show Bill Randle was trying to get on TV - that's what I remember. How factual that is, I don't know! I remember some talk about it afterwards... but nothing ever came of it".

After this concert, Elvis Presley and Pat Boone backstage and they talked briefly about their musical interests. Boone's first impression of Elvis Presley was: "Real slinky, you know, with his coat a little too big and his pants a little too long".

Pat Boone remembered the concert well and, in a later conversation with Dave Booth, shared some trenchant insights into the way Presley was perceived on his early forays into the North. "Bill told me, "I got a guy who's gonna be the next biggest thing - Elvis Presley". I said, "oh yeah?" I had lived in Texas and I had seen his name on some country jukeboxes and I wondered how in the world a hillbilly could be the next big thing, especially with a name like Elvis Presley, Anyway, Elvis came in wearing some odd-looking clothes. I said, "Hello, Elvis, I'm Pat Boone". He just said, "Mrrrbleee mrrbleee". Anyway, I was to follow him on stage, so I was watching from the wings. Elvis looked like he had just gotten off a motorcycle. He sang his first song and the kids loved it. I was really surprised. Then he opened his mouth and said something and he sounded so hillbilly that he lost the crowd. Then he sang another song and won 'em over again. As long as he didn't talk he was OK. It took me a long time to win that crowd".

by Ben Marks

On February 26, 1955, a Cleveland deejay named Tommy Edwards became the first music promoter to book a Southern singing sensation named Elvis Presley north of the Mason-Dixon line. The event was the Hillbilly Jamboree at Cleveland’s Circle Theater.

That fall, Edwards brought Presley back to the Cleveland area for several more shows, including one on October 20, 1955, at Brooklyn High School. On that date, Pat Boone was the headliner (''Ain’t That A Shame'' was his big hit), with Elvis, Priscilla Wright, the Four Lads, and Bill Haley’s Comets rounding out the bill.

At some point during the proceedings, Edwards snapped a now iconic color photo of Haley and Presley shaking hands (above).

Haley’s 1954 cover of ''Rock Around The Clock'' was one of the genre’s first monster hits. He was the established star while Presley was still the young upstart, but in Edwards’s photo, the bow-tied Haley resembles someone’s doughy uncle compared to Presley, who looks like the sort of boy you’d definitely want to keep your daughter away from.

By 1956, Edwards was showing this and his other color Ektachrome slides at the dances he promoted around town. While a slideshow may sound dull to 2011 ears, in 1956 there was no Facebook, television was black and white, and the exposure given to pop music by the mainstream press was downright stingy. For some of the kids dancing the night away in their local high-school gymnasium, a 12-foot-high blowup of Elvis Presley was as close as they would ever get to the future King.


Later that day, the same performers also appeared at St. Michael's Hall on East 100th Street at Union. The exact time of this show is not known, but it is believed to have been about 7:00 p.m. Film footage of this show reportedly does not include Elvis Presley, and it is possible that he did not perform at St. Michaels, although Randle remembers that he did.

Both shows were among Elvis' tightest live performances. This was largely due to director Arthur Cohen, who not only handled the assignment professionally but tried to impart some key tips to Elvis Presley. When Elvis Presley refused to listen to Cohen's advices Cohen recommended that the filming be suspended. Bill Randle stepped into the hostile situation and calmed everyone down. After restoring a sense of order, the film was completed, and Randle paid the camera people and the crew.

The Cleveland movie was never released due to a technicians' strike and to a change in Universal Studio's attitude concerning the commercial value of rock music. When the movie was shelved, everyone breathed a sign of relief. Both the camera crew and the director had no idea how to film the concert portions of the show to best effect. Colonel Tom Parker, worried that a poorly made movie might expose the flaws in Presley's musical act, was not unhappy.

Bill Randle tried vainly to edit the footage, and a brief clip of it aired in 1958 on WEWS-TV, but the complete film was doomed without the fourteen union clearances it needed qualify for release.

Later that evening, Elvis Presley apparently found time to honour his contract at the Cleveland's Circle Theater and in a country music jamboree with Roy Acuff. In Cleveland, three country music clubs vied for the attention of local crowds. Cleveland's best country palace, however, was the Circle.

Billboard had just reported that Mike Michaels of KDMS in El Dorado, Arkansas, called Elvis "just about the hottest thing around these parts. His style really pleases the teenagers". This comment certainly described Elvis' performances at the Circle Theater, where the young crowd was louder that evening than during any previous country music show.

Although he was unaware of it at the time, Elvis' Cleveland performances were witnessed by a number of recording company executives and television talent scouts, as well as covered extensively by local newspapers.

The Circle Theater concert persuaded the "Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts" television program to grant Elvis Presley another audition.

While Elvis Presley performed in Cleveland, Bob Neal placed a number of ads in trade publications to solicit bookings. The ads resulted in a series of new concerts dates, and served to further publicize Elvis' growing popularity.

Colonel Tom Parker at almost exactly this time took fate into his own hands, went to New York and ensconced himself at the Warwick Hotel, where, armed with an immensely long and improbably detailed telegram from Vernon and Gladys Presley authorizing him to represent their boy, as well as his agreement with Bob Neal, he for the first time formally entertained offers for an artist whose contract he did not, strictly speaking, formally possess.

This was, finally, too much for Sam Phillips. "I was pissed off. I got so goddam mad, I called up Bob Neal and I said, 'Bob, you know what the hell you doing to me?' He said, 'Aw, Sam, I ain't doing nothing', and I said, 'Goddammit, you're associated with Tom Parker and he's putting out this bullshit, after all of what I've been through to get this guy going, he's putting the word out to my distributors that I'm gonna sell Elvis' contract'. I said, 'Man, this is killing me, you're not just messing with an artist contract here, you messing with my life, man. You just don't deal with these people unfairly. They're in this damn thing, too'. I had worked my ass off, driven sixty-five to seventy-five thousand miles a year to gain their confidence, not only on Elvis but going back to the first damn releases on Sun. I said, 'This could cost me the company'. I said, 'This has got to stop'. "So I called Tom Parker at the Warwick Hotel in New York, and he said, 'Sa-a-am, how you doin?'. And I said, 'Well, I an't doing worth a damn. Who is it that every distributor I got says that this man is on the block?'. I said, 'Look, Tom, this has been going on now basically for three or four months, but I thought nothing of it, 'cause I couldn't get confirmation from Bob Neal that you good friends of mine would be trying to do me in, advertently or inadvertently'. He said, 'Oh, noooo, Sam, no I don't understand thaaaat'. And then he said, 'But would you be interested in selling Elvis contract?'. And I said, 'Well, I just might could be'. 'How much you think you want for him?'. He didn't say how much he was thinking, just how much would I take. So I said, 'I hadn't really thought about it, Tom. But I'll let you know'. So he said, 'Well, look, think about it, and let me know'. And I thought about it about thirty seconds and called him back".

An article from a disc jockey in the Cleveland, Ohio about the Cros Country Jamboree that read: It certainly was a real pleasure to get the first edition of the Country and Western Jamboree magazine last month and I know that many of you folks out there, are well pleased with the magazine devoted to pickin'; and singin' folks. This past month we've had many of the big names in the business stop in and play and sing for use here at the Circle Theatre in Cleveland. One of the highlights was a visit from Roy Acuff, Kitty Wells and Johnny and Jack. Quite a few of the folks in the Cleveland area are originally from West Virginia and Tennessee, and it's just like old home week when some of the famous country folk come through. You can just imagine how they appreciate seeing people like Roy and Kitty. One of the very popular stars who just made an appearance with us was Ferlin Husky of the Grand Ole Opry. His records have been riding at the top of my top ten lists for the past several months. Bill Carlisle and his troupe shared the bill along with Martha Carson. Other stars we've enjoyed have been the Davis Sisters, Yorek Brothers, Wilburn Brothers, Elvis Presley, Sonny James, Justin Tubb and Faron Young.

THE LOST FILM - Universal Pictures originally planned to produce the 15-minute featured, but withdrew their financing. Randle continued on, even to the extent of paying the costs for the filming on October 20, including $600 for Wendell Tracy's orchestra. He also hired, at a total cost of $450 two veteran short-subject film makers, director Arnold Cohen and cinematographer Jack Barnett. In November 1955, Randle was set to continue filming in New York City, where he hosted a daily WCBS-radio show. Once again, Universal was involved and Harry Cohen was the producer.

However, on November 26, 1955, the new York cameraman's union shut down the project just as more footage was about to be shot. Acts lined up for this second "concert" included the Crew Cuts, Bill Haley, Johnnie Ray, Patti Page, Alan Dale, LaVern Baker, Tony Bennett, Mindy Carson, Mitch Miller, Felicia Sanders, Roy Hamilton, Gloria Mann, Delores Hawkins, the Chordettes, Archie Bleyer, Joni James, Bill Hayes, Betty Madigan, and the McGuire Sister. The film was never completed.

A few weeks after the concert, a 48-minute rough cut of the 35-millimetre of The Pied Piper of Cleveland was shown at Euclid Shore Junior High School. Through the years Randle kept a print of the film and in 1956 even aired a portion on "The Bill Randle Show", a Cleveland television program on WEWS-TV, Channel 5. However, the master negative of the film remained "lost" in the vaults of Universal Pictures for 37 years. About 1977, the Merlin Group of Great Britain became involved in a search for the film at Universal. The missing negative was finally unearthed in 1992 in a film canister filed under "A Day In The Life Of A Famous Disc Jockey". On July 3, 1992, Randle, who still officially owned the film, sold the 18-minute portion containing Elvis Presley singing the five songs listed above, along with sixteen more cans of unedited 16mm film, for the widely reported sum of $1.9 million to the Merlin Group. (Randle and a spokesman for Merlin both suggested that the actual selling price was considerably lower). Merlin immediately resold their rights to the film to PolyGram, a European music conglomerate, for a reported $2.2 million. Polygram proudly announced plans to include the footage in a 1993 television special. When the special failed to materialize, it appeared that the film might be "lost" again. While the whereabouts of the missing master negative was no longer a mystery, in the years since this 1992 flurry of transactions and announcements, not another official word on the subject has been heard.

BILL RANDLE – was an American disc jockey, lawyer and university professor. He was born William McKinley Randle Jr. on March 14, 1923 in Detroit, Michigan. In Detroit, he hosted a popular show on WJLB-AM radio (now WDTK) called The Interracial Goodwill Hour, featuring rhythm and blues music and hot jazz. As a pioneering disc jockey at radio station WERE in Cleveland, Ohio he helped change the face of American music. In the 1950s, Time Magazine called Bill Randle the top disc jockey in America. His popularity and huge listening audience allowed him to bolster the careers of a number of young musicians, including The Four Lads, Bobby Darin, and Fats Domino.

Nicknamed "The Pied Piper of Cleveland", a 1955 musical documentary film was made about him titled The Pied Piper of Cleveland: A Day in the Life of a Famous Disc Jockey. The film includes a Cleveland concert at Brooklyn High School on October 20, 1955 featuring Pat Boone and Bill Haley & His Comets with Elvis Presley as the opening act. It is the first film footage of a Presley performance.

Curiously enough, Randle almost did not survive early radio. One Thanksgiving, he played an unusual version of "Silent Night" sung by gospel and blues artist Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Many persons called in to complain and the station manager, longtime radio and television fixture Sidney Andorn fired Randle. The next morning, WERE owner Ray T. Miller, the chairman of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, rehired Randle after he learned he had so many listeners to Randle's program, and fired Andorn instead.

While working in Cleveland, Randle would travel back to Detroit for some radio programs. In the late 1950s, Randle would fly back and forth from Cleveland to New York where he produced radio shows in both markets (at WERE and WCBS-AM, respectively). He sat alongside other top DJs of the era including Carl Reese, Phil McLean and Howie Lund.

Many songs that Randle championed on-air ended up as commercial hits, the most successful of which was an edited 45 rpm single of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's "Battle Hymn Of The Republic." That version, which Randle suggested to and arranged with Columbia Records (then owned by CBS and a sister property to WCBS-AM) was an unlikely hit in 1959; it ended up on the Billboard charts for 11 weeks and reached as high as number 13 on Billboard's "Hot 100" that autumn. In addition, the album "The Lord's Prayer" hit number 1 and stayed on the charts for 80 weeks, and the choir won the 1960 Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Group or Chorus.

A wealthy Bill Randle left Cleveland radio in the 1960s to enhance his education. During the 1960s, Randle appeared on the local CBS affiliates in New York City interviewing celebrities. He obtained an undergraduate degree from Wayne State University and a law degree from Oklahoma City University. He went on to earn a doctorate in American studies, a master's degree in sociology from Western Reserve University, a master's degree in journalism from Kent State University and a master's degree in education from Cleveland State University. He also has an honorary doctorate from Bowling Green State University. Randle also studied history at Columbia University under Richard Hofstadter. While away from radio, Randle taught communications at Kent State University and the University of Cincinnati.

At age 64, he passed the Ohio State Bar exams and opened a law office in Lakewood, Ohio where he practiced bankruptcy and estate planning law for sixteen years. He also was knowledgeable in energy and zoning law. In addition, Randle became an educator, and taught sociology and mass communication classes at several universities.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Randle resurfaced on several different Cleveland radio stations, even hosting a talk show on WBBG 1260-AM back in 1977. In the 1990s, Randle joined the air-staff of the now-defunct WRMR 850-AM, anchoring the "Big Show" on Sunday afternoons and an late-afternoon program. His success in afternoon drive prompted station management to move him to morning drive time in April 1998. While the station's format was adult standards similar to the Music of Your Life satellite network, Randle's shows bucked the mold, featuring a unique combination of big band standards, early rock and roll, and new artists such as Norah Jones, Michael Buble, N Sync, Jewel, Sarah Vaughn, Dido and the Backstreet Boys.

Following an ownership, format and frequency swap in 2001, Randle retired from full-time on-air duties at WRMR. However, he would rejoin the rechristened WCLV 1420-AM a year later with a Saturday night music show, which would ultimately move back to Sunday afternoons as the "Big Show." (WCLV would revert to the WRMR call letters in 2003.)

Dr. Bill Randle died of cancer in Cleveland on July 9, 2004. In a sad irony, WRMR was sold off the day before, and signed off two days later with Randle's final broadcast, which had been prerecorded via voice-tracking. His wife of 51 years, Annalee, with whom he had a daughter, Patricia, predeceased him in 2000.

BILL HALEY - Country singer turned rock and roll star of the mid-1950s, born William John Clifton Haley Jr. in Highland Park, Michigan, on July 6, 1925. Bill Haley performed many rhythm and blues hits with an uptempo country beat. After growing up in Michigan, Haley moved to Pennsylvania where he was heavely influenced by black music.

From 1948 to 1950, Haley recorded country songs for Cowboy Records, Center Records, and Keystone Records with little success. Haley looked, dressed, and acted like a drugstore cowboy, but he loved black music.

Before he became one of the first rock and roll performers, Haley headed a country band called the Saddlemen (The name of Haley's group was first the Downhomers, then the Four Aces of Western Swing, then the Saddlemen, and finally the Comets consisting of Johnny Grande (Keyboards), Dick Richards (Drums), Franny Beecher (Guitar), Joey Ambrose (Sax), and Marshall Lytle (Bass), which played boogie-type country music.

In 1951 Bill Haley covered his first non country tune when he recorded the rhythm and blues song "Rocket 88" for Holiday Records (Holiday 105), which was originally recorded by Jackie Brenston at Sun Records and released on Chess Records (Chess 1458). (Ike Turner, future husband of Tina Turner, played piano on the song. In actually it was Turner's band on the record, but Brenston got the credit because he was the singer). Haley's version is considered by some music historians as the first rock and roll recording by a white artist.

In 1952, Bill Haley signed with the Philadelphia-based Essex label and recorded an uptempo song, "Rock The Joint". It was a moderate hit and Haley, with his new group the Saddlemen, began playing clubs in the East and Midwest. One night, Haley found himself, of all places, in a black blues club in Chicago. The audience response was so positive that it made it easy for Haley to turn in his cowboy outfits for "cat" clothes.

In June of 1953 history was made when Bill Haley and His Comets placed the first rock and roll record on the Billboard charts with "Crazy Man, Crazy" (Essex 321) on Philadelphia's small Essex label, reaching number twelve. (It was on the Essex label that Bunny Paul recorded a cover of Clyde McPhatter's "Such A Night" (Essex 352) in 1954, a song that Elvis Presley would also recorded in 1960). Haley's style and sound were far ahead of anything any other white artists were doing at the time, although his biggest hits, "(We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock" (Decca 29124), "See You Later, Alligator" (Decca 29791), and "Shake, Rattle And Roll" (Decca 29204), were all covers of other artists, Sonny Dae and His Knights (Arcade 123), Robert Charles (Chess 1609), and Big Joe Turner (Atlantic 1026), respectively.

Bill Haley and Elvis Presley first met on October 20, 1955, at Cleveland's Brooklyn High School Auditorium, and again when Haley was touring Europe. Elvis Presley, Red West, and Lamar Fike went to see him and his Comets perform in Stuttgart, West Germany, on October 29, 1958. Haley died on February 9, 1981.

Bill Haley and His Comets recorded a version of Little Richard's "Rip It Up" (Decca 30028) in July 1956, while Elvis Presley recorded the song in September 1956. When Elvis Presley recorded "Shake, Rattle And Roll" in 1956, he returned to Joe Turner's sexier lyrics, although one verse was the same as Haley's sanitized version. It is Bill Haley and His Comets' 1955 hit "(We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock" that is considered to have been the first record of the "Rock Era", which began on July 9, 1955, when the song went to number one on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" would be the tenth number-one song of the rock era.

"Now this was a long time before he was a big hit, you know", Bill Haley recalled to interviewer Ken Terry. "He was a big tall young kid. He didn't have too much personality at that time... The first time I remember talking to Elvis was in, I think, Oklahoma City. He was standing backstage, and we were getting ready to go on. And he came over and told me he was a fan of mine and we talked, an awful nice kid... He wanted to learn, which was the important thing. I remember one night he went out and did a show and asked me what I thought. I had watched the show, and told him, 'Elvis, you're learning too much on ballads and what have you. You've got a natural rhythm feeling, so do your rhythm tunes'... He had the attitude which most young kids do that he was really going to go out there and stop the show and knock Bill Haley off the stage, which at that time was an impossibility because we were number one. And he went out and he was facing Bill Haley fans... When I came back after doing my show he was kind of half crying in the dressing room, very downhearted, and I sat down with him and I told, 'Look, you got a lot of talent', and I explained to him a lot of things. He and I buddied together for about a week and a half after that".


The Roy Acuff Jamboree with Elvis Presley moved on to St. Louis for three evenings of music at the Missouri Theater. In addition to Kitty Wells and Johnnie and Jack, the 7:00 and 9:30 p.m. performances also featured such local luminaries as Pap and His Jug Band. Tickets were a nominal 75-cents in advance and 41.00 at the door for general admission. Children were admitted for only a quarter.

Showtime on Saturday were also 7:00 and 9:30 p.m. with three performances scheduled on Sunday at 2:00, 5:00 and 8:00 p.m.

Jud Phillips, aside from being an equity partner in Sun Records, was a promotions assistant to Acuff, and was the key to Elvis' participation in the show. Elvis Presley spent the afternoon listening to KATZ radio, and was surprised that the station broadcast local concerts from small clubs. Shreveport fans were disappointed on Saturday when Elvis Presley failed to make that evening's broadcast. He had been advertised in the Shreveport Times as scheduled to appear.

According to an article in the Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Commercial, September 11, 1977, Elvis Presley appeared at the Shamrock Corral Club in St. Louis, which was operated by Uncle Bob Hastings. The only time that Elvis Presley appeared in St. Louis while he was still playing nightclubs was with Hank Locklin in October 1955. Hastings' only specific recollection of Elvis Presley was that "he couldn't play (guitar) worth a plugged nickel". He also said that his band had to back Elvis Presley. This is an indication that Scotty Moore and Bill Black did not go to the club, and Elvis Presley may have just dropped in.

Elvis Presley was fully aware that Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys song "Ida Red" had provided Chuck Berry with his inspiration for "Maybellene", his first hit. While in St. Louis, Elvis Presley heard the flip side of "Maybellene" a song entitled "Wee Wee Hours". It was a blues song that Elvis Presley came to love, and one which prompted him to remark on one occasion that Chuck Berry was more of a bluesman than a rocker.

Following his performance, Elvis Presley went to the Cosmopolitan Club at 17th Street across Bond Street in East St. Louis to listen to the local musicians.

The area, in the center of St. Louis burgeoning black music community, was the same in which Chuck Berry, as part of the Sir John's Trio, had started his career and playing this club in the early 1950s. He almost decided to quit rock and roll to become a painter/decorator when he earned $450 for painting the club, more than he got for performing in it.

After his visit to East St. Louis, Elvis Presley was confident that his music was moving in the right direction. The jukebox at the Cosmopolitan Club had "Mystery Train" inside, and it was not Little Junior Parker's version - the playlist credit clearly read "Elvis Presley". "Curiosity provoked me to lay a lot of country stuff on our predominantly black audience", Chuck Berry recalled about his own days at the Cosmopolitan.

An article in the local newspaper read: NEW FROM ST. LOUIS. Roy Acuff and his Smokey Mt. Boys, Johnny and Jack, Kitty Wells, Lester Wilburn, Elvis Presley and many others were here, Oct. 21, 22 and 23, and did we have a time! I had the pleasure of appearing with them on each show, along with my d.j. buddy Dwight Gordon.

I'd like to let your readers know I've moved to another station, as I hear from a lot of people thru COUNTRY SONG ROUNDUP. I'm on WEW- "First In St. Louis, Second in the Nation". I have 4 1/2 hours daily (6:00 to 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.) of Country, Western and Hillbilly records. We play 'em all day. Dwight Gordon and Don Phillips do their share of spinnin' 'em too. Be glad to play any records; just see that I get them.

Sure want to thank all the disc jockey for spinnin' my latest MGM release, "Sweetheart Of My Best Friend", backed with "I May Be Lonesome".

Following his stay in St. Louis, Elvis Presley drove leisurely to Alabama, where he was scheduled to begin a rigorous month of concert appearances. Although his popularity had brought him to the brink of stardom, many of Elvis Presley's concert venues were still small and relatively insignificant.

The latter months of 1955, in fact, were spent in obscure dance halls, small clubs, and local fairs. To Elvis Presley, the October-November concerts were just one last chance to polish his stage act. Although he knew that a recording contract with RCA Victor was very close, he could not have known at this point that it was absolutely assured, nor that, after signing with RCA, he would receive enough television work in early 1956 to make his a superstar on the national entertainment scene.


Elvis perform at Missouri Theater in St. Louis, Missouri at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m.

(Above) From left: Robert Lunn (washboard), Scotty Moore (guitar), Elvis Presley (vocals and guitar), Howdy Forrester (bass/fiddle), Bill Black (bass), Lonnie ''Pap'' Wilson (guitar), to the far richt, Roy Acuff, and Bashful Brother Oswald.


Elvis perform at Missouri Theater in St. Louis, Missouri at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. Bob Neal, manager of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Memphis, advises that disc jockey’s copies of Presley's latest Sun recording, "Mystery Train" b.w. "I Forgot To Remember To Forget", are available to those who write to Neal at 160 Union Avenue, Memphis.


Elvis perform at Missouri Theater in St. Louis, Missouri at 2:00, 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. Elvis arrived late for the 2:00 p.m. show on October 23, Sunday. He had forgotten his wallet at the hotel and drove back to get it. Arriving late for his performances, Roy Acuff did not let him go on stage and, with the Colonel's consent, deducted $125 from his paycheck.


Elvis Presley, billed as "The King of Western Bop", appeared as the headliner at the Silver Moon Club on Highway 67, north of Newport, Arkansas. The 9:00 p.m. show cost $1.50 and the only other act on the bill was Sonny Burgess and his band the Moonlighters from Memphis, who later also recorded for Sun Records. When Elvis Presley came to the Silver Moon Club, Sonny Burgess organised the supporting act, and put together Newport's version of a supergroup combining some of Punky's men and the Moonlighters.

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

The newspaper advertisement promises: "If you like GOOD Western Music (and who doesn't) You'll enjoy Elvis Presley and the Moonlighters singing and playing your favorite western tunes." Show time is "9 til''?

According to Alfred McCullar, manager of the Silver Moon, ''They called me about two weeks earlier and said they had an open date on the way back from a show, if I could fit them it. That night, they had even more people, than the night they had Louis Armstrong there''.

Colonel Parker telegrams Sam Phillips from the Warwick Hotel in New York to inform him that he has been authorized by Elvis' parents to handle all negotiations for the sale of Elvis' Sun Records contract. Putting the horse somewhat after the cart, Parker asks Phillips to name his price. The letter read: ''Dear Sam'', ''Elvis Presley and his parents Mr. and Mrs. Presley have requested and authorized me to handle all negotiations on an exclusive basis towards affecting a settlement of the Elvis Presley recording contract with you and the Sun Record Company... Please advise me your best flat price for a complete dissolution and release free and clear''.

''I was pissed off'', said Sam Phillips. ''I got so goddamn mad, I called up Bob Neal and I said, 'Bob, you know, what the hell you doing to me'? He said, 'Aw, Sam, I ain't doing nothing', and I said, Goddamnit, you're associated with Tom Parker and He's putting out this bullshit, after all of what I've been through to get this guy going, he's putting the word out to my distributors that I'm gonna sell Elvis' contract'. I said, 'Man, this is killing me, you're not just messing with an artist contract here, you messing with my life. You just don't deal with these people (the distributors) unfairly. They're in this damn thing, too'. I said, 'This could cost me the company'. I said, 'This has got to stop''.

''So I called Tom Parker at the Warwick Hotel in New York, and he said, 'Sa-a-am, how you doin'?'. And I said, 'Well, I ain't doing worth a damn. Why is it that every distributor I got says that this man is on the block?'. I said, 'Look, Tom, this has been going on now basically for three or four months, but I thought nothing of it, 'cause I couldn't get confirmation from Bob Neal that you good friends of mine would be trying to do me in, advertently or inadvertently'. He said, 'Óh, noooo, Sam, no, I don't understand that'. And then he said, 'But would you be interested in selling Elvis' contract?'. So I said, 'I hand't really thought about it, Tom. But I'll let you know'. So he said, 'Well, look, think about it, and let me know'''.


Kay Wheeler organized and founded being the President of the first official Elvis Presley Fan Club in Dallas, Texas. She remember a yellow 8" x 10" poster she had stolen from the Melody Record Shop in downtown Dallas, so she examined it and saw in fine print: Bob Neal, Manager, Box 417, Madison, Tennessee. Assuming, naively, that Neal would send her a stack of the poster, she wrote him, telling him that she's formed the Elvis Presley Fan Club and needed some pictures.

The reply she got back, dated October 25, 1955, was from the Thomas A. Parker Exclusive Management at the same address. It said:

Dear Miss Wheeler:

Thank you for your letter regarding Elvis Presley. Elvis is just one of our many attractions and the present time there are no fan club facilities for him. And we have no immediate plans for any. Hank Snow and the Carter Sisters, among others, are our main attractions and Col. Tom Parker has advised me to tell you to 'do anything you want to in regard to forming a fan club for Elvis Presley'. Bob Neal is no longer Elvis Presley's manager; so all correspondence should be directed to Col. Tom Parker's office.

We appreciate your interest and if there is any way we can help you, please let us know. Enclosed is a photograph of Elvis for your use.

Carolyn Asmus

Secretary to
Colonel Thomas A. Parker

Although Kay Wheeler wasn't to know it at the time, that letter was typical of Colonel Parker in that is exaggerated the reality of his relationship with Elvis Presley. In fact, a contract drawn up on August 15 of that year between Elvis, Bob Neal and Colonel Parker (representing Hank Snow Attractions) had made Colonel Parker the 'special advisor' to Elvis Presley and Bob Neal, still his manager at that time. Not until November 21, 1955, a good few weeks after Parker had written to Kay Wheeler, would that agreement be updated to make the canny colonel Elvis' 'sole and exclusive Advisor and Personal representative', with Bob Neal's contract not lapping until March 15, 1956.

However, not knowing this at the time, Kay Wheeler was thrilled to receive the official looking letter on Colonel Parker's gaudy stationary. It was printed in red and blue, with a drawing of an old pioneer wagon-train in the upper left-hand corner and the name "Thomas A. Parker" in bold lettering across the top of the wagon, along with a wavy red banner stating, 'WE COVER THE NATION'. Kay Wheeler studied it repeatedly, hardly believing it was real, amazed and thrilled to realise that Elvis Presley had no other fan club and that her's would be the first one authorised by his manager. Now being the President of the official Elvis Presley Fan Club, she was all set to meet the man himself.


Elvis Presley wrapped up his three-day engagement at the Prichard Fair. Before these concerts, Elvis Presley and promoter Jack Cardwell, a WAIP disc jockey, submitted to a lengthy radio interview plugging his latest Sun release, "Mystery Train". During this interview, Elvis Presley talked about his future with a major record label. There was no doubt that Elvis Presley knew that Colonel Tom Parker was on the verge of closing the RCA Victor recording contract. In a relaxed manner, Elvis talked about black music and its impact upon his style.

According to Pat Eddington, editor of Hi-lites the local high school paper, ''Once a month the newspaper, on a Wednesday, was in charge of an assembly, which meant that from 10:00-10:45, the students either had to go to study hall or attend an assembly that was used for all sorts of things. We had the assembly and could use it any was we wanted to, but we usually used it to make money. As I was the managing editor, I was in charge of funds, but I couldn't come up with a fundraising idea, I had used up everything I could think of''.

''So I went into the principal's office on Tuesday, 'Mr. Laird, the students will just have to go to study hall because I have not come up with an event for tomorrow'. A young man in my class by the name of Delance Durror was standing there. He said, 'I might be able to be of some help. I was at the Prichard radio station, there's a man by the name of Elvis Presley, who is performing at the Greater Gulf State fair, and he was in the radio station wanting extra work, wanting to make some extra money. I'll bet that he'll come'. And I said, 'For as little as we can pay'? Delance went straight to the telephone, and called Jack Cardwell, who contacted Elvis, and called right back and said 'yes'''.

According to Jimmie Nell Donaldson, ''I played basketball. A bunch of basketball girls arranged to go to Houston to play. Parents wouldn't have given permission to teenage girls to drive the 30 miles to Houston at night. Bobbie Moore (Scotty's wife, who I had talked with in Bruce) had written me and told me that she was coming down to the show with Scotty, and if I could, I should come over there. When we got there, it had already started. We went down and sat at the first row as if we owned the place, and Scotty recognized me. Scotty came down and said, 'Bobbie couldn't come', and he then took me backstage, and I was feeling so great. So when the show was over, they would go out the side door, and we would go out with them. Elvis had these glossy pictures, and he have each one of us one and wrote, 'Love, Elvis' on them''.

Local disc jockey Bobby Ritter, who had already handled several Elvis shows in the area, booked the show.


Elvis Presley performed as part of "Prichard-Chickasaw Day" at the Greater Gulf Fair on Blakeley Island near Prichard, the northern suburb of Mobile, Alabama. The show was sponsored by the Prichard Chamber of Commerce and held at the Greater Gulf States Fair. Appearing with Elvis Presley were local entertainers Jack Cardwell of WAIP radio, the Andrews Brothers, Little Jackie Hill, Luke McDaniels, and Bill Lewis.

The fair itself was sponsored by the Mobile Jaycees. Admission to the fair was 50-cents for patrons over twelve and a quarter for those younger. Service men in uniform were 35-cents.

Elvis Presley agreed to play a freebie, a short program during assembly period at Vigor High School . He was on stage whipping it up, and the teenagers were eating it up, but Elvis got carried away and began telling risque stories. And at that point where he said something like he would "never get married, milk is cheaper at the dairy", the school principal walked up, took the microphone away from Elvis, said, "Thank you, Mister Presley", and motioned for Elvis to exit, stage left, which he did.

Billboard (October 29, 1955) states "Elvis Presley plays the fair at Prichard, Alabama, October 26-28...". This would certainly seem to indicate that he performed in Prichard for two additional days. However, the article in the Mobile Register (October 21, 1955) for this appearance is very specific when it states, "a special show featuring Presley will have a one day stand - Wednesday". Elvis' whereabouts for the next two days is not known.

Francis Cawthon was the president of the Prichard Jaycees and says, ''The Mobile Junior Chamber of Commerce were to be in charge of the entertainment of the fair for a three matinée and night show that day. The day would be called Prichard-Chickasaw day. They would have a hamburger stand, and we could make the money for the club. A member of our club was Jack Cardwell, a local hillbilly country singer and personality. I had asked Jack if he would suggest the entertainment for that day. About two days later he come by my office and said he had just the man. He has a couple of records that are doing great on the charts. He is going to make it big in show business'. I said, 'Who is this party'? He said, 'Elvis Presley'. I said, 'Who the hell is that'? He said, 'Believe me, he is good, and it won't cost the club more than 250 dollars'! My wife's first cousin ran the record department of the largest music store on Dolphins Street in downtown Mobile. I called her, and she assured me that we really couldn't make a mistake because he was coming on strong into the recording field. The club agreed, and I committed us to the contract. Cardwell contracted Elvis for several days of appearances''.

At the day of his appearance at the fair, I met him and the others. We had a conversation when we sat in the Cadillac before show time. I was the MC of the shows. He indicated that he would like for us to sign him for the following year's fair. George McNally of the Mobile Jaycees and I decided that was a little premature. I was not overly impressed by the performance, but they were good, and the crowd liked them. And I recall, it was a little embarrassing. Scotty announced that they would sell 8 x 10 glossy pictures from the corner of the stage for 25 cents at the end of the show. I didn't expect much of a response, but they had a line a block long at each show, and he autographed them. All we had were bleachers. It was free. We had a trampoline act that preceded him. A 20 by 25 foot long platform, that was the stage. It was raised off the ground, maybe 36 inches. It had a set of steps going up the backside of it. We had no dressing rooms. He drove that Cadillac to the corner of that stage. The trampoline act had a big trampoline net, we would turn up on its side towards the back of the stage about 6 feet from the rear of the stage, and we hung a mirror on it. When we were ready to go on stage to hide from the public, we would go up on the stage behind the trampoline net. I stood behind Presley when he was combing his hair. He had long hair, it was greasy, and I thought this is really a raw bone country boy, just trying to make it''.

And for Lillian Smith Snow, seeing Elvis was unplanned, ''I was in the fifth grade. two of my friends and I decided to go to the Fair. We stopped for just a few minutes to watch this person sing. He was dressed horribly, and evidently his pants were too short, because you could see his white socks, and he was doing all these gyrations. We all said, 'Oh, he's awful', and turned and walked away. Thought he certainly would never make it''.

According to Pat Eddington, ''No more than 15 minutes ahead of time, he drove up, in his pink Cadillac. He had the members of the band with him, and their instruments were in the trunk of the car. We stood out there, and told him where to park. He stepped out to meet Delance and me and introduced himself. They opened the trunk, and each of them got their instruments out. We had a mike all set up, and he went and tested it, and in just a few minutes the students came in''.

We had a pretty full house. We only charged the students a dime. He was to get a nickel, and the newspaper got a nickel. We told all the kids that we were going to have some guy with a guitar who was going to come sing and entertain them. So everybody turned out, for a dime, most of the kids had a dime. Sometimes we charged a quarter, but this was an unknown entity, so we charged a dime. I did not introduce him. I believe if the principal didn't, then Delance Durror did. I had a friend save me a seat at the aisle, right in the middle, so after I left backstage, I walked out and took my seat. Well, we were very conservative, very good kids. We all went to church, and Sunday school, and choir in the afternoon, prayer meetings on Wednesday and Saturday nights''.

''Elvis got up and then started doing this shaking. I had never seen a body move like that, neither had anybody else. I thought, 'I'm going to just die'. And I sat there, and said, 'Oh no, please don't let this happen to me. Oh, God, I can't believe it'''.

Fellow student Joy Turner says, ''When Elvis stepped out on stage and started his music and moves, my heart just about stopped. He had on a light lavender suit, and I thought 'WOW', lavender! Is that too cool? He was good, gorgeous, exciting, and of course, the auditorium full od teenagers responded to his performance with full gusto''!

Elvis had started with ''That's All Right'', ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', and then ''Milkcow Blues Boogie''. Eddington says, ''And then he told a joke. It was very tame. It was something about a cow and an udder. At that point the principal, Mr. Laird, walked onto the stage, I never met a more straight-laced person in my whole life. He walked on to the stage and quietly said the show was over and asked Elvis to leave''.

Beverly Strickland was a teacher at Vigor and attended the show not out of preference, ''Elvis already had a questionable reputation at that time. At least, his kind of music did. I was a little hesitant to tell my husband and my parents that I had seen the show. I had no choice because teachers had to go to programs. I was not surprised that Mr. Laird stopped it, because in addition to the new kind of music, it was loud, loud, loud. Also, from where I sat, Elvis' trousers (not jeans) were leaving little to the imagination when he danced. It was also a new kind of dance, to me at least. Some of the lyrics were statements too bold for the early fifties in the south''.

Joy Turner says, ''When we went back to out classroom, Principal Laird came on the P.A. system and apologized for having an act such as this at our school. I don't remember all of his wording, but what he had to say was not very kind or nice. I thought the interesting thing about his was several people were in the dressing room with Elvis after the performance, and Elvis heard what the principal had to say over the P.A. system. The ones that were with him said Elvis cried. Needless to say, when word got out that Elvis cried at our school for being treated so poorly (the students, especially the girls, had immediately fallen in love with him), did not sit well with some of the schoolmates. The next morning upon arriving at school, every place imaginable, windows, doors, mirrors, lockers, etc., was plastered with ''Elvis'' and ''Elvis, we love you''!

Pat Eddington says, ''Elvis left immediately without taking his cut of the 10 cents, and got in his car and drove away. He didn't even complain. I ran for the little girls' room and hid. I think I skipped my next class because I thought they'd come after me, thinking, I will never graduate. I stayed out of Mr. Laird's way for months after that, but fortunately I wasn't kicked out of school''.

Barbara Dreading had graduated from Vigor High School in 1954. She says, ''I still had a lot of friends in the '55 class. So they called me when they got out of school and said, 'Barbara, you need to go to the fair tonight and see this fellow named Elvis. He was at the school today doing his singing, and Mr. Laird closed curtain on him'. And I said, 'Why'? They said it was because he got to shaking, and Mr. Laird just told him don't come back to Vigor High School again. And they said, 'He's wonderful, you'll love him'. I had a car at that time, I gathered up a bunch of my girlfriends, we went over to Blakely Island, over to the fair. They had this little stage, and he came in his pink Cadillac and took a ride up by the side of that stage. When he started doing his show, I'm only 5 feet tall, so I wanted to get a better look, 'cause I couldn't see, we were all standing, no place to sit. So I kind of eased down the side, and I came to where his car was. So I motioned at his fender, and Elvis gave me a 'thumbs up'. I jumped up on the fender, and I sat there and watched him doing the show. I didn't get to talk to him after the show, because other people started to crowd him. A good crowd, mostly young people, and I think most of them had come from school because of what happened there''.

T.W. Jockisch, twelve years old that time says, ''Elvis sang several songs, one of them being ''This Ole House''. The crowd wend wild. He played his guitar so hard and fast that he broke one of the strings. While he was playing, he would run his fingers down the broken string and give the audience that cross-eyed look. We were standing up against the stage, and Elvis leaned over the side of the stage and handed me the guitar string and said, 'Keep this son, I'm gonna be famous one day'. While he was singing a very fast song, he was shaking and moving so fast that several coins fell out of his pocket. After he finished the song, he told the audience to please wait just a minute. He couldn't afford to lose that change''.

According to Johnny Vines, ''We bumped into Elvis, Scotty, and Bill at the Greater Gulf State Fair, October 26, 1955 at his 7:30 p.m. performances. My wife and I were just married, June 4, 1955, in Richmond, Virginia, and shortly after moved to Prichard, Alabama. Sometime at the performance, either at intermission, or possible after the performance, we rode the bumper cars nearby, along with Elvis, Scotty, and Bill, and just had a grand time, they were so much fun. They were just kids as we were''.


Elvis Presley to perform at the National Guard Armory in Jackson, Alabama. Also on the bill Shorty Sullivan and his Green Valley Boys. Showtime 7 p.m. Admission for adults $1.00 and children under 12 50 cents.

Bob Neal learns for the first time (from Sam Phillips and the Presleys virtually simultaneously) that Colonel Tom Parker is in the midst of selling Elvis' contract and writes to Parker, demanding a meeting to straighten things out.


Colonel Tom Parker was now settled at the Warwick Hotel in New York, with the sole agenda of signing Elvis to RCA. He worked with the knowledge that someone like Bill Randle, or any other entrepreneurial agent, might move in if he didn't on his promises to Elvis and his parents. Bob Neal was no longer a problem, but Parker faced a much bigger obstacle trying to persuade RCA to buy a recording contract that wasn't his, and might not even be for sale.

The latest single was doing better than the one before, which had done very well. Who was to say that Sun couldn't take a sixth single even further, and make Parker's mission even more complicated en expensive? The relationship with Sam Phillips had a bad start at the initial meeting back in February, when the Colonel insensitively outlined the shortcoming of a small record company like Sun Records. Since then, Nothing positive had developed. For months, Parker and Diskin had discussed how they got no favours from Phillips, and Sam for his part had not involved himself with the ''two Toms''. His assistant, Marion Keisker, had never heard Sam say anything negative about the Colonel, but still believed that Sam did not like the abrasive businessman.

The momentum of Elvis' career was definitely there. The disc jockeys were all behind him, and popularity polls now listed Elvis at the very top. However, Colonel Parker didn't have offers from any of the major record companies, several of which had backed out in June when a potential contract would have been more affordable. Colonel Parker's real credibility in the record business was with RCA. Previous client Eddy Arnold, and current partner Hank Snow were with the label, and Parker knew many of the executives.

In the early morning of the 24th, Colonel Parker sent a telegram to Sam Phillips informing him that he had a mandate from Elvis' parents to sell Elvis' contract, and asked Sam what his price would be.

According to biographer Peter Guralnick, Sam instantly called the Colonel and complained that Parker and Bob Neal had gone behind his back, bitterly reacting to what he saw as a conspiracy to deprive him of not only his artist, but also his good name, and eventually his whole company. Colonel Parker maintained his innocence, and Sam said that he would think about it and call him back. Parker went over to RCA for a meeting, and between the two parties they came up with two models that they would propose to Sam Phillips.

When Sam Phillips called the Colonel that night, the price he named was $35,000 plus an additional $5,000; the amount owed to Presley in back royalties. Although Sam did not want to let Presley go, he was only too aware that he needed the money, with bills piling up from pressing the latest single, the costs of opening his new radio station, an upcoming lawsuit, paying his brother Jud off, and further developing the career's of both Carl Perkins and Johnny cash, both of whom he had a lot of faith in.

The next morning, Colonel Tom Parker called RCA lawyer H. Coleman Tily, III and relayed the new numbers. Tily made a deal memo summarizing RCA's offer, and that's where it was left when Colonel Parker started the drive to his home in Madison. At this point, what happened behind the scenes was seemingly more important than what happened on stage. RCA's Bill Bullock, head of the single division, confirmed to Colonel Parker RCA's final offer. The deal was basically the same $25,000 offered in late July, with $20,000 being recoupable against future royalties, and a non-refundable $5,000 bonus, the amount Sam Phillips owed Elvis in royalties. The key difference this time around was that the royalty offered was now 5% of retail price, double of what they offered in July, and 2% more than Elvis got at Sun. What was not included in the new bid was a guarantee of a national TV appearance, an assurance that Colonel Parker needed, as it was part of what he promised Elvis' parents.

The following Saturday, Colonel Parker and Tom Diskin decided to go to Memphis to discuss the matter with Sam. A heated discussion took place at the Holiday Inn restaurant. Bob Neal attended without any other perspective than possibly hoping that Parker would lose it all. Diskin, in his support of the Colonel, ended up offending Sam and was told to shut up. The Colonel was forced to accept that compromise was nowhere in sight. It was all up to him to get Sam the money he asked for. For $5,000 the Colonel finally bought the right to sell Elvis' contract, a sum that he would lose if a new recording contract weren't agreed upon by November 15. Sam, on the other hand, walked away with sincere doubts as to whether he had done the right thing.


In Madison, Tennessee, Tom Parker got a telegram from W.W. Bullock, RCA's singles division manager, that $25,000 was as high as RCA was willing to go for Elvis Presley's contract. This is a reiteration of what Steve Sholes has written to Parker the day before.


A groundbreaking radio station hit the airwaves at 1430 on the AM dial in Memphis. This station was known as WHER, which was all-female and the first of its kind. The station was based in Holiday Inn on South Third Street.

WHER was the brainchild of one Sam Phillips who used a portion of his profits from the sale of Elvis Presley’s recording contract to RCA Records to finance the station. Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson provided the remaining necessary amount, as well as the stations first home, in a part of the third Holiday Inn ever built. WHER was staffed almost exclusively by women and even the station got a make-over. One early report stated that the entire studio was feminized.

The women referred to themselves as jockettes, the studio was called the “doll’s den”, murals of fashion decorated the equipment room, and the stationary was perfumed. Women read the news, conducted interviews with local celebrities, played music, sold and created commercials, and acted as the producers and directors of programming.

As Assistant Manager and Program Director Dorothy Abbott (aka ''Dot Holiday'') was quoted saying, ''We are not trying to prove that we can get along in a world without men. We are simply trying to prove that when a group of women make up their collective minds that they are going to do something successfully, no force on earth can keep them from it''. As of 2008, the 1430 kHz frequency is occupied by WOWW, a radio Disney affiliate. (For more information See 1955 Sessions 2).


Elvis Presley appeared on the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport. Also featured tonight were George Jones, Johnny Horton, and David Houston. Also on the bill: Jimmy Newman, Jack Ford, Hoot and Curley, Buddy Attaway, Werley Fairburn, Buzz Busby and the Bayou Boys, Jeanette Hicks, Betty Amos, and many others. Elvis Presley sang Chuck Berry's "Maybellene".

A small but important step towards finalizing the sale of Elvis' contract also occurred in late October 1955. Colonel Tom Parker began to threaten suit against Sam Phillips if Elvis' back royalties weren't paid.

As a result, Sam, who had just paid his brother Jud Phillips $1400 for his partnership interest in Sun, thereby making Sam the sole proprietor, didn't have the cash or the time he'd hoped for to continue holding out for the top-dollar figure currently being considered (and rejected) by RCA. The urgency for Colonel Parker was that Bill Randle had been attempting to intercede in hopes of making a record deal for Elvis Presley himself, this undermining Parker's position. As he was determined to keep total control of Elvis' recording and touring career, Colonel Tom Parker pressured Sam Phillips with a suit in order to get Sam to lower his asking price.

During October, the bidding for Elvis' recording contract became very heated. Mercury Records offered Sam Phillips $10,000. This was beaten by Columbia's* bid of $15,000. Finally, Atlantic Records, a leader in the rhythm and blues field, offered $25,000.

Mitch Miller showed interest in obtaining Elvis Presley for Columbia Records, but when Bob Neal told Miller that the bid was up to $18,000, Miller said, "Oh, forget it, nobody's worth that music". With Miller's attitude toward rock music and his refusal to envision the future of music, it is just as well that he did not bid on Elvis. Mitch Miller had also turned down Connie Francis for Columbia Records. He did sign singer Anita Bryant, whom he met when he was a judge at one of her beauty contests.

Harry Kalcheim of William Morris suggests to the Colonel that Elvis would make a good subject for a Hollywood short, but Parker remains unimpressed by Kalcheim's New York vision, informing him that he is in the middle of making a deal.


Elvis returns to his new home on Getwell Street in Memphis.

During the week Elvis goes into the Sun studio one last time to record a B-side for "Trying to Get to You." There appears to be some mix--up in communications, because the session breaks off in the middle after several attempts at "When It Rains, It Really Pours," a Billy "the Kid" Emerson blues, and drummer Johnny Bernero comes away with the clear impression that this is because Elvis' contract is about to be sold.

Sam Phillips set off for Houston, Texas, with Marion Keisker for a preliminary injunction hearing in federal court on his lawsuit against Duke Records.


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For Elvis Presley's Biography see > The Sun Biographies <
Elvis Presley's Sun recordings can be heard on the playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <