CONTAINS
 
1955 SUN SESSIONS 3
July 1, 1955 to September 30, 1955

Live Broadcast Recordings for Elvis Presley, July 2, 1955
Studio Session for Elvis Presley, July 11, 1955
Live Broadcast Recordings for Elvis Presley, August 20, 1955
Interview for Elvis Presley, August 31, 1955
 
For Elvis Presley's Biography (See: The Sun Biographies)
Most Elvis' Sun tracks can be heard on the playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on YouTube < click
JULY 1, 1955 FRIDAY

"Elvis Prestley", as he was advertised, pushed on with Scotty Moore and Bill Black as they  made an appearance at the Casino Club in Plaquemine, a small Louisiana town southwest of  Baton Rouge. Elvis Presley performed from 8:30 to 1:00 p.m. Admission was $1.50.  Appearing with Elvis Presley was the club's owner, Lou Millet and his Melody Makers.
 
After  the show, Elvis Presley drove to Waco, Texas, for a radio interview. The music industry  weekly Cash Box had just selected Elvis Presley as the best "Up and Coming Male Vocalist" in  the country music field. Elvis wearing a red sports coat that night at the Casino Club.

According to Shirley Fleniken, ''I'd known for a few weeks that Elvis was coming back to our area, to a nightclub near Baton Rouge, called the Casino Club. It was in Plaquemine, about twenty miles away from Baton Rouge, where I lived.
 
About two months earlier, I had started going steady with a boy, Donald, and we were still dating. I wanted badly to see Elvis again, and for Donald to see him also, even though Donald was a bit jealous of Elvis, since he'd seen his picture on the wall in my room, and he knew I played his records all the time''.

''July 1st came at last, but the unthinkable happened, I woke up that morning sick as could be, with a very hot fever. I felt miserable. But I KNEW I had to get better, because I just had to go see Elvis that night. My mother knew how much it meant to me. She called the doctor and had him come to the house. He gave me a penicillin shot. Within a few hours, I was feeling better. My mother let me go. I was so happy that I wouldn't have to miss seeing Elvis! Donald and I rode in his light blue '39 Ford Coupe to the Casino Club. The Casino was a large dance hall, with tables on both sides of it, and a bar in the front. There was a fairly large crowd. Elvis, Scotty, and Bill played atop a low stage at the back of the hall. None of us dances, we surrounded the stage and watched, screaming, yelling, and clapping, we just couldn't get enjoyed it. Elvis put on a great show, as usual. He sand all the records he had out, plus some other rhythm and blues songs. The band took a short intermission. i noticed Elvis standing alone, leaning up against a wall in the back of the hall. he seemed a little bit downhearted, or maybe in deep thought, there was a faraway look in his eyes. I went up to him and started talking to him. He was very nice and friendly. I told him about us seeing him in New Orleans, and he said, 'I remember you and your sister. Y'all were driving a red Pontiac'. I said, 'It wasn't a Mercury, it was a Lincoln'. I couldn't believe he remembered meeting Gayle and me on the highway. I told him how much we were enjoying the show. He asked me if that was my boyfriend. I said yes, and Elvis said, 'He's got a nice set of ducks'. Later I told Donald what Elvis said, and he wasn't as jealous of Elvis after that. A girl walked up and asked Elvis to dance. He said, Í can't dance'. A guy came up and said, 'Elvis, can I buy you a drink'? He said, 'I don't drink'''.

Melvin Seneca says, ''The Casino Club was the most popular club around in the mid-fifties. When you walked in, there was a bar, and on each end of the bar were doors to walk into the dance hall. There were restrooms on either side of the stage. On each side of the room you had tables and chairs where you could sit, and there was dancing in the middle''.

Theresa Rome says, ''My brother went up to the stage and got Elvis. He came over and said, 'How y'all doing, folks'? He shook hands with everybody, and you would have though he was everybody's friend. Everybody stood up and screamed when he started his song. The club was packed. There were cars parked along the highway. He played requests, and some songs he played over and over''. Anonymous female attendee say, ''I didn't care if I ever saw Elvis again. I was disgusted when I saw him. I couldn't even look at him. He didn't act normal by standards''.

According to Orney Hebert, ''He brought his guitar out to his car, and we followed him. In general conversation he invited us to sit in the car and told us, 'I'm going to play something for y'all'. I can't remember being in the backseat, think there were fife of us, and Elvis sat up front on the passenger seat with his guitar. Elvis sang parts of five or six songs he was fixing to come out with. He told us he was going to change his style. We were in his car about 10 to 15 minutes, I think during the first intermission. There were people standing outside all around the car''.

And Dealis Vaughn says, ''Elvis was at Alexander's Drive-In. I had a 1955 Ford Victoria that was pink and white. Elvis asked whose car that was, and I told him it was mine. That's how we started talking. Elvis told me he had one also. He said his was the same color but was a Crown Victoria. Those sold for a little more''.
 
LOU MILLET - was a Columbia recording artist whose first two records included the similarly titled "Weary, 
Worried And Blue" and "Worried, Lonesome And Blue". Lou Millet was born in 1926 in Baton Rouge, 
Louisiana. He learned to play the guitar when was 16 years old and soon formed his own band called "The 
Melody Ramblers". That band stayed together for about four years and appeared on several radio stations in 
the area including WLCS and WJBO as well as WLBR in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. 

Lefty Frizzell gave him his first big break and in 1953, he was still associated with Lefty, by fronting the 
band during one of Lefty's tours. Lou was with the Standard Oil Company for seven years before getting into 
the entertainment business.

Previous his Go release, pressed in 1961 by Rite Records, Lou Millet recorded for Feature in 1951), 
Columbia (1952-1954), Ace (1955), Ekko (1956) and Republic (1956). His ''Uncle Earl;; is a tribute to 
Louisiana Governor Earl K. Long (1895-1960). ''Uncle'' Earl Long was committed to a mental institution 
following his scandalous involvement with Bourbon Street stripper Blaze Starr and an “incoherent and 
irrational public outburst” where he denounced opponents and shouted obscenities
.
JULY 2, 1955 SATURDAY

Cash Box, another national music trade weekly, voted Elvis Presley the "Up and Coming Male  Vocalist" in country music. Elvis placed an ad in the magazine thanking all of the disc  jockey’s for voting for him while plugging his latest release, "I'm Left, You're Right, She's  Gone"/"Baby Let's Play House". Elvis Presley made his weekly visit to the Louisiana Hayride  in Shreveport.
 
Elvis Presley had been on the road constantly since Christmas, and Bob Neal arranged for him to take a break in early July. Besides, Neal needed time with Elvis to discuss the issue of his record company, and the record company needed a new single for August 1955.
 
Elvis himself had to get a new car. He bought a brand new black 1955 Cadillac, requesting that it be re-painted pink. Scotty Moore bought a new guitar, replacing his Gibson ES 295, while Elvis picked up a custommade leather cover for his guitar, to protect it from getting scratched by his belt buckle.
 
JULY 1955

"House Of Sin"/"Are You Ashamed Of Me?" (SUN 225) by Slim Rhodes is released at about this  time.

UNKNOWN DATE JULY 1955

Elvis Presley purchased the mirror in a Memphis store one day after watching Lowell Fulson  use a backstage mirror to perfect his moves in the Club Handy, located at 195 Hernando  Street, Memphis, Tennessee.

UNKNOWN DATE SUMMER 1955

Elvis Presley and his group performed in Wichita Falls, Texas. Reliable witnesses recall a  show by Elvis Presley at Cotote Stadium the football field for a local High School. Elvis  Presley performed at mid-field on a stage constructed from what may have been an oil-field  flatbed truck. No known performance by Elvis Presley in Wichita Falls took place at a school.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

A turning point occurred for Elvis Presley on July 16, 1955. This was a special day because it marked a significant step forward in his career. His fourth single, ''Baby Let's Play House'', had entered the Cash Box's country and western chart at number 15. This marked Elvis appearance on the National charts, as opposed to the State charts he had been in previously.

This National appearance coincided with an evening Hayride performance and in celebration of his national hit; he sang the flip side of the single to his Hayride audience ''I'm Left, Your Right, She's Gone''.

LIVE BROADCAST RECORDINGS FOR ELVIS PRESLEY
FOR KWKH'S LOUISIANA HAYRIDE, SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA, 1955

MUNICIPAL AUDITORIUM, 705 GRAND AVENUE AND
MILAM STREET, SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA
JULY 2, 1955 - VIEWING TIME TV-STATION KWKH
SESSION HOURS: SATURDAY 8:00PM-11:00PM
PRODUCER - HORACE LOGAN

01 - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I. - 1:50
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Bill Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - FRA1-8152 - Acetate courtesy of Joe Kent, Louisiana Hayride
Recorded: - July 2, 1955
Released: - February 5, 1999
First appearance: - February 5, 1999 RCA BMG (CD) 500/200rpm 07863 67675 2-2-14 mono
SUNRISE ELVIS PRESLEY
Reissued: - November 2011 Memphis Recording Service (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 30001256-12 mono
THE COMPLETE LOUISIANA HAYRIDE ARCHIVES 1954-1956

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)

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
JULY 3, 1955 SUNDAY

Elvis Presley appeared from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Hoedown Club a t 4320 South  Lexington Boulevard in Corpus Christi, which is now South Padre Island Drive. In fact the site  where the Hoedown was is a strip mall today home to a furniture store, between Weber and  Everhart on SPID.
 
Advertising mentioned his trio and "stars of the Louisiana". Tickets priced at $1.50 in  advance and $1.75 at the door, were available a both locations of Kelly's Music Stores.  That would be at least three sets. There were other performers on the show that day that  were not listed in the ads. It's reasonable to think that Elvis stretched his show a bit to  accommodate the requirements of the gig. In fact there are reports that he did at least two  songs that were not in his usual set list, ''Born To Lose'', originally done by Ted Daffin's  Texans and ''Do The Mess Around'' which was an rhythm and blues hit for Ray Charles in  1953.

According to travel companion and bodyguard, Red West, remembers an incident in Corpus Christi, ''I couldn't play the drums worth a shit. That was before D.J., and there's a set of drums on stage. Elvis says, 'Get up there and keep a backbeat'. Shit, I can't play drums, I play trumpet. 'Well, just keep a backbeat', Elvis says. I played that whole song with one stick, ''Maybellene'', why can't you be true''.

This concert was a warm up for the gospel jubilee the following day.
JULY 4, 1955 MONDAY

Still in Texas, Elvis Presley played his one-and-only "triple header". The first pair shows, in  Stephenville and nearby De Leon, were billed collectively as the Battle Of The Songs, an  annual event promoted by W.B. Nowlin, Mayor of De Leon. Each year the Battle offered the  finest in country music and Southern gospel singing. A $1.00 ticket was good for a full day of  music at either venue.

Elvis Presley began his day with a 10.00 a.m. appearance at the City Recreation Hall in  Stephenville. He performed his regular rockabilly routine and was followed by Slim Willit,  with whom he worked in Abilene the previous February. The remainder of the morning show  was an all-gospel review featuring the Blackwood Brothers Quartet, R.W. Blackwood, Jr., and  the Statesmen Quartet. The Stephenville show was stage-managed by Raymond Carter, W.B.  Nowlin's son-in-law.
 
Also at 10:00 a.m., on an outdoor stage at Hodges Park, just east of De Leon, another full  day of country and gospel music got underway. Featured during the morning portion of this  show were the Farren Twins, a country act, followed by three gospel acts, the Deep South  Quartet, The Stamps Quartet and the Ozark Stamps Quartet.  As each group finished their  portion of the show, they would drive the 23 miles to Stephenville, to be replaced by the  acts from Stephenville who were arriving in De Leon to play the afternoon performance. In  show-biz jargon, this was known as "bicycling the talent".

When Elvis Presley arrived at Hodges Park he was driving a white Cadillac that he had  recently purchased to replace the pink one that burned a couple of weeks earlier. Not only  did he have Scotty Moore and Bill Black with him, but Vernon and Gladys as well. During the  lunch break in De Leon, the entertainers and the Presley's took refuge from the summer  heat in the Blackwoods' new air-conditioned bus.
By the time the Statesmen Quartet opened the second portion of the De Leon songfest the  crowd numbered 5,000 at the Memorial Hall in Brownwood. The Blackwood Brothers Quartet  followed, offering a touching tribute to the members who had died in a light plane crash a  year earlier in Alabama, on a tour that was to have included a show in De Leon.
 
Elvis Presley  was so moved by their performance, that he decided to perform only gospel music during his  set. He sang "The Old Wooden Church", "Precious Memories", "Known Only To Him", and "Just  A Closer Walk With Thee". Teenagers who had waited patiently through hours of gospel music  for their first change to see Elvis Presley, the rock 'n' roller, were disappointed.
 
Slim Willet  was scheduled to close the show, but his band failed to make it to De Leon because of car  trouble. Scotty Moore and Bill Black tried their best to fill in, but after a song or two,Willet  dismissed them and continued on, accompanied only by his guitar.

Even in 1955, there was some confusion surrounding these two shows. When it first began,  the July Fourth Battle of Songs was held only in De Leon. However, for a few years before  1955, the shows had been all-day extravaganzas taking place in both De Leon and  Stephenville. Advertisements in 1955 mentioned that, in the event of rain, there would only  be the show in Stephenville, which could be held indoors at the City Recreation Hall. During  June, De Leon was struck by a tornado and for three weeks prior to July Fourth the weather  was terrible. Just a week before the show date, another severe storm stuck the area. Upon  hearing this news, R.W. Blackwood, Jr., published a local notice that the De Leon portion of  the day's events was cancelled. This was not the case.

Nowlin put together an estimated 5,000 gospel shows all across Texas from the 1940s into  the late 1980s. Over those years, the only serious problem he had with his promotions was  the time he booked Hank Williams for a July Fourth show in De Leon. Good Ol' Hank arrived  four hours late, too drunk to go on stage.

Colonel Tom Parker was an old friend of Mayor W.B. Nowlin, dating from the first Battle of  Songs in 1948. At that time, the Colonel managed Eddy Arnold, who was the featured  performer. Hank Snow had also appeared at one of the Battle of Songs when he was managed  by the Colonel. In July 1955, Parker visited with the Nowlin family for a day or two before  the Fourth. It was on this trip that Colonel Parker hoped his contact with Elvis Presley  parents would bring Elvis under his managerial wing. Mayor Nowlin, his daughter and his  niece all remember seeing both Vernon and Gladys, but Cecil Blackwood, a friend of both  Elvis and Gladys, recalled talkingto only Vernon while on the Blackwoods' bus.
Finally, at 8:00 p.m. that evening, Elvis Presley, the Farren Twins and Slim Willet performed  at the Soldier's and Sailor's Memorial Hall in Brownwood in a benefit show for Engine  Company No. 1 of the local Volunteer Fire Department. Tickets were $1.00 for adults and  50-cents for children. Although not listed in pre-show advertising, Wanda Jackson states that  she also appeared on this show. It was the first time that she met Elvis Presley.

"When I started really getting to know him. I have some photographs with him were taken on  this tour. It's strange that I didn't take too many pictures of Elvis because I took a lot of  pictures in those days. I took photographs in school and I've always loved the subject. Maybe  I was a little embarrassed because the opportunities".

"He was a southern gentlemen and my folks liked him a lot, so I figured that he must be all  right! He was always a gentlemen and I flipped over him like a million other girls".

"Some photographs are from the Texas tour and I also have a couple that were taken in  Missouri. One was taken by a poster and the other was taken by his car, his pink car, with a  bass on top of it".

According to Red West, I remember Bob Neal booked him at an gospel show. Elvis didn't know it. He got there and saw Blackwood Brothers and the Statesmen Quartet and said, 'What the hell has Bob Neal done'? Luckily Elvis was a great fan of gospel music, that's what he wanted to be in the first place, so he got up and sang three or four gospel songs, like the rest of them, and left. He didn't even sing one of his records''.

Following this show, Elvis Presley and his parents returned home to Memphis where Elvis  scheduled for a two-week vacation. Elvis Presley was happy that Billboard had rated "Baby,  Let's Play House" number 15 on the Country Best Selling In Stores chart. The record  remained on the chart for ten weeks, peaking at number 10 in late July 1955, another sign  that Elvis' hard work and constant touring was paying off. To capitalize on the Billboard  listing, Colonel Tom Parker prepared a late summer, early fall booking schedule.
WANDA JACKSON - Female rockabilly singer of the 1950s born Wanda Lavonne Jackson in  Maud, Oklahoma, on October 20, 937. She was a High School senior in Oklahoma City  where she had been discovered by Hank Thompson. She began recording for Decca  Records in mid-1954.

A year later, her father contacted Bob Neal after seeing one of Neal's  ads in Billboard. Neal thought it would be a good idea to add a female singer to Elvis  Presley's tours. Wanda Jackson appeared on the same bill with Elvis Presley on the "Hank  Snow Jamboree" in July and August 1955, and a two-week tour that travelled from  Abilene, Texas, to St. Louis in October 1955 and again in early 1956. 
 
Miss Jackson would  be become known as a female rockabilly star after she switched to Capitol Records in  1956. In 1960 Wanda Jackson recorded a version of Elvis Presley's "Party" called "Let's  Have A Party" (Capitol 4397). Her biggest hit was "Right Or Wrong" in 1961.
JULY 5, 1955 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley returns to Memphis for a two-week vacation. During this week his next-door  neighbor, fifteen-year-old Jackson Baker, recalls hearing Elvis rehearse the song ''Mystery  Train''', and then, after recording it, listen to the acetate over and over again.
JULY 7, 1955 THURSDAY

Scotty Moore trades his Gibson ES 295 guitar for a Gibson L5 at O.K. Houck Piano Company.  The new guitar will go with the custom-built Echosonic amplifier he purchased for $495 in  May, which he is currently paying off in installments.

It is most likely at around this same time that Elvis Presley, too purchases a new guitar, a  Martin D-28, which will be seen in pictures taken in Tampa on July 31. The new guitar has a  tooled leather cover which, in addition to its decorative qualities, prevents the back of the  instrument from being scratched during performances by Elvis' belt buckle.

Elvis also buys a pink 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty with a black top to replace the Cadillac  that has burned. A removable wooden roof rack is used for the band's instruments.

JULY 8, 1955

Before Elvis Presley signs Colonel Parker as his manager and before his Sun records contract is sold to RCA, Elvis signs an agreement with Hill and Range Songs, Inc. (which covered Hank Snow and other country musicians) for use of Elvis' name, likeness and biographical materials for the sum of 5 cents plus 10% royalties. Julian Aberbach, head of Hill and Range, was introduced to the talents of Elvis through Hank Snow and it was Julian who was instrumental in connecting Colonel Tom Parker with this new young talent.

This early signed agreement, dated July 8, 1955, was signed by a 20-year-old Elvis and his parents Vernon Presley and Gladys Presley. Judging by the terms of the agreement, it was evident that the nimble negotiator Colonel Parker was not yet crafting deals for who would become his number one client.

The two-page, typed contract addressed to Elvis simply in ''Memphis, Tennessee'' outlines the terms in nine numbered points, with the first set covering the meat of the agreement, and states in part, ''You hereby grant to us and our assigns the exclusive right and privilege throughout the world to use your name and likeness and biographical material concerning you on song folios and composite works for a period of three years from the date hereof''. The contract continues, ''In consideration of the above grant, we agree to pay you the sum of FIVE (5c) CENTS in respect to such song folios and composite works sold by us and paid for in the United States and Canada''. Hill and Range had access to a large stable of country music writers to supply songs for the young star, yet it also recognized that this new musician was capable of writing his own tunes as well so it included the terms, ''With reference to songs written by you and controlled by us and/or any of our subsidiary or affiliated companies, we shall pay you a royalty of TEN (10%) PER CENT pro rata of the net wholesale selling price pro rata as the composition(s) written by you and included in such song folios and composite works shall bear to the total number of all compositions and their respective writers published therein''. Hill and Range agrees to ship Elvis, free of charge, 2,000 copies of the first Elvis Presley song folio within sixty days after publication and royalties would not be paid on these copies or on any additional copies requested by Elvis, for which he would be required to pay 15 cents per copy. In 1956, the Elvis Presley song folio for Love Me Tender was released for sale and included words and music to four songs - ''Love Me Tender,'' ''Poor Boy,'' ''We’re Gonna Move,'' and ''Let Me'' -as well as several images and captions of Elvis.

HILL & RANGE - (originally "Hill and Range Songs, Inc.") is a music publishing company which was particularly responsible for much of the country music produced in the 1950s and 1960s, and had control over the material recorded by Elvis Presley over that period. It is today part of Carlin America. The company was founded in Los Angeles in 1945 by Austrian-born Julian Aberbach and his business partners Milton Blink and Gerald King, who owned Biltmore Music. Aberbach's brother Jean joined in the early 1950s after working for Chappell Music, and thereafter the two shared control of the company, with Jean Aberbach being based in the Brill Building in New York City. After initially finding success representing Spade Cooley and Bob Wills, the company became active in the country music industry, particularly in Nashville, and at one point were reportedly responsible for threequarters of all the music produced in Nashville.

On July 8, 1955, the Aberbachs were responsible for setting up an unprecedented arrangement in which the publishing rights to all songs recorded by emerging star performer Elvis Presley were split 50-50 between the Hill & Range company and Presley and his management. The Aberbach brothers established their younger cousin, Freddy Bienstock, as head of Elvis Presley Music, in effect, a subsidiary of Hill & Range. It also employed writers (including Leiber and Stoller) to provide songs for Presley's films and albums. This arrangement effectively precluded Presley from recording material not licensed to Hill & Range, from the mid-1950s through to the early 1970s.

Hill & Range gradually expanded to become the largest independent music publishing company, with worldwide interests. The company employed many of the top pop songwriters of the day, including Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman, and Phil Spector, as well as Leiber and Stoller. In 1964, it bought Progressive Music, the publishing company operated by Atlantic Records. In 1973, Julian Aberbach suffered an incapacitating heart attack, and in 1975 his brother Jean sold much of the business to Chappell Music, then a subsidiary of the PolyGram organization, although it retained control of the companies connected to Presley. Chappell Music was in turn acquired in 1984 by Bienstock. Bienstock had earlier acquired Hill & Range's British subsidiary which he renamed Carlin Music.

JULY 9, 1955 SATURDAY

Even though he was "officially" enjoying rest and recuperation, Elvis Presley honoured his  contract with the Louisiana Hayride and made an appearance this evening.

UNKNOWN DATE SUMMER 1955

Local residents remember that Elvis Presley performed in a tent in Shelbyville, Tennessee.
UNKNOWN DATE JULY 10-16 1955
 
SPEER PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO - Formerly located on 1330 Linden Avenue, William and  Vancil Speer, professional Memphis photographers and founders of the Speer Photography  Studio, took here Elvis Presley's first publicity stills in 1954 and July 1955, for Sun  Records, at the studio.
 
In July 1954, Elvis Presley was a skinny kid with light brown hair and bright, star-filled  blue eyes. His photo's was taken with a large format camera.In his younger days, William  Speer dreamed of working with his camera in Hollywood. Speer was able to indulge his  passion by making portraits of visiting entertainers.
 
One day, Elvis Presley came to Speer's  shop, a few months later, with his then-manager, Bob Neal, wanted professional stills made  to impress Hollywood studios. William's wife, Vancil, was attracted to Elvis Presley in a  more feminine way.
 
Her role in the portrait shoot was wardrobe and set design. She  persuaded Elvis Presley to take off his shirt for some of the portraits by convincing him the  two shirts he had brought were not enough for the number of pictures they wanted to  take. A sheepish Elvis complied to her request.
 
The memories of the Speer's: Speer's Elvis series includes a smiling Elvis, although, he says, "I don't usually  take smiling jackass pictures. If you're looking at a person with a smile, all you see is the smile. The smile  kills the whole thing. The picture is in the eyes''. "When he first stepped in front of the camera, I told him,  'You sure would make a wonderful actor''', says photographer William Speer of his most famous subject.
 
William Speer grew up as a fan of black-and-white movie glamour shots in the glass cases in theatre lobbies  when he was a child. He used what he calls "Rembrandt lighting" with an overhead spotlight casting  shadows downward. Before the photos were even developed, Speer and his wife, Vacil, knew there was  something special going on: "It felt like an electrical charge in the room. You can tell the famous ones or the  ones who are going to be famous. They stand out in a room without you even knowing who they are," says  Vacil Speer. Speer remembers thinking Elvis "looked like Burt Lancaster. He could have played his brother  in the movies''. When the photographs were developed, no one was disappointed. "He came off that dead  film like dynamite. Either you've got it or you haven't'', says the photographer.
 
A few days after the sitting, at the Loew's Theatre in Memphis, Elvis ran into the Speers in the lobby and  wanted to know how the pictures had turned out, but he was shy talking to Mr Speer. "You don't like me" he  said nervously, "So I guess I better talk to your wife". When he looked at the proofs, he wrote a note on the  back of each of the bare-chested ones, saying, "I don't want this one!" "I never photographed him again, but I  used to see him later on, driving around Memphis on his motorcycle. You know when he got old and let his  hair grow long, he looked like his mother''.
 
The Speers usually shot two or three portraits, but Vancil pushed for twelve. Perhaps, Elvis   Presley was more relaxed knowing that the photographer was across the room from him,   instead of at close range. Speer had to shoot at a distance because he used an unusually   large camera for portraits - a rare German Goerzdader lens that weighed more than twenty   pounds. Instead of f-stops, the camera had "waterhouse stops", where one drops different   apertures into the lens. Because Elvis Presley moved around so much, William Speer shot  him with the apertures wide open.
 
A few years later, Elvis brought Anita Wood to have her professional still made. This time   Elvis was a distraction, not the subject. After Speer told him to be quit or go away, Elvis   Presley stopped visiting their studio.
 
Ten years later, Priscilla Beaulieu, his future wife,   was captured on fill with the same camera, her unmistakably "Presley" bouffant hairstyle   primped to perfection. Nonetheless, the Speers, especially Vancil, remained fans of Elvis   Presley. The couple is retired now and lives in one of the most unusual homes in Memphis,  which is devoted to their artistry. The camera that once focused at the Speer Photography   on Elvis is still on the other Blue Light Studio at 115 Union Avenue. For a reasonable fee,   professionals at the Speer Photography Studio will photograph you using this camera.   Photographer William Speer died on Sunday, December 4, 2006 in Memphis at the age of   89.

JULY 11, 1955 MONDAY

Elvis Presley went back into the Sun studio. In about a week he would be out on the road  again, and it seemed like he had scarcely been home at all. He went around on Beale Street.  Only in the studio were things still the same; Marion Keisker in the outer room, with the  venetian blinds slanted to fight the heat, Sam Phillips in the control room, always ready for  something to happen. For this session Sam Phillips had brought in another original number  and another drummer. The song was, once again, a country composition by Stanley Kesler,  the steel guitar player who had written "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone", and the  drummer was Johnny Bernero, who played regularly with a number of different country  bands and worked at the Memphis Light, Gas & Water Company across the street.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
For the last few months of his time at Sun Records, Elvis Presley pumped his hormonal energy into country, blues, and just about anything else he felt like. With Scotty Moore on the same type of electric hollow-body guitar favored by jazz and country swing players, and Bill Black playing the same upright bass he used on his country gigs, Elvis Presley sang and beat out rhythm guitar on a worn 1943 Martin D-18. During Elvis' Sun tenure, drums and occasionally piano were added to his sound.
 
But it was Sam Phillips, creating modern record production at the same time Elvis was inventing rock and roll, who gave the band its really big beat, enlarging the group's sound electronically far beyond its three, four, or five instruments, adding echo and using distortion that made the records sound huge and fierce.

For the most part, those revolutionary early discs that set the style for rock and roll would be considered "unplugged" by today's standards. Elvis Presley's guitar style was strictly country rhythm, open chords with ringings strings strummed with a straight pick. Those who say Elvis Presley did nothing more than rip off black bluesmen need look no further than his guitar playing for proof to the contrary. No bluesmen ever played rhythm like that. Black slapped his instrument, rhythmically striking the fingerboard between each pluck of the strings, creating a stuttering percussive effect akin to a snare drum. It was a common comedic technique in the country bands that he'd performed in, often in vaudevillian "rube" costume complete with blacked-out teeth. For his bass to produce maximum slap. Bill Black tuned the E (string) down and let it slap against the neck. Scotty Moore played a bluesy, fingerpicking style drawn from the work of Kentuckian Merle Travis, tossing in some dissonant Memphis blues licks and jazzy chords.
 
Put all those parts together in Sun's tiny one-room studio, and producer Sam Phillips got an ensemble sound on record much fuller than three pieces had any right to be. The repertoire of those Sun records was just as remarkable as the sound.
 
Along with the yin-yang of his Delta blues/Kentucky bluegrass first single, Presley crooned "Harbor Lights", "Blue Moon", belted out rhythm and blues "Good Rockin' Tonight", the Roy Brown/Wynomie Harris, and mixed things up even more with western swing//blues "Milkcow Blues Boogie", a straight blues by fellow Sun artist Little Junior Parker "Mystery Train", and even a country polka "Just Because".
 
A Memphis musician in the classic W.C. Handy tradition, Elvis Presley was nothing if not versatile, and that would remain the single defining constant in his career, as he drew inspiration from a dizzying array of musical sources.
 
He haunted the Home Of The Blues record shop on Beale Street, and made Joe Guoghi's Poplar Tunes store his second home and all together turned it into pure Elvis.

STUDIO SESSION FOR ELVIS PRESLEY
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1955

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION 10: MONDAY JULY 11, 1955
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
Elvis Presley spent part of his vacation at the Sun recording studio. He waxed "Mystery Train" and "I Forgot To Remember To Forget", which would be paired for his fifth and final Sun Records single. "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" would become his first Number One record, reaching the chart in February 1956 on Billboard's National Country Single chart. The song remained on the charts from October 1955 to June 1956, the longest of any of Elvis Presley's single records.

This side, is no less powerful in its own right. For once, Sam Phillips commissioned a first rate piece of original material for his new star. Again, everything works here to perfection: the lyric, the melody, Presley's sexy crooning, Scotty Moore's memorable solo. Perhaps the strongest element is Johnny Bernero's drumming which, more than anything else, defines this recording. Shifting effortlessly from his trademark shuffle to a heavy backbeat during the guitar so elevates this record to greatness.

01 - "I FORGOT TO REMEMBER TO FORGET" - B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Charlie Feathers-Stanley Kesler
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U-157 SUN - F2WB-8000-NA RCA - Tape Box 1
Recorded: - July 11, 1955
Released: August 1, 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 223-B mono
I FORGOT TO REMEMBER TO FORGET / MYSTERY TRAIN
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-4-10 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

"He just didn't dig it at first. Maybe it was a little too country, the chord progression, and it was a slow song, too, recalled Sam Phillips, "but I loved the hook line, and I thought it was something we needed at that point to show a little more diversification. So I called Johnny, he was either in there that day, or I called him, 'cause he had played on some other things for me. And we got it going, and he was doing four-four on the beat, and I said, 'That don't help us worth a shit, Johnny'. I told him, 'What I want you to do is do your rim shot snare on the offbeat, but keep it four-four until we go into the chorus. Then you go in and go with the bass beat at two-four'. And by doing that, it sounds like "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" is twice as fast as it really is. And Elvis really loved it then".

Finally, Sam Phillips had his dream: a two-sided masterpiece by his great white hope, and with both sides owned by his publishing company, Phillips was ready to do battle. This single, Presley's last for Sun, eventually became his first #1 country hit.

Charlie Feathers remember, ''I didn't start the song. Stan Kessler came while we were working on a song 'I Been Deceived' where he played steel on. He had a song called ''You Believe Everyone But Me'' he wanted me to do and then take it up and try to get Elvis do the song.

At that time he mentioned a song he had started ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget''. There was something about that title I liked and said 'Man, that title you mentioned on that song is great.' I went over to his house the next day and we got in there and we played a little and I learned ''You Believe Everyone But Me'' but that song didn't move me too well. So I said, let's get in this thing here, ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget''. We finished it up right there. I put the melody to it and Stan put the biggest part of the words down.

I took it up, but Sam didn't think much of it and it stayed up there two or three months until he finally recorded it and it then turned out to be one of the best things he had done at the time. I was up there when they cut it and Elvis wasn't doing it right. He tried it several times, but Sam didn't think it was right. So we went downtown for lunch, came back and all the time I was sitting there. I'd hum the song, I was humming the song to Elvis and I was showing him that he actually did the song wrong. He was doing the bridge in the song wrong. I got out there and when he came to the bridge I motioned at him, kinda indicated and he did it that way and Sam said "Without a doubt, that's it!" He liked it then and that was it.

It won all kind of awards, it was the number one record at the time. Elvis had never had one in the top ten at that time, so it was his first. Also, ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget'' was the first millionseller, but it was on Sun and RCA combined, you see. They re-released it when he went to RCA because they didn't know how to record him, they thought they had the wrong artist.

''I Forgot To Remember To Forget'' was real big and I've seen a check down there at Sun records for 2,000 dollars which rightly belonged to Stan Kessler and me. Stan might have got his, 'cause he stayed on there way after me, but I haven't seen one lousy cent yet!''.

According Stan Kesler in 1997, he wrote and produced the song while groping through a painful divorce. Although Charlie Feathers is listed as the co-writer, Kesler made it clear that he alone wrote the song. "Charlie did all the demo tapes and I thought it was only fair to give him the half song.

We had an agreement to pool our talents", Kesler remembered. Since Kesler didn't like to sing, he depended upon Feathers to make the demonstration tape. "I think we worked together pretty well", Kesler noted. "We all knew that Elvis was bigger than the local scene", Kesler concluded, "and it was only a matter of time before he was a star". Part of the magic that facilitated that stardom was provided for Elvis Presley by people like Stanley Kesler. At the July 11 session, Kesler, an accomplished country musician, persuaded Sam Phillips to augment Elvis' sound with a piano, and Frank Tolley, a member of Malcolm Yelvington's Star Rhythm Boys, was brought into the recording studio. Not only did Tolley's piano virtuosity provide a new energy for Elvis Presley's recording, it helped break them into the mainstream country market.

In July 11, 1955, Jack Earls stopped by the Sun studio to watch Presley cut ''Mystery Train'', Phillips originally released the song on Sun by blues singer Junior Parker (SUN 192). Phillips owned the song publishing rights, so he was very interested in seeing Presley record it.

02(1) - "MYSTERY TRAIN" – B.M.I.
Composer: - Herman Parker Jr.-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Memphis Music - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Tape Box 1
Recorded: - July 11, 1955
Released: - Sun Unissued – Probably Tape Lost

"Train I ride fifteen coaches long...", "Hold it", the beat dies away. "Hey Elvis you got that wrong, should bin 'sixteen coaches'". "Uh, wall I dunno Mr. Phillips, sir, I kinda reckon it was fifteen". The argument goes on, suddenly one of the guys hanging around the studio ones up, "I got the Junior Parker record at home, Mr. Phillips". Sam Phillips leans towards the microphone and booms out his instruction; "Well go get it son, go get it". Jack Earls scampers out of 706 Union Avenue roars round to his house and rushes back with SUN 192, "Mystery Train" by Little Junior's Blue Flames. Perhaps it didn't happen exactly like that, but it is a fact that Jack Earls was at the studio in July 1955, when Elvis was cutting "Mystery Train", and he did go home to get a copy of the record so that Elvis could learn the words. Just one of several contributions made by Jack Earls to the annals of rockabilly music. 6 numbers of coaches in Elvis' song "Mystery Train". Ironically, there were sixteen limousines in Elvis' funeral procession.
 
After Elvis Presley, Sam Phillips, and Scotty Moore listened to Parker's version, they flipped it over and played the b-side, "Love My Baby". Scotty Moore listened intently to the instrumental virtuously of black guitarist Pat Hare, whose guitar work had more in common with Delta bluesmen than with country musicians.  It took half-adozen attempts before Scotty learned Hare's guitar licks from "Love My Baby". Moore used them on "Mystery Train", a re-combination of elements from the record that transformed Elvis' "Mystery Train" enough to make it popular among both country and rock music fans. Sam Phillips was tickled with the result. Revenge was also a motive for recording "Mystery Train".

"There was an extra bar of rhythm thrown in at one point", said Scotty Moore, "that if I sat down to play it myself right now, I couldn't, but with him singing it felt natural". "It was the greatest thing I ever did on Elvis", said Sam Phillips. "It was a feeling song that so many people had experienced, I mean, it was a big thing, to put a loved one on a train: are they leaving you forever?
 
Maybe they'll never back. 'Train I ride, sixteen coaches long', you can take it from the inside of the coach, or you can take it from the outside, standing looking in. Junior was going to make it fifty coaches, but I said, no, sixteen coaches is a helluva lot, that sounds like it's coming out of a small town. It was pure rhythm. And at the ens, Elvis was laughing, because he didn't think it was a take, but I'm sorry, it was a fucking masterpiece!".

"I wrote this thing with Junior Parker, but I really think "Mystery Train" is my personal Elvis Sun track", recalled Sam Phillips. "It's one of the most simple songs in the world, it's one of the greatest vamp beats. This was done, and the take that we used... if you'll notice on the end of that thing you'll hear Elvis laughin' cause he didn't think we had a take and he was laughin' at the end of it. He thought, hell, he'd screwed it up, and it's just fantastic. It's an incredible take to me".
On "Mystery Train", all you have is quintessential rockabilly: a confident, virile vocal, staccato revert lead guitar, audible rhythmic guitar strumming by Elvis Presley, and driving percussive bass. If anyone ever asks you what a slap bass sounds like, just play them this record. There is not much room for improvement here. Even the abortive fadeout, during which Elvis' "Wooooo" disintegrates into unselfconscious laughter, seems part of the magic. The distance between this track and Little Junior Parker's original (SUN 192) is immense, from the telling lyrical change (Parker's "It's gonna do it again" is transformed by Presley into "It never will again") to the tempo change from a sluggish freight to a runaway locomotive.

Both Junior Parker's 1953 original of "Mystery Train" and Elvis' astonishing rethink are perfect in their way. Like "Unchained Melody" and "Come Softly To Me", the title is mentioned nowhere in the song, compounding the enigma. Elvis Presley sets a tempo closer to "Love My Baby", the flip side of Junior's single. As he breaks up near the end, he is clearly thinking that this was a rehearsal. Sam Phillips knew better. "The greatest thing I ever did on Elvis", Sam Phillips insisted. No argument.

02(2) - "MYSTERY TRAIN" - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Herman Parker Jr.-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Memphis Music - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U-156 SUN - F2WB-8001 RCA - Take 2 - Tape Box 1
Recorded: - July 11, 1955
Released: - U-156 August 1, 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 223-A mono
MYSTERY TRAIN / I FORGOT TO REMEMBER TO FORGET
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-4-9 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

In 1989, Elvis Presley is everywhere in the film "Mystery Train", directed by Jim Jarmush, of three separate but interlocking vignettes. A Japanese couple visit Graceland and Sun Studios, Elvis' ghost is seen, a sleazy hustler tries to sell an Italian widow what he says is Elvis' comb, every room in the Arcade Hotel, located at 540 South Main Street, has a portrait of Elvis Presley, and two Elvis songs are heard: "Mystery Train" and "Blue Moon".

''Mystery Train'' did not make pop charts. What's scary about the young Elvis Presley is his assurance, the complete ease with which he swings into action. Here, singing a song in which rhythm and blues singer Junior Parker reworked the folk images from country songs like the Carter Family's "Worried Man Blues", Elvis rides an urgent Scotty Moore guitar lick and propulsive Bill Black bass line with complete confidence: He owns the song and nothing within it is unknowable to him or could ever betray him. Which is pretty weird because he's singing about something close to a death ship, a "long black train got my baby and gone", which may also be looking to snatch him. By the end, he's persuaded himself - and you, too - that it's bringing her back.

The recording itself is a masterpiece, the sound virtually liquid as it hits the car, the legendary Sun echo finetuned like a Ferrari. Junior Parker's version, a minor rhythm and blues hit in 1953, is spooky because it details what fate can do to a man. Elvis makes you want to defy all omens, he to the graveyard and dance fearlessly at midnight.

The last cut they did was the rhythm and blues number, "Tryin' To Get To You", that they had tried without success earlier in the year. This time it was as free and unfettered as anything they had ever done, even with the addition of Johnny Bernero on drums and Elvis to use a piano, which was probably played by Elvis himself, and like "Mystery Train" it aspired to a higher kind of, mystery, for want of a better word.
 
There was a floating sense of inner harmony mixed with a ferocious hunger, a desperate striving linked to a pure outpouring of joy, that seemed to just tumble out of the music. It was the very attainment of art and passion, the natural beauty of the instinctive soul that Sam Phillips had been searching for ever since he first started in music; and there was no question that Elvis Presley knew that he had achieved it.

03 - "TRYIN' TO GET TO YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - Margie C. Singleton-Rose Marie McCoy
Publisher: - Hill and Range Songs Incorporated
Matrix number: - F2WB-8039-NA - Tape Box 1
Elvis' acoustic guitar drops out of the mix on this track, supporting the suggestion that
the piano part, barely audible in the track, may be his own.
Recorded: - July 11, 1955
Released: - March 13, 1956
First appearance: - RCA Victor (LP) 33rpm LPM-1254 mono
ELVIS PRESLEY
Reissued: - June 1992 RCA BMG (CD) 500/200rpm PD 90689(5)-5-1 mono
THE COMPLETE 50'S MASTERS

It's been reported in 1982 by RCA that Elvis Presley recorded "Oakie Boogie" while at Sun Records in late 1955, they had session notes but couldn't find a tape. He probably sang the song on the "Louisiana Hayride". Perhaps a transcription of one of those broadcast will someday surface. Included in the 1955 folio "The Elvis Presley Album of Jukebox Favourites".

04 - "TENNESSEE SATURDAY NIGHT" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Billy Hughes
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - BOX 11 - Probably Slow Boogie Tempo
Recorded: - July 11, 1955
Released: - Sun Unissued - Probably Tape Lost

05 - "TWEEDLEE DEE" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Winfield Scott - Written in 1954
Publisher: - Unichappell Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Acetate
Recorded: - July 11, 1955
Released: - Sun Unissued - Probably Tape Lost

No content with covering Etta James, Georgia Gibbs ripped of the great LaVern Baker not only on ''Tweedlee Dee'', but also with ''Tra La La'', which LaVern had performed before the cameras in ''Rock, Rock, Rock'' (Vanguard, 1957). LaVern Baker was one of the premier Atlantic (1955) artists during the label's early years, and re-surfaced in 1988 at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary Concert in New York. British heart-throb Frankie Vaughan also had his fair share of recording other people's songs from across the Atlantic. Other recordings are Georgia Gibbs (Mercury, 1955); Frankie Vaughan (Philips, 1955); Little Jimmy Osmond (MGM, 1973); Pat Boone (dot); Vicky Young (Capitol); The Mirettes (MBA); Pee Wee King (RCA); Wanda Jackson (Capitol); Bill Haley and His Comets (Sonet); Elvis Presley (Louisiana Hayride/The Music Works).

06 - "MESS AROUND" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Ahmet Nugetre
Publisher: - Unichappell Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Acetate
Recorded: - July 11, 1955
Released: – Sun Unissued - Probably Tape Lost

07 - "OAKIE BOOGIE" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Johnny Tyler
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Recorded: - July 11, 1955
Released: - Sun Unissued - Probably Tape Lost

Frank Tolley of Malcolm Yelvington's band has also been mentioned as the piano player. Backing Elvis were Scotty Moore on guitar, Bill Black on bass, and Johnny Bernero on drums.

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)
Johnny Bernero - Drums (Gretsch Round Badge Kit)
Probably Doug Poindexter - Acoustic Rhythm Guitar
Probably Smokey Joe Baugh or Frank Tolley - Piano
Probably Charlie Feathers - Unknown

Within days of the session Sam Phillips had shipped the tape off to be mastered by Bill Putnam at Universal Recording in Chicago with the words, ''Give me ''hot'' lever on both 78 and 45s and as much presence peak and bass as possible!'' written boldly on the Scotch Magnetic Tape box. There were two noteworthy aspects to this transaction. One was that up until now he had done all of his mastering himself, on his own Presto lathe. The other was that he should be willing to trust anyone to bring out the sound in what he recorded, given how much he knew you could lose in the mastering process. But this was Bill Putnam, universally acknowledged as the progenitor of modern studio recording and one of Sam Phillips' true heroes in the business. Bill Putnam not only had the kind of equipment that was needed to get the levels that Sam wanted for this record, Bill Putnam had the kind of ''feel'' necessary to bring out the excitement he felt.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

THE ELVIS PRESLEY ALBUM OF JUKEBOX FAVOURITES - Folio of fifteen Hill and Range Songs,  sold in end 1955 for one dollar. The four Elvis Presley songs were: "That's All Right", "You're  A Heartbreaker", "I Forgot To Remember To Forget", and "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone".  Hill and Range had no idea what frustration they would create over the years when they  decided to "fill out" the book with eleven of their non-Elvis songs, leading to speculation that  Elvis Presley recorded them at Sun Records but they were never released.
 
The filler songs  were: "Rag Mop", "I Almost Lost My Mind", "Cryin' Heart Blues", "Blue Guitar", "Always Later  (With Your Kisses)", Tennessee Saturday Night", "Gone", "I Need You So", "Give Me More,  More, More (Of Your Kisses)", Oakie Boogie", and "That's The Stuff You Gotta Watch". Elvis  Presley did attempt to perform "Rag Mop" at Sun, and would later record "I Need You So".  The rest is still a mystery, but Elvis Presley may not have recorded them at all.
STANLEY KESLER - Perhaps the single, most underrate person at Sun Records, Kesler, quiet,  professorial - type musician, is arranger and producer of great skill. As an assistant to Sam  Phillips at Sun, Stanley Kesler was a behind-the-scenes genius, who helped to mould the Sun  Sound.

As a steel and bass player, Stanley Kesler remains an outstanding musician, he played with  Clyde Leoppard and the Snearly Ranch Boys and contributed some luminous steel guitar solos  to early recordings by Charlie Feathers, the Miller Sisters, and play on Carl Perkins' first two  Sun Records, and by many others artists.

Kesler also wrote some early material for Elvis  Presley, including "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" and "Playing For Keep". Stanley Kesler  travelling with Al Rogers throughout the South and Southwest during 1949-1951, and begun  to write songs.

After the onslaught of rock and roll, Kesler learned the electric bass and worked countless  sessions between 1956 and 1959, when he left to launch the Echo studio with Jack Clement and start up Crystal Records. Although Crystal didn't last long, Kesler eventually prospered  during the Memphis recording boom of the mid-to-late 1960s, scoring big with Sam the Sham  and the Pharaohs, whom he cut at Sam Phillips' new studio on Madison Avenue.

In the 1960s, Stanley Kesler produced two albums for Jerry Lee Lewis and after a few years  out of the music business, Kesler came back to roost at the Phillips studio, where he signed  on as an engineer. His renewed involvement with the music business took a new turn when  he dusted off his electric bass in 1986 to join Roland Janes and J.M. Van Eaton in the Sun  Rhythm Section band. Section has been so successful at clubs and festivals in the past few  years is that they capture the irrepressible joy of playing that the real Sun rhythm section  caught in their day. Kesler today remains associated with studio work for Sam Phillips and his  sons, Knox and Jerry.

"I met Elvis at Sun. At that time, he was just another guy, hanging out at the studio like a lot  of others. He was just beginning to pick up steam with his first record, but he was just  another of the guys. He was a cool cat, you might say; very calm, very congenial.

I didn't do any sessions with Elvis. I once came in just after he had recorded "I Forgot To  Remember To Forget". I heard the playback on that one. He would do three more of my  songs after he joined to RCA - "Playing For Keeps", "Thrill Of Your Love" and "If I'm A Fool". I  remember the first time I heard Elvis sing. I was in the car, on my way to the Cotton Club. I  would switch the station between Dewey Phillips and Sleepy Eyed John and I heard this  song, "That's All Right", and, being a hillbilly, I thought, 'Man, what is this" What is this guy  trying to do?

I liked it, but it just didn't sound right to me because I liked what Faron Young and Webb  Pierce were doing at the time. This one was real foreign, but you couldn't help but like it. I  had no idea that by the end of the year this guy, Elvis, would be recording one of my songs.  It never entered my mind. But Sam took my songs to Elvis. They both agreed on it and went  ahead and did it. It went gold over the years, but not then. Then, Sun didn't have the  distribution that labels have now. Elvis was then more or less a "Southern thing".

"I heard Elvis' recording of my first song in the studio. I was thrilled to hear it. The way you  write a song, you can always hear the way you think it should be done, but the way he did  it, it was kind of away from the way I had pictured it. I had pictured it a little more smooth.  If you could hear the outtake of that song they called it "My Baby Is Gone", it's been  bootlegged in Holland; it's probably gold over there on the bootleg - it's a slowed down  version. It's what they tried at first. That's kind of the way we wrote it. He kind of jazzed it  up. He put a feel into it. It's indescribable. We loved it. He more or less did that with all of  my songs that he recorded".

"On "I Forgot", he did it pretty close to the way I had the feel of it. Absolutely, Elvis put his  own signature into most of what he did in the studio. I think he was unique in that way. Most  singers have a certain sound. Elvis' sound was so pat, when you heard his records you  couldn't help but know who he was when you heard the first line, even if you had never  heard the song before.  I didn't attend Elvis' recording sessions at Sun. For one thing, it was so small in there.  Sometimes people get intimidated when they have an audience and they are trying to  record; doing things different; trying different things. For another, the worst thing a writer  can do is go to the session where his song is being recorded, because you hear different  things and it frustrates you and sometimes you'll say, 'Man, I thought you ought to do it this  way", and this is really bad because that's the producer's job. It causes friction. It's best to  wait and hear the finished product".

"When I heard "I'm Left", I loved it. When the royalty checks started coming in, I loved it  even more. It sounded a lot better when it was in the Top Ten. In those days, all recordings  was strictly mono. You did everything live. If you made a mistake, at the end you went back  to the top and started over. There wasn't any going back and punching in, overdubbing this,  overdubbing that (like today). You made a mistake, you did the whole song over again. Or  you'd let it go. Lots of times they'd just let it go if it weren't too out of kilter.

I know Elvis, Scotty and Bill did quite a lot of takes on some of their first songs. Now Jerry  Lee Lewis was different. If Jerry Lee didn't get it in one or two takes, he'd lose interest. I  only toured once with Elvis. I was backing some of the other country artists on a tour he was  on. I never actually played behind Elvis Presley. This was the July 31-August 4, 1955 tour in  Alabama and Arkansas, winding up here at Overton Park Shell in Memphis".
JULY 15, 1955 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley and Dewey Phillips visited the clubs on Beale Street, where Dewey was still  hailed as a conquering hero and this white boy who sang the blues was readily accepted as  yet another of Dewey's ideas.  "Elvis had the feel of Beale Street", said Sam Phillips. "He was probably more at home there  than he was on Main. You know, Elvis didn't walk into Lansky Brothers because someone  suggested, 'Why don't you buy a chartreuse fucking shirt".
 
"We had a lot of fun with him",  said WDIA's Professor Nat D. Williams, the unofficial ambassador of Beale. "Elvis Presley on  Beale Street when he first started was a favorite man... Always he had that certain  humanness about him that Negroes like to put in their songs".
JULY 1955

All went waterskiing on McKellar Lake together and picnicked out at Riverside Park; when  Sonny Neal, Bob Neals' son, ran for student council in the spring, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore,  and Bill Black appeared at the Messick High Chapel program in support of his campaign.
 
Elvis Presley often admired the Chris-Craft speedboat that Bob Neal had parked on a trailer in the driveway of the Neal residence. On more than one occasion, he had expressed a desire to try waterskiing, a favourite pastime of Bob Neal's family.

To avaid the crowds, Bob invited Elvis and his parents to joind them on a weekday afternoon for a picnic at McKellar Lake. It wasn't a natural lake, but rather a water channel built as part of the Memphis port area, and as muddy as the Mississippi river it was connected to. Without mother Gladys knowing about it, Elvis persuaded Bob to come back the next day and, bubbling with enthusiasm, he soon learned, under the auspices of Sonny Neal (son of Bob Neal), how to operate the skis. Bob brought a camera, and some of his shots later appeared in the first Presley song folio that Neal secured through publishers Hill and Range.
JULY 16, 1955 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley had his first nationally ranked single as "Baby Let's Play House" entered the   Billboard "Music Popularity Charts" at number 15 on the Country And Western Best Sellers In   Stores list for the week ending July 6th.
 
The single stayed on the chart for fifteen weeks,   reaching a high of number 10. The summer issue of Country Song Roundup, show a picture   of Hank Snow on the cover, featured the story "Elvis Presley - Folk Music Fireball", following  national features in Cowboy Songs and Country and Western Jamboree.

Elvis Presley appearance at the Louisiana Hayride, Municipal Auditorium, Shreveport, Louisiana.
TIME TO EXPAND THE BAND - This next tour marked the permanent expansion of Elvis  Presley's backing musicians.

Up to now, Elvis was backed on his live appearances primarily by Scotty Moore on guitar and  Bill Black on bass. In April 1955, the names of pianist Floyd Cramer and steel guitarist Jimmy  Day began to appear occasionally in ads for Elvis Presley's shows. Cramer and Day were  members of the house band during the Louisiana Hayride shows on Saturday night, and they  were part of the Hayride tour packages on which Elvis appeared. Now they were working  exclusively for Elvis Presley during the week. Cramer would remain Elvis' pianist of choice  on tour until 1961 and in the recording studio in Nashville until the late 1960s, at which  time Cramer was enjoying popularity on his own. Jimmy Day remained with Elvis Presley  through most of 1955. As mentioned earlier, he later became a member of Ray Price's band,  the Cherokee Cowboys.

Elvis only occasionally used a drummer either on tour or in the studio before August 1955. In  April, he even hired a local drummer in Odessa. When it came time to make the position  permanent, D. J. Fontana, the staff drummer of the Louisiana Hayride and a member of Hoot  and Curley's band in Shreveport, was the musician chosen. D.J. has said that he played with  Elvis Presley at least once at Shreveport's Lake Cliff Club, which may have been in November  1954. He may have also played shows with Elvis Presley in east Texas in early 1955. D.J. has  often been quoted as stating that his first playdates with Elvis Presley outside of Shreveport  were Lufkin, Longview, Kilgore and Tyler. Except for Lufkin, the upcoming tour is the only  one that includes the three other towns. Interestingly, in the brief home movie taken during  the Magnolia Gardens show that follows, a drum kit and the dim image of a drummer can be  seen behind Elvis Presley off to stage left. D.J. remained under contract to Elvis Presley  from 1955 to 1968, longer than any other musician. He worked recording sessions, appeared  in movies, and played on tours.

While Elvis was accepting a few small gigs in preparation for his third appearance at the Big D Jamboree and, ultimately, two weeks of Tom Parker and Bob Neal arranged tours, Colonel Parker was monitoring mail sent to select area promoters. While settling the last details of the Andy Griffith tour, the Colonel had Tom Diskin work on the further exploitations of Elvis.

Tom Diskin was told to send materials out to new contacts, from Texas to all across the South, and up to North Carolina. But he also cautioned not to spread out the contacts too wide geographically, to avoid unmanageable driving distances with Sam Phillips and Sun Records was worded in his July 20 letter to Tom Diskin: ''Let's not plug Sun Records at this time. Sun is doing nothing for us''.

Two days later, Tom Parker arranged a conference call with partner Hank Snow and Bob Neal. Parker and Snow offered to buy the Sun contract for $10,000, indicating that Elvis could be on a proposed weekly Hank Snow TV show, The idea was that, instead of Elvis getting a higher record royalty than the three per cent he had with Sun, he would remain at the same percentage, but Parker and Snow would get two per cent for their contributions. Meanwhile, RCA Records came forward with an offer geared at Elvis, with a $5,000 singing bonus, and throwing Sun Records a choice of a flat payment of $12,500 or a $20,000 total buyout, recoupable from royalties.
JULY 20, 1955 WEDNESDAY

His vacation over, it was time to get back on the road. En route to his show, he stopped off  to visit Floyd Presley in Sikeston.  Elvis Presley's first stop was a benefit in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Tickets were $1.00 for  adults with children under twelve getting in for 50-cents. The show raised money for the  Southeast Chapter of the United Cerebral Palsy Fund.

Prior to the ten o'clock concert, there  was round and square dancing beginning at 8:30 p.m.  Appearing with Elvis Presley at the  Cape Arena Building were Wanda Jackson, Bob Neal, Bud Deckelman, "Little Willie" Bryan,  and Johnny Daume and His Ozark Ridge Runners. Before Elvis Presley cane on stage, he  teased the crowd by sticking his head out of the curtains, first on one side of the stage, then  on the other. In the course of the engagement Elvis converts Wanda Jackson to the  rockabilly cause, of which she becomes one of the most prominent and convincing, female  progenitors.

Tom Parker by now is gearing up for full representation, instructing Tom Diskin not to mail  the Presley ''poop sheet'' all over the country at once by instead to send bathches to one  geographic area at a time. This will mean that resulting bookings will not be spaced so far  apart. ''Let´s not plug Sun records for this time'', a adjures Diskin. ''Sun is doing nothing for  us''.
JULY 21, 1955 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley and his group appeared at the Silver Moon Club, located at 167 Highway in  Newport, Arkansas. The Silver Moon was a large building able to hold about a thousand  people. Also appearing with Elvis Presley was Porky Sellers and his Arkansas Playboys. Although not mentioned in the ad, is probably that this unit also performed late into the  night at Seller's club, Porky's Rooftop.

"Betty Craft and some others had seen Elvis over at the country and western and the Silver  Moon over in Newport", said Glen Swindle. "They were going to be seniors at Bono High  School in September and they were looking for some fund raisers to sponsor the class trip to  Florida. They asked Elvis Presley if he would be interested and he agreed".

According to Mike McGibbony remembers the Silver Moon, ''It was the greatest honky-tonk there ever was. It was a one-story building with a bar up front, opened up into a big room with tables and a dance floor down the bandstand. They had little glowing beer signs around the dance floor on the wall. They were lit up and would turn around and glow. The stage was about two feet tall, and at another level was the drummer''.

Alfred McCullar, manager of the Silver Moon says, ''The Silver Moon had a 1,250 capacity, and had a band about four nights a week. It would often be just a local band playing for a dance, but they were also able to bring in bigger names. We had heard about Elvis. He had been in Newport before at Porky's Rooftop, a smaller club, but I had never seen him. That night was a complete sell-out, and I thought that he was just a very nice young kid''.
JULY 22, 1955 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley performed in the "Pioneer Jamboree" in Odessa, Texas, with Ferlin Husky, the  Browns, Tibby Edwards, and Sonny James. The show was booked by Lee Alexander of radio  station KECK.

The predominantly country crowd continually hollered out for "Baby Let's Play House". Few  people in the audience realized that a black singer was the source of Elvis Presley's latest  hit.

The idea that Elvis Presley appeared in Odessa on this date was spawned by Billboard. An  item in the July 23, 1955, edition mentioned that Elvis Presley, Ferlin Husky, the Browns,  Tibby Edwards and Sonny James had stopped by Lee Alexander's KECK radio show "recently".  Also mentioned in the article, but in a separate context, was Odessa's Friday Night Pioneer  Jamboree. This has led researchers to the assumption that all the performers were part of a  touring group that might have played Odessa on Friday, July 22. It didn't help that Elvis  Presley unaccounted for on that date.

In checking, there was a Pioneer Jamboree on this date. However, the large advertisement  in the Odessa American on the day of the show does not mention Elvis Presley. The actual  performers were on July 22 were Johnny Horton, Betty Amos, Jimmy Day, Dalton and Lula  Joe, and David Houston. Elvis Presley did tour with this package in August - but not July.

According to Peggy Cheshire Baldwin, Elvis Presley and his band performed at Minden, Louisiana, Joy Drive-In Theater on a flatbed truck from the local feed store. One of the things Elvis liked most about the performance was it was the first time he's seen his name in lights, compliments of her uncle, John Cobb, the drive-in's manager, and a Louisiana Hayride fan.
JULY 23, 1955 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley returned to Dallas play the Big D Jamboree in Dallas, Texas, on this date instead of the   Hayride. Oscar "The Baron" Davis, an advance man   for Colonel Tom Parker, realized early on that the youthful crowd was there primarily to see  Elvis Presley perform. Held at the Sportauditorium, the admission for the show was sixty   cents for adults and thirty cents for the kids. 
 
The Dallas city government booked the Presley  concert to promote a free bus ticket program for those who came by public transportation. A special newspaper ad read: "you get a FREE bus ticket home... if you COME by BUS" Elvis' show prompted a Dallas newspaper to remark that he was "one of the brightest new stars".) Johnny Burnette and his Rock And Roll Trio is practising for an appearance on the "Ted Mack  Original Amateur Hour".
 
According to future Sun recording artist, Roy Orbison, ''I first saw Elvis line in '55. It was at the Big D Jamboree in Dalles and the first thing, he came out and spat on the stage. In fact, he spat out a piece of gum, but that was right away shocking! And he was this punk kid, a real weird-looking dude. Just a real cat, singing like a bird. I can't over-emphasize how shocking he looked and seemed to me that night. He had Floyd Cramer playing piano along with Scotty Moore and Bill Black too. Did ''Maybellene'', then the kids started shouting. There was pandemonium in the audience 'cause the girls took a shine to him and the guys were getting a little jealous. Plus he told some real bad, crude jokes, y'know, this dumb off-color humor, which weren't funny and his diction was real coarse like a truck driver's''.
JULY 24, 1955 SUNDAY

The night after the "Big D Jamboree", Elvis Presley appeared at the Round-Up Club at 2005  South Parkway in Dallas, Texas. A boisterous gathering of adult country music enthusiasts greeted  Elvis Presley, who altered his song selection to include traditional country tunes. Elvis  Presley was as readily accepted by the older, hard-drinking crowd as he had been by the kids  at the Jamboree. The Round-Up Club, a typical Texas honky-tonk bar, forced an entertainer  to meet its demands. If they didn't like your music, you couldn't be heard in the beer-bottleclanking  atmosphere. Fistfights were common. If the crowd behaved, it meant you had  probably established your musical reputation, and that people wanted to listen.

Colonel Tom Parker hed been quick to bring Elvis back to Florida, this time supporting popular comedy and singer Andy Griffith, along with a group of other successful country acts. Tom Diskin had instructed Elvis to ''be on hand'' at Fort Myers radio station WMYR before 5:00 p/m., and not go to any other radio station without first checking with thye Colonel.

Diskin says, ''The Colonel will advise you on the show line up at that time, because there are two shows scheduled for Daytona Beach in one evening, it will be nrcessary to cut a little bit from each act in order to shorten the show''.
JULY 25, 1955 MONDAY

"Back by popular demand", Elvis Presley began a tour of Florida in Fort Myers at the New City  Auditorium, as an extra attraction on the same bill with Andy Griffith. America's favorite  corn pone comedian. In 1954, Griffth's hilarious description of a backwoods country boy's  first view of a football game sold a half million copies of the single, "What It Was Was  Football". Sharing the spotlight with Griffith and Elvis were the duo of Marty Robbins and  Jimmy Farmer; newcomer Tommy Collins, a popular West Coast country performer; Jimmie  Rodgers Snow, who brought along his father's Rainbow Ranch Boys; Glenn Reeves; and Frank  Evans and his Ranch Hands, who were regulars on WALT radio in Tampa. Also on the bill are  Ferlin Husky with His Hush Puppies. At the bottom of each newspaper ad came Oscar Davis'  tag line, "Don't You Dare Miss It".

The entertainment was sponsored by WYMR radio. Admission was $1.50 for adult general  admission seating, $1.75 for reserved seats, and 75-cents for children. This tour was  arranged through Colonel Tom Parker.

When the news got around that Elvis Presley would open in Tampa on Monday, July 25,  1955, at the 116th Field Artillery Armoury, there was considerable excitement. The ground  swell of interest in Elvis Presley was not lost on the show's sponsor, the Seratoma Club. The  organization flooded the Tampa area with attractive handbills advertising Presley's  appearance, and as a result, the crowd was so large that the Armoury filled in less than an  hour.

According to Joan Lacey, ''When Andy Griffith came, he was the star, and he grabbed me backstage and said, 'Joan, Joan, if you get Brad (her husband and local promoter), you tell him I'm not following Elvis. Put him on last'. And of course Andy was supposed to end the shows''.
JULY 26-27, 1955 TUESDAY / WEDNESDAY

Furlin Husky was added to the roster for the remainder of the Andy Griffith tour as it  moved on to Orlando, Florida. Tickets for the 8:15 p.m. show each evening were scaled  down from $1.50 at the Moses Phamacy Western Way Shopping Center. The concert at the Municipal Auditorium was promoted by WORZ radio located at 143 North Orange Avenue.  Billboard reported that "Elvis stole the show". The Florida press also followed Elvis'  appearances enthusiastically.  Also on the bill, Simon Crum, Marty Robbins, Jimmy Farmer, Tommy Collins, Jim Reeves, Jimmy Rogers Snow and His Tennessee Playboys
JULY 28-29, 1955 THURSDAY / FRIDAY

Momentum for Elvis Presley was building rapidly in Florida as the tour moved on to  Jacksonville for shows in the New Baseball Stadium. Elvis Presley sing Rufus Thomas'  "Juanita" in his concert repertoire. The doors opened each evening at 7:00 p.m., with the  show beginning at 8:15 p.m. Seats each night were $1.25.
 
During the second day's show in Jacksonville, the crowd broke through the police barriers in  a replay of the previous May's riot. By the time Elvis Presley could be rescued, he was barely  wearing any clothes.
 
In a later interview, he said, "The kids took my watch, ring, coat, shirt,  and shoes. I got out with my pants, but the cuffs were gone".

Two new promoters, WQIK disc jockey Marsshall Rowland and Mea Boren Axton, had brought  the show to the Jacksonville minor league baseball park. They nervously watched the large  throng milling around the small stadium. It was an awkward venue for the performers, who  dressed in the baseball clubhouse and came on stage through the dugout.

Jimmy Rogers Snow recalls, ''I remember the girls in Jacksonville, I remember them chasing us across the football field, and we had to run for dear life to the rest room. There were hundreds of women chasing us, and when they couldn't get to him and if anybody else had been onstage, they would have grabbed them too''.

Marty Robbins says, ''They say the first time Elvis was mobbed was in Jacksonville. I remember that well, because I couldn't believe it was happening. They chased him in the dressing room, and he was on top of the showers trying to get away from people, guys and girls alike. They were trying to grab a shoe, or anything. I was getting a big kick out of it. Nobody noticed me. I just stood there laughing. I knew then he was going to be big, because people didn't even know who Elvis Presley was, and they acted like this''.

The Cash Box, August 1955: ''Elvis Presley (Sun) recently was presented with a new sports coat by Colonel Parker, to replace the one torn apart by eager fans in Jacksonville, Florida. Elvis Presley, who creates panic and pandemonium among the female fans, got caught in the middle of a mob od screaming and swooning admirers in Jacksonville, Florida, and before he could get free was minus tie, handkerchief, belt, and a good portion of his coat and shirt, the gals grabbed for souvenirs. Presley has been the talk of the trades for weeks''.

According to Joyce Harols, ''We were in the bleachers, at Gator Bowl I think. They built a platform out there. We followed the crowd into the locker rooms. Elvis' clothes were taken off except his pants, they were pink, possible pink coat. Elvis' mother and father were there and me and my friend were talking to them. My friend remembers his pink Cadillac. Elvis' mother said that it hadn't happened before. She didn't seem scared''.

Zelma Story says, ''He came to the Gator Bowl, and he was behind a fence on a platform, but he was very close to us. He came out, and they started tearing his clothes off him, and we all went back to the locker room with him, they were holding him up above their heads. I went with his mother and father, and she was crying, tears were flowing, and she said, 'Oh, they are going to kill my son'. Her husband was standing beside her, but he didn't say anything. She wanted us to go and do something, but what could we do? He reached out for people, and I think he way of touched both of us. He had on a pink suit, and there was a pink Cadillac sitting outside right at the door''.
 
Johnny Tillotson, then a high school disc jockey on WWPF, wanted to interview Elvis Presley,  as he had tried to do in May. When Tillotson arrived at the ball park, there was a great deal  of excitement. Hundred of people were walking around under the baseball stands, and a  crowd of about thirty people had surrounded Elvis Presley. As Tillotson pondered the  strategy he'd need to get his interview, Elvis Presley began to walk toward the baseball  dugout. 
 
Realizing that he might not be able to get to Elvis Presley, Johnny Tillotson decided  on a unique strategy. In order to get Elvis' attention, Tillotson began parroting Elvis' version  of "Baby Let's Play House".

Elvis Presley, standing with Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and other  musicians in the dugout, yelled out: "Hold it!. What's that?". Elvis Presley smiled and cast a  quizzical glance at the diminutive high school student. "I introduced myself as a local singer  that needed to interview him, because I had promised my listeners the interview", Tillotson  remarked. "If I hadn't been able to complete the Presley interview, my listeners would have  deserted me".

When Johnny Tillotson told Elvis Presley that his radio future depended upon an interview,  Elvis smelled and sat down for a quick chat. The amiable Tillotson made Elvis Presley very  comfortable, and they actually talked for quite some time.

Afterward, as Johnny Tillotson - who, in a few years, would score with hits of his own  "Poetry In Motion", "It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin" - watched Elvis' show, he was impressed by  Elvis' concert because of the broad cross section of people who attended it. He also picked  up some subtle points about working a crowd. A number of accounts have described this  night as one in which a riot ensued, but Johnny Tillotson doesn't remember a riot at any of  Elvis' appearances in Jacksonville. "Riot isn't the correct adjective to describe the crowd's  reaction to Elvis", Tillotson remarked. "The response to Elvis' music was a very positive,  enthusiastic, totally spontaneous happening of the audience. They were simply leaving their  seat to acknowledge Elvis' performance, there was no violence", Tillotson concluded. After  the concert, Elvis Presley left for a local motel.

On Saturday, July 30, 1955, Johnny Tillotson aired the interview over WWPF, and it was an  in-depth analysis of the reasons for Presley's success. A combination of high energy and a  raucous blues musical style, Tillotson told his listeners, had made Elvis Presley a very special  act, blues and rhythm and blues songs, Elvis Presley emphasized, were key to his musical  appeal to a wide variety of young people.
JULY 30, 1955 SATURDAY

The Florida tour with Andy Griffith rolled along with two performances in Daytona Beach.  The shows, at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., were held at the Peabody Auditorium, and Elvis was ready  to go back to the quick, backbreaking one-night stands. Tickets were $1.00 in advance and  $1.25 the night of the show. Reserved seats were available for $1.50.
 
In the Daytone Beach News-Jounal, Peabody Auditorium manager Henry DeVerners says he needs 12 ushers. Six are needed for the first performance beginning at 7:30 and six for the second, beginning at 9:30. They will have to be dressed in hillbilly costume. And he said, volunteers may call Deverner at CL 2-1441 tomorrow or Monday.
(Above)
__________________________

Newspaper article in the Daytona Beach News-Journal with the headliner:
Any Griffith Show Slated At Peabody''

Andy Griffith who made his reputation on recordings of such numbers as ''What It Was, Was Football'', and ''Make Yourself Comfortable'' is coming to Daytona Beach next weekend.

His show, which will also include several country and western entertainers, is booked for two performances, at 7:30 and 9:30 p/m. Saturday at Peabody Auditorium. 

Elvis Presley, young singer from the Louisiana Hayride Show, will be one of the personalities in the show. Presley, a singer who combines country music with bop, has made a name for himself with such records as ''That's All Right'', ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', ''I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine'', and Good Rockin' Tonight''. He'll be accompanied by Scotty Moore, on the guitar, and Bill Black, bass.

A group of Grand Ole Opry artists will include Ferlin Husky, Simon Ceum, and Marty Robbins. Tommy Collins, of Hollywood, and Glenn Reeves are also scheduled to perform.

As a special attraction on the program there'll be Jimmie Rodgers Snow, son of the famous Hank Snow, and his Tennessee Playboys.
 
Griffith, star of the show, made his name in television on the show, ''No Time For Sergeants'' and will have a starring tole in the production when it opens on Broadway in September.
__________________________
 
If the Colonel still had any doubts about Elvis' potential, the past week had certainly dismissed them completely.

Understandably, his frustrations escalated with the news that Bob Neal still had not managed to convince Elvis to  leave Sun Records, and that Neal had also made a deal with Hill and Range for a song folio, without ever  mentioning it to him. Tom Parker saw this as a betrayal, not only by Neal, but also by his long-time allies at Hill  and Range.
 
In spite of all the discussions between Parker and Bob Neal, tour planning still fell through the cracks. At the end  of the Florida tour, the Colonel realized that Elvis was still doing shows he didn't know of, including a Sunday  August 7 appearance in Houston. However, nothing further was planned for the rest of August, as Bob Neal  expected the Colonel to take care of all bookings, and consequently had done none himself. He informed the  Colonel that the only two things left were the Houston date and a September 3 appearance at the Big D, shows  that he owned local promoters from previous agreements made for these venues.

The Colonel blames Bob Neal, as usual, although he himself six weeks earlier had clearly stated that all bookings  should go through his office.
JULY 31, 1955 SUNDAY

Elvis Presley and the Andy Griffith Show played at 2:30 p.m. matinee and an 8:15 evening  performance at the Fort Homer Hesterly Armoury in Tampa, home of the 116th Field  Artillery Headquarters Battery.

Appearing on this show was local favorite Ernie Lee. General admission tickets were $1.00 in  advance, $1.25 at the door, with the reserved section costing $1.50; children under 12 were  50-cents. The show was sponsored by the Sertoma Club, a civic group.

Other performers on  the show, Furlin Husky and His Hushpuppies, Simon Crum, Marty Robbins, Tommy Collins,  Glenn Reeves, and Jimmie Farmer. Elvis is "by popular demand".

It was hot outside Fort Homer Hesterly Armory the night of July 31, 1955, when Leland Hawes saw nothing of Elvis Presley but a lot of the singer's Cadillac. Hawes, a Tampa Tribute reporter since 1952, was watching over Elvis' car as a member of the Tampa Sertoma Club, which sponsored the concert. Tom Parker had offered to help a club charity if its members would work as ushers and take in tickets. Hawes says, ''Tom Parker told the Sertoma Club that there was this young singer that was getting all this attention, and young girls were just following him madly, and he needed someone to guard his Cadillac, which was going to be parked at Fort Hesterly. He didn't want lipstick imprints all over the car''. So, Hawes and a couple of others stood inside the armory compound and kept the pink-and-black Fleetwood free of lipsticked love notes. Easy duty, as Hawes recalls, ''I don't really remember having to ward off swarms of women''. Hawes could hear the concert but couldn't see it. He wasn't impressed at the time with the rising star, ''Just sounded like a lot of howling to me''.
AUGUST 1, 1955 MONDAY

Sun Records released "Mystery Train"/"I Forgot To Remember To Forget" (SUN 223) by Elvis Presley, his fifth Sun release, along with an indiscriminate trio of hillbilly and rhythm and blues records and ''Gone, Gone, Gone'', Carl Perkins official Sun debut.

Webb Pierce headlined the jamboree when Elvis Presley returned to play his hometown of  Tupelo, Mississippi, for the first time since he began his recording career.  The performance  was held at the same Mississippi-Alabama Fairgrounds where Elvis Presley sung "Old Shep"  when he was ten.
 
Also on the bill for this 8:00 p.m. show were Red Sovine, Wanda Jackson,  Bud Deckelman, Charlie Feathers, the Miller Sisters, Gene Simmons, Bob Ritter, the Dixie Playboys and Bill  Perkins. Bob Neal was the show's emcee and promoter. This short tour also included Sun  artist Charlie Feathers and his band from Memphis, featuring Stanley Kesler on steel guitar  and Marcus Van Story on bass.
 
Tickets for the hometown folks were $1.00 for adults and 50- cents for children. Reserved seating cost a quarter more. Attendance was estimated at  3,000. According to Barbara Mallory's scrapbook sang Elvis, ''I Got A Woman'', ''I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone'', ''You're A Heartbreaker'', ''Baby Let's Play House'', ''Shake, Rattle And Roll'', and ''Good Rockin' Tonight''. Elvis didn't sing his two new songs, ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget'' and ''Mystery Train'', responding to audience requests by confessing, ''I don't the words''. Elvis wore a pink linen coat and black pants. 

Robert Montgomery says, ''It was a variety show but the only other person I remember is Wanda Jackson. Elvis, of course, was the headliner (Webb Pierce was headliner). There was an intermission and a couple of friends of mine and I walked down close to the stage and met Elvis. I had a second grade picture of him given to me by Mrs, Clara Griffin, who used to live next door to the Presleys in East Tupelo. I asked if he would autograph it for me. He looked at it and said, 'Boy, I was a puny little thing, wasn't I'? In the photo he had blond hair and had on striped overalls. He autographed it, 'That's Allright, Elvis''. We stood around and talked to him for a little while before the show resumed''.

"He was always late on stage, it seemed", said Bobby Ritter, a disc jockey for WTUP in  Tupelo. "I booked Elvis for those shows in Houlka, my hometown, and in Grenada, Houston, Tupelo, Amory, Bruce, Big Creek, Randolph and Toccopola, Mississippi. On those nights when  he would arrive late, Bob Neal and I would go on stage. Bob would be the comedian and I the  straight man and we tried to keep the folks entertained until Elvis got there, but they didn't  want to hear us".

Elvis Presley brought the crowd of twelve thousand to its collective feet that night in the  Tupelo Fairgrounds and they were still buzzing when Webb Pierce was singing, disturbing the  country star so much that after his performance, he stalked off stage and said he would  never, ever!, follow Elvis Presley on stage again - and he didn't!

Hours before the show, Bobby Ritter says, ''Webb Pierce was the headliner, but never again. It rained about 6, and the show was scheduled to start about 8, I believe, and we didn't open the box office until about 7. Bob Neal was alone in the box office, and he called me before he opened and said, 'There's too many people out here, we need to open both offices'. He gave me a trash can and said, 'Throw the money in there and we will count it later'. It was about 2 or 3 o'clock before we were through counting all that money. They were lined up as far as you could see, and the parking lot was full of cars, and as far as you see down the streets to both sides. There were busses, and that was August 1, 1955. They sold out the concession stand three times, they sold everything in Tupelo. It was at that grandstand, there were no seats. Webb got here about 1 o'clock that afternoon, got a room at the Hotel Tupelo, and immediately started drinking. It was a bad mistake, because at the time when he went on stage, he couldn't perform very well, and Elvis went on before him, and he was the last to go on stage and there was probably only about a hundred people left. Webb Pierce was the biggest country act at that time. There was a pair of girls, Doreen and Lorene Greaves, from Houston. It rained about 6 o'clock, I mean, it rained! You know how it rains here sometimes. They had just dug some holes for telephone poles. And when the people started coming in, there were so many people, there was nowhere for them to go. And these two girls went across there, and one of them fell in one of those holes, full of water. She was up to her neck and nobody would help her out''.
AUGUST 2, 1955 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley travelled to the tri-cities area of Alabama collectively known as Muscle Shoals.  Webb Pierce again headlined as the group played a pair of appearances at the Sheffield  Community Center in Sheffield at 7:00 and 9:30 p.m. The bill was basically the same as the  Tupelo show with the addition of newcomer Johnny Cash.
 
Local disc jockey Tommy Van  Sandt did the honors when it came to announcing Elvis Presley. Both performances were  "Standing Room Only" as a total of 2,8000 fans attended. Advance tickets were only 41.00.

If  there were any tickets remaining at the show time, they were $1.25. The trio cities show  was sponsored by the Muscle Shoals Jaycees. The next day's review in the Tri-Cities Daily  called the show "a marvel", adding, "when Presley appeared at the climax of the show,  pandemonium broke loose". Mid-way through his performance, he knocked the crowd off its  collective feet with a rip-roaring version of "Maybellene".

The night was an interesting one because a number of local bands wanted to play with the  touring groups. The Sheffield Community Center was brimming with a musical enthusiasm  and a blend of raucous sounds that would soon give way to rock and roll music. The Sheffield  concert, where twenty-eight hundred people waited for him to come on stage, would  highlights Elvis' drawing power. In a series of concerts that also included Little Rock and  Camden, Arkansas, and Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis Presley drew more than fifteen thousand  customers.

The Sheffield concert was held in an area that included the towns of Florence, Tuscumbia,  and Muscle Shoals. Later, in the sixties, the Muscle Shoals recording studio would blossom in  the area, as would the Florence Alabama Music Enterprises - the FAME studio. At the time  Elvis Presley visited the Muscle Shoals area in 1955, Dan Pen, Rick Hall, Billy Sherrill,  Spooner Oldham, and Buddy Killen were lust local boys coming of age or working quietly in  the music industry.

Like many locals, they went to see Elvis' Sheffield show, which was a longer one than usual.  This was due to the fact that Sheffield had a population of 100,000 people with a reputation  for hard-drinking, music-loving, country necks. W.C. Handy and Sam Phillips were from  Florence, and the area teemed with musicians. There is no doubt that Elvis Presley picked  up a good deal of his Southern soul sound at concerts in places like Sheffield.

According to Wade Patterson from Town Creek, ''It was mid-July, and me and my old brother and two cousins were shelling peas in the backyard. We lived on a farm. We pulled the car up so we could listen to the radio, but we were not paying too much attention to it, until here comes this guy singing ''That's All Right''. We briefly stopped shelling peas. We were stunned. It was Elvis Presley. Later on, we found out that he was performing with other entertainers, including Johnny Cash and Webb Pierce, who were supposed to be the main attraction. Now, mind you Webb Pierce was coming of 18 straight number 1 hits. They were coming to the Sheffield Community Center. We had to go see this guy Presley. We arrived early and parked behind the center. The first thing we noticed was Webb Pierce's black four-door Cadillac. The show started, and I don't recall who came on first. We were close to the stage, and he was wearing black pants and a pink sport coat. Now here's something that happened to him that I have not seen written about him on his trips to the community center. When he made his first stroke with his picking hand, a string broke as it curled up at the neck. He looked stunned for just a moment, and then he started playing without it. We could not tell the difference. He replaced it at intermission. Oh, and by the way, 'Webb Pierce left at intermission due to the cool reception he was getting''.

Elvis Presley visited with disc jockey Tommy Van Sandt in the afternoon, and with Scotty and Bill he performed ''Maybellene'' live on the radio as promotion for the show that night.
AUGUST 3, 1955 WEDNESDAY

The same group, minus Johnny Cash, but with local favorite Sammy Barnhart as an added  attraction, continued with a show in Little Rock, Arkansas, that drew an estimated crowd of  3,000 country fans. The 8:00 p.m. appearance at AR-Robinson Auditorium cost $1.00 for  adults and half-price for children.

According to Ernest Hackworth also known as disc jockey Uncle Dudley says, ''Once in Little Rock they held Elvis until last, and when they introduced Elvis he didn't come on stage. They introduced him again and he still didn't come on. They found him sitting backstage with his mother, talking to her. His parents had come to see him perform''.

 Gladys and Vernon Presley were remembered to have  been on hand for this show. They drove to Little Rock specifically to meet again with Colonel  Tom Parker at Elvis' insistence. As an extra incentive, the Colonel brought along Whitey  Ford, the Duke of Paducah, who happened to be the Colonel's neighbour in Madison,  Tennessee. As mentioned earlier, the Duke was a favorite of Gladys. After all this attention  the Presley's still did not sign a contract with Colonel Parker that would have allowed him to  become Elvis' "special advisor".

On stage, Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and D.J. Fontana quickly set up, but where was Elvis  Presley?. "Elvis! Elvis! Elvis!!! Where are you?". A quick search found him seated backstage,  his mother, Gladys, sitting in his lap. Told he was late on stage, he politely put Mama Presley  on her feet and hit the stage running. It was that night Elvis Presley introduced his parents  to Tom Parker.

An unidentified witness says, ''I will never forget, he wore a purple outfit. We went backstage to visit, and I talked with him. He was a unique person. His skin was very hit with acne, it was healed up, but hit! I asked him what he was going to do next, and he mumbled that Chuck Berry had out a song called ''Maybellene''.
AUGUST 4, 1955 THURSDAY

The attendance totalled 2,000 for two Webb Pierce and Elvis Presley shows in Camden,   Arkansas. The group appeared at 7:00 and 9:30 p.m. at the Municipal Auditorium, and   tickets were only $1.00 in advance. Wanda Jackson and Charlie Feathers were part of the   opening acts.
 
"Me and Tommy Ratliff and a disc jockey named Charlie Horse sponsored the August shows",   said Cliff Davis. "Elvis used to drop by the radio station and hang around a lot on his way to   and from his Louisiana Hayride performances. Sometimes he'd hang around until five in the   morning".

"To promote our shows, we had one of those speakers on the top of our car, with a   microphone inside, and we drove all around Camden and even as far away as Monroe,   Louisiana, promoting the show, talking about it, playing' Elvis' music, trying to get people to   come".

"When Elvis arrived that night, he was wearing a pretty belt buckle and a pink baseball cap. I   told him, 'I'd sure like to have that belt buckle'. And he told me, 'I can't give it to you. If I   did, my pants would fall off'. So he took off that pink baseball cap and gave it to me. He was   eating a hot dog at the time and some mustard from that hot dog came off on the cap. I've   got that cap in a frame now and it is still has the mustard stains on it".

Lucille Huneycut was at that August concert. She said before the concert, Elvis Presley had   driven up and down the streets of Camden in his pink Cadillac, waving at the girls and   inviting them to come and hear him sing that night.

"I took my kids, who were then in high school", said Lucille Huneycut. "The teens all liked to   sit in the balcony. One by one, the other entertainers performed, then they brought out   Elvis and he sang "Only You" and I sat there thinking to myself, 'My god! That kid, all he   needs is a break!' When he began singing that song, a hush fell over the place. After the   show, all the kids were trying to touch him. When he talked to me, he called me 'ma'am'".

According to Hames Ware, ''The first time I ever heard of Elvis was around 1954. My uncles took me to see Red Sovine and Webb Pierce. Elvis was the last act on the program bill behind Wanda Jackson. Of course it was just Elvis, Bill Black, and Scotty Moore, but they made more noise than anyone else. It was pure rock and roll, rockabilly, or whatever you wished to call it, but the crowd went wild''.

The Camden new report:
ELVIS PRESLEY, Young and handsome Elvis Presley will be among the top country stars coming to Camden Thursday for two shows at the Municipal Auditorium. The All-Star Jamboree of country entertainers, featuring two of the top names in the rural rhythm department, is coming to Camden for two shows at the Municipal Auditorium tomorrow night at 7 and 9:30 p.m.

Webb Pierce, consistently, voted the nation's number one star of country music, will highlight the big attraction. Pierce, who once appeared on the Louisiana Hayride and later of the Grand Ole Opry, had a great string on consecutive record hits with ''In The Jailhouse Now'' and ''I Don't Care'', his latest top hits. Pierce, and the Wondering boys are coming in from a TV appearance in New York.

Elvis Presley voted the year's number one star by Cash Box magazine will feature his Western Bop type of singing, including his new record release ''Mystery Train''.

Other stars marked for the appearance include Red Sovine, a Decca Record artist, formerly of KWKH in Shreveport, Bud Decklelan, MGM recording star, Charlie Feathers, and Miss Wanda Jackson, Oklahoma City's contribution to Folk Music.  Advance sale tickets are now at South Arkansas Music Company.

The next day, the Camden News report: Jamboree Draws Record Crowd.
Over 2100 people attended the all star Western Jamboree which lasted well after Midnight Thursday evening at the municipal auditorium. This was the largest group to gather in Camden for any single event this year. The show drew people from all over Quachita county and miles around including El Dorado, Magnolia, Warren, Hope, Arkadelphia and Fordyce. Special police were assigned to direct the heavy traffic between the two performances.

The first show at 7 p.m. was a sell-out with around 1200. It took around an hour to clear the auditorium an hour to clear the auditorium and seat the second crowd.

With the second performance staying around 10 o'clock, lasting until 13:30. A number were turned away at the first performance. The show was has consistently been voted the nation's number one star of country music. His renditions of such top hits ''In The Jail House Now'' and ''I Don't Care'' drew a roaring round of applause from the audience.

17-year-old Wanda Jackson and 19-year-old Elvis Presley stole the show. Each received encore after encore. Miss Jackson of Oklahoma was the only girl on the show of around 16 top hillbilly performers. She thrilled the audience with the record hit of ''You Can't Have My Love'', long with others. Elvis who has saved until the very last of the show was at his best featuring his ''Bop'' type of western singing.

Red Sovine, an old timer in the Western music world, directed the first portion of the performance. The loud shouts and applause after each of his numbers showed he still holds his place as a popular favorite. Other stars who appeared on the show were: Charlie Feathers, Bud Deckelman, and Scotty and Bill. The Wondering Boys gave wonderful instrumentals and accompanying. Pierce and the Wondering Boys came here from a TV appearance in New York.

The group put on a short program over Radio Station KAMD Thursday afternoon at 6:45. They arrived in Camden yesterday afternoon and spent the night at the Hotel Camden. They left early today for Memphis, Tennessee.
AUGUST 5, 1955 FRIDAY

At 8:00 p.m., Elvis Presley played his third and final gig at the Overton Park Shell in  Memphis. He performed second on the bill of Bob Neal's "Eighth Anniversary Jamboree" at  the open-air show. Headlined the extravaganza was Webb Pierce, which included guest  appearances by newcomer Johnny Cash, Wanda Jackson, Gene Simmons, the Miller Sisters  and Red Sovine.
 
Also appearing was the same cast from Camden, along with Carl Perkins,  Sonny James, Bud Deckelman, Jim Wilson, and Bob Neal's band, the Neal Boys. Texas Bill  Strength, a Memphis disc jockey, also made an unadvertised appearance.
 
This three-hour  extravaganza appearance was reported at the time to be the largest country jamboree ever  held in Memphis, pulling in an "overflow audience" of 4,000 fans despite the threat of rain.
 
According to the Memphis Press-Scimitar, "several hundred" music lovers had to be turned  away at the box office. Advance tickets were $1.00 until 4:00 p.m. on the day of the show.  When the Overton Shell box office opened at 6:30 p.m., seats were $1.25 reserved, with  general admission $1.00 and children 50-cents.
 
Bob Neal also booked rockabilly singer Charlie Feathers. While waiting to go on stage, Elvis  Presley and Charlie Feathers talked about the show. Feathers pointed out that Billboard had  sent a reporter, a prospect that excited Elvis Presley because Sam Phillips was preparing to  debut Presley's latest record.  Bob Neal, personal manager to Elvis Presley, reports that the Louisiana Hayride youngster  and his show play a series of Mid-South dates next week, opening Monday with a big outdoor  jamboree at Forrest City, Arkansas.

The package played Bona, Arkansas, Tuesday, and moves  to Sikeston, Missouri, Wednesday, Clarksdale, Mississippi, Thursday up in McComb,  Mississippi, Friday. In addition to Presley, unit features Johnny Cash, new Sun record artist;  Bud Deckelman (M-G-M), and Eddie Bond, new on Ekko Records. From McComb, Presley's  men drive to Norfolk, with Elvis flying in from the Hayride to join then Sunday to start a  series on the West Coast.
 
Johnny Cash recall, "Well, you know, there've been several kinds of booster moments,  booster nights that made me just keep going, made me keep loving it more than ever. I guess  the first time was soon after my first record was released''.

''I'd been on tour with Elvis Presley  in Texas and on Saturday night we both went to Shreveport to be guests on "The Louisiana  Hayride". "On the Hayride you would do two songs, then get off, and then somebody else  would do two songs and there'd be a radio commercial - that kinda' thing''.
 
''Well, that night  Carl Perkins was there and Elvis was there and I was there and Johnny Horton was there.  Elvis - I don't remember who followed who - but Elvis, Carl and I made appearances one after  the other and from the time one of us hit the stage, the audience was on their feet''.

''It was a  very young audience because of the names that were on the show at that time, and they  were on their feet and just climbing the walls, and it was the first time I'd ever experienced  that. Of course, the audience was caught up in the high of the night, and with Elvis probably,  but I shared in that and it made me very excited about the business I was in and the future. I  guess I felt safe also, being in the company of Carl and Elvis, but I felt like I was really a part  of it and was accepted. That was before we were putting music in bags and categories. It was  music just for the music's sake. I felt like I was there to stay".

Wanda Jackson recall, "Well I don't remember that being the first one on Overton Park Shell.  It was a couple of months after I graduated from school. I remember though that Elvis ' stage  show was pure excitement from the very first note".

AUDIENCE PULLERS .....Overton Park Shell was jammed with an overflow audience last night  for the wind-up of the eight annual Bob Neal country music jamboree series.

Several hundred who wanted to hear in person Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley and Webb  Pierce and some 22 ether country music and comedy performers had to be turned away,  while 4000 more lucky people enjoyed the show. The company also toured Little Rock,  Arkansas, 3000 listeners; Camden, Arkansas, 2000; Sheffield, Alabama, 2800; and Tupelo,  Mississippi, 300, this week. Both Cash and Presley record for Memphis' own Sun Record  label.
AUGUST 6, 1955 SATURDAY

Elvis' fifth and final single for Sun Records, "Mystery Train"/"I Forgot To Remember To Forget"  (SUN 223) was released. Just prior to pressing copies, Johnny Bernero's drums had been  added to the b-side to enhance the country music feel.

Bernero, discussed in an earlier  interview, worked across the streets from the Sun studio at the Memphis Light Gas & Water  Company, and he had sat in for Phillips' on numerous occasions. Although he was at first  uncertain about adding the drums, Sam Phillips liked Bernero's light touch and went ahead  with the new version.

A brief article in Billboard mentioned that Elvis Presley and the Browns had just returned  from a West Coast trek and would appear in Detroit on September 2nd and 3rd. (Both pieces  of information are wrong). Billboard's "Spotlight" said: "With each release Presley has been  coming more and more to the forefront. His current record has wasted no time in  establishing itself. Already it appears on the Memphis and Houston territorial charts. It is also  reported selling well in Richmond, Atlanta, Durham, Nashville, and Dallas".

Elvis Presley  performed in Batesville, Arkansas at  the River Stadium.  He appear at this 12th Annual White River Carnival elicits an indignant letter from local  promoter Ed Lyon, who writes to Tom Parker that Elvis was guilty of unprofessional behavior,  told off-color jokes, and ''stormed off stage'' after singing just four songs, thereby ''ruining''  the show. Lyon demands an ''adjustment'', and the Colonel swiftly complies with a refund of  450, writing Bob Neal a scathing letter on August 22 about the necessity of establishing  professional standards. Elvis is ''young, inexperienced, and it takes a lot more than a couple  of hot records in a certain territory to become a big-name artist'', the Colonel lectures Neal,  whom he blames both implicitly and explicitly for this foul-up in the education of a young  artist.

The Colonel used the issue to send Bob Neal s devastating letter reprimanding him: ''I just can't have anymore comedy on Elvis' part of the program''. The Colonel argued, in spite of Neal's statement that this was the first time Elvis had ever been criticized, that he had heard this all his sources, connections, friends, and customers. ''Smutty comedy is the issue'', the Colonel concluded.

In Batesville, Elvis had been infuriated when confronted with a demand to return some of his fee, but he eventually gave back half. None of the known witnesses remember anything wrong with Elvis' performance noting he sang more than four songs, and was definitely not drunk. The whole incident was miraculously convenient in Colonel Parker's attempt to discredit Bob Neal's management skills.

According to Una Smith, ''We had a water carnival here, just a little celebration on the river. After the show I went backstage, I just had to meet that guy. I made some small comment about the show, and he said, 'Honey, I'm mad as hell'. I said, 'Why'? and he said, 'Because the lady asked me for the money back. She didn't think we put on a good show'. Elvis told me he had ended up giving her half back (Mrs. Grey, she had been in charge of booking the talent for the water carnival). He put on a wonderful show. It never even occurred to me that it was suggestive. To me he was just moving with the music and having a good time. It didn't seem vulgar to me at all. He did a lot more than four songs. I remember he did ''Maybellene'' that night. We hung around for a long time. It was only Elvis, Scotty, and Bill. They walked us back up to our cars, hung around, and talked to us like guys do. My sister had a Ford. It had a kind of revolutionary design, kind of a sports car, pale yellow with a green top, and Elvis remarked, 'That's the prettiest car'. He had on a black shirt, open down the front, and white pants. He was so handsome he didn't look real. His skin was so smooth. I guess he had Creole blood, such a pretty color''.
AUGUST 7, 1955 SUNDAY

In the afternoon, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black performed in Houston, Texas, at the Magnolia Gardens (afternoon show), 12044 Beach Street, Houston, Texas. There was actually an ad for this appearance at the time, were in the audience that day and Jim and Lois Robertson were trying out a new 8mm home movie camera with color. 
 
They didn't really know of Elvis at the time and Lois Robertson only seemed to recall about 20 to 25 people in attendance. She filmed parts of the performance and after the color film was developed the Robertsons watched it once or twice, then put it away. 

That evening, he moved over to Cook's Hoedown Club. This is the only Magnolia   Gardens/Cook's Hoedown appearance mention in a local newspaper.   As discussed earlier, Elvis Presley played these two Sunday gigs regularly following a   Louisiana Hayride show on Saturday.

Bob Neal reacted instantly to the lack of August bookings by arranging a week with Tom Perryman in northeast Texas, following the last scheduled show at Magnolia Gardens. There were changes to the band. Elvis had wanted a regular drummer, and D.J. Fontana had played many shows with them since the previous November. Staring this week, D.J. Fontana would become a full-time member of the band. However, unlike Scotty and Bill, who each got twenty-five per cent of the income, D.J. was paid a weekly salary.
AUGUST 8, 1955 MONDAY

Elvis Presley began a week-long tour of the Gladewater, Texas, area with Jim Ed and Maxine   Brown. During this time, Elvis Presley was interviewed on the KSIJ radio in Gladewater by   disc jockey Tom Perryman, who also booked the shows this week. All performances were at   8:00 p.m. and tickets were a uniform $1.00 for adults and 50-cents for children.
 
Finally,   Bonnie Brown, the younger sister of Jim Ed and Maxine Brown, joined the act. The unwieldy  billing of Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie Brown would soon change to just "The Browns".
 
Tonight, Elvis Presley and the Browns appeared at the large Auditorium in the Mayfair   Building on the fair grounds in Tyler, Texas. Admission $1.00 for adults, children 50 cents.
 
With the Hayride booking office, Bob Neal secured a week's worth of additional Texas touring at the end of August. The reaction from Colonel Parker was another letter complaining about lack of co-ordination, again enraged over the ''milking a territory'' situation that he felt Neal was guilty of. The Colonel suggested another meeting, this time in Memphis with Elvis and his father present. The Colonel took the issue further and wrote Elvis' father, mentioning that he couldn't get hold of Neal, and consequently a good deal for Elvis was being help up.
AUGUST 9, 1955 TUESDAY

The tour moved on to the outdoor Rodeo Arena on the Laneville Highway in Henderson,  Texas. According to Red West, ''Hey was on a flatbed truck in this rodeo arena. We had the pink Cadillac then, I remember, 'cause after the show was over, he drove around in the arena knocking dust up in the stands, and people just loved it''.
AUGUST 10, 1955 WEDNESDAY

In Gladewater, Texas, Elvis Presley and the Browns performed at Bear Stadium, the home of  Gladewater's semi-pro baseball team. Elvis Presley arrived in a pink Cadillac and the show  was staged from a flat-bed truck parked at second base.
 
The number of people attending is  estimated by Buzz Long, now Mayor of nearby Big Sandy, at only twenty people. Elvis Presley  appeared upset at the poor turnout and during the first half of his show he barely moved a  muscle. During intermission, Buzz could see Scotty Moore and Bill Black trying to pump up  Elvis' spirits. It worked, and Elvis Presley lived up to his "Fireball" reputation during the  second half of the show.
AUGUST 11, 1955 THURSDAY

In the evening, Elvis Presley was back with the Browns at the Reo Palm Isle Club in   Longview, Texas. Their show began at 8:00 p.m. and was followed by country dancing until   midnight.

According to Red West, ''The Reo Palm Isle in Longview, Texas, was a wild-ass Texas night club. I remember a bunch od sailors came in, I don't know where the hell the sailors came from. We got in a hell of a fight, and I was just trying to protect Elvis. The show was going, but finally stopped.
 
Scotty and Bill were starting to protect their instruments, and I said, 'Elvis, let's get the hell out of here'. So we were working our way through the fight, and these little girls were asking, 'Can I have your autograph'? and Elvis said, 'Yeah'. We got in the parking lot, there was like an acre of parking lot, and they were fighting, and I remember, certain things stick in your mind, I looked over a few cars and I saw a guy holding a guy, hitting him with a damn bottle, Bam! Bam!, pounding the shit out of him. And these little girls wanting autographs and Elvis saying, 'Okay, okay, watch out honey'. So we got in the car, left, and I looked back. The whole parking lot was a battleground. We didn't know where Scotty and Bill were''. 
AUGUST 12, 1955 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley worked this evening with The Browns at Driller Park, another large baseball  field in Kilgore, Texas, drew so many people they might could all have fit in the back of  Cowboy Jack's pickup truck! "At the time, most people weren't too excited about Elvis  coming in town", wrote van Craddock in the Longview News Journal.
 
"The big event townfolk  were talking about was that weekend's performance of the Kilgore Junior College  Rangerettes and the Ranger Band at Chicago's College All Star football game. Some 75,000  turned out to watch the Rangerettes' Chicago performance, which was about 74,900 more  than turned out to see Elvis shake his pelvis in Kilgore".

Paula Lane was one of that handful. "I remember it was very hot and Elvis had on a peach  colored sport coat", said Lane. "He performed right in front of home plate. We were  screaming, but I don't remember anyone else getting excited. It was mostly an older crowd  there".

''This cat came out'', recalled future country star Bob Luman in later years, ''He was wearing  red pants and a green coat with pink shirt and socks, and he had this sneer on his face and  stood behind the mike for about five minutes, I'll bet, before he made a move''. Then he hit his guitar with a lick, and he broke two strings. Hell, I'd been playing for ten years, and I hand't broken a total of two strings. So there he was, these two strings dangling, and he hadn't done anything except break guitar strings''.  Then the  girls started screaming, and Luman, a high school student at the time, felt cold chills run up  his back, as he knew his life's course was set.

Meanwhile, Colonel Tom Parker frustrated by what he sees as Bob Neal's incompetence and  not above capitalizing on it, writes directly to Vernon Presley, because, he explains, he has  been unable to reach Neal and wants Vernon to know right away that he has a ''very good  deal'' pending.
AUGUST 13, 1955 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley appeared again on the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport. Following the show, he  drove back to Memphis. ''Baby Let's Play House'' it was number 5 on Billboard's ''Most Played by Jockeys'' country and western list.
(Above) Mimosa Room on Lake Gladewater, Gladewater, Texas, August 14, 1955. (clockwise around the table  from bottom left) Floyd Brown and Birdie Brown celebrating their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary,  Norma Brown, Jim Ed Brown, Scotty Moore, Bill Black, D.J. Fontana, Floyd Cramer, Red West, Tom  Paul, Jimmy Day, Elvis Presley, Billie Perryman, Vicki Perryman, Marilyn Perryman, Maxine Brown, and  Bonnie Brown.
AUGUST 14, 1955 SUNDAY

Elvis Presley attends Jim Ed and Maxine Brown's parents' twenty-fifth wedding anniversary  party in Gladewater, Texas. A photograph of the group includes 1955 Humes High School  graduate Red West, who has been going out with the group occasionally throughout the year,  and Elvis sometime accompanists, piano player Floyd Cramer and steel guitarist Jimmy Day.

Bob Neal arranged for a photo shoot the following week to fill out Hill and Range's song portfolio, when by now had taken on an almost fanzine look. On a more serious issue, Neal had to inform Scotty and Bill that, going forward, they would have to work for a fee as opposed to their orginal twenty-five per cent share. Most of the week was devoted to leisure, but it also marked the end of Elvis' romantic relationship with his favourite girl, Dixie Locke, whom he had been dating since the spring of 1954.
AUGUST 15, 1955 MONDAY

On August 15, 1955, Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley signed at his house on 2414 Lamar Avenue  in Memphis, a one-year contract for Parker to act as Elvis' "special advisor"  while Bob Neal remained as manager. (Family friends say that was the beginning of the end  for Gladys. Her life revolved around Elvis; now she was losing him). The contract allowed  Parker to pick up two additional one-year options.
 
It also granted Parker exclusive territorial  rights to no less than 47 cities in the United States including such current hot spots for Elvis  Presley as Dallas, Houston, Lubbock, Jacksonville, Tampa, Richmond and Cleveland.
 
The list  also set aside for Parker the lucrative markets of New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago,  and Philadelphia. Finally, there were the towns that would make up Elvis' first major swing  outside of the South and Southwest in May 1956: Des Moines, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Omaha,  and Dayton. In each location, Parker could book Elvis Presley and pay him only $200 per  show, including musicians.

As an added bonus, the agreement gave the Colonel the exclusive right to negotiate any  renewal to existing contracts in Elvis' behalf. This included Elvis' contracts with Sun Records  and the Louisiana Hayride.

Colonel Tom Parker was not the first person to which Elvis Presley turned to take the  managerial reins from Bob Neal. Tom Perryman in Gladewater, T. Tommy Cutrer in  Shreveport and Bill Randle in Cleveland were each approached by Elvis Presley to become  his manager. In each case, the matter never got beyond the inquiry phase, as all three men  were reluctant to assume more responsibilities apart from their successful radio work.

In August, when Elvis Presley had with Bill Haley during his appearance in Cleveland with Bill  Randle, they spent a great deal of time backstage talking about rock music, and had sung  "Rock Around The Clock" together. Colonel Tom Parker also takes at length with Haley's  manager, Lord Jim Ferguson, prompting the Colonel to recommended that Elvis Presley  record songs that local audience were purchasing. Bill Haley also urged Elvis Presley to  develop his stage personality to its fullest. When Haley was a dynamic performer and the  audience responded with vigorous applause. It was as if Bill Haley was rising to the challenge  that he knew was coming from young Elvis Presley. For his part, after thinking about the  positive reaction to "Rock Around The Clock" that he had witnessed, Elvis Presley began to  include Haley's signature song in his own act.

Meanwhile, the Colonel's pal booking agent A.V. ''Bam'' Bamford, remains dubious about Elvis'  future conceding in a letter to the Colonel that he made be ''hotter than a firecracker'', but  reminding Parker that this is true only in certain areas. Bamford says he will consider  booking Elvis into new territories if he can pair those bookins with ones in established  towns. He mentions that KXLA, the only country and western station in Los Angeles, doesn't  play Presley at all.
AUGUST 17, 1955 WEDNESDAY

In a letter to Julian Aberbach of Hill and Range, Colonel Tom Parker explains that he now has  a three-year representation deal with Elvis and Vernon Presley and is close to making a deal  with a major label. Through reliable sources he has learned that Elvis' 1955 record sales are  a little more than 100,000 copies. 
 
This letter appears to be a follow-up to an earlier request  by the Colonel for financial support from the Aberbachs in purchasing Elvis' contract from  Sun, which may in turn have been a follow-up the folio.
 
According to Bob Neal, ''The money situation was always set up to the effect that it would be divided into four parts. Two parts go to Elvis and one part each to Scotty and Bill. And sometime here in 1955 it became obvious you know that this was not fair and not the best way to go and so on, because Elvis was the star regardless of the fact that they contributed largely to it. So I recall we had quite a crisis in coming to the point, and I had to handle that and then announcing to Scotty and Bill that we were no longer going to operate like that, that they would paid a fee per day that we would agree on. But that they would not participate in the overall thing. You know, I remember that there was quite a bit of unhappiness at that time, plus threats that maybe they would quit and so on. But as it worked out they went ahead in that particular situation. Things were beginning to break to the extent then that there was getting to be a pretty good amount of money involved in a lot of the dates. And Elvis, well actually, from a pure physical point he was having to buy the cars and buy his wardrobe and things of that type and supply transportation. So naturally, it was more logical. They were part of it, but people came to see Elvis. They didn't come to see the others two bos''.

The acceleration of costs was further emphasized the day after the meeting with Parker. In conjunction with orders for merchandize from Elvis Presley Enterprises, their credit was examined, revealing that ''Elvis Presley was a minor, and that his manager, Bob Neal, did not have 'too good' a credit either''.
AUGUST 20, 1955 SATURDAY

Billboard, in its "Review Spotlight" section, examined "I Forgot To Remember To Forget",  predicting the single would be "This disk is certain to get strong initial exposure", and ''Presley is currently on the best selling charts with ''Baby Let's Play House'' and the wide acceptance of this side should ease the way for new disk. Flip, ''Mystery Train'', is a splendid coupling, with the guitar outstanding''.

Elvis Presley dropped  in on the Louisiana Hayride for his weekly performance. On this show he sang "Baby Let's  Play House", and "Maybellene". After two false starts, he was able to complete a torrid  version of "That's All Right".
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

During the late part of August 1955 and unbeknownst to Colonel Tom Parker, Bob Neal was already  negotiating with Horage Logan a renewal of Elvis' Hayride contract. The current first year contract was  going to an and on November 12, 1955.

All decisions, with respect to Elvis' career, had to go through the  Colonel's office according to an agreement signed in the previous month, naming Colonel Tom Parker as  ''Special Advisor''.

On this particular occasion, Bob Neal decided to take it upon himself to obtain some  security for Elvis, but also more than likely, was asserting his indepentdence from Colonel Tom Parker.

The contract was prepared and signed during the first week of September as reported in the Shreveport Times  on September 8, 1955. Once again his parent's co-signed the contract as Elvis was still under the age of 21.  The Hayride would now pick up the Presley option for $200 an appearance which was a fair increase  compared to his current contract that paid the union scale of $18 a show.
 
The contract also stipulated that, ''...artist is given the right to miss one Saturday performance during each 60  day period''. Horage Logan alse added a sideline note that $400 must be paid to the Hayride for every  additional show Elvis would miss.

All this was done very much to the objection of Colonel Tom Parker. He urged Vernon Presley (Elvis' father)  not to sign the agreement, as he felt that there was no need for a committed contract.
 
He was close of a new  recording contract with a major label. However, in Vernon's mind wanting some kind of financial security, he  signed the agreement that took hold on November 11, 1955, just as Elvis present contract would end.
 
LIVE BROADCAST RECORDINGS FOR ELVIS PRESLEY
FOR KWKH'S LOUISIANA HAYRIDE, SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA, 1955

MUNICIPAL AUDITORIUM, 705 GRAND AVENUE AND
MILAM STREET, SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA
SESSION HOURS: SATURDAY 8:00 PM AUGUST 20, 1955
VIEWING TIME TV-STATION KWKH 1 FAIRCHILDER TAPE RECORDER
PRODUCER - HORACE LOGAN
RECORDING ENGINEER - BOB SULLIVAN

01 – "INTRO/BABY, LETS PLAY HOUSE" - B.M.I. - 3:17
Composer: - Arthur Gunter
Publisher: - Fort Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - August 20, 1955
Released: - 1983
First appearance: - Louisiana Hayride (LP) 33rpm NR-8973 mono
LOUISIANA HAYRIDE
Reissued: - November 2011 Memphis Recording Service (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 30001256-13 mono
THE COMPLETE LOUISIANA HAYRIDE ARCHIVES 1954-1956

02 – "INTRO/MAYBELLENE" - B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - Chuck Berry-Frato Reed
Publisher: - Arc Music Corporation - Isalee Music Publishers
Matrix number: - WPA5-2536
Recorded: - August 20, 1955
Released: - 1983
First appearance: - Louisiana Hayride (LP) 33rpm NR-8973 mono
LOUISIANA HAYRIDE
Reissued: - November 2011 Memphis Recording Service (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 30001256-14 mono
THE COMPLETE LOUISIANA HAYRIDE ARCHIVES 1954-1956

In the early 1950s Chuck Berry performed Bob Wills's song "Ida Red" in his nightclub act, imitating the popular country singers of the day. After signing with Chess records, "Ida Red" was Berry's first recording. He reportedly recorded 36 takes before a version was judged suitable for release. The title was changed to "Maybellene" after Berry remembered a cow named "Maybellene" in a childhood nursery rhyme. "Maybellene" (Chess 1604) became a number one rhythm and blues hit in 1955. It also did well on the Top 100 chart, peaking at number 5. Sales exceeded one million copies.

03 – "INTRO/THAT'S ALL RIGHT" -– B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - Arthur Crudup
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Arthur Crudup Music
Matrix number: - None - False Start 1 - False Start 2
Recorded: - August 20, 1955
Released: - 1983
First appearance: - Louisiana Hayride (LP) 33rpm NR-8973 mono
LOUISIANA HAYRIDE
Reissued: - November 2011 Memphis Recording Service (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 30001256-15 mono
THE COMPLETE LOUISIANA HAYRIDE ARCHIVES 1954-1956

04 – 'LOUISIANA HAYRIDE OUTTRO'' - 0:44
First appearance: - November 2011 Memphis Recording Service (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 30001256-23 mono
THE COMPLETE LOUISIANA HAYRIDE ARCHIVES 1954-1956

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

In closing out the Sun era, it's important to remember the part of Sam Phillips. But it's just as important to know that Elvis, Scotty, and Bill would also be working on innovative ways to make this music successful.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
AUGUST 21, 1955 SUNDAY

Sometime during the summer Elvis appears in Mount Pleasant, Texas, at the American Legion  Hall, very likely on this date, or a week later.
AUGUST 22, 1955 MONDAY

Elvis Presley began a week-long tour across the middle of Texas. He headlined a group of  Louisiana Hayride performers including Johnny Horton, Betty Amos, David Houston, Sonny  Trammell, Ray Gorman, Tillman Franks, "Woody Birdbrain" Dalton and Lula Joe, and Horage  Logan who acted as emcee.
 
Tonight's show was at 8:15 p.m. at Spudder Park, the local semi-pro baseball field in Wichita  Falls, Texas. Tickets for this show were only a quarter in advance and 50-cents at the gate. A  special stage had been constructed on second base by using a flat-bed truck. Opening the  show was Bill Mack and his band. For the show Elvis Presley wore a black shirt and pink  trousers. In the audience, Bill Mack's mother felt that Elvis' mischief on stage was vulgar.  After the show, Elvis Presley offered to drive Scotty Moore, Bill Black, Bill Mack, and Tillman  Franks to the Toddle House for hamburgers. However, during the show he left the lights on  and the battery of his latest Cadillac was dead. Elvis had left his lights on. A gentle push from a farmer's pickup got  them on their way.

After the show Elvis signed autograph as usual and answered questions from some fans. Some girls from Stamford asked Elvis ifa new song they'd heard on the radio was his. Elvis informed them it was a Chuck Berry song. ''Mr. Berry is black and I am white'', said Elvis. As Elvis leaned on his cadillac, he overheard Bill Mack talking about going to the hospital to see his newborn. Elvis asked if he could tag along and jumped into Bill's new Pontiac. Making a quick stop at Berverly's Drice-In for a bite, they drove to the hospital, where Elvis baby-talked to the infant. The whole incident made Elvis hungry, so he and Bill headed for the Toddle House Restaurant.
AUGUST 23, 1955 TUESDAY
 
The tour stopped for a show in Bryan, Texas. The performance was said to be at the Saddle  Club, but a check with the locals determined that there never was an establishment by that  name. It may be that the Saddle Club was a rodeo organization and not a nightclub.
AUGUST 24, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Elvis Presley was scheduled to play in Conroe, Texas. He arrived early in the day and had his   pink Cadillac washed at a local service station. To promote the evening's show, several of the   entertainers performed briefly on the courthouse sets in the afternoon.
 
The stage for the   evening's show was constructed by parking two-flad-bed trucks side-by-side on the football   field of Davy Crockett High School Football Stadium from Conroe High. Appearing as an opening act   was 16-year old Mary McCoy of Conroe, a singer who also appeared earlier in the year on the   Louisiana Hayride and who performed with Elvis Presley several times in Houston, Texas.
 
The show was an hour and a half old before Elvis Presley made his entrance. As he came   bounding up the makeshift steps to the makeshift stage, he tripped and banged his head.   Dazed but ever the showman, Elvis Presley gave the packed stands about forty minutes of   blazing rock 'n' roll. After the show, Elvis Presley rested at the Blue Bird Motel on North   Frazier.

According to Bob Watkins, ''When it came time for the announcers to introduces Elvis, the stadium was filled with anticipation. At the mention of Elvis' name, the modest crowd cheered and looked expectantly at the parked Cadillac. Then Elvis quickly crawled out of the back seat, pulling his guitar with him, and ran for the stage''.

''He jumped onto one of the benches and was about to bounce onto the stage, when the bench toppled over under the sudden shift of his weight. Elvis crashed down hard onto the flatbed truck, and the resulting thud could be heard clearly in the stadium. There was a collective gasp from the crowd and then total silence. Elvis just lay there, face down on the truck bed with his guitar clasped tightly in one hand off to the side. No one moved. He must have stayed motionless for a complete minute. Then Elvis jumped up and almost bounced to the microphone on stage, whipped the guitar strap around his neck, assumed his classic pose with the feet spread apart, shook his head and that long black hair, and said, 'Whew'! Whit that, and to the great relief of the crowd, he began to play his first song, despite a very large and obvious red knot on his forehead''.

Mary McCoy says, ''He stepped out in a red sport coat, white lace shirt, and lime green trousers, and stripped on the stairs to the flatbed truck and hurt his head. It was raining. He sang '' That's All Right'' and ''Maybellene''. It was a wonder he wasn't knocket out. He had a big lump on his head. What was so bad about it was some people were jealous, and news travelled that he was drunk. But that was not true, he wasn't drunk''.
AUGUST 25, 1955 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley and the Hayride group performed in Austin at 8:00 p.m. at the Sportcenter, 501  Barton Springs Road, Austin, Texas. Tickets were 75-cents in advance and $1.00 at the door. Children's   admission was 50-cents.

The stage was low, and when Elvis Presley begins his portion of the   show, teenagers got out of their chairs and rushed up front to sit on the floor. One song that   Elvis Presley sang on this date was "I Forgot To Remember To Forget".
 
As soon as the show  finished, teens scrambled on stage to get his autograph, at the same time pushing Elvis   Presley against the fake fence backdrop. Later, it was reported by the Austin Statesman   (September 29, 1955) that "enthusiastic fans (mainly teenage girls) practically ripped him   apart before he even got on stage".

According to JoAnne Phillips, ''We had seats fairly close to the front. The stage was only about three feet high, with a fence background. As soon as Elvis walked on stage, there was a mass exodus of teens to sit on the floor directly in front of the stage. It was as close as we could get without being arrested''.

''Elvis was wearing a narrow belt with the buckle about halfway between his side and front. That was cool in 1955. I remember him singing, ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget'' because he looked at Melba, (Joann's cousin), smiled, and winked, and he promptly fell over my lap. She couldn't afford to really faint because she'd miss a second of seeing Elvis''.

''When the show was over, we all started up on stage to get our hands autographed. Everybody was pushing and shoving, and I got pushed jam up against Elvis. It was a little panicky. He was pushed against the fence and I was jammed against him. I could hear the fance creak. I was really afraid it would fall over, and everybody would either fall on us or trample us. It held. Elvis autographed our hands. Melba's mom said, 'C'Mon, JoAnne'. We started moving through the crowd, holding our hands up, as if under arrest. As we left Elvis reached up and caught me by the hand, squeezed it, and said, 'Goodbye, JoAnne'. With what little breath I had left, I could only manage a weak 'Bye'''. 
AUGUST 25, 1955 THURSDAY

CHANCE RECORD GIVES PRESLEY START TO TOP

(Above) Elvis Presley, a young man whose boppish approach to hillbilly music has made him one of  the hottest performers of the day, will be headlining a troupe of Louisiana Hayride stars  when they stage a Western music jamboree Thursday at 8 p.m. in the Sportcenter.
 
Appearing with Presley will be guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, his recording  partners, plus a dozen or so headliners from the nationally famed Louisiana Hayride show in  Shreveport.

Included on the bill will be such folk music specialists as Johnny Horton, Betty Amos, David  Houston, Dalton and Lulu Jo, Sonny Tremmell, Ray Gomer, Tillman Franks, and Willie  Birdbrain, the hillbilly comic.
 
During his comparatively short career in the music world, young Presley, the star of the  show, has made a spectacular climb to nationwide popularity.

About a year ago, Presley, Moore and Black were teaming up to make a personal record  when they were accidentally heard by a recording manager. Impressed by the rocking style  of Presley and his friends, the manager contracted the group to make a pressing whose  immediate success started the 20-year-old Presley on the way to his present position of  prominence.

Since that first disc - "That's All Right", - Presley has applied his half-bop, half-Western style  to such tunes as "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine", "Good Rockin' Tonight", "You're A  Heartbreaker", and "Milk Cow Blues Boogie", each of which has enjoyed wide popularity  throughout the country.

Sparks.....Bob Neal, currently working with Col. Tom Parker on promotion for the Hank Snow  show in the South, reports that he has Elvis Presley, Martha Carson, the Carlisles, Ferlin  Husky, J. E. and Maxine Brown and Onie Wheeler set for a week's trek beginning May 29.  Neal, who is Presley's personal manager, says the latter has a new release on Sun, "Baby,  Let's Play House" b/w "You're Right, I'm Left, She's Gone". Disc jockey’s may receive a copy  by writing him at 160 Union Street, Memphis, Neal says.
AUGUST 26, 1955 FRIDAY

The week-long tour ended with an 8:00 p.m. show in Conzales, Texas, at the city's semi-pro  Baseball Park and was sponsored by the Gonzales Quarterback club. Admission was seventy-five cents in advance and $1.00 at the door with  children allowed in for only a quarter. Headliner on the bill Elvis Presley with Scotty and Bill. Also on the bill, Johnny Horton, Betty Amos, Dalton and Lula-Jo, David Houston, Willie Birdbrain, and many others.
AUGUST 27, 1955 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley, along with the rest of his group of performers, was back on the Louisiana  Hayride in Shreveport.

For Charles ''The Cat'' Canfield, August 27 became a career highlight. Just out of the Navy, Charles was writing and performing traditional country songs in the style of Hank Williams. One night, he persuaded some local musicians to go with him to a recording studio after their gig, and during the night, they recorded a handful of Charles songs. When released, the A-side, ''Cry, Cry On'', got enough attention on the jukebox in Monroe for the Louisiana Hayride's Horace Logan to take notice. He called Canfield and invited him to be a special guest on the August 27 Louisiana Hayride show as an an emergency for Billy Walker, who had a car accident and couldn't be there. Charles got a spot in the first hour, beginning with ''Tennessee Saturday Night'', which led into Hayride star Jim Reeves' first appearance of the night. Johnny Horton had already brought the house down with a rendition of Bill Haley's ''Rock Around The Clock'', and Charles got the chance to close the first hour of the show, singing, ''Cry, Cry On''.

Jeanette Hicks opened the second hour, but what most of the audience was waiting for was the next artist, a young man dressed in pink and black, the same colours as the Cadillac he had parked outside. Charles thought he looked like a teddy bear when he came out ob stage, instantly going into one side of his brand-new record released, ''Mystery Train''. Like the rest of the cast, Elvis' slot was a two-song performance, followed by Dobber Johnson, Buddy Attaway, and Hoot and Curly. Elvis returned at 10:45 p.m. with two more songs, ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'' and Chuck Berry's ''Maybellene'', the song that Elvis had insisted on doing at every show during August.

When it was all over, Charles Canfield savoured his ''fifteen minutes'', sitting next to Presley and signing autographs for fans.
AUGUST 31, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Elvis, Scotty and Bill were interviewed by Elvis manager, Bob Neal, over WMPS radio in  Memphis, Tennessee, as a plug for Friday night's show in Texarkana. The interview had  originally been set up to publicize an appearance that Friday night in Texarkana, Arkansas,  but Elvis Presley spent most of the time talking about Colonel Tom Parker's plans for his  career. There was a sense of urgency and a gleeful tone in Elvis voice as he excitedly  described his bright future. "We want to invite everybody out to the show", said Scotty  Moore.

"And they've all been asking about the drummer who we had up there last time, D.J.  Fontana. He's going to be with us. He's a regular member of our band now...".
 
''Tell you what",  says Bob, "Before we call over some other folks here to talk, Elvis Presley, how you doin?".  "Fine, Robert, how you gettin' along?". "Oh, doin ' grand, I know all the folks down at  Texarkana been raising such a whoop and a holler for you come down and whoop and holler  at 'em that they got this great big double show scheduled for Friday night at the auditorium  down there. What do you think about it?". "Bob, I just wanted to say one thing. Friday night  we'll be down there, and I'll have a brand spanking new pose of Elvis for a picture, and  they'll be selling at the same old price of only a quarter. And I'll have about four or five  million of them. if anybody would like to have just one, why, I'll have plenty of 'em, before  the show, during intermission, after the show, the fact is, I may sell them out there all night  long. That's all I got to say", said Elvis Presley.

"I would like to invite everybody out Friday night to see our big show", he declares, "because  I don't know when we'll be coming back that way... It'll probably be a pretty long while  before we can come back to Texarkana", he concludes.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

INTERVIEW FOR ELVIS PRESLEY
FOR WMPS RADIO MEMPHIS 1955

WMPS RADIO, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
112 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
RECORDED: AUGUST 31, 1955
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER – BOB NEAL

01 – "INTERVIEW WITH BOB NEAL'' – 5:30
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - August 31, 1955
Released: - 2003
First appearance: - Gear Productions (CD) 500/200rpm ESP 0703 mono
IN THE EYE OF THE STORM
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-3-32 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, Bill Black
Interviewed by Bob Neal

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
BOB NEAL – was born to his missionary parents in the Belgian Congo on October 6, 1917 on  the continent of Africa. He spent his early years traveling between Africa and Europe as well  as the United States.

In the late 1940s, he had his own program on WMPS, "The Bob Neal Farm Hour". On that  show he featured nothing but country music.

Along came 1954 and Sam Phillips of Sun Records called Bob Neal and told him he had a new  act on his label and asked Bob if he could get him on a show. Bob put him on a show on  August 10, 1954 and in one interview, Bob said he was suprised at the great audience  reaction to a newcomer. Later on, he asked Elvis if he had a manager. That led to Bob  managing Elvis for about a year and a half.

Neal was said to have given Elvis a free ticket to attend a Jordanaires concert at Ellis  Auditorium. Bob introduced Elvis to the Jordanaires. He also arranged for the Speers portrait  photos of Elvis that were mass produced and sold at venues. He then accompanied Elvis and  his group to Cleveland for what was their first ''Northern'' personal appearance. From there,  he flew to New York with them for the failed Arthur Godfrey TV show audition in March  1955.

At some point in 1954, he arranged a tour for Elvis, the Louvin Brothers and Jim Ed and  Maxine Brown.

Like any new singer, getting the word out about them is part of the overall effort. In 1955,  Bob was able to prime the two main music publications of that era, Billboard and Cash Box  with plenty of material to use to help promote Elvis and generate interest in his career.

Johnny Cash told readers in a 1958 biography type article how Bob Neal came to be a part of  his life. It was around 1955; Bob was the manager of Elvis Presley in addition to his disc  jockey duties at WMPS. Johnny had just written and released a new tune called "Cry, Cry,  Cry". He had gotten the inspiration from a WSM disc jocky by the name of Eddie Hill. It seems  Eddie was frequently telling his listeners every show, "...Stay tuned, we're gonna bawl,  squall and run up the wall''. Johnny's first inclination was to make it a novelty song and call  it "You're Gonna Bawl, Bawl, Bawl'', but didn't like that and wrote his legendary classic.

Bob called Johnny one day and told him his record was getting a lot of requests at the  station. He also wanted to know if Johnny would be interested in doing a short tour with  Elvis, Webb Pierce and a few others. Johnny was so ecstatic about that offer that it wasn't  until after he had hung up that he realized he hadn't asked how much Bob was going to pay  him on the tour.

Bob's talent agency was known as Stars, Inc. In 1956, he was putting together a package of  shows that would take several artists on a tour through Florida during September and  October. The roster of entertainers was to include Johnny Cash, Sonny James, Roy Orbison  and the Teen Kings, Johnny Horton, Faron Young and others. That same 1956 column told  readers that Elvis played to a crowd of 14,000 at Russwood Park in a July 4, 1956 concert in  Memphis. It was a benefit show for the "Milk Fund''.

At the time Johnny's career was getting started, he was being managed by Dick Stuart,  another Memphis disc jockey. Dick arranged an audition for Johnny with the Louisiana  Hayride over KWKH out of Shreveport, Louisiana. One thing led to another - appearances  around the country and eventually leading to Nashville. On his debut appearance at WSM's  Grand Ole Opry, he sang "I Walk The Line". By that time, Bob Neal had become his manager.

Another aspect of the relationship with Elvis was a business partnership they formed that  became the original "Elvis Presley Enterprises''. The offices for their endeavor was at the  office Bob rented at 160 Union Avenue in Memphis. His wife, Helen the secretary.

When Bob took Johnny to the Louisiana Hayride, it may have led to other endeavors on his  part as well. In 1958, one article reported that Bob Neal was the new owner of radio station  KCIJ in Shreveport.

While managing Johnny, he gave his career a different turn. He wasn't the first singer to try  it - a movie role to broaden his audience appeal. Elvis had done "G. I. Blues" around that  time. Johnny found himself in "Five Minutes To Live".

A 1963 article notes that Bob had a hand in the Wil-Helm Talent Agency that was created by  the Wilburn Brothers and Don Helms; whether this was a business arrangement or friendly  professional assistance wasn't clear. However, a later article glossing through the historical  events over a period of time noted that Bob "left" the Wil-Helm agency in 1963 to form his  own agency.

In 1966, Bob handled the bookings for the Compton Brothers on the East Coast. Around that  time they had signed to be regulars on the WWVA Jamboree over in Wheeling, West Virginia.  The OMAC agency was to handle their bookings on the west coast. That's the same group  that handled Buck Owens.

Early in 1966, Bob included a news item in Country Music Life describing the success his  agency saw in 1965. It was his best year since he had moved operations to Nashville and  stated that he would have to limit the number of artists he represented to be able to offer  them the best effort of his agency. At the time he was representing Carl Belew, Tommy Cash,  Stonewall Jackson, Sonny James, Warner Mack, Johnny Paycheck, Pete Drake, Connie Hall  and Jimmy Martin.

In 1966, he began to book Jack Reno who had just left his disc jockey position at WXCL in  Peoria, Illinois.

We continue to see evidence of how Bob was able to get his roster of talent included in the  news of the day. Another 1966 article notes that Bob had Stonewall Jackson heavily booked  for a couple of months, including a 15-day tour to Japan in May.

When Johnny Paycheck released his Little Darlin' record, "The Lovin' Machine" in 1966, it set  off a flury of activity for Johnny. After finishing a tour in the northeast, he was set to work  with the Jayne Mansfield show in Florida for a 29-day tour in the southern part of the USA.  Bob and Aubrey Mayhew were also trying to put together a syndicated television show for  Johnny as well.

Late in 1966, he added Montie Lee (the older brother of Melba Montgomery) to his stable of  artists that he was managing. And showing no signs of slowing down, he later added Ruby  Wright, then on Epic Records, Clyde Pitts of Columbia Records and Warner Mack, on Decca at  the time.

Again late 1966, his agency made the news by arranging to have Conway Twitty and the  Lonely Blue Boys make their first appearance in Nashville after Conway's switch to country  music. The appearance was to be at the Nashville Police Department Show on October 15  and 16, 1966.

Bob was proving to be quite an astute business person at promotion. In an August 1966  article, he announced he had a 37% increase in gross bookings over the same five month  period in 1965 and expressed satisfaction that gross commission earnings were up for the  Bob Neal Agency. He noted that 1966 was shaping up to be the best year yet for his agency.  Bob Neal died on May 9, 1983.
SEPTEMBER 1955

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

There are no indications that Elvis worked during the early part of the week. He did cut a radio promo for Jim Le Fan in Texarkana, and the most certainly got ahaircut. The Colonel had managed to find Elvis a place on a show at Pontchartrain Beach in New Orleans, where disc jockey show host Red Smith had listen ''Baby Let's Play House'' in his top ten for weeks.
(Above) The Louisiana Hayride Crew. From left: Scotty Moore, Jack Cardwell, Roy Parker, Jimmy Swan, Ernie Chaffin, Mrs. Jimmie Rogers,   Al Terry, Jim Reeves, Jeff Bidderson, Lawton Williams, Luke McDaniel, Joe Clay, Elvis Presley. In  front: Ann Raye with Red Smith.
 
SEPTEMBER 1, 1955 THURSDAY

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

The show was a  celebration for disc jockey Red Smith of WBOK radio. The entertainment began at 7:00 p.m.  with the Flying LaVals as well as Risko and Nina.
 
At 7:20, everyone enjoyed the Miss Hillbilly  Dumplin' Contest featuring "lovely, luscious teenagers" who competed to win an allexpenses- paid vacation to Ocean Hills Resort in Biloxi The musical portion of the  entertainment began at 9:30 p.m. Prior to Elvis' portion of the show, Mrs. Jimmie Rodgers  made a personal appearance, followed by Jim Reeves, Al Terry, Jack Cardwell, Jimmy Swan,  Ernie Chafin, Ann Raye, Ray Parker, and Hillbilly Evans. The show was open to everyone at  the fairgrounds, and rides, including one of the world's largest roller coasters, were $ 1.00  for adults en 50-cents for children under twelve. That night, Joe Clay sat in on drums, because D.J. Fontana wasn't feeling well.

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

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

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

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

As usual, as a result of his uncontrolled energy and passion for music, Elvis Presley combined  his performing with the interest of a fan, and so drove out to Rampart Street and looked in  on the Astora, Blue Eagle, and Tiajuana clubs before calling it a night in New Orleans.
 
Frank Barhanovich said once when Elvis Presley and his daughter, Ann, were appearing on a New  Orleans television interview show, "he told Ann, 'How about being my girlfriend?'. And Ann  told Elvis, 'You're like a sailor. You got a girl in every port'. At that time, he asked me to  manage him. I told him I had a career in the insurance business and I was devoting a lot of  my time to me daughter".
 
He said, also, he felt managing both young singers would have been a bit uneasy. Ann had  made up to seven hundred and fifty dollars when she was only fourteen and he was  dedicated to advancing her career at that moment.
 
"I had an opportunity", he said of Elvis'  offer, "but I passed it up. My daughter had never appeared in a night club. I wouldn't do it.  One time we were booked with Elvis Presley in Lafayette, Louisiana. The contract called for  her to go to the Moulin Rouge night club, but I told the manager, 'We don't take our daughter  into a night club. You can take Elvis, but not my daughter". Elvis, he said, was not the first  name entertainer to ask that he become a manager. Hank Williams had asked earlier. "I just  felt like it would be a conflict of interest", he said. "If he would have let me manage him in  addition to my insurance business, it would have been OK, but I would have had to travel all  over". Barhanovich said he never felt regrets about his decision later. "I think I made acareer out of my business", he said. He later became a district manager before retiring from  the insurance profession.

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

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

Joel Scarborough says, ''I knew Red Smith when I was 14 years old. He allowed me to hang around the radio station of WBOK on Saturday mornings to pull requested records for his radio show. I met Elvis when he and Scotty Moore came to the radio station before the Pontchartrain Beach show. I was a poor kid from the St. Thomas housing projects and Elvis noticed that the soles of my shoes were flopping. They took up a collection and gave me $11 to buy a pair shoes. Elvis also gave me an autograph copy of ''Mystery Train'' on Sun label''.
SEPTEMBER 2, 1955 FRIDAY

In the early morning hours, while driving from New Orleans to Texarkana, Elvis Presley was  once again ticketed for speeding. In the late afternoon, someone other than Elvis Presley  (probably one of his cousins) was behind the wheel as they were headed north about fifteen  miles from Texarkana. 
 
A man named Robinson was in his pickup truck going south when he  unexpectedly turned in front of Elvis' car. No one was seriously hurt, but damage to Elvis'  three-month old 1955 Cadillac was estimated at more than $1,000. The incident made news  broadcast from Florida to Texas. (This information is from Ailene Ray who lived on Highway  71 at the site of the accident).
 
According to Elvis' manager Bob Neal, ''They had done a show in New Orleans, got paid off late, got a speeding ticket on the way.
 
Time came for them to show, and they weren't there, so the other performers kept working. Then Elvis called and told about their having a wreck about seven or eights miles from town. Scotty was driving, passing a pick-up truck, which pulled to the right, then made a left turn. Scotty chose a ditch. No one was seriously hurt''.
 
Elvis Presley and his band were booked to perform in Texarkana with Johnny Cash, Charlene  Arthur, Floyd Cramer and Jimmy Day at the Arkansas Municipal Auditorium. The first show  began at 7 o'clock, to be followed by another at nine. 
 
When it was learned that Elvis Presley  would be arriving late, a call went out for Cheesie Nelson, who was located with Pat Cupp at  Lee's Drive Inn where they had gone following their High School football game. The pair  rushed to the Auditorium. When Elvis Presley failed to arrive for his entrance, Nelson  entertained the crowd for about thirty minutes.
 
He was backed by Scotty Moore and Bill  Black, who apparently were travelling ahead of Elvis Presley and knew nothing about the  accident. As soon as Elvis Presley showed up, he was rushed on stage in the same clothes he  had been wearing in the car.
 
Elvis Presley informed the crowd: "I've had a few surprises recently, now here's one for  you...". Elvis Presley than began to perform a cover version of Faye Adams' 1953 rhythm and  blues hit, "Shake A Hand". An interesting sidelight to the evening is the fact that Floyd  Cramer played the piano during Elvis' appearance. The show, however, was generally  lackluster, with Elvis Presley showing signs of fatigue. Obviously under great strain, Elvis  Presley complained to Johnny Cash that the price of sudden fame was becoming  burdensome. As his tour continued, Elvis Presley betrayed visible signs of the strain brought  on by constantly being in the public eye.

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

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

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

All Texarkana shows are in the main body of text even though in some cases the exact date  is, at best, an educated guess.
The true story of the Tale of two friends: Inspired by Elvis, Cheesie Nelson’s impersonation    now a part of local history by Jim Williamson, published in the Texarkana Gazette, November 24, 2011 .

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

''Cheesie did his perfected impersonation of Elvis for 30 minutes'', wrote the late Jerry  Atkins, a local music historian, in an article ''I'm a Long Gone Daddy; The Music of Pat Cupp''.  Cupp was a guitarist, and shortly after Elvis’ first song, ''That’s All Right'', was released,  Nelson and Cupp learned the song. It was Cupp's influence that helped develop Nelson’s  skills. ''Pat Cupp was the musician, and he helped develop Cheesie’s singing skills'', said  Tamar Nelson-Pennington, Cheesie's widow.
 
The first time Nelson-Pennington saw her future husband, he came to her school, Texas  High, to entertain the students. He brought Cupp with him and he performed the song ''My  Babe''. She remembered the song had the lyric ''When she’s hot, she tells me to cool her'',  which Nelson sang. The crowd gasped about the forbidden implication. The high school  principal banned him from a return engagement. He continued his performances in other  venues and bought the Elvis single record. He and Cupp worked out songs to perform for  their friends.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Years later, Cheesie said, ''I've been a president of a college and have done a lot of volunteer  work. But I'm always going to be known as an Elvis impersonator'', Nelson-Pennington said.
SEPTEMBER 2-9, 1955 FRIDAY / FRIDAY

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

The conversation about Elvis Presley was all but forgotten as Berry performed his first show  at the Paramount. "I realized during those shows that my music and Elvis Presley's records  were creating a new sound", recalled Chuck Berry.
SEPTEMBER 2-3, 1955 FRIDAY / SATURDAY

The same August 6, 1955, item in Billboard that referred to Elvis Presley returning from the  West Coast, mentions the following items of interest: "Casey Clark, Detroit, has the same  unit (Elvis Presley and the Browns) set for September 2-3, 1955, with other dates in the  Motor City area pending".
 
It is unclear whether Clark had "set" Elvis Presley for Detroit,  Michigan, which would seem to be what is implied, or whether the bookings were  elsewhere. At any rate, Elvis Presley reportedly played the Big D Jamboree on September 3  and, so far as can be determined, did not play Detroit until May 1956.
 
The band were now in desperate need of transportation, as the pink Cadillac needed serious repair work. Either before the trip to Dallas, or on the way back, Elvis bought a yellow Cadillac Convertible for $4,995 in Texarkana. Due to the three accidents Elvis had already piled up to date, Sam Phillips ended up having to put the new vehicle on his insurance policy.
SEPTEMBER 3, 1955 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley appeared on the Big D Jamboree in Dallas, Texas. Each ticket also allowed fans  a free bus ride home. Tommy Sands remembered that Elvis Presley looked worn out.
 
Elvis  Presley discussed his feelings with Sands, and went on at length about Bill Black's idea that  Elvis Presley should record more country songs. "Elvis had a weary look to him", Sands  remarked. "The strain showed in his face and his clothes hung on his thin frame. Elvis  weighed about 160 pounds and appeared haggard in concert", Sands noted. When he  graduated from Humes High, Elvis Presley had weighed 185 pounds. The road was taking its  toll, but he drove on relentlessly in pursuit of stardom.

Starring this night also the Belew Twins, Helen Hall, Jimmie Collie, Lafawn Paul, The Big D Gang. Show broadcast on KRLD at 8:30 midnight CBS Saturday night country style, coas to coast.
Dallas newspaper article says:  FOR JAMBOREE
The Big D Jamboree country music show at the Sportatorium Saturday night will feature one of the brightest new stars in the field when Elvis Presley returns for a special guest booking.

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

Presley, now 21 years old, has his largest following in the bobby-sox field.  A special feature of the Jamboree starting this Saturday will be the show's new policy of paying bur fare home for patrons.
SEPTEMBER 4, 1955 SUNDAY

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

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

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

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

The Colonel wrote: ''I'm sure you can pick up single dates in localities, where I have promoted Elvis, at $350, $400, and possibly $500''. Colonel Parker completely ignored the fact that, with a few exceptions, the only areas where Bob Neal and his connections hadn't done the groundwork, were Florida and the Carolinas. The nature of the Colonel's promotion was basically to include Elvis on the show, pay him modestly, and Elvis would then himself do the real promotion by stealing the show. The Colonel did get Elvis $5000 for each of the Norfolk dates, but those dates included two shows per day. Bob and Elvis' protests did, however, make some impression, as the colonel was quick to come back with a deal to bring in $300 per show for five shows in Cleveland and St. Louis. The shows were actually arranged by promotion man Oscar Davis.
SEPTEMBER 5, 1955 MONDAY

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

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

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

A local musician and sometime drummer for Roy Orbison, Ollie Warren, a high school student at the time, recalls meeting Gladys   Presley at this show as she sat in the Crown Victoria parked behind the flatbed trailer on   which Elvis was performing. Warren says, ''Elvis was playing on a flatbed trailer at the football field when I was in high school at Forrest City, Arkansas. My best friend Bobby White and I had just finished high school band practice, and decided to walk over to the football field to see what was going on. We saw a pink and white Ford Crown Victoria parked behind the flatbed. As we stòod there admiring it, the field lights were reflecting off the windows and we couldn't see inside, so I put my face up to the window to shield it from the light. Gladys Presley was looking at me from the other side, 'Honey, can I help you\ ? I told her I was just admiring the car. She told us that Elvis was her son and asked if we'd ever met him. We said we hadn't, and she invited us to sit in the back seat until he finished his set and said she'd introduce us to him. In a few minutes, he showed up. We talked for a while, he autographed a picture for me, and then he headed back for the next set. Gladys hugged us and invited us to visit them in Memphis. She was really a nice person''.
SEPTEMBER 6, 1955 TUESDAY

In Bono, Arkansas, population 311, Elvis Presley and his show drew a reported 1,152 paid  admission for their 8 o'clock appearance at the Bono High School Gymnasium. Elvis' play list  included "Milkcow Blues Boogie", "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", "Mystery Train", "I Forgot To  Remember To Forget", "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Amazing Grace".
 
Also on stage were Eddie Bond, Johnny  Cash and Carl Perkins. Outside the building, cars were parked on both sides of U.S. Highway  63 all the way to the city limits, and when Elvis Presley arrived he had difficulty finding a  place to park his Cadillac. According to Larry Donn Gillihan, an aspiring rock 'n' roller from  Bono at this time, the crowd was double the normal capacity of the small gym, and the floor  began to sag near the front entrance. Elvis Presley performed wearing black pegged pants  and matching shirt, with a rust-colour jacket.
 
During the show, he complained that his pants  were too large and teased the younger women that they might fall down at any minute.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

''Elvis performed all the music that he had recorded, beginning with ''That's All Right'' and including ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'' and ''Milkcow Blues Boogie''. At one point, as the floor group bounced and swayed to the beat of the rocking music, the floor suddenly sank six inches in front of them, with Elvis hollering, 'Whoa'! Laughter broke out, and then on with the show. He spent a lot of time laughing and joking with the girls, as they would scream at every move. He closed with a gospel song''.
SEPTEMBER 7, 1955 WEDNESDAY

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

In anticipation of the upcoming expiration of his one-year contract with the Hayride, a  completely new document was drawn up on September 8.
 
It was probably signed in Memphis  as Elvis Presley passed through en route from Sikeston to Clarksdale. There were three  major changes. First, the contract was only for Elvis Presley and did not include Scotty  Moore and Bill Black, who signed separate contracts. Second, the clause in his original  contract allowing only one missed performance every three months was altered to allow him  to miss one show each 60 days without penalty. Finally, Elvis' fee jumped from union scale  (418) to $200 per show. The contract, was effective November 12, 1955, and ran for 52  consecutive Saturdays. As in November 1954, this document was co-signed by his parents  since Elvis Presley was four months shy of his twenty-first birthday.

According to Earl Wade, ''When Presley returned on September 7, attendance topped 1,100 at the Armory, with some even turned away at the door. Johnny Cash also appeared with Presley. This time, Presley was dressed a little better and arrived in a Cadillac. His parents, Gladys and Vernon Presley, were also along''.
SEPTEMBER 8, 1955 THURSDAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bobby E. Moore says, ''He was here three times. The first time, there were very few people there. The second and the third time, it was packed. Elvis used to hang around a drive-in called ''The Ranchero''. It used to have carhops coming out. He was sitting backstage on a piano and everybody filed by, and he was singing autographs. They sold pictures in the intermission time. He said, 'If you buy pictures, I will autograph them when the show is over'. I don't remember if it was pink jacket and white pants or the other way around. In the auditorium we had these old, big Shure mics with the big stands, and he would roll them around, and tangle them all up, so the engineers would have to redo all the mic chords after the show. He would sing, and then turn his back to the audience, and he'd pull the comb out''.
SEPTEMBER 9, 1955 FRIDAY

A receipt from Plastic Products Company, the pressing plant for Sun Records, to Binkley  Distribution Company in Jacksonville, Florida, shows the strength of Elvis' records. The  Florida company ordered fifty 78s and a hundred-seventy-five 45s of "That's All Right", fifty  78s and a hundred 45s of "Good Rockin' Tonight", fifty 78s and a hundred 45s of "Milkcow  Blues Boogie", and a hundred 78s and three hundred 45s of "Baby Let's Play House".
 
McComb, Mississippi, played host to the "Folk-Music Fireball", as the quarter-page  announcement in the local paper referred to Elvis Presley.   Still touring with Elvis Presley  were Johnny Cash, Bud Deckelman, Floyd Cramer and Jimmy Day. The show, which was  promoted by Ralph Mathis, was held in the McComb High School Auditorium at 8:00 p.m.

Following the show, Scotty Moore, Bill Black and D.J. Fontana took the instruments and  drove east toward Norfolk, Virginia. Elvis Presley travelled west to Shreveport.
 
McComb is the most famous native of this southern Mississippi town, 20 miles from the  Louisiana border, was born Elias Bates McDaniels on December 30, 1928. As a child he saw  adults play a strange custom-built instrument, little more than a piece of wire stretched  against a door and bridged in the middle by a stone, which they called a didleybow. He  inverted the word to get "Bo Didley", which he used both for his stage name and for the title  of his 1955 debut single, a Top 10 rhythm and blues hit.

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

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

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

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

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

Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and D.J. Fontana, loaded up the car and took the long drive up to Norfolk for the scheduled show on Sunday, while Elvis headed for Shreveport to do the Saturday Hayride show on his own, then fly onto Norfolk.
SEPTEMBER 10, 1955 SATURDAY

Billboard, based on the intensive chart action of "Mystery Train" and "I Forgot To Remember  To Forget" placed the single in "This Week's Best Buys" section, reporting that "Presley has  been coming more and more to the forefront. His current record has wasted to time in  establishing itself".
 
Billboard placed "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" at number 1 in Memphis. "Mystery Train"  was number 4 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and number 5 in Houston.
 
The chart gains were  due to the promotional efforts of the Big State Record Distributors, which concentrated upon  Tennessee and Texas, where Elvis Presley was a strong regional act, but also had field representatives in Louisiana, Missouri, and Virginia, something which paid off in large record  sales in these areas. In New Orleans, "Mystery Train" was number 8 on the local charts.
 
"Baby Let's Play House" was number 4 in St. Louis, and number 8 in Richmond, Virginia.  Billboard placed "Mystery Train" number 14 and "Baby Let's Play House" number 15 on the  Country and Western charts. In terms of radio airplay, "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" was  rated 10, and "Baby Let's Play House" number 15.

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

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

Tom Parker writes Tom Diskin to tell him te remind Elvis how difficult it is to get enough  dates to make up a good tour. In a second letter Parker tells his lieutenant to be sure to  ''talk to Presley alone, take him to lunch or get him in your room'', so as to convey two  linked ideas: first, that Parker is doing more for Elvis than he would for anyone else,  unless he was being paid ''big dough''; and second, that while ''we are going ahead with  great plans.. if we are to be checked every time, we better work out a finish''.
SEPTEMBER 11-12, 1955 SUNDAY / MONDAY

In Norfolk, Virginia, Elvis Presley joined another leg of the "Hank Snow All Star Jamboree"  tour. However, according to the advertisement in the Virginia Post, this time Elvis Presley  was the headliner.  The remainder of the Snow aggregation featured the Louvin Brothers and  the Alabama Sand Dusters, Cowboy Copas, Jimmie Rodgers Snow, and Hank Snow's Rainbow  Ranch Boys.
 
This "Return Engagement" in Norfolk by Elvis Presley was "By Popular Demand". There were  two shows on Sunday at the Norfolk City Auditorium, at 3:00 and 8:00 p.m., and one show,  at 8:00 p.m. on Monday. Portions of at least one performance were broadcast over WCMS  radio, which promoted the show. According to Sheriff Tex Davis of WCMS, the show "broke all  attendance records for the town". Reporting on the crowd's reaction to Elvis Presley, Davis  told Billboard that "the teenagers went wild when he went into his act. The girls mobbed  him afterward and literally tore his cloches apart for souvenirs". Admission was $1.50 with  Children only $1.00.

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

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

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

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

Whether Elvis accepted the Colonel's invitation to visit on his way home is not known. two days earlier, Bob Neal had invited Colonel Parker and Tom Diskin down to Memphis on the weekend so that they could ''settle the matter'', and then Jamboree Attractions could go back to being just another talent buyer. Although it seems such a meeting never took place, there's indication that this was indeed the arrangement until October 18.
GENE VINCENT - (1935-1971) Rockabilly singer born Vincent Eugene Craddock in Norfolk,  Virginia. Vincent was born on February 11, 1935 (just thirty-four days after Elvis Presley).  Discovered by disc jockey Bill Randle, Vincent was one of the early rock and roll artists,  reaching the charts in 1956 with "Be-Bop-a-Hula" (Capitol 3450).

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

He became  the first singer to perform in black leather. Capitol Records signed him to their label,  hoping he could compete with Elvis. Vincent's backup group was called the Blue Caps.
 
Tommy Facenda, who had the 1959 hit "High School U.S.A." was once a member of the  Blue Caps. (Members of the Blue Caps were: Galloping Cliff Gallup, Wee Willie Williams,  Be-Bop Harrell, and Jumpin' Jack Neal). The group had named itself after President Dwight  D. Eisenhower's favorite blue golf cap. In 1968 Gene Vincent recorded the song "Story Of  The Rocker" (Playground 100) and (Forever FR 6001), in which he mentioned Elvis Presley.  Gene Vincent died on October 12, 1971.
SEPTEMBER 1955

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

To some observers, there were signs of change in Elvis' life, however. Ronald Smith   remembers Elvis' circle of friends tightening. "One night Elvis wanted to go roller skating. It   was too hot and muggy", Smith recalled. "So Kenneth Herman and I decided to do something   else. Before we left, George Klein stared hostilely at us". Smith was perplexed. Klein seemed   abusive and aggressive. "If Elvis wants to go roller skating, guys", Klein stated, "then we go  roller skating". In disgust, Smith and Herman left Elvis' inner circle - they couldn't believe   the sycophantic behaviour of some of Elvis' superficial friends, and were annoyed about the   way Elvis' so-called friends were simply using him to meet girls. "Elvis also had a dark side",   Smith recalled. "He was a wonderful guy, but the pressure from his friends changed him".
1414 GETWELL STREET - By mid-1955 (September), Elvis Presley was making enough money to move the  family again, a little farther east, to 1414 Getwell Street. The family lived here until May 1 956, but because of increasing numbers of performances Elvis Presley was seldom home.  The family life here between January and March of 1956, Elvis Presley appeared on the  program "Stage Show", hosted by big band leaders Tommy Dorsey and Jimmy Dorsey, six  times.
 
On April 3, 1956, Elvis Presley was a guest on "The Milton Berle Show" broadcast from  the deck of the USS Hancock, then docked in San Diego. Gladys and Vernon Presley, and  Minnie Mae were home at 1414 Getwell Street watching Elvis Presley and Milton Berle   perform.

In 1989 the house was moved to make way for a Chief Auto Parts Store. A few years ago the  intersection where the Presley's house stood was zoned for business. However, the neighbourhood retains the flavour from when they lived there, clearly an improvement from  their Lamar Avenue home. The owner tried to restore it as a tourist attraction, but all  attempts to preserve the Getwell house failed when it burned in 1994. This location is now a business in a strip of shops on Getwell.
SEPTEMBER 13, 1955 TUESDAY

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

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

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

In order to be certain that Elvis and the band are fully covered (and Sun Records does not  suffer any undue liability exposure), Sam Phillips takes out an insurance policy on the yellow 1954 Eldorado that Elvis purchased earlier in the month. Phillips lists himself as ''named  insured'', and 2414 Lamar (Elvis' residence) as the principal place of garaging, though within  a matter of weeks the Presleys will move around the corner, to 1414 Getwell Street, where  they will pay $85 a month in rent.
SEPTEMBER 14, 1955 WEDNESDAY

The Elvis Presley group moved on to Wilson, North Carolina, for an 8:00 p.m. show at   Fleming Stadium. Elvis Presley was brought to Wilson by Slim Short (real name Bob Allen), a   local disc jockey on WGTM. Tickets for the show, which were only $1.00 in advance and   $1.25 the night of the show, were badly oversold. Some 2,000 fans crowded the stadium.   Elvis Presley came on stage last, following Cowboy Copas, the Louvin Brothers and the   Alabama Sand Dusters.
 
When he bounded up the stairs to the stage, he slipped and fell. His  composure was rattled, and he told a few jokes while he got his bearing. Following the show,   Elvis Presley ate at Cliff's Drive-In.   Slim Whitman said in an interview that he and Elvis Presley played in Rocky Mount, North   Carolina, presumably in 1955. It is possible that Whitman confused the similar-sounding High   Point or even the nearby town of Wilson.
SEPTEMBER 15, 1955 THURSDAY

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

Tickets were $1.00 in advance from the Roanoke Record Shop or $1.25 at the door.  The show was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, which was raising money to support  the children's sandlot baseball program.
 
As the Hank Snow tour progressed, Elvis' charismatic touch was repeated in city after city.  There were signs at all the concerts of a special feeling between Elvis Presley and his fans,  who threw flowers, notes, and assorted gifts onto the stage.
 
The feeling of love and  identification with the music seemed to go far beyond previous concert scenes. Such a  feeling was evident between September 11 to 22, 1955, as crowd grew larger and more  boisterous, and audience cheered Elvis Presley while ignoring the other acts.

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

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

Although all decisions with respect to Elvis' career must by contract go through Parker's  office, Bob Neal negotiates a new one-year contract with the Hayride, at $200 a  performance, a raise of over 1000 percent. Vernon Presley signs the agreement, which goes  into effect November 11, 1955, and carries a penalty of $400 for each missed performance  beyond the one every two months allowed. One can only surmise that this represents one  last attempt by Neal to assert his independence and that it is endored by Vernon out of an  ingrained hunger for financial security and an almost desperate uncertainty about the  future.
SEPTEMBER 16, 1955 FRIDAY

The Hank Snow caravan stopped for an 8:15 p.m. show in Asheville, North Carolina, at the  City Auditorium. Emcees for the show were Red Kirk and Ken Marvin. Tickets were $1.25 for  adults and 50-cents for children.
 
The Asheville newspaper ad read: "Grand Ole Opry Will Play  Here Tomorrow Night. A none night showing of the Grand Ole Opry will be held in the City  Auditorium beginning at 8:15 p.m. tomorrow.
 
Highlighting the program will be Hank Snow, Louvin Brothers, MGM recording stars, Cowboy  Copas, Rainbow Ranch Boys, Scotty and Bill, Alabama Sanddusters, Ken Marvin, Red Kirk and  Elvis Presley. Tickets may be purchased at the record counter of J.J. Newberry's Store, 41  Patton Avenue".
 
According to Lois Angel, ''It was a beautiful September day; I'd looked forward all day to being with my friends and going to the big show. Hank Snow Jamboree was performing that evening. My date and I were especially fond of the Louvin Brothers, a popular group at the time. We were anxious to see them perform live and in person. We got with our friends and set out together to see the show. The tickets were a whopping $1.00 or 1.25 for adults, more than the price of a movie at that time. We had center seats near the front and close to the stage. Only one person in our group had ever heard the name ''Elvis'' and none of us knew anything about him. We'd never seen him or listened to him on the radio. Unknown to us, he had performed in Asheville a few months earlier and was back by popular demand. So, when the group of girls seated behind us started screaming his name all during the show, we wondered, 'Who is this Elvis'? We actually laughed a little at the unusual name''.

''As the show progressed act after act, the girls behind us continued to scream for Elvis. They saved Elvis, Scotty, and Bill for last act of the show and, finally, the time arrived. I was getting prepared to laugh at this character with the strange name. I thought he must be a comedian. The music began, the curtain opened with Scotty and Bill in their places on the stage. The screaming grew louder as Elvis burst onto the stage in his rose red suit, white bucks, and pink shirt. His brownish hair bounced around on his forehead as he moved so gracefully onto the stage. He was tall, slender, and very handsome. He appeared to be in complete control and totally comfortable with what he was doing. His mannerisms were just smooth and wonderful. One of the first things he did amidst the screaming was to walk over to an old piano on stage, take a big wad of chewing gum out of his mouth and stick it on the side of the piano. He turned to the audience and said, 'Don't let me forget that'. They had us laughing at their antics. Elvis pretended to forget the names of the songs as he told us what they were going to do next. He'd scratch his head and turn to Scotty and Bill for help with the song titles when he obviously knew exactly what he was doing. They made us laugh, they made us clap and scream as they played, and Elvis sang and played, ''That's All Right'', Shake, Rattle And Roll'', and a few other songs, which titles I no longer recall. Bill got excited and started riding that bass fiddle around the stage as the audience clapped and screamed. The sounds they made together were absolutely magical. They were perfect together. The audience loved them''.
SEPTEMBER 17, 1955 SATURDAY

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

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

The bickering between Tom Parker and Bob Neal continues. After being pushed mercilessly   by Parker, Neal pulls out of their joint arrangement, terming his withdrawal a ''pleasant   parting''. Parker immediately sends copies of the correspondence to Elvis, expressing the   hope that they will be able to work together again in future and concluding somewhat   disingenuously, ''Sincerely, Your Pal, The Colonel''.
SEPTEMBER 18- 19, 1955 SUNDAY / MONDAY

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

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

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

Other headliners on the two-hour shows will be Cowboy Copas and the Louvin brothers''.
SEPTEMBER 20, 1955 TUESDAY

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

Artikel in the Danville newspaper says, ''The greatest hillbilly show ever to be presented in Danville is coming to the WDVA Barn at the Danville Fairgrounds this Tuesday evening. It's the big Grand Ole Opry Show, a mammoth hour-and-a-half of solid entertainment! Be on hand for songs by the popular Louivin Brothers, the Nation Number One Singers of Gospel Songs, with their Alabama Sanddusters; handsome Elvis Presley, the 17-year-old hillbilly sensation of Louisiana Hayride; and famous Cowbow Copas! Following the show will be round and square dancing 'til midnight, to the music of Clyde Moody and his Woodchoppers! This double-header brings you all this entertainment for just $1.00, tax included.
SEPTEMBER 21, 1955 WEDNESDAY

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

The Raleigh newspaper reports, ''Elvis Presley, the 20-year-old fireball from the Louisiana Hayride Show, is coming in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium for a personal appearance on Wednesday at 8 p.m. Presley combines country music with bop. Some of his hit records have included, ''That's All Right'', ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', ''Good Rockin' Tonight'', and ''Milk Cow Blues Boogie''. His musical sidekicks are Scotty Moore, playing the hot guitar, and Bill Black, thumping the bass.
SEPTEMBER 22, 1955 THURSDAY

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

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

When it was all over, Elvis Presley and his band loaded their vehicles and truck out for  Shreveport.
ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK - "Rock Around The Clock" was written in 1953 by Max C.  Freedman and Jimmy De Knight (real name: James E. Myers).

At the time, Freedman was 58  years old! The title first considered for the composition was "Dance Around The Clock".  Freedman and De Knight reportedly based the tune on an old rhythm and blues song called  "My Daddy Rocks Me With A Steady Roll". 
 
"Rock Around The Clock" was originally recorded by Sonny Dae and His Knights (Arcade 123)  in 1953. The following year, on April 12, 1954, Bill Haley recorded the song in the same  session as "Shake, Rattle And Roll". The famous guitar breaks was played by Danny Cedrone.  When first released, "Rock Around The Clock" (Decca 29124) sold poorly.
 
The label listed the  song as a fox-trot! It wasn't until the 1955 movie "Blackboard Jungle" hit the theatres that  "Rock Around The Clock" gained popularity. The song served as the film's opening and closing  theme.
 
"Rock Around The Clock" reached number one on Billboard's Top 100 chart, where it stayed  for eight weeks. Over the years, it has been on the charts for a total of 43 weeks. The song  also reached number 4 on the rhythm and blues charts. Sales of over 25 million copies  worldwide are claimed for Bill Haley's release. It was the first record in England to become a  million-seller. Because it was used as the theme song for the TV series "Happy Days", "Rock  Around The Clock" re-entered the Hot 100 chart in 1974, reaching number 39.
SEPTEMBER 23, 1955 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley returned for one day to Memphis, he found that Colonel Tom Parker had been  working diligently to secure a recording contract for him. Elvis Presley called Tom Parker  shortly after coming home to inquire about negotiations with the major record labels.
 
The  Colonel didn't have good news. It appeared that many of the labels were still unsure about  marketing Elvis Presley, although there was strong interest from RCA Victor.
 
Back home, Elvis attends an All-Night Singing put on by the Blackwood Brothers at Ellis  Auditorium. When James Blackwood discovers that Elvis has purchased his own ticket to get  in, he sends his apologies along with a refund check.
SEPTEMBER 24, 1955 SATURDAY

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

Newspaper advertisement now lists Elvis Presley at the top of the bill.
SEPTEMBER 26, 1955 MONDAY

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

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

The librarian in Andrews, Texas informed that the librarian in Big Spring had given her the   information that Elvis Presley had appeared in Big Spring at the Ritz Theater. Upon checking   with the librarian in Big Spring, she did not know where that information came from and she  was unable to come up with anything concrete. Too bad - its an open date.
 
The Gross receipts for touring in September totaled $3,300, it would be the last month for the original 50-25-25 split between Elvis, Scotty, and Bill. As of October 1, Elvis' band, including D.J. Fontana, got weekly salaries of $200 when they were working and $100 when they were not.
_______________________________

Gilmer newspaper article with a headliner says, ''Lion Club Brings ''Louisiana 
Hayride To Gilmer for Monady Night Show''
 
''Radio's famed Louisiana Hayride is coming to Gilmore, next Monday night for an appearance at 8 p.m. in the Junior High School Gym. The Gilmore Lions Club will sponsor the show and the Lions urge everyone who is planning to attend to buy tickets in advance. Most of the club's profilt will come from advance ticket sales. Each Lion has tickets in sell and they have been distributed to most schools in the country. Price is $1 for adults and 50c for children.
 
The club will use the money for work with cripped children including the Lions cripped children camp at Kerrville, and to help Upsher County childrens who need glasses or have other vision handicaps.
 
Elvis Presley, popular ''Hayride'' singer, will be on hand along with Scotty and Bill and two other stars, J.E. and Maxine Brown. The gym will ring with such numbers as ''That's All Right'', ''Heartbreaker'', ''Looking Back To See'' and ''You Thought What I Thought''.
JOHNNY HORTON - Horton was from Tyler, a town in East Texas, and had a rabid local  following. Like Elvis, he also appeared on the "Louisiana Hayride", and was an accomplished  honky-tonk singer. Horton's vocals featured a growl borrowed from T. Texas Tyler, and his  rockabilly signature song, "Honky Tonk Man", was a crowd pleaser.  Rising to the challenge, Elvis Presley unleashed Scotty Moore's strong, angry electric guitar  for some extended solo play. Moore's guitar licks, like Horton's, borrowed elements of Onie  Wheeler's lead solos. Elvis Presley smiled at Horton as he left the stage; the healthy  competition added some spice to the evening's routine.

Although he was relatively unknown at the time, Johnny Horton's abilities were not lost on  Elvis Presley. With a style similar to Onie Wheeler's, Horton employed primarily acoustic  instrumentation, but from time to time he used a driving lead guitar hook-up in his  rockabilly songs. "Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor" was the best example of how Johnny Horton  could harness a growling electric guitar. Elvis Presley thought that Johnny Horton's sound  was too hillbilly, and opted for straight-ahead rockabilly.
 
Billie Jean Williams, Hank Williams' ex-wife, had married Johnny Horton in 1954, and she  was along on the tour. Billy Jean had given Elvis Presley some food money during one of his  earliest performances on the "Louisiana Hayride", and they remained close friends.
SEPTEMBER 27, 1955 TUESDAY

The tour stopped for a show in Bryan, Texas, at the Saddle Club.
SEPTEMBER 28, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Elvis Presley returned to Gobler, Missouri's B&B Club. There were no local advertisements  this time, but a contract for this date does exist. According to Gerald Burke owner of the B&B Club, ''The last time, the place was packed, the parking lot full, and my five waitresses couldn't even move around to wait the tables''. And J.G. McCuin, musician in the band of Jimmy Haggett says, ''I knew he was gonna make it big, 'cause that last time we played, the girls at the club jumped up and started tearing off his shirt, and he borrowed my coat to wear out to his car''.
UNKNOWN DATE SEPTEMBER 1955

Elvis Presley performed in Cardwell, Missouri at the Rebel Club, a local hangout. William C.  Clark, now the Mayor of Cardwell who was the principal at Southland High at the time,  visited the club with two other men. Clark, who was also the football and basketball coach  at Southland, did not enter the Rebel. He was fearful that he might see one of his players  and be forced to drop him from the team for visiting such an establishment. Further  research has uncovered that the opening acts were two local boys, Jimmy Smith and Jimmy  Blunk. It is presumed that Elvis Presley performed here either right before or right after his  September 28 appearance in nearby Gobler.
SEPTEMBER 29, 1955 THURSDAY

The tour played a show in Austin at the Sports Arena. A photo of Elvis Presley on file at the  Austin History Center is identified as coming from Dessau Hall, September 29, 1955. Elvis  Presley was definitely in Austin on October 8, and it would be unlike for him to appear in  Austin twice in the space of a week. It may be that the photo is mis-captioned. On the other  hand, Elvis Presley was not booked anywhere else on September 29. Serious researchers  believe that Elvis Presley played Dessau Hall much earlier than September 1955, but there is  nothing more to go on.
SEPTEMBER 30, 1955 FRIDAY

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

In September 1955, Country Song Roundup published a nationally-circulated article on Elvis  Presley entitled "Folk Music Fireball". The article was a complimentary piece of journalism  extolling Elvis' unique talent, and helped to break his music in a number of northern  markets.
JAMES BYRON DEAN - Actor born in Marion, Indiana, on February 8, 1931. After a short, but  successful, movie career during which he became a cult figure. During the years 1954 to  1956, Elvis Presley was one of the three rebels on the scene. The other two were James  Dean and Marlon Brando.

Elvis Presley once remarked to producer Hall Wallis about an  observation he had made, that successful actors in films never smiled, e.g., James Dean,  Marlon Brando, and Humphrey Bogart.
 
There have been a number of comparisons made between Elvis and Dean. Elvis Presley took  over where Dean left off; he was referred to as "the musical James Dean". Actor Nick Adams  was a close friend of Dean's (he even dubbed a part of Dean's dialogue in the 1956 movie  "Giant"), later becoming a good friend of Elvis Presley.

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

A modest Elvis Presley once said of James Dean: "I would never compare myself in any way  to James Dean because James Dean was a genius. I sure would like to, I mean, I guess a lot  of actors in Hollywood would like to have had the ability that James Dean had, but I would  never compare myself to James Dean in any way".
SEPTEMBER 30, 1955 FRIDAY

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

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

Colonel Tom Parker and Hank Snow had been instrumental in setting up this piece of  publicity, hoping that it would promote increased ticket sales for Elvis' upcoming tour with  Snow. The magazine, distributed widely in the east and Midwest, did just that, but also  helped "Mystery Train" to creep onto playlists in Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Cleveland, and  Philadelphia.
SEPTEMBER 1955

COUNTRY SONG ROUNDUP - Second magazine to feature an article about nineteen-year-old  Elvis Presley, titled "Folk Music Fireball", in their September 1955 issue. Previously, Country  Song Roundup had been the first magazine to feature an article on Hank Williams, for which  he dedicated to the magazine a new song that he had just written, "Moanin' Blues". Country  Song Roundup held a contest to win a date with Elvis Presley in their August 1956 issue. Both  Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins were shown on the cover of that edition.
 
FOLK MUSIC FIREBALL - Elvis Presley  Every so often a newcomer to the Country music scene stirs up a fuss with a different kind  of record, an unusual singing style or a 'gimmick' of one sort or another. The latest sensation  these days is a 19-year-old Elvis Presley, a handsome, strapping Mississippi boy who's a ball  of fire when it comes to putting over a tune.
 
Recording on the Sun label and a regular  member of the KWKH Louisiana Hayride, in Shreveport, young Presley is enjoying the reality  of his life's dream: to sing for people and hear the spontaneous applause that means he's a  hit.

When Elvis was a youngster down in Tupelo, Mississippi, folks used to stop him on the street  and say, "Sing for us, Elvis". And he would...standing on the street corners, in the hit  Mississippi sun... or in church... or at school... anywhere someone wanted to hear him, he'd  sing. Now the same thing is happening all over again. When he's recognized on the street or  at any public place, people call out: "Sing for us, Elvis".
 
"That's All Right" and "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", Elvis first Sun waxings, were also his first  professional work of any kind. He's a self-taught musician and worked out his unique style  while listening to records and picking out the tunes on a cheap ($2.98) guitar.

One day he  drifted into a Memphis recording studio to make a personal record - just to get an idea about  how he sounded - and was heard by Sam Phillips, prexy of Sun Record Company, who  thought that with a little work and polish the boy might make the grade as a commercial  artist.
 
Several months of hard work did the trick, and "That's All Right" and "Blue Moon Of  Kentucky" had an astounding reception all over the nation. The disc also represented  something new in records: the unusual pairing of an rhythm and blues number with a  country standard.

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

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

There's no doubt about it - this youngster is a real "Folk Music Fireball".
SEPTEMBER 1955

NEW POLICY COMBINES POPS-COUNTRY AND WESTERN

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

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

SEPTEMBER 1955

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

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