October 1, 1955 to December 31, 1955

Live Broadcast Recordings for Elvis Presley, October 1, 1955
Studio Session for Elvis Presley, November 1-4, 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

Composer: - Charlie Feathers-Stan Kesler
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - Probably October 1, 1955
Released: - April 16, 2016
First appearance: - MRS Records (2LP) 33rpm MRV 4000 1256-C/4 mono

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


Elvis Presley kicked off the week playing small venues in Texas, headlining a seven-act touring group calling itself the Louisiana Hayride Jamboree. Featured, along with Elvis  Presley, were Jimmy and Johnny, Johnny Horton, Betty Amos, David Houston, comedian  Willie Birdbrain, and Daldon and Lulu. Also on hand were Tillman Franks, who booked the  tour, and Horace Logan, who acted as emcee.
Tonight there was a 7:30 p.m. concert in College Station at the G. Rollie White Coliseum on  the campus of Texas A&M University in Bryan, Texas. The show was sponsored by the Office of  Student Activities. Advance tickets cost 35-cents for children and 75-cents for adults. At the  show, seats were 50-cents and $1.00.

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

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

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

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

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

Tonight's performance was in Paris, Texas. The show was held in the Gymnasium of the Boys  Club and was sponsored by the Paris Optimist Club. The day after the show, the Paris News wrote, ''A standing-room-only crowd filled Boys Club Gymnasium here Tuesday night for the Optimist-sponsored Louisiana Hayride Show.
Sponsoring Optimist Club officials said the seats were filled and standing room tickets were being sold 20 minutes before the starting time.  Hundreds of persons were turned away because there was no room. Elvis Presley, the Western 'bop' king of Louisiana Hayride, headed the show that drew heavy applause and floorpatting from the crowd. Jimmy and Johnny stole the show, however, with their country music and imitations of famous stars. Their best was a take-off on Liberace and his brother, George''.   The Optimists counted 1,285 paid admissions for the show.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today there was another double-header. In the afternoon, the group played at Sam Marcos College Auditorium of the  Southwest Texas State University In Austin, Texas.. Replacing David Houston for both shows  were Sonny Trammel and Ray Gomer.
In the evening, "the King of Western Bop" and his review moved north thirty miles to Austin   and the Skyline Club, owned by Warren Stark. The local ad did not mention tickets prices,  but if one were so inclined, reservations could be made by calling GL-3-9089.

An article announcing Elvis' appearance said the show would feature "a full load of hillbilly music and   performers as its cargo".
Tillman Franks of the Louisiana Hayride was specifically mentioned   in the ad as scheduled to make an appearance the show's M.C.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elvis Presley remained in Houston as the Louisiana Hayride moved it's broadcasting location  to the City Auditorium (Jesse H. Jones Hall) located at 615 Louisiana Street, for the evening. The Holiday On Ice Revue was booked into the Shreveport Memorial  Auditorium.
Ballad-singing rhythm and blues heartthrob Johnny Ace blew his brains out in a game of  Russian roulette backstage on this City Auditorium on December 23, 1954; he died the  following day. Some reports claim that he was trying to impresses a girl sitting on his lap at  the time. The hall, now renamed houses the Houston Symphony Orchestra.

Elvis Presley may have performed Cherry Springs Tavern in Cherry Springs, Texas. Admission $1.50. Also on the bill Jimmy and Johnny, Johnny Horton, Betty Amos, Dalton and Lula Jo, Billy Birdbrain, emcee Horace Logan, and many others.
CHERRY SPRINGS DANCE HALL – Located at 17662 North, Highway 87, Cherry Springs, Texas 78624,  16 miles North West of Fredericksburg in Gillespie County. Circa 1889, German heritage dance hall.  Currently not open for business. The dance hall was established along the old Pinta Trail in 1889 as a stop for  cattle drives. It was originally run by Herman Lehmann, son of German immigrants, Apache captive and  adopted son of Comanche chief Quanah Parker.
Cited by the State of Texas Music Office as "one of the most  historic dance halls in the world'', the venue has played host to some of the greatest legends of country  music. Hank Williams once played here, as did Patsy Cline, Buck Owens, Webb Pierce, Ernest Tubb, George  Jones, and many others.

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

Elvis Presley headlined his own "Elvis Presley Jamboree" with featured guests Jimmy  Newman, Porter Wagoner, Bobby Lord, Johnny Cash, Floyd Cramer, Jimmy Day, and Wanda  Jackson. The bill remained the same through October 14. The tour was booked by Bob Neal.
Tonight the group appeared Brownwood, Texas, in a show presented by the Brownwood  Volunteer Fire Department. The 8:00 p.m. performance took place at the Soldier's and  Sailor's Memorial Hall. Tickets were $1.00 for adults with children half price.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elvis Presley as the Western Bop and his band of musical gypsies appeared at 7:00 and 9:15 p.m. at the Fair Park  Auditorium in Abilene, Texas.
Guests were Jimmy Newman, Jean Shepard, Bobby Lord,  Johnny Cash, Floyd Cramer, Porter Wagoner, Jimmy Day, and Wanda Jackson. Tickets were $1.00. Tax included.

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

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

"I was thirteen and in the eighth grade", said Glenda Eschle. "My sister didn't want to go, but   she got her boyfriend to take me. We sat up in the balcony, above the crowd, but you   couldn't hear Elvis singing for all the yelling.
After the concert, my sister's boyfriend too me  to dinner. He really treated me royally, and I'. still an Elvis fan today", she said.

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

The tour stopped for shows in Odessa, Texas. According to Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley and   Johnny Cash appeared on Orbison's local show on KOSA-TV to promote the evening's entertainment. There were no ads in the Odessa American for this show, but the information was part of a tour list in Billboard, October 8, 1955. 
The other eight specific dates in this  brief item in Billboard were accurate. The show was held at the High School Fieldhouse 8:00 p.m.. Also on the bill, Bobby Lord, Jimmie Newman, Wanda Jackson, Porter Wagener, Floyd Cramer, and Jimmie Day. Tickets $1.25

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

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

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

On the final night of this "Elvis Presley Jamboree" tour, Elvis Presley and his group  performed at 8:00 p.m. at the Fair Park Coliseum located at 1012 Avenue in Lubbock, Texas.  Buddy Holly and Bob Montgomery - Lubbock's own "Buddy and Bob" - had opened the show.  Bob Montgomery was a country music star and industry figure with limited success, and  Holly, of course, was destined to become a rock and roll legend.
At the time, though, Buddy  and Bob were simply another act looking for a record contract. Hi Pockets Duncan, a country  disc jockey on KSEL, remembers that the weekend was an exciting one for Holly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elvis Presley closed out the Lubbock, Texas weekend by appearing at Hub Motors, the local  Ford dealership, singing from a hastily construction stage on the used car lot. The subdued  crowd of curious onlookers was thoroughly entranced. Mac Davis, then a young high school  student, had seen Elvis Presley in Lubbock. Inspired by what he saw, Mack Davis wrote his  first song, "Mau Mau Mary", complete with Elvis Presley's rockabilly inflection.
That day Elvis appearing at the Municipal Auditorium, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, at 3:30  and 8:00 p.m. For one night Elvis joins yet another Hank Snow tour, this one costarring Bill  Haley, whose ''Rock Around The Clock'' is in its fifth month at the top charts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At 8:00 p.m., Elvis Presley and his band headlined the "Free Hillbilly Amateur Show" at the  Memorial Auditorium in El Dorado, Arkansas. The Chitling Switch Roadrunners opened the  show for Elvis Presley. The Chitling Switch Roadrunners consisted of the brothers Bobby  Dwitght, Gary Bird and Mickey and Lavon Davis. Mickey later joined Malaco Records in  Jackson, Mississippi, as a session fiddler and there founded the Jackson Strings. The group  continues performing today, but now under the name of Union Kun-tree. On August 19,  1996, the governor of Arkansas gave them an award for their enduring impact on music on  the Wonder state.
The Jaycee-sponsored the appearance in El Dorado and was promoted locally over KDMS  radio as part of "Oil Progress Week". Prior to Elvis Presley taking the stage, there was an  amateur talent contest with a first prize of $75. Ads promised at least fourteen local acts.
Admission was free to anyone presenting a folder that could be picked up at local auto  service stations.

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

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

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

After this second concert, Elvis Presley and Pat Boone backstage and they talked  briefly about their musical interest. Boone's first impression of Elvis Presley was "real slinky,  you know, with his coat a little too big and his pants a little too long".
Pat Boone urged Elvis Presley to sing faster rockabilly songs. Boone commented that Elvis'  enunciation was weak. Roy Acuff, although he praised his interpretation of Bill Monroe's  "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", urged Presley to accentuate his songs with a country swing.  The observations of Pat Boone are particularly interesting, inasmuch as the press attempted  to make much of the differences between the two singers. Boone remembered that Bill  Randle predicted quick stardom for Elvis Presley, although Boone himself wasn't so sure. He  could hardly understand Elvis Presley, and was sceptical about his clothing.

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

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

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

The two performances were to be spliced into a short documentary. At 1:00 p.m., Elvis  Presley, Pat Boone, Bill Haley and His Comets and the Four Lads performed at a "staged"  assembly in the Auditorium of Brooklyn High, 9700 Biddulph Road, in the Cleveland suburb  of Brooklyn. Elvis Presley sang "That's All Right", "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", "Good Rockin'  Tonight", "Mystery Train", and "I Forgot To Remember To Forget". For his part in the film,  Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black (photos shot by Tommy Edwards of the event do not  show D.J. Fontana) were reportedly paid $350.
"To the best of my memory it was probably something we were conned into", recalled Scotty  Moore. "We didn't go up there knowing about it - we went up there to do a show... I don't  know what they called it back then, but it'd be like a pilot show Bill Radall was trying to get  on TV - that's what I remember. How factual that is, I don't know! I remember some talk  about it afterwards... but nothing ever came of it".
After this concert, Elvis Presley and Pat Boone backstage and they talked briefly about their  musical interests. Boone's first impression of Elvis Presley was: "Real slinky, you know, with  his coat a little too big and his pants a little too long".
Pat Boone remembered the concert  well and, in a later conversation with Dave Booth, shared some trenchant insights into the  way Presley was perceived on his early forays into the North. "Bill told me, "I got a guy who's  gonna be the next biggest thing - Elvis Presley". I said, "oh yeah?" I had lived in Texas and I  had seen his name on some country jukeboxes and I wondered how in the world a hillbilly  could be the next big thing, especially with a name like Elvis Presley, Anyway, Elvis came in  wearing some odd-looking clothes. I said, "Hello, Elvis, I'm Pat Boone". He just said,  "Mrrrbleee mrrbleee". Anyway, I was to follow him on stage, so I was watching from the  wings. Elvis looked like he had just gotten off a motorcycle. He sang his first song and the  kids loved it. I was really surprised. Then he opened his mouth and said something and he  sounded so hillbilly that he lost the crowd. Then he sang another song and won 'em over  again. As long as he didn't talk he was OK. It took me a long time to win that crowd".
by Ben Marks

On February 26, 1955, a Cleveland deejay named Tommy Edwards became the first music  promoter to book a Southern singing sensation named Elvis Presley north of the Mason-Dixon  line. The event was the Hillbilly Jamboree at Cleveland’s Circle Theater.
That fall, Edwards  brought Presley back to the Cleveland area for several more shows, including one on  October 20, 1955, at Brooklyn High School. On that date, Pat Boone was the headliner  (''Ain’t That A Shame'' was his big hit), with Elvis, Priscilla Wright, the Four Lads, and Bill  Haley’s Comets rounding out the bill.
At some point during the proceedings, Edwards snapped a now iconic color photo of Haley  and Presley  shaking hands (above).
Haley’s 1954 cover of ''Rock Around The Clock'' was one of the  genre’s first monster hits. He was the established star while Presley was still the young  upstart, but in Edwards’s photo, the bow-tied Haley resembles someone’s doughy uncle  compared to Presley, who looks like the sort of boy you’d definitely want to keep your  daughter away from.

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

Later that day, the same performers also appeared at St. Michael's Hall on East 100th Street  at Union. The exact time of this show is not known, but it is believed to have been about  7:00 p.m.  Film footage of this show reportedly does not include Elvis Presley, and it is  possible that he did not perform at St. Michaels, although Randle remembers that he did.
Both shows were among Elvis' tightest live performances. This was largely due to director  Arthur Cohen, who not only handled the assignment professionally but tried to impart some  key tips to Elvis Presley. When Elvis Presley refused to listen to Cohen's advices Cohen  recommended that the filming be suspended. Bill Randle stepped into the hostile situation  and calmed everyone down. After restoring a sense of order, the film was completed, and  Randle paid the camera people and the crew.
The Cleveland movie was never released due to a technicians' strike and to a change in  Universal Studio's attitude concerning the commercial value of rock music. When the movie  was shelved, everyone breathed a sign of relief. Both the camera crew and the director had  no idea how to film the concert portions of the show to best effect. Colonel Tom Parker,  worried that a poorly made movie might expose the flaws in Presley's musical act, was not  unhappy.
Bill Randle tried vainly to edit the footage, and a brief clip of it aired in 1958 on  WEWS-TV, but the complete film was doomed without the fourteen union clearances it  needed qualify for release.
Later that evening, Elvis Presley appeartly found time to honour his contract at the  Cleveland's Circle Theater and in a country music jamboree with Roy Acuff. In Cleveland,  three country music clubs vied for the attention of local crowds. Cleveland's best country  palace, however, was the Circle.
Billboard had just reported that Mike Michaels of KDMS in El  Dorado, Arkansas, called Elvis "just about the hottest thing around these parts. His style  really pleases the teenagers". This comment certainly described Elvis' performances at the  Circle Theater, where the young crowd was louder that evening than during any previous  country music show.
Although he was unaware of it at the time, Elvis' Cleveland performances were witnessed by  a number of recording company executives and television talent scouts, as well as covered  extensively by local newspapers.

The Circle Theater concert persuaded the "Arthur Godfrey  Talent Scouts" television program to grant Elvis Presley another audition.
While Elvis Presley  performed in Cleveland, Bob Neal placed a number of ads in trade publications to solicit  bookings. The ads resulted in a series of new concerts dates, and served to further publicize  Elvis' growing popularity.
Colonel Tom Parker at almost exactly this time took fate into his own hands, went to New  York and ensconced himself at the Warwick Hotel, where, armed with an immensely long  and improbably detailed telegram from Vernon and Gladys Presley authorizing him to  represent their boy, as well as his agreement with Bob Neal, he for the first time formally  entertained offers for an artist whose contract he did not, strictly speaking, formally  possess.

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

An article from a disc jockey in the Cleveland, Ohio about the Cros Country Jamboree that  read: It certainly was a real pleasure to get the first edition of the Country and Western  Jamboree magazine last month and I know that many of you folks out there, are well  pleased with the magazine devoted to pickin'; and singin' folks. This past month we've had  many of the big names in the business stop in and play and sing for use here at the Circle  Theatre in Cleveland. One of the highlights was a visit from Roy Acuff, Kitty Wells and  Johnny and Jack. Quite a few of the folks in the Cleveland area are originally from West  Virginia and Tennessee, and it's just like old home week when some of the famous country  folk come through. You can just imagine how they appreciate seeing people like Roy and  Kitty. One of the very popular stars who just made an appearance with us was Ferlin Husky  of the Grand Ole Opry. His records have been riding at the top of my top ten lists for the past  several months. Bill Carlisle and his troupe shared the bill along with Martha Carson. Other  stars we've enjoyed have been the Davis Sisters, Yorek Brothers, Wilburn Brothers, Elvis  Presley, Sonny James, Justin Tubb and Faron Young.
THE LOST FILM - Universal Pictures originally planned to produce the 15-minute featured,  but withdrew their financing. Randle continued on, even to the extent of paying the costs  for the filming on October 20, including $600 for Wendell Tracy's orchestra. He also hired, at  a total cost of $450 two veteran short-subject film makers, director Arnold Cohen and  cinematographer Jack Barnett. In November 1955, Randle was set to continue filming in New  York City, where he hosted a daily WCBS-radio show. Once again, Universal was involved and  Harry Cohen was the producer.
However, on November 26, 1955, the new York cameramen's  union shut down the project just as more footage was about to be shot. Acts lined up for this  second "concert" included the Crew Cuts, Bill Haley, Johnnie Ray, Patti Page, Alan Dale,  LaVern Baker, Tony Bennett, Mindy Carson, Mitch Miller, Felicia Sanders, Roy Hamilton,  Gloria Mann, Delores Hawkins, the Chordettes, Archie Bleyer, Joni James, Bill Hayes, Betty  Madigan, and the McGuire Sister. The film was never completed.

A few weeks after the concert, a 48-minute rough cut of the 35-millimetre of The Pied Piper  of Cleveland was shown at Euclid Shore Junior High School. Through the years Randle kept a  print of the film and in 1956 even aired a portion on "The Bill Randle Show", a Cleveland  television program on WEWS-TV, Channel 5. However, the master negative of the film  remained "lost" in the vaults of Universal Pictures for 37 years. About 1977, the Merlin  Group of Great Britain became involved in a search for the film at Universal. The missing  negative was finally unearthed in 1992 in a film canister filed under "A Day In The Life Of A  Famous Disc Jockey". On July 3, 1992, Randle, who still officially owned the film, sold the  18-minute portion containing Elvis Presley singing the five songs listed above, along with  sixteen more cans of unedited 16mm film, for the widely reported sum of $1.9 million to the  Merlin Group. (Randle and a spokesman for Merlin both suggested that the actual selling  price was considerably lower). Merlin immediately resold their rights to the film to  PolyGram, a European music conglomerate, for a reported $2.2 million. Polygram proudly  announced plans to include the footage in a 1993 television special. When the special failed  to materialize, it appeared that the film might be "lost" again. While the whereabouts of the  missing master negative was no longer a mystery, in the years since this 1992 flurry of  transactions and announcements, not another official word on the subject has been heard.
BILL RANDLE – was an American disc jockey, lawyer and university professor. He was born  William McKinley Randle Jr. on March 14, 1923 in Detroit, Michigan. In Detroit, he hosted a  popular show on WJLB-AM radio (now WDTK) called The Interracial Goodwill Hour, featuring  rhythm and blues music and hot jazz. As a pioneering disc jockey at radio station WERE in  Cleveland, Ohio he helped change the face of American music.  In the 1950s, Time Magazine  called Bill Randle the top disc jockey in America. His popularity and huge listening audience  allowed him to bolster the careers of a number of young musicians, including The Four Lads,  Bobby Darin, and Fats Domino.

Nicknamed "The Pied Piper of Cleveland", a 1955 musical documentary film was made about  him titled The Pied Piper of Cleveland: A Day in the Life of a Famous Disc Jockey. The film  includes a Cleveland concert at Brooklyn High School on October 20, 1955 featuring Pat  Boone and Bill Haley & His Comets with Elvis Presley as the opening act. It is the first film  footage of a Presley performance.
Curiously enough, Randle almost did not survive early radio. One Thanksgiving, he played an  unusual version of "Silent Night" sung by gospel and blues artist Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Many  persons called in to complain and the station manager, longtime radio and television fixture  Sidney Andorn fired Randle. The next morning, WERE owner Ray T. Miller, the chairman of  the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, rehired Randle after he learned he had so many  listeners to Randle's program, and fired Andorn instead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Bill Randle died of cancer in Cleveland on July 9, 2004. In a sad irony, WRMR was sold off  the day before, and signed off two days later with Randle's final broadcast, which had been  prerecorded via voice-tracking. His wife of 51 years, Annalee, with whom he had a daughter,  Patricia, predeceased him in 2000.
BILL HALEY - Country singer turned rock and roll star of the mid-1950s, born William John  Clifton Haley Jr. in Highland Park, Michigan, on July 6, 1925. Bill Haley performed many  rhythm and blues hits with an uptempo country beat. After growing up in Michigan, Haley  moved to Pennsylvania where he was heavely influenced by black music.

From 1948 to  1950, Haley recorded country songs for Cowboy Records, Center Records, and Keystone  Records with little success. Haley looked, dressed, and acted like a drugstore cowboy, but he  loved black music.
Before he became one of the first rock and roll performers, Haley headed a country band  called the Saddlemen (The name of Haley's group was first the Downhomers, then the Four  Aces of Western Swing, then the Saddlemen, and finally the Comets consisting of Johnny  Grande (Keyboards), Dick Richards (Drums), Franny Beecher (Guitar), Joey Ambrose (Sax),  and Marshall Lytle (Bass), which played boogie-type country music.
In 1951 Bill Haley  covered his first non country tune when he recorded the rhythm and blues song "Rocket 88"  for Holiday Records (Holiday 105), which was originally recorded by Jackie Brenston at Sun  Records and released on Chess Records (Chess 1458). (Ike Turner, future husband of Tina  Turner, played piano on the song. In actually it was Turner's band on the record, but  Brenston got the credit because he was the singer). Haley's version is considered by some  music historians as the first rock and roll recording by a white artist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Showtime on Saturday were also 7:00 and 9:30 p.m. with three  performances scheduled on Sunday at 2:00, 5:00 and 8:00 p.m.
Jud Phillips, aside from being an equity partner in Sun Records, was a promotions assistant  to Acuff, and was the key to Elvis' participation in the show. Elvis Presley spent the  afternoon listening to KATZ radio, and was surprised that the station broadcast local concerts  from small clubs.  Shreveport fans were disappointed on Saturday when Elvis Presley failed to make that  evening's broadcast. He had been advertised in the Shreveport Times as scheduled to  appear.
According to an article in the Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Commercial, September 11, 1977, Elvis  Presley appeared at the Shamrock Corral Club in St. Louis, which was operated by Uncle Bob  Hastings. The only time that Elvis Presley appeared in St. Louis while he was still playing  nightclubs was with Hank Locklin in October 1955. Hastings' only specific recollection of  Elvis Presley was that "he couldn't play (guitar) worth a plugged nickel". He also said that his  band had to back Elvis Presley. This is an indication that Scotty Moore and Bill Black did not  go to the club, and Elvis Presley may have just dropped in.

Elvis Presley was fully aware that Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys song "Ida Red" had  provided Chuck Berry with his inspiration for "Maybellene", his first hit. While in St. Louis,  Elvis Presley heard the flip side of "Maybellene" a song entitled "Wee Wee Hours". It was a  blues song that Elvis Presley came to love, and one which prompted him to remark on one  occasion that Chuck Berry was more of a bluesman than a rocker.
Following his performance, Elvis Presley went to the Cosmopolitan Club at 17th Street across  Bond Street in East St. Louis to listen to the local musicians.

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

After his visit to East St. Louis, Elvis Presley was confident that his music was moving in the  right direction. The jukebox at the Cosmopolitan Club had "Mystery Train" inside, and it was  not Little Junior Parker's version - the playlist credit clearly read "Elvis Presley". "Curiosity  provoked me to lay a lot of country stuff on our predominantly black audience", Chuck Berry  recalled about his own days at the Cosmopolitan.
An article in the local newspaper read: NEW FROM ST. LOUIS. Roy Acuff and his Smokey Mt.  Boys, Johnny and Jack, Kitty Wells, Lester Wilburn, Elvis Presley and many others were  here, Oct. 21, 22 and 23, and did we have a time! I had the pleasure of appearing with them  on each show, along with my d.j. buddy Dwight Gordon.

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

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

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

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

Elvis perform at Missouri Theater in St. Louis, Missouri at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m.
(Above) From left: Robert Lunn (washboard), Scotty Moore (guitar), Elvis Presley (vocals and guitar), Howdy Forrester (bass/fiddle), Bill Black (bass), Lonnie ''Pap'' Wilson (guitar), to the far richt, Roy Acuff, and Bashful Brother Oswald.

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

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

Elvis Presley, billed as "The King of Western Bop", appeared as the headliner at the Silver  Moon Club on Highway 67, north of Newport, Arkansas. The 9:00 p.m. show cost $1.50 and  the only other act on the bill was Sonny Burgess and his band the Moonlighters from  Memphis, who later also recorded for Sun Records.  When Elvis Presley came to the Silver Moon Club, Sonny Burgess organised the supporting  act, and put together Newport's version of a supergroup combining some of Punky's men and  the Moonlighters.
According to Sonny Burgess, Elvis Presley tried to hire Punky and Kern  Kennedy that night to flesh out the meagre sound of Scotty Moore and Bill Black. Also,  according to Sonny Burgess, Elvis Presley got the idea to record "One Night" from the Pacers,  who often performed it as much as five times a night. For his part, Elvis Presley's  contribution to Sonny's career was to implant the idea of going to record at Sun.
The newspaper advertisement promises: "If you like GOOD Western Music (and who doesn't)  You'll enjoy Elvis Presley and the Moonlighters singing and playing your favorite western  tunes." Show time is "9 til''?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Miss Wheeler:

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

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

Carolyn Asmus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elvis Presley performed as part of "Prichard-Chickasaw Day" at the Greater Gulf Fair on  Blakeley Island near Prichard, the northern suburb of Mobile, Alabama. The show was  sponsored by the Prichard Chamber of Commerce and held at the Greater Gulf States Fair.  Appearing with Elvis Presley were local entertainers Jack Cardwell of WAIP radio, the  Andrews Brothers, Little Jackie Hill, Luke McDaniels, and Bill Lewis. 
The fair itself was  sponsored by the Mobile Jaycees. Admission to the fair was 50-cents for patrons over twelve  and a quarter for those younger. Service men in uniform were 35-cents.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

''Elvis got up and then started doing this shaking. I had never seen a body move like that, neither had anybody else. I thought, 'I'm going to just die'. And I sat there, and said, 'Oh no, please don't let this happen to me. Oh, God, I can't believe it'''.
Fellow student Joy Turner says, ''When Elvis stepped out on stage and started his music and moves, my heart just about stopped. He had on a light lavender suit, and I thought 'WOW', lavender! Is that too cool? He was good, gorgeous, exciting, and of course, the auditorium full od teenagers responded to his performance with full gusto''!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Colonel Tom Parker was now settled at the Warwick Hotel in New York, with the sole agenda of signing Elvis to  RCA. He worked with the knowledge that someone like Bill Randle, or any other entrepreneurial agent, might  move in if he didn't on his promises to Elvis and his parents.  Bob Neal was no longer a problem, but Parker faced  a much bigger obstacle trying to persuade RCA to buy a recording contract that wasn't his, and might not even be  for sale.
The latest single was doing better than the one before, which had done very well. Who was to say that Sun  couldn't take a sixth single even further, and make Parker's mission even more complicated en expensive? The  relationship with Sam Phillips had a bad start at the initial meeting back in February, when the Colonel  insensitively outlined the shortcoming of a small record company like Sun Records. Since then, Nothing positive  had developed. For months, Parker and Diskin had discussed how they got no favours from Phillips, and Sam for  his part had not involved himself with the ''two Toms''. His assistant, Marion Keisker, had never heard Sam say  anything negative about the Colonel, but still believed that Sam did not like the abrasive businessman.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A groundbreaking radio station hit the airwaves at 1430 on the AM dial in Memphis. This  station was known as WHER, which was all-female and the first of its kind. The station was based in Holiday Inn on South Third Street.
WHER was the  brainchild of one Sam Phillips who used a portion of his profits from the sale of Elvis  Presley’s recording contract to RCA Records to finance the station. Holiday Inn founder  Kemmons Wilson provided the remaining necessary amount, as well as the stations first  home, in a part of the third Holiday Inn ever built. WHER was staffed almost exclusively by  women and even the station got a make-over. One early report stated that the entire studio  was feminized.
The women referred to themselves as jockettes, the studio was called the  “doll’s den”, murals of fashion decorated the equipment room, and the stationary was  perfumed. Women read the news, conducted interviews with local celebrities, played music,  sold and created commercials, and acted as the producers and directors of programming.

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


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

A small but important step towards finalizing the sale of Elvis' contract also occurred in late  October 1955. Colonel Tom Parker began to threaten suit against Sam Phillips if Elvis' back  royalties weren't paid.
As a result, Sam, who had just paid his brother Jud Phillips $1400 for  his partnership interest in Sun, thereby making Sam the sole proprietor, didn't have the cash  or the time he'd hoped for to continue holding out for the top-dollar figure currently being  considered (and rejected) by RCA. The urgency for Colonel Parker was that Bill Randle had  been attempting to intercede in hopes of making a record deal for Elvis Presley himself, this  undermining Parker's position. As he was determined to keep total control of Elvis' recording  and touring career, Colonel Tom Parker pressured Sam Phillips with a suit in order to get Sam  to lower his asking price.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sam Phillips was on the point of going bankrupt. The banks would not lend him money  against the dubious assets he had accumulated. The pressing plants were screaming for  money and he owed publishing royalties, artist royalties, an unrecouped advance to Chess  Records, unrepaid funds from the buyout deal with his brother Jud... and probably more.

During the first week of November 1955, RCA quietly finalized arrangements with Colonel  Tom Parker and Sam Phillips to purchase Elvis Presley's Sun recording contract. RCA then set  its publicity machinery in motion to make Elvis Presley into a superstar. On top of all the  other factors influencing RCA's decision to sign Elvis Presley, there was finally a corporate  consensus that he could be a moneymaking act.

It was becoming clear that rock and roll music was bursting onto the scene with such vitality  and intensity that the profits from a standout exponent of this new musical form were  potentially enormous. All the major record labels were aware of this trend, and were  eagerly seeking out new rock and roll tunes.


Started Fernwood Records, a Memphis record label located on 158 Fernwood Drive, founded  by Truck driver Slim Wallace (who previously fronted a hillbilly band in Memphis called Slim  Wallace's Dixie Rambles). Scotty Moore was production chief, with the studio located in the  Wall garage. Some of the most sought after honky-tonk and rockabilly recordings of the  1950s were cut in this garage in Memphis. It was Scotty Moore who selected the song  "Tragedy" for Thomas Wayne to record. The tape was brought over to Sun Records, where  Scotty Moore added an echo on Sun's tape recorder. Jack Clement also produced some  records at Fernwood.

WHBQ disc jockey Dewey Phillips even recorded for Fernwood Records, cutting "Beg Your  Pardon"/"If It Had To Be You" (Fernwood 115).


Bob Neal was involved in an auto accident, but he was not seriously hurt.


RCA Victor entered the bidding for Elvis' contract with Sun Records, offering $35,000 to Sam   Phillips and $5,000 as a bonus to Elvis, which would cover the back royalties due him.

This final session at Sun Records, Elvis recorded "When It Rains, It Really Pours", but the session never finished because the session was probably broken off due to the imminent sale of his contract to RCA Victor. Elvis is back on familiar ground: once again, we hear him confidently singing the blues, though this time, seemingly, with far more knowingness than the innocent nineteen-year-old of just one year earlier could ever  have assumed.


01(1) - "WHEN IT RAINS, IT REALLY POURS" - B.M.I. - 1:36
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Riverline Music
Matrix number: - None - Incomplete Take 1 - Tape Box 11
Recorded: - November 1-4, 1955
Most likely November 20, 1955
Released: - August 3, 2012
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-36 mono
Reissued: - 2016 Memphis Recording Service (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 10053055-2-17 mono

01(2) - "WHEN IT RAINS, IT REALLY POURS" - B.M.I. - 2:11
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Riverline Music
Matrix number: - None - Rehearsal - Take 2 - Tape Box 11
Recorded: - November 1-4, 1955
Most likely November 20, 1955
Released: - August 3, 2012
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-37 mono
Reissued: - 2016 Memphis Recording Service (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 10053055-2-17 mono

01(3) - "WHEN IT RAINS, IT REALLY POURS" - B.M.I. - 1:59
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Riverline Music
Matrix number: - None - Long False Start Take 3 - False Start Take 4 - Tape Box 11
Recorded: - November 1-4, 1955
Released: - August 3, 2012
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-38 mono
Reissued: - 2016 Memphis Recording Service (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 10053055-2-18 mono

01(4) - "WHEN IT RAINS, IT REALLY POURS" - B.M.I. - 2:01
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Riverline Music
Matrix number: - NPA5-5826 Master Take 5 - Tape Box 11
Recorded: - November 1-4, 1955
Most likely November 20, 1955
Released: - August 3, 2012
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-39 mono
Reissued: - 2016 Memphis Recording Service (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 10053055-1-23 mono

01(5) - "WHEN IT RAINS, IT REALLY POURS" - B.M.I. - 1:39
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Riverline Music
Matrix number: - None - Rehearsal - Take 6 - False Start - Take 7 - Tape Box 11
Recorded: - November 1-4, 1955
Most likely November 20, 1955
Released: - August 3, 2012
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-40 mono
Reissued: - 2016 Memphis Recording Service (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 10053055-2-19 mono

 01(6) - "WHEN IT RAINS, IT REALLY POURS" - B.M.I. - 1:39

Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Riverline Music
Matrix number: - None - Long False Start - Take 8 - Tape Box 11
Recorded: - November 1-4, 1955
Most likely November 20, 1955
Released: - August 3, 2012
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-41 mono
Reissued: - 2016 Memphis Recording Service (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 10053055-2-19 mono

01(7) - "WHEN IT RAINS, IT REALLY POURS" - B.M.I. - 4:03
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Riverline Music
Matrix number: - NPA5-5826 - Master Spliced from Take 3, 5, 6, 7 - Tape Box 11
Recorded: - November 1-4, 1955
Most likely November 20, 1955
Released: - November 1983
First appearance: - RCA Victor (LP) 33rpm CPL1-4848 mono
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-1-27 mono

Steve Sholes Session Notes

Box 11
1. When It Rains, It Really Pours Take 1 (Part) 5 IPS
2. Breakdown - Long Rehearsal Bit (When It Rains)
3. When It Rains, It Really Pours Take 3 (2:00)
4. Breakdown
5. Breakdown
6. Rehearsal 1:20 Breakdown
7. Breakdown 0:19 FS
8. LFS 1:40

Billy ''The Kid'' Emerson wrote and recorded this song as "When It Rains, It Pours" at Sun Records in late 1954. His recording (SUN 214) was released the same day on January 8, 1955 as Elvis Presley's "Milkcow Blues Boogie"/"You're A Heartbreaker" (SUN 215).

Sam Phillips approached sessions with one overriding concern; to keep things simple. He can be heard on this tape again, telling the musicians not to overplay. 

On this outtake of "When It Rains, It Really Pours", Sam Phillips warns Scotty Moore, hardly prone to overplaying anyway, "Scotty, don't get too damn complicated in the middle there". He also wanted the vocals to be direct and honest. "I wanted to feature the person who was supposed to be featured and set up the atmosphere that got the best result (for Presley)", he said later.
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Charlie Feathers
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - BOX 11
Recorded: - November 1-4, 1955 - Probably Rehearsal
Most likely November 20, 1955
Released: – Sun Unissued - Probably Tape Lost

Johnny Bernero remembers this session shortly before the RCA deal was consummated. "We had cut one side and started on another", recalls Bernero, "when Elvis went up into the control room with Sam. They were up there about thirty minutes. We were just sitting around on the studio floor chewing the fat. Then Elvis came back down and came over to me and said, "John, we're not going to finish this session, but I really appreciate you coming over". "He gave me fifty dollars. The next thing I knew, Sam had sold his contract".
The songs that were to be used for Presley's sixth Sun single are a matter for some conjecture. Sam Phillips undoubtedly wanted to use his own copyrights, and Elvis Presley had started work on Billy Emerson's "When It Rains, It Really Pours".   For a country flipside, Elvis Presley was being pressured to perform another Kesler-Feathers song, "We're Getting Closer To Being Apart". A curiously muffled Sun rehearsal tape of "When It Rains" was discovered by RCA's Gregg Geller on one of his rummages through the vaults, but "We're Getting Closer To Being Apart" has never surfaced. 
Johnny Bernero never saw Elvis Presley again after the aborted rehearsals for the sixth single. "He called me over at the Light Gas & Water Company one day", recalls Bernero, "and asked me to come on the road with him. I was really tempted. I had been with the Light Gas & Water for ten years and wanted to go, but I had five children at that time. The wife and I talked it over and we decided that it wouldn't have been the best thing for me". As it happened, Elvis Presley soon picked up a drummer, D.J. Fontana, from the Louisiana Hayride.

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)
BILLY ''THE KID'' EMERSON - William Robert Emerson was born on 21 December 1925 in   Tarpon Springs on Florida's gulf coast. During the early '30s, his mother encouraged him to   sing in church and he says he can barely recall ra time when he wasn't singing. But, he   underlined to researcher Jim O'Neal: "My mother never sang any blues, never sang any   around me.   The only way I could hear a blues was from extra gang guys railroad repair   workers - or somebody come round singing a Bessie Smith song. A lady had an old  graphaphone and she had a lot of blues records - Doctor Clayton, Memphis Minnie, Tampa   Red, Hutterbeans and Susie''.

Billy told, matter of factly that "my family always were musicians'', and that his father   played piano: "I got into music through him and through my uncle, John Hannon (or Hannah),   who was a church pianist but used to play a little boogie-woogie''. Then he started listening   to his next door neighbour, a man named 'Shine' who had played with the minstrel shows: "I   used to watch Shine play the blues all the time when I was young. This was in the 1940s.   Shine knew all the old classic blues''.
It seems that these informal lessons took the place of   the more formal lessons Billy's mother planned for him, but which he had no patience for at   that time. The official lessons cost a quarter, but 'a quarter was hard to come by because it   was during the Depression''.

The process of thinking back to the 1930s and 1940s animated his conversation. He   emphasised: "What inspired me, mostly, was the blues. And I was born right into the boogie   era and the swing-jazz. Lunceford and Chick Webb and those guys. Louis Jordan, too, I was   influenced by him and I liked his performing style a lot''. On the same theme, Billy told Jim   O'Neal: "When I was a kid, the blues singer that / really liked better than anybody else was   Buddy Johnson, Buddy and Ella Johnson. They were the most unbelievable group that I've   ever known in the field. He had his own style of doing them, and Ella had her own style of   singing too. I was about 14 and I heard their song called ''This Life Just Ain't Worth Living   Without The One You Love'' and I say. You know what? If I ever get to be a singer I want to   sing the blues like that''.

Emmerson's planned career as a blues singer was put on hold in April 1943 when he found   himself in the Navy helping the war effort. He served for three years, shore-based within   the U.S.A. The good side of this time was that there was always a piano somewhere on the   naval bases: '' I learned how to play fairly well while I was in the service''.

When he got out the service in 1946, Emerson took the opportunity to finish High School in   Clearwater and to sing with a band led by Mickey Maxwell. Then he joined what he called ''a   little old four or five piece band '' back home in Tarpon Springs. He told me: ''That was when   I really took up the piano. My first jobs were when I was still going school, in 1946. They   were with a jazz trumpeter back home, the Billy Battles Band''. Although Emerson was not   very experienced, this was nevertheless a serious band; Billy Battles had played trumpet   with Lucky Millinder's band, drummer Solomon Hall had worked with Lionel Hampton's band,   and the other members, George Battles, Willie Lyons, James Thomas and Henry Mathis, all   had to teach Billy.

Music was not the young Emerson's only talent though. The years 1948 to 1951 found him in   college at Florida A&M on a football and sports scholarship. According to Billy, he was "quite   an athlete in those days.'

Nevertheless he continued his musical education, playing with the George Cooper Band in St.   Petersburg at the High Stepper club, singing with Manzy Harris and with Charlie Brantley,   whose band recorded on King Records. The St Petersburg area produced many top class   musicians, some of whom like Oscar Dennard and Frank Foster went on to play with   nationally known big bands. Billy remembered: "I saw all the bands, Louis Jordan. Roy   Milton. I saw Wynonie Harris and Roy Brown. I was singing those Wynonie Harris songs in St.  Petersburg. I was hollerin', people used to say on a clear night you could hear me clear   across the bay in Tampa''.

For a while, Billy had his own band in St Petersburg at the Corral Drive In. He told Jim   O'Neal, "The man bought us uniforms and he bought us these pistols and cowboy hats and   everything so we could look like the waitresses – this was a white place, you know. When   we'd get off at night, we'd still he dressed up in these uniforms, and erybody'd holler 'Here   comes Billy The Kid'. And the name just stuck''.

By the early 1950s, Billy considered himself a professional musician, but he knew he was   still learning a lot, particularly from a pianist who later joined the Lionel Hampton band:   "Dwike Mitcheli taught me practically the style that I play. I/ used to go over to his house all   the time, every day in the summer of 1952. I did learn a few things from Oscar Dennard,   too. You know, those two lived only 20 miles apart. We were all in the same Baptist Union   together.

The same year. Emerson found himself back in the forces helping with the Korean war   effort. He was in the Air Force for a year, stationed mainly in Mississippi. He continued to   look for opportunities to play music and it was there that he met a very different character   who would have a significant influence on his musical direction. He told me, "On November   25. 1952. This was when I met Ike Turner. I was stationed in Greenville, Mississippi and Ike  Turner was from Clarksdale and would let me sit in with him and Little Milton and I started to   play with Ike's Kings Of Rhythm band when they were in Greenville''. Emerson was   discharged in September 1953. He went back to Florida, "and soon after that Ike's band   came on a tour down there. They were at Sarasota one time and Ike got sick so I took over in   the band and Ike asked me to join the Kings full-time. I went up to Clearwater and joined   them there''. He elaborated on this to Jim O'Neal, confirming that Ike was playing down  around Bradenton, Florida for promoter Buddy May. Not only was Ike sick but his wife and   pianist, Bonnie, had left him. Apparently, Turner told Buddy May that Emerson was based in   Florida and to get him to finish out the engagement. Billy recalled. ''I was playing guitar at   the time. The band was Jesse Knight, Willie Sims, and Johnny O'Neal. I brought the band   back to Mississippi where Ike was. Ike was still sick and so I stayed on and played with therm.   The man who was really responsible for me becoming a professional singer was Ike Turner.   Ike was truly the one that showed me technique in singing, and he taught me how to deliver.   Not only how to, but how not to. He taught me to project myself instead of projecting Fats   Domino or Roy Brown.

Although Billy Emerson spent a lot of time in Mississippi and Memphis through the latter part   of 1953 and the first half of 1954, and would return for periods during the next few years,   he never became an integral part of the local music scene there. He has described playing   not only with the Turner band but also with other musicians including Dennis Binder and Earl   Hooker, and he told that he played at least one show on Beale Street: ''iI didn't play too   much in Memphis, you know. When it did, I played the big Hippodrome on Beale, a dance   hall". He also told that he was in Memphis as a stepping stone; he knew he could get himself   on records there, but he didn't see it as his real base. In the summer of 1954, he travelled to   Chicago with Dennis Binder, Bob Prindell and Bobby Fields, staying briefly and returning   south to collect singer Billy Gayles. Then, "We went to Cairo, Illinois and picked up Charles   Smitty Smith, Luther Taylor, and Bennie Moore there. We had a band at the Club Playtime in  Cairo, and we put that band together and we came to Chicago with it''.

By November 1955. the time of the last Sun session, Sam Phillips had noted in his logs that   Emerson had left his Cairo address. and he listed instead three Chicago addresses as contact   points, first one on Prairie, then on 55th Place, and finally Ellis Street. He may or may not   have known that on 22 November that same month, while he was still under contract to Sun.   Billy had already made a session in Chicago for Vee-Jay Records. This was to be the start of   some pretty convoluted recording wrangles surrounding Emerson over the coming years.

According to Billy, he had been in Chicago in the early summer of 1955, working at a club at   55' and Prairie, owned by Frank Taylor, and When It Rains had been out for some time. He   said: "I went by VJ which was on 45th and Cottage at that time, and t asked Calvin Carter   there 'Can I look at some of your 'Billboards' to check what if was doing? He saw 'When It   Rains' listed in Dallas and New Orleans and so on Carter said 'Man that record's been out a   long time and everybodys looking for the guy who recorded it'. Say. 'there `s a reward out   for Billy The Kid'''. Emerson went out on tour for the summer but remembered this exchange   after his last, apparently acrimonious, dealings with Sam Phillips in November. ''By December   1955 my contract with Sam was out. I called up Ewart Abner at Vee-Jay and said 'If you give   me S1000 I'll sign with you'. So they brought me in and recorded me''.

After recording for several smaller labels, he formed his own Tarpon Records in 1966,   releasing Denise LaSalle's debut single as well as his own records. He also continued to play   in clubs and on European blues tours. In 2005 he was reported as having a church in Oak   Park, Illinois, as Reverence William R. Emerson. Emerson was inducted in the Rockabilly Hall   of Fame.


Elvis Presley appeared on the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, Louisiana. Also featured tonight were Johnny Horton, David Houston. Also on the bill: Jimmy Newman, Jack Ford, Buddy Attaway, Buzz Busby and the Bayou Boys, Jeanette Hicks, Betty Amos, and many others.

Elvis Presley reportedly played an engagement at Sie's Place in Biloxi, Mississippi. This may   have been an impromptu walk-on for Elvis Presley at a club he was merely visiting. At this   time he was booked at Biloxi and Keesler Air Force Base, but he often went out after-hours   to check on the competition.  A return visit to Biloxi was a well-paying bonus enterprise, at $300 per date for the regular shows, Elvis picked up additional money with two late shows at the Hambone Club.
On the very early morning of November 9, local residents in Houlka could see a pink Cadillac parked at the gas station, waiting for it to open. Two feet were sticking out of one of the rear windows, as Elvis took a nap while they were waiting.

According to Pat Lally, who had not only been at the March 25 Dermott show, but also brought Elvis to her home for a teenage party, ''My father worked at Keesler. Some of the boys I went to school with called and asked if I wanted to go and see the show. And we are out there jitterbugging, it was a dance, and we were dancing, and the music got slower and slower, and he was up on the stage, and we made eye contact, and suddenly he comes running up to me, and I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest, and I thought, Oh my God, he remembers me, and he came up to me and said, 'How is your mother'? And I thought he remembered Me'! 

The airmen were allowed to bring dates. No officers were admitted. The program ran sixty to ninety minutes, with an intermission.

''The Cherry Girls'' returned for another visit, again after seeing him backstage the night before. They followed him to the Hambone Club. It was a place for country music, it had a liquor license, but Elvis had nothing stronger than a 7UP. Elvis went dancing with one of the girls. He had noticed her the night before, wearing a strapless dress, but whereas she liked his singing, she was in no way impressed by his dancing.

Elvis Presley performed two benefit shows for the Daily Herald's Doll and Toy Fund to buy  Christmas gifts for needy children in Biloxi, Mississippi. The performances at 2:00 and 8:00  p.m. were held at the Community House and were also sponsored by the local Lion's Club.  There was a dance following Elvis' two-and-a-half hour evening appearance. Also on the bill  were Ernie Chafin, Eddie Camp, Dan Seals, Jim Owen, Betty Ashley (of nearby Pascagoula),  and others.

Elvis Presley took his show to Keesler Air Force Base (outside), Biloxi Mississippi. It was  reported that Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins played Amory, Mississippi, about  this time. Carl Perkins and Charlie Boren, disc jockey and show promoter in Amory, recall  that Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Gene Simmons played Amory.
Johnny Cash opened the show with excellent versions of "Cry, Cry, Cry" and "Hay Porter".  After acknowledging the applause, Cash continued with traditional country songs.
Carl  Perkins was the next act, and he sang "Let The Jukebox Keep On Playing" and "Gone, Gone,  Gone". The former was a hillbilly song, while the latter was classic rockabilly. The audience  loved it. When Elvis Presley came out to finish the show, he took up the challenge offered by  his Sun Records cronies. He did ten songs over the course of the next hour in a set that left  the audience in ecstasy. Elvis Presley received the loudest applause of the evening, and the  crowd left delighted with the show.

It was at the same concert in Amory that Carl Perkins showed the music for "Blue Suede  Shoes" to Elvis Presley. Perkins even said to Presley that he wrote "Blue Suede Shoes" the  song on the back of a potato sack while at home in Jackson. (Perkins also said that he wrote  "Blue Suede Shoes" following an appearance with Elvis Presley in Parkin, Arkansas). As Carl  Perkins sang the song for Elvis Presley, Presley paid close attention to the way it flowed,  later allowing him to record one of the most soulful and commercial versions of "Blue Suede  Shoes" - modelled on Carl Perkins' demonstration performance! Indeed, after Elvis Presley  first heard "Blue Suede Shoes", he told Ronald Smith that he felt like the song had been  written for him, so taken with it was he.

According to Boren, the package cost him $600, of which Elvis Presley received less than  $200, which would seem to date the show prior to late 1955 and certainly earlier than  January 1956.

There are no notice for this appearance in the Keesler News. The previous June, when Elvis  Presley visited Keesler AFB, he played the Airmen's Club, and it may be presumed that he  returned to the same club this time.

Johnny Cash suggests that Carl Perkins write a song based on a saying he had heard in the  chow line while he was in the service, "don't step on my blue suede shoes". A few nights  later Carl Perkins is playing in Jackson, Tennessee and he sees a dancer in the crowd trying  to keep his girlfriend away from his new blue suede shoes. It connects with the idea that  Cash had given him. At 3 o'clock the following morning, Carl Perkins awakes with the genesis  of the song in his head. He goes downstairs and writes out the lyrics in pencil on an empty  potato bag. "Suede" is spelled "Swaed".

Louisiana Hayride Star Booked for Club

Elvis Presley, 20 year-old vocalist from the Louisiana Hayride show, is slated for personal  appearances at the Airmen's Mess next Monday and Tuesday from 6 to 10 p.m.

Presley's success has been attributed to the fact that he offers his country music in the  fastest selling style available and appeals to crowds of all ages.
He came upon his career quite by accident when a recording manager heard him making a  personal record. He immediately signed Presley to a singing contract and some of his  following recordings of "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", "That's All Right Mama", Good Rockin'  Tonight". Presley also does a number of novel and rhythmic tunes on his show that he has  not recorded. Providing accompaniment for the singer is Scotty Moore on the hot guitar and  Bill Black thumping the bass.

Elvis Presley played the Airmen's Club at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. When Elvis  Presley arrived in Biloxi, he found himself a cheap motel room. The six nights at the Airmen's Club paid only $85, so Scotty Moore and Bill Black had returned to Memphis, leaving Elvis  Presley to play the engagement as a solo act.

Actually, it was much like playing the Eagle's  Nest in Memphis. As Elvis Presley into the bar he with Jim Russell, the person who had  booked the previous week's act, Bill Bennett.

Russell, who had recently moved to New  Orleans from Pittsburgh, was a thirty-six-year-old disc jockey/promoter who had once  worked with Alan Freed. Upon his arrival in New Orleans, Russell had founded his booking  agency, making some extra money diverting acts from nightclubs, dance halls and  auditoriums to Airmen's Clubs like the one in Biloxi.

"I'll never forget Elvis when he walked into the Airmen's Club", Russel remarked, "he looked and  dressed poor". Jim Russell lent Elvis Presley five dollars so he could buy some food. "Elvis  complained that he lacked good management", Russell remembered, "he hinted around to  me about managing him. I turned him down cold". There were eighteen people at the Airmen's Club that night, and Russell recalls that only four of them sat directly in front of the stage  and watched Elvis Presley perform. "There were two tables playing cards and another group  at the pool table. The four girls in the club watched Elvis, I should have known then what he  had", Russell chuckled.

While he was in Biloxi, Elvis Presley spent the week with June Juanico. Elvis Presley had  met Juanico on June 26, 1955, during a previous Biloxi show. She was a singer, dancer, and  model who had the same show business aspirations as Elvis Presley. They spent an idyllic  week. As they rode horses and went swimming, Elvis Presley unburdened himself to her. He  was wary about the future success of his career, and he again complained about his  management. Elvis Presley was especially needful, as he had just learned that Bob Neal had  been involved in an auto accident. The record deal with RCA was still up in the air, and  Presley's nerves were shot. "I never saw anyone so insecure", Jim Russell recalled. "That boy  had a lot on his mind". Russell remembers that Elvis felt all but abandoned by Parker. "If I  had realized how close the Colonel was to a recording deal, I would have moved in on Elvis",  Russell lamented.

Howard DeWitt's Elvis: The Sun Years is the source for information on this six-day stint.  DeWitt even mentions a supporting act, Bill Bennett, a disc jockey at New Orleans' WTIX.  According to Elvis: The Sun Years, Jim Russell of New Orleans promoted the date. DeWitt  discusses this stand in great detail, noting that Elvis Presley was scheduled to play at Keesler  AFB, Biloxi, Mississippi, all six nights for a total of $85. This didn't leave any money for  Scotty Moore and Bill Black so they went back to Memphis. According to Russell, Elvis Presley  "looked and dressed poor", "lacked good management", and only drew eighteen people the  first night. This just does not sound like any Elvis performance in the Biloxi area in late  1955.
(Above) Andrew Jackson Hotel, opened in August of 1925 on the east side of Memorial Plaza on the corner of  314  Sixth Avenue North and Deaderick Street in Nashville, Tennessee.

The massive brick structure boasted 400 guest rooms.  In 1971 the hotel was demolished to make room for the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and the  James K. Polk State Office Building.

On November 10, 1955, Elvis Presley left Memphis with Bob Neal and drove to Nashville for  the Annual Country And Western Music Disc Jockey Convention at the Andrew Jackson Hotel  231 6th Avenue North.
From Florida, Mae Boren Axton drove to Nashville with a new song in  hand, "Heartbreak Hotel", a tune co-written with Tom Durden after he had read a poignant  newspaper article in the Miami Herald. Under with a headline: "Do You Know This Man?" was  a story describing the suicide of a man who had scrawled a one-line note before his death: "I  walk a lonely street". The line became the lyrical focal point for "Heartbreak Hotel", and it  was not long before the song was a crucial part of Elvis Presley's contract talks with RCA.
A friend of Mae Boren Axton, Colonel Tom Parker had hired her as a publicist during a  number of Hank Snow's tours. She had also been responsible for booking Elvis Presley in  Jacksonville, Florida, a number of times. "Mae was a well-known and respected figure in the  music business", Johnny Tillotson remarked, "it was only natural for her to approach Elvis  Presley with "Heartbreak Hotel".
Axton had witnessed the reaction to Elvis' music, and  realized that Elvis Presley held the ticket to great wealth. Johnny Tillotson remembers how  excited Axton was over the prospect of Presley recording her song. "She realized early on",  Tillotson remarked, "that Presley was going to be a huge act".

By the time Axton brought "Heartbreak Hotel" to Nashville, a demo of the song had already  been turned down by the Wilburn Brothers. They thought it was weird.
After listening to  country singer Glenn Reeves'(1) demo tape of the tune, Elvis Presley told Axton that he  loved it. As Elvis Presley practised it, Tom Durden noticed that Presley was copying the demo  singer's style exactly. "Elvis was even breathing in the same places that Glenn did on the  dub", Durden remarked. "Heartbreak Hotel" was an important song for Elvis Presley; he  needed original songs, and it definitely fit his style".

To make sure that this song was right for Elvis Presley, however, Colonel Tom Parker played  the demo for a number of music people. They all agreed it was excellent. The Colonel wasn't  convinced, and Mae Axton and Tom Durden were about to take the song elsewhere when  Glenn Reeves convinced Parker that the song had enormous commercial potential. The  Colonel believed that Reeves had an ear for hit songs and the deal was consummated. To  sweeten the deal, Axton and Durden agreed to give Elvis Presley a share of the songwriting  credits, a common practice in the music industry in the 1950s. Although Elvis Presley didn't  pen one word of this tune, the fact that Mae Axton went so far as to offer Elvis Presley a  third of the songwriting credits if he would record it helped increase Colonel Tom Parker's  enthusiasm for the song.
For his part, the deal made Elvis Presley nervous because he prided himself on his artistic  integrity. Colonel Parker was proving to be too manipulative even at this early point in  Presley's career, pressing Elvis Presley to record songs that would add to his royalties. To  woo his singer, Colonel Parker expressed confidence that "Heartbreak Hotel" had a special  quality, musically speaking; the real reason behind his interest in the song was the extra  royalty money that Elvis Presley would collect. In the end, Elvis Presley accepted the  Colonel's plea that they had to work with songwriters who would allow them to share in the  royalties.

As significant as the drama surrounding the acquisition of "Heartbreak Hotel" for Elvis  Presley was, the RCA deal overshadowed the events of the day. As negotiations over the song  went on quietly and without fanfare, there were rumours everywhere at the Andrew  Jackson Hotel that Elvis Presley was about to sign the most lucrative recording contract in  history, rumours which would obscure the fact that the deal Colonel Tom Parker negotiated  for his young protege was really rather average.

"Hot dog, Mae, play it again", recalled Bob Neal, "and she played "Heartbreak Hotel" it over  and over, it was really different, a little like Roy Brown's "Hard Luck Blues", only this was  about a hotel, a heartbreak hotel, where the bellhop's tears kept flowing and the desk clerk  was dressed in black. He knew the whole song before he left the room. 'That's gonna be my  next record", he said.

Elvis did very well in Billboard's annual disc jockey poll. He was ranked number 1 in the  "Most Promising Country and Western Artist" category, number 13 in the "Most Played  Country and Western Artist" listing, and number 16 in both the "Favorite Country and  Western Artist" and "Favorite Country and Western Records" (for "Baby Let's Play House")  categories.

Following a non-singing appearance in the two-day annual country music disk jockey  convention in Nashville, Elvis Presley took an early morning flight to Memphis. While in  Nashville, he received awards from Billboard as the nation's "Most Outstanding" new country  star, from Cash Box as country music's "Up-Ann-Coming Star of the Year", and from Country  Music Jamboree magazine as the "New Star of the Year. After staying only a short time at his  home, he, along with Scotty Moore and Bill Black, left Memphis in his pink Cadillac.
At 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon, Elvis Presley and an otherwise unidentified a group of  entertainers from the Louisiana Hayride made a two-hour appearance in Carthage, Texas, at  the Carthage Milling Company as part of the festivities surrounding the feed mill's grand  opening. Boasting the motto "feed designed with stock in mind", the mill was located on US  Highway 79, just on the other side of the Carthage's eastern city limits. According to John  Neal, one of the mill's original owners, Elvis Presley arrived in his pink Cadillac. The stage,  such as it was, had been set up on the loading dock of the mill. As the show began, there  were problems with the portable loudspeaker, and the sheriff volunteered the use of his car,  which had a public address system installed. So, the sheriff's patrol car was backed up to the  dock, and the show went on as scheduled. Elvis Presley was paid $300, with another $50  going to the Hayride booking agency. The Hayride had originally asked for $400 for Elvis  Presley, but Neal stood fast on his offer. Elvis Presley was not even the first choice for the  mill's grand opening. Neal had wanted to hire the Light Crust Dough Boys, a popular western  swing band. However, when he contacted the Light Crust organization, he was told that the  band had just gone on their winter hiatus. Elvis' name was suggested to Neal by his daughter,  Joanne, who was an avid Hayride fan. The mill was destroyed in a spectacular fire in 1967  that also consumed about 15,000 bushels of feed.

Article in the Memphis Press-Scimitar, November 12, 1955 that read:
Elvis Presley Back With New Popularity Honors

Elvis Presley, Memphis sensation with country music fans, got off a plane from Nashville at the Airport early today with two scrolls and a plaque in his pocket, souvenirs of a rare triple-victory.

Billboard magazine, standard of the radio industries, named Presley ''most outstanding new artist of 1955'' in a scroll presented at the Country Music Disc Jockey's convention in Nashville.

''Up-and-Coming Star''

Hardly had the applause died when Cash Box magazine had Presley's names on its scroll for ''Up-and-Coming Star of the Year'', result of a nationwide vote by disc jockeys and juke box agents.

And then Country-Western Jamboree, another trade mag. revealed that Presley got 250,000 votes in its readers poll and was picked as winner of the ''New Star of the Tear'' plaque.

Presley, only 20, had a rare few hours at home this morning with his folks at 1414 Getwell. At 10 a.m., the Humes High School grad winged away to Shreveport, Louisiana, for his regular Louisianan Hayride show. But he'll be back in Memphis by dawn.

Tomorrow Presley, Country Song Roundup's No. 9 folk artist in popularity and the only young star in the top group, makes one of his few local appearances at the Western Swing Jamboree Auditorium, 3 and 8 p.m.

Sun Records

Elvis records for Sun Records of Memphis, whose president Sam Phillips, discovered his talent, and is managed by Bob Neal, WMPS disc jockey, who is staging tomorrow's shows.

Hank Thompson and the Brazos Valley Boys, Carl Smith of Grand Ol' Opry and the Tunesmiths, Charlene Arthur of Big D Jamboree and Carl Perkins, a newcomer from Jackson, Tennessee, will be among other stars at the local jamboree.
Later that day, Elvis Presley was easily able to make his regular spot on the Louisiana  Hayride, as the distance from Carthage to Shreveport is only 45 miles.  The special guest on  the Hayride this evening was Jimmy Day, a former member of the Hayride's house band and  an Abbott recording artist. Day had been touring regularly with Elvis Presley throughout  much of 1955.  When Elvis Presley walked onto the stage at the "Hayride", Elvis Presley had more energy  than any two performers. "I never saw anything like the frenetic performing skills of Elvis",  Tommy Sands remembered, "and when I found out he finished a two-hour drive before  walking on stage I was amazed".

Sands remembered that Elvis Presley talked about finishing  his Carthage show with "Uncle Pen".  "Elvis wanted to give the country folks what they  wanted", Sands remembered, "and he glowed when he told me how the Carthage crowd  clapped for his last song".

According to Lloyd Ozment, ''...a short time later, I drove down Greenwood Road. I spotted that pink Cadillac of Elvis' at a red light. I pulled up beside it.
Bill Black and Scotty Moore were inside; I yelled over to them, 'What are you all doing here'? Bill said to me, he was looking for the airport to pick up Elvis. I told them to follow me, and I joined them there to wait for Elvis. As Elvis came off the plane, he was dressed in a pink corduroy outfit that he wore many times at the Hayride performances. Elvis spoke to me and remembered me instantly. Elvis asked, 'Lloyd what are you doing here'? I replied, 'Bill and Scotty were lost and could not find the airport, so I brought them here'. Elvis said, 'That's great, Lloyd, because I have to be in Longview for a performance in a short time, and I appreciate your help. My performance is either in a gymnasium or on the back of a wagon, now we have to find that. Do you want to help us find that too'''?

Lloyd regrettably had to decline, as he was with his 16-year-old date, and he and Elvis agreed that her parents might not appreciate that.

Returning to Memphis at dawn, Elvis Presley headlined two shows at 3:00 and 8:00 p.m. at  the "Western Swing Jamboree" held at Ellis Auditorium. These shows were to say "good-bye"  to Texas Bill Strength of KWEM radio, who was leaving Memphis for KEYD in Minneapolis.
Also  on the bill were Hank Thompson, Carl Smith, Charlene Arthur, Carl Perkins and "Poor Old  Richard" (presumably local disc jockey Dick Stewart). Tickets for the event were $1.25 in  advance. It was in the course of these shows that Elvis Presley sang "Satisfied" in an  impromptu backstage duet with Charlene Arthur.

Charline Arthur dated Elvis Presley for a few weeks during this period. Arthur, a buxom,  exciting performer, had a gospel-influenced voice. She was also quite different from Elvis' other dates. Unlike the quiet, demure girls that Elvis Presley preferred, Arthur was a woman  with a mind of her own, something that made a permanent relationship with Elvis Presley  impossible. During the this late 1955 farewell performance for Texas Bill Strength of KWEM -  Strength was taking a job in Minneapolis, where, as Strength told the audience, he would  introduce the Yankees to real country music - Elvis Presley and Charline Arthur parted  company
TEXAS BILL STRENGTH – Born on August 28, 1928, Houston, Texas and t he earliest mention   we've found of "Texas" Bill Strength was in the May 1946 issue of National Hillbilly News in a   brief write up by long-time Ernest Tubb Fan Club President, Norma Winton.   At that time, he   had just finished working at KFEQ in St. Joseph, Missouri. His popularity was such over KFEQ  that he was being sponsored over 17 other radio stations at that time.
Ms. Barthel tells the readers that Bill's radio performing career started at a station in   Houston, Texas - KTHT - back in 1944.   She mentions he had been at a few other stations   since that time and had moved to KSOO in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. A 1949 article tells us   that Bill was just 16 then and had won an amateur contest at the Joy Theatre.
A   representative from KTHT happened to be present and decided to give Bill his first radio job.   In remembering that episode, Bill was quoted, "My Mother thought for sure I was dying, and I   can't say what the old man said''.
In those early days, Texas Bill was also writing tunes such as "There's Always Two to Blame",   "I'm Lonely Since You've Gone" and "You've Left Me Behind" were several of the tunes Ms.   Barthel tells the readers he had written up to that point and "...many more''.
During this part of his career, Texas Bill got to meet his hero so to speak, Ernest Tubb during   one of Ernest's personal appearances. In fact, Norma Barthel mentions he was quite good   about promoting Ernest and his records and even mentions that he was a "...young fellow   with a voice that sounds remarkably like Ernest Tubb, especially when singing one of Ernest's   songs''.
In the latter part of 1946, Floy Case reported in her column that he had a six piece western   band and doing personal appearance in the Missouri and Kansas area. She noted that Bill was   "...doing all right for himself in this hillbilly biz." She also mentions that he had penned a   couple of new tunes, "The Rose of My Heart" and "Who's Gonna Love Me Now".
Norma wrote of Texas Bill again in the July 1946 issue of National Hillbilly News in two of her   columns - one was "Just Driftin'" where she notes that he was working in Colorado and   making personal appearances throughout the area. In her "Radio Programs and Cowboys"   column in the same issue, she provides a snippet of the type of tunes he was singing back   then. She mentions that Texas Bill had presented her with a special recording, that became a  treasured memento to her. He recorder her favorite tune at the time, "Yesterday's Tears"and then followed that up with several of his own song writing efforts, "Please Don't Ever   Forget Me" and "Louisiana Lou". But he may have been longing for his southern roots as   Norma notes he was talking about the cold weather and how hard it was for a southern boy   to cope with it. While he may have complained about it, he was doing well at the time and   was the envy of Norma being able to work there for she was a native of the state.
But by the end of 1946, his career had taken him to Memphis, Tennessee, based on a letter   to the editors of National Hillbilly News that listed his PO Box as being in Memphis. In fact,   the January 1947 issue reports in Arlie Kinkade's column, "This, That 'n the Other" that he   was working at WHHD.
Interestingly, we found another article in the December 1946 issue of Mountain Broadcast   and Prairie Recorder by one of country music's earliest journalists, Floy Case, who tells   readers that Norma Winton, president of Ernest Tubb's Fan Club and publisher of the   newsletter, Melody Trails, had started her own band and it was called, the "Melody Trail   Riders". The "...singing emcee..." Ms. Case tells us was Texas Bill Strength, who she described as "...a young fellow who seems to be going places in a hurry." Bill and the group   were playing dates in the eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas areas.
In January of 1947, Ms. Case wrote that Bill was one fellow that "...gets around", going from   Texas to South Dakota and Colorado. She mentions she had known he was working as part of   Norma Winton's band, the Melody Trail Riders out of Ft. Smith, Arkansas but had since   formed his own band, the "Ranch Ramblers" and was working regularly at the Rainbow   Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee. She, like many of the columnists back then who also dabbled in song writing, then segues into mentioning that Bill had been plugging a song she   had written with Jimmie Davis, "I'm Beginning to Forget You" that had also been recorded by   Ernest Tubb. A 1952 article mentions that in 1947, Bill toured with several large road shows   then and did stints at KMYR in Denver, KSOO in Sioux Falls, KMA in Shenandoah, Iowa and   KRLD in Dallas, Texas.
A 1951 article in Cowboy Songs magazine tells us that Bill had gone back to Houston and had   a daily program over radio station KATL. In addition to his disc jockey chores, he immersed   himself with personal appearances in the Houston area. Around that time, Foremost Dairies   offered Bill a fifteen month contract with a new 5,000 watt station, KLEE. However, the   contract did not deter his night club work which included the Houston Hoedown Club along with a nightly broadcast over station KNUZ, another Houston station.
September of 1949 found Bill in Birmingham, Alabama doing daily radio programs at WRBC,   which was a bit of a network of 37 stations throughout Alabama. In late 1949, Bill's career   had taken him back to Houston, Texas. Tex Moon wrote in his "Southwestern Round-Up"   column for National Hillbilly News that Bill was one of the mainstays at a new venue in   Houston where it was said, "The Best Bands of All Come to Hillbilly Hall" along with others   such as Floyd Tillman, Hank Lockwood, Leon Payne, Benny Leaders, Pete Hunter, the Texas   Cowboys, Woody Carter and others.
In 1950, Bill's career took another turn, this time as part of the staff for the labor   organization, CIO on January 15, 1950. During that time, he was doing radio transcriptions   with George Baldanzi, then Executive VP of the Textile Workers Union of America and   National Director of the CIO Organizing Committee. The transcriptions were aired over 126   stations. At that time, the CIO had over 6.5 million members, so Texas Bill and his record   label, 4-Star Records, took advantage of that and created a slogan for Bill, "...the Boy with 6
and a half million sponsors''.
The 1951 Cowboy Songs article notes that Bill was such a hit with his CIO bit that he logged   over 57,000 miles of traveling on tours, personal appearances as well as visiting those in   hospitals and institutions as well as hi attendance at union meetings and conventions for the   CIO. Impressively, it was said that he entertained upwards of a quarter million people at   each of those conventions. Like many artists, Bill shared the stage with many of the  mainstays of country music in that era. But Bill also got to entertain some well-known   political figures of the era due to his work with the CIO, including Vice President Alben  Barkley, Senator Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota; Congressman Christopher of Missouri   and Maurice Tobin, Secretary of Labor.
Some of the more well known venues he appeared at were the Palmer House in Chicago, the   "world's largest auditorium" in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the Hotel Utah in Salt Lake City,   Utah; the National Training School for Boys, Washington, DC; the Hudson Manor in Tampa,   Florida and also KWKH's Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport.
By 1951, he had appeared five times on WSM's Grand Ole Opry, appearing with his friend   Ernest Tubb.
In 1951, he was living in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and two children. He had made   several appearances over WAGA-TV in Atlanta.
A June 1954 article mentions that Bill had a daily show from 11:00am to 12:45pm over radio   station WEAS in Decatur, Georgia. In another summer 1954 article in Country Song Roundup's   Fifth Anniversary Issue which featured spotlights on disc jockeys from around the country,   they offered the reader a couple of quotes attributed to Texas Bill that give us perhaps some   insight into music and his career:   "...I have taken it for granted that it is the only business that I should be in. Within these ten   years, I have been associated with many types of people who tell a story. Some tell their   story in a speech, others in books, and yet, there are people who can better tell a story in  song. ... and I guess that's why I've been inspired to since my boyhood, to tell my story in a  song''.
''In addition to music being a part of my daily life, I think it is one of the most gratifying   things that could ever happen to an artist. Why? Because when I make other people happy   with a song, either on a show date or by playing records on my D.J. shows, I feel that I am   reaching my goal, I'm living Country Music!"
Around 1953 or so, Bill was doing his recordings on Capitol Records. He was being featured   over station KEYD (later known as KEVE) out of Minneapolis, MN and did personal   appearances across the country.
In 1956, he was doing tour dates in the Kentucky and Ohio areas, appearing with such acts   as The Carlisles, Ferlin Husky, Martha Carson among others.
A May 1956 article appears to be promoting his efforts with Capitol Records at the time along   with the inauguration of the new country music programming at KEYD. The station's staff at   that time also included another country singer, Johnny "T" (Johnny Talley). The article also   mentions that Bill's wardrobe for his personal appearances was valued at over $3,200.
A May 1956 article mentions that Bill had appeared on the Midwestern Hayride over WLW in   Cincinnati, Ohio as well as on programs hosted by such stars as Pee Wee King and Red Foley   (the Ozark Jubilee). That same article told readers that in a voters poll, Bill ranked number   50 out of over 1,800 disc jockeys nationwide.
The December 1956 issue of Country & Western Jamboree included the results of various   fan polls they had taken. One result was that Texas Bill Strength finishing number three   behind such other disc jockey legends as T. Tommy Cutrer and Don Larkin as "Favorite Local   Radio Disc Jockey". That list also included other legends that would be in the Country Music   Disc Jockey Hall of Fame, Randy Blake and Bill Mack.
He appeared on the cover of the June 1954 issue of Cowboy Songs, as one of three artists   featured in the issue. In May 1956, he was the featured artist on the cover of Cowboy Songs.   Country & Western Jamboree magazine featured him on the cover of their July 1956 issue   but only devoted a few short paragraphs to Bill inside but did at least mention he was the   number one rated Disc Jockey in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.
In 1990, Texas Bill Strength was elected to the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame.
In August of 1973, Texas Bill Strength was asleep in a car while driving with a friend on a   promotional tour. Their car left the road and flipped several times. Texas Bill was paralyzed   from the waist down and later slipped into a coma. He passed away in October 1, 1973.
CHARLINE ARTHUR - The daughter of a Pentecostal preacher, born Charline Highsmith on  September 2, 1929, in Henrietta, Texas, began singing in church while she was in school. At  the age of seven, she earned enough money collecting empty bottles to buy a guitar for six  dollars. Influenced by the hardcore honky tonk of Ernest Tubb, she wrote her first song, "I've  Got the Boogie Blues'', when she was 12.  By the time she was a teenager, she was  performing on a local Texas radio show. Arthur won a spot on a traveling medicine show in  the mid-1940s, yet her parents refused to let her leave home. She countered by marrying  Jack Arthur, who would later play bass on her records.

In the late 1940s, she began singing in honky tonks and nightclubs across Texas, which  eventually led to a single with Bullet Records, "I've Got the Boogie Blues"/"Is Love a Game''.  After she recorded the single, she and Jack moved to Kermit, Texas, where she was hired by  a radio station as a disc jockey. Soon, Charline assembled a band. Performing in local clubs  and the radio, Arthur gained a fan base. In 1950, she recorded a single for the small label  Imperial. During this time, Eddy Arnold and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, heard Arthur  perform.
Impressed with what they heard, they directed Julian and Gene Aberbach, owners  of the Hill and Range music publishing company, toward the singer. The pair signed her to a  publishing deal and landed her a contract with RCA Records in 1953.

Arthur made her first record for RCA early in 1953, recording with session musicians who  included Floyd Cramer and Chet Atkins. Her contract with RCA led her to appearances with  the Louisiana Hayride, the Big D Jamboree, and the Ozark Jubilee. During this time, she  frequently performed on the same stage as Elvis Presley, whose mother was a big fan of  Arthur. All of her performances were gaining her acclaim, in 1955, she was the runner-up to  Kitty Wells in Country & Western Jamboree magazine's DJ poll.

However, things weren't going smoothly for Arthur. Although she appeared on the "Prince  Albert" portion of the Grand Ole Opry, her material was frequently rejected on the grounds  it was too racy. At RCA, Chet Atkins followed Steve Sholes as her record producer, and the  two musicians could not get along. Furthermore, she was having no success with any of her  records. After her contract expired at the end of 1956, she left RCA for Colin, but she had a  similar lack of success there. Shortly after her record label switch, she parted ways with her  husband, Jack.

Charline formed a trio with her sisters, Betty Sue and Dottie, but the teaming was  unsuccessful. By 1960, she was broke. Arthur moved to Salt Lake City, where she met Ray  Pellum, a nightclub and record label owner who landed her a regular singing job in  Chubbuck, Idoha. During this time, she also recorded for his Eldorado label. In 1965, Arthur  headed out to California. Between 1965 and 1978, she recorded for three small labels,  Rustic, Wytra, and Republic, with Alice M. Michaels as her manager. Suffering from  debilitating arthritis, she went back to Idaho in 1979, and stayed there until her death in  1987. Charline Arthur lived long enough to see her RCA material reissued by Germany's Bear  Family Records in 1986.
HANK THOMPSON - Hank Thompson was perhaps the most popular Western swing musician of  the 1950s and 1960s, keeping the style alive with a top-notch band, tremendous  showmanship, and a versatility that allowed him to expand his repertoire into romantic  ballads and hardcore honky tonk numbers.

Born September 3, 1925, in Waco, Texas, Henry William Thompson was the son of  immigrants from Bohemia and grew up idolizing Western swing and country musicians like  Bob Wills, Jimmie Rodgers, and Gene Autry.

He began learning harmonica and guitar as a  child, and appeared in local talent shows as a teenager, which eventually led to his own local  radio program (billed as Hank the Hired Hand).

After graduating from high school in 1943,  Thompson joined the Navy as a radio technician and often wrote songs to entertain his  fellow soldiers. Following his discharge, Thompson studied electrical engineering at  Princeton through the G.I. Bill, but eventually decided to pursue music as a career.
He  returned to Waco and to the radio business, and set about putting together a band he  dubbed the Brazos Valley Boys. They quickly became a popular live act around the area and  recorded their first single, "Whoa Sailor" (a song Thompson had written in the Navy) for the  Globe label in 1946. A few more singles followed for Bluebonnet, by which time Tex Ritter  had become a Thompson admirer. Ritter helped Thompson land a record deal with Capitol in  1947, an association that would last for the next 18 years.

Thompson scored his first major hit for Capitol in 1949 with the smash "Humpty Dumpty  Heart," the biggest of his six charting singles that year. In 1951, he hooked up with producer  Ken Nelson, who would helm many of his most successful records. Those records included  "The Wild Side of Life," a monster hit from 1952 (over three months at number one) that  became Thompson's signature song. Its cynical attitude inspired an answer record by Kitty  Wells called "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," which made her the first female  artist in country music history with a million-selling record. Thompson continued to score hit  after hit during the 1950s, including 21 songs that reached the Top 20 on the country charts  and five Top Tens in the year 1954 alone. A savvy promoter, Thompson devised a number of  ways to make himself stand out from the crowd (even past his suave cowboy wardrobe): his  early-1950s television show in Oklahoma City was the first variety show broadcast in color  and he was the first country artist to tour with a sound and lighting system (put together  using his Navy and collegiate experience), the first to receive corporate sponsorship, and the  first to record in high-fidelity stereo. He also gave early breaks to musicians like guitar  legend Merle Travis and female rockabilly pioneer Wanda Jackson. Toward the end of the  1950s, Thompson began to create LPs that were more cohesive than just mere collections of  singles plus filler; 1958's Dance Ranch and 1959's Songs for Rounders were Western  swing/honky tonk masterpieces, especially the latter, which stirred up controversy with its  groundbreakingly adult (some said decadent) lyrical content. In 1961, Thompson recorded  the first live album ever released in the history of country music, the classic At the Golden  Nugget.

After that burst of inspired creativity, Thompson's luck began to change: the public's taste  was moving toward slick country-pop and the electrified Bakersfield sound and despite  several more fine records, Thompson's relationship with Capitol ended in 1965. He first  moved to Warner Bros., then ABC/Dot in 1968 (which became part of MCA in 1970).  Thompson continued to record and tour and his singles charted regularly during the 1970s  all the way up to 1983, though he never matched the level of success he'd enjoyed in the  1950s and early 1960s. Even after the hits dried up, Thompson maintained a demanding  concert tour schedule, playing all over the world. He was elected to the Country Music Hall  of Fame in 1989.

Thompson died November 6, 2007, following a battle with lung cancer.
CARL SMITH - Known as Mr. Country, Carl Smith was one of the most popular honky tonkers  of the 1950s, racking up over 30 Top Ten hits over the course of the decade. Smith was also  able to sustain that popularity into the late 1970s, during which time he had a charting  single for every year except one. Smith had a talent for singing smooth ballads which  polished the rough edges of hardcore country.

Nevertheless, he could sing pure honky tonk with the best of them, and his hardest country  was made tougher by the addition of a drum kit.
Smith was one of the very first country  artists to regularly perform with a drummer, and though it earned him criticism at the time,  the hard-driving sound of those up-tempo numbers proved to be influential.

Smith also  occasionally dabbled in Western swing, and as he continued to record, he delved deeper into  the genre. Since he specialized in honky tonk ballads and Western swing, Smith rarely  crossed over into the pop audience.
Still, he was one of the most popular and best-known  country singers of his era, recording several classics, including "Let's Live a Little," "Let Old  Mother Nature Have Her Way," "This Orchard Means Goodbye," "Cut Across Shorty," "Loose  Talk," "(When You Feel Like You're in Love) Don't Just Stand There," and "Hey Joe!",  appearing in a handful of movies, and hosting his own television show. By the time he  retired in the early 1980s, he had hit the country charts nearly 100 times.

Smith was born and raised in Maynardsville, Tennessee, which was also the hometown of Roy  Acuff. As a child, Smith idolized Acuff, Ernest Tubb, and Bill Monroe. When he was a  teenager, he taught himself how to play guitar. According to legend, he bought his first guitar  with money he earned by selling flower seeds. At the age of 15, he was singing in the San  Francisco-based country band Kitty Dibble and Her Dude Ranch Ranglers. Two years later, he  learned to play string bass and spent his summer vacation working at WROL, a radio station  in Knoxville. After Smith finished high school, he briefly served in the U.S. Navy before  heading back home.

Once he returned to Tennessee, he continued to perform at WROL, usually playing bass for  Skeets Williamson and Molly O'Day. Eventually, he began singing as well, and one of his  colleagues at the station sent an acetate of Smith's singing to WSM in Nashville. WSM signed  Smith to a contract, and he began working for the station and singing at the Grand Ole Opry.  By 1950, Columbia Records signed Smith to a recording contract. His first hit, "Let's Live a  Little," arrived in 1951, climbing all the way to number two. Over the course of the year, he  racked up no less than three other hits, including the classic "If Teardrops Were Pennies" and  his first number one single, "Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way." Also that year, he  married June Carter, the daughter of Maybelle Carter; the two would later divorce, yet they  had a daughter named Carlene that would become a musician in her own right during the  '70s.

Throughout the 1950s, Smith was a consistent presence in the country charts, racking up no  less than 31 Top Ten singles during the course of the decade. In addition to recording, he  began appearing in Western movies, like 1957's The Badge of Marshal Brennan. In 1956, he  resigned from the Grand Ole Opry and joined a package tour organized by Philip Morris. In  1957, he married country singer Goldie Hill, best-known for the number one hit "I Let the  Stars Get in My Eyes."

As the 1950s ended, Smith was no longer as dominant in the upper reaches of the country  charts as he was earlier in the decade, but he never stopped having hits. During the 1960s,  he consistently charted in the Top 40, which was indicative of his status as a country music  statesman. In 1961, he appeared on ABC's country television series, Four Star Jubilee, and a  few years later, he began hosting Carl Smith's Country Music Hall for Canadian television; the  series also was syndicated in America. Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, he began to  incorporate more Western swing into his repertoire, especially on his albums. Smith  continued to release albums and singles on Columbia Records until 1975, when he signed  with Hickory. After having a handful of minor hits for the label -- including several that were  released on ABC/Hickory, he decided to retire in the late 1970s.

Though he recorded an album of his greatest hits in the early 1980s, Smith retreated from  the spotlight after his 1979 retirement. He and his wife, Goldie, lived on their horse farm  outside of Franklin, Tennessee, and the two began to show horses professionally during the  course of the decade. He died in 2005

An article in the Forrest City Daily Times, November 11, 1955 says, Shriners To Present Big Show Monday:
Some of the top entertainers of the Mid-South will be presented in a big show here Monday night with two shows slated at the Forrest City High School auditorium, the first beginning at 7 p.m. and the second show at 9:15 p.m.

Sponsors of the country western show is the Crowley Ridge Shrine Club. Proceeds will be used in the charitable projects of the club, according to A.A. Bratcher, president of the club.

Elvis Presley, the King of Western Bop, and Hank Thompson, the King of Western Swing, will top the billing of the show, which will also feature numerous other entertaining events during the show.

Because of the tremendous popularity of the stars of the show, arrangements have been made to present two shows so that everyone will have the opportunity to see these performers, Mr. Bratcher said.

Elvis Presley, Hank Thompson, and the other entertainers from the previous night's  performance, minus Carl Smith, played two shows, at 7:00 and 9:15 p.m., at the Forrest City  High School Auditorium in Forrest City, Arkansas. Tickets for adults were $1.00 in advance  and $1.25 at the door. Children were admitted for 50-cents. The show was benefit for  projects sponsored by the Crowley Ridge Shrine Club, including the annual Crippled  Children's Christmas party.

Undoubtedly in response to Harry Kalcheim's suggestion of two weeks before, and despite  the fact that the deal with RCA has yet to come together, the Colonel informs the William  Morris agent that he would be "interested in making a picture with this boy. However, we  must be very careful to expose him in a manner befitting his personality, which is something  like the James Dean situation." Two days later he will elaborate further, wondering if Warner  Brothers may have shelved plans for any James Dean pictures for which his boy might be  suited. "Believe me," he informs Kalcheim, "if you ever follow one of my hunches, follow up  on this one and you won't go wrong." He adds that he already has three tentative coast-tocoast  television appearances for Elvis which would appear, on the evidence, to have been  tentative indeed.

Elvis Presley, Hank Thompson and the rest of the group performed two shows, at 7:00 and  9:30 p.m., at the Community Center in Sheffield, Alabama. Tickets were $1.00 before the  show and $1.25 at the door. Children under twelve were 50-cents. The show was sponsored  by the Sheffield Jaycees.
On Tuesday, November 15, Sam Phillips sat down at his desk and started to write a telegram. It was addressed to Colonel Tom Parker in care of radio station WUX in Madison, Tennessee.  It read as follows: "Upon receipt of cashiers or certified check in the amount of five  thousand dollars not later than midnight tomorrow, Wednesday November 16, we will  declare that you have legally picked up the option to purchase the exclusive recording  contract of Elvis Presley pursuant to all terms and provisions of the agreement made  October 31, 1955 by and between Sun Records Company Incorporated as first party and you,  Bob Neal, and other interest parties as second part".

And so ended perhaps the most illustrious and groundbreaking partnership between a record  company and an artist in the annals of popular music. The affiliation had barely lasted  eighteen months and had brought forth five singles, only one of which had garnered a little  action in the country charts.

According to Horace Kimbrough, ''As a member of the Sheffield Alabama Jaycees in 1955, we sponsored a concert in which Elvis appeared. Elvis got an emergency phone call about 20 minutes before the show started, and I wasn't doing anything, so the office said to me, 'Go get Elvis'. The auditorium was packed; Elvis was sitting under the stage, that's where all the musicians tuned up. And I said to him, 'You've got an emergency phone call'. So we got up and went to the auditorium doors, and he looked up at all those people: 'We cannot go out there, they will harm me, and tear my clothes off'. He said, 'Is there another way we can get to that office'? And we went out the back, and we went round the building. The building was built at the level of the street, but it was a low lot. We were in the shadows so nobody could see who we were, but there was a line two blocks long, waiting on the next show. The first hadn't started. Elvis said, 'We can't go into that crowd, is there any other way to get to the front'? There was a window to the office, I could just about reach it with my hands. So I made a step with my hands, and he climbed in the window, I had to give him a little push, and took the phone call. And we found out later that it was a little girl he had dated over in Louisiana, and she was about to having a fit to be with him again. Between the first and the second show, we opened the exit doors and had to guard the doors to keep people from coming in. Elvis had parked his car, a pink Cadillac, and there were streetlights there, and he had parked his car under that streetlight. When we opened the doors to let the people out, the girls went for the car. Some were kissing it and others scribbled their initials into the paint. I told Elvis, they are ruining your car, and I said, 'What do you want me to do'? He shook his head. He said, 'This is about the third or fourth time I've had this car painted, the insurance is cancelled, I just have to take that car and have it painted again'''.

It was announced from the stage that Elvis Presley was leaving Sun Records for RCA.
Sam Phillips was on the point of going broke. To be sure, distributors were ordering Elvis   Presley records and they were starting to take a little interest in Johnny Cash but they were  notoriously slow to pay. They also, had a tendency to pay Elvis Presley records with returned   blues records that had no cash value to Phillips.  The royalty payments were due and so were   the mechanical payments to the Fox agency. The pressing plants wanted payment and there was an unrecouped advance from Chess Records to settle together with a payment to Jud   Phillips for a share of Sun. There was a young family to support and a disabled aunt back in   Alabama. Sam Phillips was up against the wall. Selling Elvis Presley's contract was his only   option.
In the world of "what if?", you can speculate endlessly on what might have happened if Sam   Phillips had hung onto Elvis Presley. One distinct possibility is that his creditors would have   foreclosed on Phillips and Presley's contract would have been auctioned off together with   the recording equipment, the inventory and the studio fixtures.
Sam Phillips needed cash flow. He needed promotional capital. He needed additional staff.   He needed the freedom to work with his artists without the endless worry brought on by the   mounting depths. If Sam Phillips had been unable to meet his royalty obligations to Elvis   Presley, it is possible that Colonel Tom Parker would have started proceeding against Sun and   Phillips would have wound up without Elvis Presley, without the $35,000 that his contract   brought and with a mountainous legal bill. So he sold!

Article in the Tri-Cities Daily read:

Big Names To Appear In Sheffield

Hank Thompson, Elvis Presley, Charlene Arthur, and Carl Perkins are the big names that will do the All-Star Jamboree of Western bop, and folk performers Tuesday night in two big shows at the Sheffield Community Center.

The show is being sponsored by the Muscle Shoals Jaycees. Hank Thompson and his Brazos Country Boys, a ten-piece band, the best in Western circles will be the new hit group that should please Muscle Shoals followers with his smooth western and western swing music. His string of hits are endless. He has appeared with stars such as Ray Anthony, Eddie Fisher, and Guy Lombardo and been the star of the show.

His music in the western field is much like Lombardo's in the popular field... a smooth type of lively rhythm that is endlessly popular. He'll be on hand to sing his long string of hits along with his band, who won the ''Best Western band in the country'' last year.

Then, Elvis Presley is already well known by teenagers and many oldsters alike in this area. The handsome 20-year-old bundle of energy will return for his third time to one of his most popular areas. he'll sing from audience requests in a lone appearance.

Charlene Arthur is the fast rising young female singer in the music circles. Her recordings are carrying her to new heights. ''Kiss The Baby Goodnight'' and ''Honeybun'' have catapulted the young lady rapidly upward.

Carl Perkins is the sleeper of the group. A relatively unknown singer he is appearing much in the manner of Johnny Cash in last summer's show. Unknown but quickly known. He does his music much in the manner of cash... a bop rhythm that has carried Presley rapidly. His ''Gone Gone Gone'' initial recording is rapidly catching fire and promoters are assuring folks that he'll be the pleasant surprise.

Tickets are on sale in Florence at Anderson News Stand, Sheffield at the Smoke Shop Drugs, and at the Palace Drugs in Tuscumbia.

The tour rolled in to Camden, Arkansas, for two performances, at 7:00 and 9:15 p.m. Tickets  for the shows at the City Auditorium were $1.00 for adults and 50-cents for children. Elvis was brought out last, and a hush fell over the audience when he began to sing ''Only You (And You Alone)'', about to reach the top 5 for the Platters after hitting number 1 on the Rhythm And Blues charts in the past month.
At 3:40 p.m. the next day Colonel Parker sent back a wire to Sam Phillips that read:


A few days later, Elvis Presley was gone on Sun Records. The little seven inch Audiotape  boxes were shipped to RCA. Elvis Presley had spend hundreds of hours in Sam Phillips'  studio. Dire financial necessity had forced Sam Phillips to re-use as much tape as possible.

Tonight the Elvis Presley and Hank Thompson group appeared at the Arkansas Municipal  Auditorium in Texarkana. Carl Perkins dropped out of the tour and his place was filled by  Johnny Cash. There were two shows, at 7:00 and 9:15 p.m.
Afterwards, Elvis Presley and Hank Thompson appeared at Texarkana's Hut Club from 10:00  p.m. until 1:30 a.m. An article in the Texarkana Gazette (December 27, 1981) reported that  the club's owner, Roy Oliver, paid Elvis Presley only $17.50 (probably union scale) to play  the club.

He wouldn't have booked him at all except that he came with Hank Thompson.  According to Dewanda Jo Smith, who had a sister that worked at the club, the Hut was fairly  refined - for a roadhouse. It was located on Highway 67 north of the city.
Inside, there were  a series of relatively small rooms set aside for dining, dancing and the bar.

Elvis' week-long tour with Hank Thompson ended with a four-hour show and dance at the  Reo Palm Isle Club in Longview, Texas that began at 8:00 p.m. Admission was $1.50. Later  that night, Elvis performed at the Rio Palm Isle Club in nearby Longview, where, Paula Lane  said, Elvis gave her an autograph and one of his guitar picks, which she lost.
"He had blond  hair then", she remembers. "Dishwater blond. I don't think he had dark hair until he got into  the movies". She told of one time seeing Elvis in Gladewater "ant he had a perm in his hair.
It  was real frizzy. It looked terrible, but it didn't matter. You know, I never did like his music.  The only thing I liked about him was his looks. When you're fifteen, you can be really silly".

Elvis Presley appeared on the Louisiana Hayride remote broadcast from the High School  Gymnasium in Gladewater. By this time, disc jockey Tom Perryman had been elected  president of the local chapter of the Jaycees. He had learned a few important lessons after  April's over-crowded show, the most important of which was to set aside about 1,000 chairs  in a reserved section on the floor of the gym.
A special souvenir program was also sold,  featuring a large photo of Elvis Presley on the cover. As before, thirty minutes of the four-hour  show was broadcast over CBS radio network, with the entire show airing in several  markets, including Shreveport.

Elvis performs ''Baby Let's Play House'', That's All Right'', ''Rock Around The Clock'', during  this period, Elvis Presley also sang the country tune "Tennessee Saturday Night", into his  concerts. After performing it on the "Hayride", Elvis Presley told Bill Black that he felt that  they just had to do it in the studio. Indeed, at some point in 1955 Elvis Presley did record  this tune, although it, too, was never released commercially. Eventually, a bootleg single  featuring the song was released as bonus Sun Record 252.

This appearance on the "Hayride" was one of the most exciting performances of his young  career. In a playful mood, Elvis used a rhythm and blues approach while performing his  songs. Elvis Presley inspired the crowd with a ripping version of "Tweedlee Dee". In a  jubilant mood, he flew to Nashville after the show. Colonel Tom Parker had sent word that  recording contract negotiations had been completed.

"I remember "Tennessee Saturday Night", but I don't think we ever did anything on it in the  studio", recalled Scotty Moore.

Article of November 18, 1955 in the Gladewater Daily Mirror that says:
Hayride Show Here Saturday

All the big stars of KWKH's Louisiana Hayride show will be here in person Saturday night, when the entire show is broadcast from the stage of the local high school auditorium.

Elvis Presley, and the entire Saturday night cast are slated to appear. This is the second live broadcast of the Hayride, popular hillbilly radio show, from Gladewater. Both shows have been sponsored by the Gladewater Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Tickets are now on sale for the show, and a large crowd is expected. At the first performance here, an overflow crowd, with people coming from all over the Southwest, jammed the local gym, and the JC's cleared over $1,500 on proceeds of the show. Thus money has been spent for numerous civic projects in Gladewater, including assistance in the Little League baseball program, and other things for the betterment of the community.

Special souvenir programs are being printed for the show, and will be sold at the show. A feature of the program is a large picture of Elvis Presley, a big drawing card, with the Hayride show. The public is invited to attend the show.

Back in Memphis, Steve Sholes, Ben Starr, Coleman Tily III, Tom Parker, Tom Diskin, Hank  Snow, local RCA distributor Jim Crudgington, and regional RCA Sam Esgro all converged on  the little Sun studio, and Elvis Presley signed a three-year recording contract with RCA Victor  that featured the Trademark Gramophone 1898 and Nipper logo.

The contract was the  standard five percent of royalties, with an option to renew at the end of three years.  Elvis  also signed a "long term writing pact" with Hill and Range Publishing Company, which was to  set up a separate publishing firm for "Elvis Presley Music Incorporated". The $40,000 paid to  Sun Records gave RCA Victor all five of Elvis' Sun pressings as well as five unreleased songs,  while Sun allowed to press copies of "Mystery Train" until the end of 1955. Hill and Range  (Arnold Shaw also acquired Hi-Lo Music Incorporated from Sun Records, which gave the  company the publishing rights to "Mystery Train", "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" and  "You're A Heartbreaker". In addition, Hill and Range acquired "That's All Right" from Wabash  Music.

Finally, Elvis Presley also signed a contract with Colonel Tom Parker that allowed Parker to  officially represent him in booking personal appearances. Tom Parker had been acting as  Elvis' booking de facto booking agent since mid-August, 1955.

Colonel Tom Parker came accompanied by a document dated the same day stipulating that  out of the 40 percent in combined commissions due the Colonel and Bob Neal (25 percent to  the Colonel, 15 percent to Neal), there would be an even split for the duration of Neal's  agreement, until March 15, 1956. The buyout agreement itself was a simple two-page  document in which Sun Records agreed to turn over all tapes and cease all distribution and  sales of previously released recordings as of December 31, 1955, while the managers, 'do  hereby sell, assign and transfer unto RCA all of their right, title and interest in and to' the  previously exercised option agreement.
After the contract was signed, there was a picture-taking ceremony, with different  configurations of the various parties involved. In one Elvis Presley is flanked by Tom Parker  and Hank Snow, proud partners in Jamboree Attractions, while Bob Neal, to Snow's left,  jovially approves; in another (above) Gladys plants a kiss upon her son's cheek and clutches  her black handbag as the Colonel pats her on the shoulder and Vernon looks stiffly on. In yet  another Sam Phillips and Elvis Presley shake hands across RCA attorney Coleman Tily.
"They thought it would be great fun", said Marion Keisker, "if they all came over and we  announced it. So they all crowded into the little control room, and we did a little four- or  five-way interview, well, not really an interview, just a little chat. And in the course of it, I  remember, Hank Snow said, 'I'm very proud this boy made his first appearance on the  national scene on my section of the Grand Ole Opry'.
And he was being such a pompous ass  about it, I couldn't help it, but I said, 'Yes, and I remember, you had to ask him what his  name was'. That was a rather tactless thing for me to do".

"One thing that I did when I sold him was, I told them that I would give 'em (RCA) all the  tracks that I had up until the end of the year", recalled Sam Phillips.

"We closed the deal in October '55 and I had to December 32st to sell, ship, do whatever I  wanted to. After that I was not to ship one record, and in the meantime 'course, the tapes  were turned over to RCA and Larry Kanaga was president of RCA Records... I was in New York  and saw him - this was later, I think when I took Jerry Lee Lewis up there, but by that time  he had left RCA and had gone to General Artist Corporation - GAC - which was kinda like the  William Morris Agency and MCA who booked artists and this sort of hings... But I saw him up  there and he told me that RCA had checked to see if I was gonna be honest about this or  not".

They checked extensively to see - not only with my distributors but with the three pressings  plants I used - one in Philadelphia, one here in Memphis and one in L.A. - to see if I pressed  or shifted another Sun record on Elvis Presley. He told me when I saw him up there in New  York that they had a spent a lotta money  unnecessarily as it turned out! And Larry was highly complimentary about it which made me  feel real good. So I think I'm correct, that I did not record those on him".

For information about RCA Victor and Nipper. (See: Other Record Labels)
(Above) On November 21, 1955, Elvis signed a contract with RCA and song publisher Hill and Range. The contract  with Hill and Range was intended to handle song publishing in partnership with Elvis. The offered letter is  an example of what was sent to songwriters whose material was not accepted by Elvis Presley Music, Inc.  The letter, on pink stationery with Elvis Presley Music. Inc letterhead and a 1619 Broadway, New York 19,  N.Y. address, is signed "Very sincerely yours" by Jack Schiffman and states, "Thank you very much for  submitting your material to us, which we have examined carefully and are returning herewith''.
''Unfortunately  this is not for us at the present time. However, we wish you luck in placing your material with another firm''.

The Memphis Press-Scimitar reported (below) that Elvis Presley, 20, Memphis recording star and  entertainer who zoomed into bigtime and big money almost overnight, has been released  from his contract with Sun Recording Company of Memphis and will record exclusively for  RCA Victor.
Bob Johnson's story in the Press-Scimitar read: "Elvis Presley, 20, Memphis  recording star and entertainer who zoomed into bigtime and the big money almost  overnight, has been released from his contract with Sun Records Company of Memphis Phillips and RCA officials did not reveal terms but said the money involved is probably the  highest ever paid for a contract release for a country-western recording artist". "I feel Elvis  is one of the most talented youngsters today", Phillips said, "and by releasing his contract to  RCA-Victor we will give him the opportunity of entering the largest organisation of its kind in  the world, so his talents can be given the fullest opportunity".
By ROBERT JOHNSON Press-Scimitar Staff

Elvis Presley, 20, Memphis recording star and entertainer who zoomed into bigtime and the  big money almost overnight, has been released from his contract with Sun Record Company  of Memphis and will record exclusively for RCA-Victor, it was announced by Sam C. Phillips  Sun President.
Phillips and RCA officials did not reveal terms, but said the money involved is probably the  highest ever paid for a contract release for a country-western recording artist.
"I feel Elvis is one of the most talented youngsters today", Phillips said, "and by releasing his  contract to RCA-Victor we will give him the opportunity of entering the largest organization  of its kind in the world, so his talents can be given the fullest opertunity".

Handled by Parker

Negotiations were handled by Col. Tom Parker of Hank Snow jamboree Attractions, Madison  Tennessee,

Bob Neal, Presley's personal manager, and Coleman Tiley III of RCA-Victor.

Elvis Presley Music, a publishing firm, has been set up to handle much of Presley's music, in  conjunction with Hill and Range Music, Incorporated, New York City.

Bob Neal, WMPS personality, continues as Presley's personal manager and will handle his  personal appearances and other activities, but Hank Snow-Jamboree Attractions will handle  Presley enterprises in radio, TV, movies and theatres.

Also taking part in negotiations were Hank Snow himself, RCA-Victor's longest-terms western  star; Sam Eagre, RCA-Victor regional sales manager; Ben Starr of Hill and Range Music, and  Jim Crudington, local RCA-Victor representative.

Presley, who lived in Tupelo, Miss., until he was 14 and is a graduate of Humes High.

Phillips signed him for Sun Records after Presley wandered in one day and wanted to have a  recording made at his own expense.

Best-Seller Fast

His first record, "That's All Right", and "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" hit the best-seller lists  immediately after its release in July last year, and both Billboard and Cash Box trade  journals, named him the most promising western star. He became a regular on Louisiana  Hayride on CBS. His newest record "Mystery Train" and "I Forgot To Remember To Forget", is  his best-seller so far. Both songs were written by Stan Kesler and Charlie Feathers, a  Memphis team. Tony Arden has just recorded "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" for Victor,  and Pee Wee King's latest is also a Kesler-Feathers composition. All five Presley records have  made the best-seller list.

Presley's "Mystery Train" is now being played by pop disc jockey’s as well as country and  western in the east.

Sun has 10 country-western artists remaining on its label, including Johnny Cash and a  newcomer, Carl Perkins of Bermis, Tennessee, who writes his own music and is causing a stir.  This week Sun brings out a new feminine vocalist, Maggie Sun Wimberly of Florence, Ala.,  with songs by another Memphis composing team, Bill Cantrell and Quentin Church, who  wrote a previous substantial country-western hit, "Day Dreaming".

Kalcheim pitches Presley to NBC-TV, describing him as a young singer along the lines of  former teen idol Johnnie Ray.

Meanwhile, Elvis has gone shopping in Memphis, where he spends over $600 at Ed's Camera  Shop.

Kalcheim pressures Parker to have Elvis play dates in New York and New Jersey in order to  increase his exposure. The Colonel, for his part, adamantly ignores the suggestions of a man  he feels is missing the point, resisting the pressure to pursue any other tactics but his own.

They ran ads as far as Beaumont for Elvis Presley's 8:00 p.m. appearance at the Auditorium  of Woodrow Wilson Junior High School in Port Arthur, Texas. Also appearing were the  Chelette Sisters, a local singing duo; the Doyle Brothers; Link Davis, a rockabilly singer from  Houston who recorded for Starday Records; and "many others" who were reported to be  from the Louisiana Hayride. Gordon Baxter of KPAC was the show's emcee. Tickets were  $1.50 for adults with children only 50-cents. Proceeds from the show went to buy  equipment for the Volunteer Fire Department of Port Acres, an unincorporated suburb of  Port Arthur. Nevertheless, only a small crowd of about 100 attended, most likely including a  young Janis Joplin.

Elvis' first performance after signing his RCA contract. The group is paid $350.

According to Doyle Reynolds, I was at high school in Port Arthur. There was a little place where we had lunch called Skip's Place, and they actually had a couple of Elvis records on the jukebox, so when he came to town, a lot of people were excited to see him. I wasn't going to see him. That day, I was in downtown Port Arthur doing some work for my father when I saw him drive by in his pink and charcoal-grey Cadillac. Gosh, what a lovely car, but what was even lovelier, and I hate to admit this, I was a hubcap thief. I said to myself, 'I'm going to get these hubcaps'. My friend and I went down the Woodrow Wilson auditorium, and there was a little parking lot in the back, and I was sure I knew exactly where the car was going to be parked, and we went back there with our screwdrivers. We jumped out to steal these hubcaps, but they were wire wheeled. So we picket up the screwdrivers and got back to the car, and at this time the back of the auditorium opens, and three other young men ran out the back to look at the car, and right behind them came a policeman or some kind of security and said, 'You guys get back in here, you can't go outside during the intermission'. So they turned around and went back in, and he then looked at us and said, 'You are no privileged characters, get back in'. So we went in and I looked at the back of the stage. I was right at that back door, and I looked in there and saw a girl that I knew from high school, and she was part of the Chelette Sisters, they were kind of semi-famous around Port Arthur. They were on the same bill that night, and I think they had already performed. So I saw Mary Jo Chelette standing just inside the door. Garland Sonnier and I just walked in there, and she happens to be talking to Elvis Presley. There was a big heavy library table, he was kind of sitting on that, in the middle part of it, and she was talking with him. There was a guy on the other end of it counting money, so I kind of marched in there, said hi to Mary Jo and Elvis. He was about three years older than me. I said, 'I hear you like gospel music'. That just lit him up. We talked for a good while about gospel music, and he had gone to church with the Blackwood Brothers and the Statemen and they were really my heroes. My sister had dated one of the Florida Boys. We talked for about 15-20 minutes, maybe. I can't remember the transition here, but he goes out on stage and he had a red jacket, Black shirt, black pants, and a tie. Guys around school were wearing derbies. I had this red derby, and Elvis goes out on stage singing, and I wasn't really paying much attention to him. I was talking to someone else. I was just a social butterfly back then. I was kind of on the edge of the stage, off to the right looking at the stage. He was very active on stage, he just moved and jumped, and I remember he had to stop and get a new guitar, because his strings were broken. He said, 'I can't play with these three strings'. So he comes to the edge of the stage, gets another guitar, sees my derby, and asks me if he can wear that derby, and he walks out on stage with that red derby, with his red jacket, and the other people are laughing. I think to holler at him to get it back''.

Elvis Presley pulled a capacity crowd for his appearance on the "Louisiana Hayride". Also on  the show were Jimmy Newman, Johnny Horton, Werley Fairburn, George Jones, Betty Amos,  Jeannette Hicks, Hoot and Curley, Jack Ford, Buddy Attaway, Floyd Cramer, and the Lump  Lump Boys. Guests included Slim Rhodes and Buddy Thompson.
The Colonel writes to Neal, who will remain Elvis' personal manager by contract for another  four months, to be sure that Elvis reports to all his shows on time. He advises Neal once  again to remind Elvis to cut out the comedy during the shows and make sure the band does  as well.
George Jones had recorded for Starday for a couple of years, and finally hit with his latest single ''Why Baby Why''. Jones was invited to the Hayride as a guest, only to discover that the young man he had played with at Magnolia Gardens, and even earlier at the Paladium in Houston, Texas, was now the top attraction on the Hayride.

According to Jones, ''The Night we both played the show, Elvis went on ahead of me and, of course, the people went wild. So I decided I would do rock and roll, too. When my turn came to play, I went out and did a rock and roll song and the crowd went wild. Well, I think that must have worried Elvis just a little bit because he came over and talked to me a little later. He told me how he had invented his music and I had invented my country music and he really thought I should stay with my kind of music. But he was very nice and I consider it a privilege to have worked with him''.

Elvis' friend Red West, who at this time travelled with Elvis whenever his schedule permitted, remembers the same event somewhat differently. In his memory George Jones went on before Elvis and basically did nothing but Presley tunes. In response, Elvis countered with a set of gospel songs instead of his own repertoire.

As Elvis Presley left Sun, Billboard had the following chart status of ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget''/''Mystery Train'' for the week of November 26: Best Sellers in Stores number 7; Most Played in Juke Boxes number 8 (mentions both sides); Most Played by Jockeys number 12; In Richmond, Virginia, ''Mystery Train'' was number 6.


Biggest Country and Western Record News Of The Year

In Elvis Presley we've acquired the most dynamic and sought-after new artist in country  music today, one who's topped the "most promising" category in every trade and consumer  poll held during 1955!
Promotion is being spearheaded with disc jockey records to the entire Pop and Country and  Western "A" lists, an initial coverage of more than 4,000 destinations!
Page ads will appear this week in Billboard and Cash Box, reprints about 10 days later. The  issues will carry full publicity on Presley's joining the label.

It's imperative that you follow up this all-market approach to every station receiving Pop or  Country crevice. Use the trade articles to sell your dealers and one stops across the board!

The tunes:: I FORGOT TO REMEMBER TO FORGET and MYSTERY TRAIN. The number: 20/47- 6357. The name: Elvis Presley, one that will be your guarantee of sensational plus-sales in  the months to come!

#55C-489John Y. Burgess, Jr.
11/28/55Manager of Sales and Promotions
Single Record Department, RCA

November 28, 1955


Elvis Presley and the Hank Snow All Star Jamboree appeared at the Mosque Theater for  Philip Morris in Richmond, Virginia.
Colonel Tom Parker and Bob Neal both booked shows for this week. Colonel Parker had arranged two with Hank Snow and Elvis, especially for Philips Morris employees, one this day in Richmond, Virginia, and another the following week December 8 in Louisville, Kentucky.

To introduce the first show, at The Mosque in Richmond, Mel Gold, who produced the shows, asked Elvis to sing ''The Star Spangled Banner'' at an offstage microphone. He was so nervous that ''we had to give him a song sheet, so he would remember all the words''.
Jim Bowling, former Philip Morris Senior Vice President and Assistant to the Chairman, remembers a senior executive complaining, 'Do something, I can't understand a single word that guy's singing''. Jim replied, 'Obviously the audience doesn't care'''!

LATE 1955

The distinction between rhythm and blues and pop music, based exclusively on race, had at  least begun to fade as rhythm and blues and pop tunes blended into the charts. It was now  possible for either a black or white artist to cross from the rhythm and blues or country  charts into the pop music ranks. The right record release could hit on all charts: rhythm and  blues, country, and pop.

Cosimo Matassa, founder of the legendary J&M Recording Studio, recalled the drawbacks to  Elvis Presley's popularity. As someone with a business developed much along the lines of Sam  Phillips' early Memphis Recording Service, the success of Elvis Presley and other whites  "Made it difficult for us to sell black artist. Elvis was popular among the people who bought  black music".

Dick Stuart takes over from Bill Strength as morning disc jockey on KWEM radio, West  Memphis, Arkansas. Stuart is later to manage Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins.  Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash head a Sun package tour of Texas. On December 28, they join  George Jones for a show in Texarkana, Texas.

"The Signifying Monkey" (SUN 228) by Smokey Joe Baugh is released at about this time.

In New York, Elvis Presley and Tom Parker meet with RCA executives, including president  Larry Kanaga and publicity director Anne Fulchino. Steve Sholes was there to welcome them. With him was RCA promotion man Chick Crumpacker, who had met Elvis several times earlier in the year.  Some photo shot's by photographer William ''Popsie'' Randolph had been arrangement and  pictures of Elvis and the Colonel, Elvis and Steve Sholes, and Elvis and fellow artist Eddy  Arnold, who happens to be in New York for a recording session, are taken in RCA's 24th Street studio, along with posed action shots that will be used on the back of Elvis' first  album.

Les than two weeks after acquiring Elvis from Sun Records, RCA Victor re-released the first  of the singles came as part of the contract, Sun 223, "Mystery Train"/"I Forgot To Remember To Forget" (RCA Victor 20/47-6357).
47-6357-A If Elvis Presley (or anyone) ever made a better two sided record than this, it has yet to be found. On ''Mystery Train'', all you have is quintessential rockabilly: a confident, virile vocal, stacatto reverb lead guitar, audible rhythmic guitar strumming by Elvis, 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's ''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. 
Scotty Moore was the guitarist who backed Elvis during his earliest, and best) years, both on stage and on record. He contributed more than his share of memorable guitar moments to the music of his era. In 1964, Billy Sherrill arranged that Scotty record an album of instrumentals called ''The Guitar That Changed The World''.
''Mystery Train'' provides one of Scotty's most notable outings. In part, its effectiveness comes from his brand new custom-made Ecgosonic amplifier, an amp that could add a little echo to the sound of the guitar. The filled-out sound coming out of that amp helped energize his performance and the entire record. Where Little Junior's record was a subdued blues, Elvis's record is an unstoppable train at full throttle. The distinctive figure that Scotty plays behind it is a dramatic revision of what Floyd Murphy had played behind Junior Parker. It caught on as a signature riff; Al Caseay recreated it behind Sanford Clark's record of ''Lonesome For A Letter''. Scotty's solo is not complicated but has a perfect contour - starting mid-high and rising to an apex before descending so that the guitar line returns smoothly to its place under the return of Elvis's vocal. Simple but elegant.
47-6357-B The flipside, ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget'', 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 solo, Bernero elevates this record to greatness.

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 number 1 country hit.
Johnny Bernero didn't play drums on many Sun records. He was older than most Sun musicians and did not come from a rock and roll tradition. But, my god, the man could play. When Sam Phillips called him in to beef up the sound of this July 1955 session (which turned out to be Elvis's last Sun session), it was an inspired choice. Elvis, Scotty and Bill did not usually need a drummer, as the flipside of Sun 223 plainly showed. But when you added a tasty and minimal accompanist like Bernero, it all came to life.
What Bernero does on this clever country balled is make explicit the rhythm that drives the record. Bill Black's slap bass was capable of carrying the band but the addition of an actual drum kit left him and everyone freer to play around the beat. Sam Phillips didn't love drummers and found them a challenge to record in his small storefront studio. You can hear his ambivalence on many of the blues records and on early recordings of the Perkins Brothers Band. Does ''Blue Suede Shoes;; have a drummer? If so, does the drummer really contribute anything to the record? Surprisingly, the answer are Yes and No. Early on, Sam did not even mike drummers directly, allowed the drums just to bleed through other microphones on the floor.
Yet on ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget'', dating from the same era as ''Blue Suede Shoes'', the drums are both prominent and crisply recorded. And what a contribution Mernero makes! The vocal portions of the song are performed against a shuffle beat played on drum and cymbal. This is distinctive because ringing cymbals were not typically part of the Sun sound. And when Scotty steps forward to play his solo - that wonderful guitar solo - Bernero shifts to a 2/4 backbeat. The whole sound changes. And just when you've started to get comfortable with the solid backbeat, it's Elvis's turn to sing and the shuffle beat starts again. Maybe Scotty and Bill could have handled that shift on their own, but it wouldn't have come across this clearly. This record did need a drummer and it couldn't have found a better one.
Elvis Presley and the band played Atlanta's Sports Arena. Just who might have been among  his opening act, there is nothing known. He was reportedly paid $300 for this performance.  The Sports Arena could hold upwards of 3,000 tickets holders, but a lack of advertising  resulted in poor attendance and the gate was said to have been only $285.

According to Jeanie and Warren Clark, ''Grandmother, Mrs. Oldham, owned a restaurant in Prichard. She had approached him (October 26 in Prichard, Alabama) and told him that she owned a restaurant, and if he would come in there when he was passing through, she would give him a free meal. Sure enough, six weeks late he came in there, but Mrs. Oldham wasn't there at the time. He had a cheesburger, a coke, and a piece of apple pie. He wrote her a letter, autographed a picture, and left it for her. The letter said, 'Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. E.P'''.

Elvis' signing with RCA Victor made the front page of Billboard in an article entitled "Double  Deals Hurl Presley Into Stardom". RCA Victor also ran a full page ad in the magazine touting  Elvis as "The Most Talked About New Personality In The Last Ten Years". Billboard also  reported that Colonel Tom Parker had recently signed to represent Elvis for personal  appearances. The Billboard issue reads: "Elvis Presley, one of the most sought-after warblers  this year, signed two big-time contracts as a recording artist, writer and publisher.

RCA  Victor beat out the diskery competition and signed the 19-year-old to a three years-plus  options contract. Besides which, Hill and Range inked him to a long-time exclusive writing  pact and at the same time set up a separate publishing firm, Elvis Presley Music  Incorporated, which will operate within the H&R fold... Alto Sun has sold Presley primarily as  a country and western artist, Victor plans to push his platters in all three fields - pop,  rhythm and blues, and country and western. However, RCA Victor's specialty singles chief,  Steve Sholes (who will record Presley), plans to cut the warbler with the same backing -  electric guitar, bass fiddle, drums and Presley himself on rhythm guitar - featured on his  previous Sun waxings".
DECEMBER 3, 1955

Elvis Presley appeared as part of the stage show for WBAM radio's annual "Talent Search Of  The Deep South" at the State Coliseum in Montgomery, Alabama. Also on the bill were Roy   Acuff, Kitty Wells, Johnnie and Jack, Fred Wamble, Jack Turner, Buddy Hawk, and Eddie Hill   of the Grand Ole Opry who was the show's master of ceremonies. Over 15,000 attended this   final night of the talent competition. Fifty contestants were competing for prize money  totalling $1,750.

Dan Brennan of WBAM recalled that around 1955 he'd had to introduced Elvis on stage: ''I got in front of the microphone and said, 'And now, folks, presenting a new sensation who think will make it big. Folks, Elvis Presley'! and I flung out my arms and hit him right in the teeth'!
Tom Parker secured four dates in Indianapolis and a second ''special show'' for Philip Morris, this time in Louisville, Kentucky. It was basically set-up and waiting time.

Elvis Presley, billed as "a county and bop singer", was scheduled to join Hank Snow for a  four-day run at the Lyric Theater in Indianapolis, Indiana. According to a later report in the  Indianapolis Times (August 8, 1956), Snow was detained by a winter storm. When he failed  to make the first date, Elvis Presley carried on tire just the supporting acts, comedian Rod  Brasfield and Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters. For the four-day engagement, Elvis  Presley was paid a total of $750.
It was only a couple of hours before showtime, on a Saturday afternoon in the fall of 1955, when promoter Dick Blake discovered his featured attraction, Hank Snow, ''the Singing Ranger'', was snowbound in New Jersey and would not be able to make his scheduled appearance. The location was the old Lyric Theatre in downtown Indianapolis, where country music shows were commonplace in those days. Blake would have to move one of his other acts into closing spot.
He had to choose between the Carter Family, a long established Grand Ole Opry ensemble, and an obscure singer named Elvis Presley. He selected Presley.

According to guitarist Tommy Flint, ''The crowd didn't know exactly how to react. They were hoping to see Hank Snow, and instead out comes this guy who began mumbling into the microphone, and when he sings, he starts twitching, squirming, and shaking like he is having some sort of seizure. But he had a pretty good voice, and he did a good job of pleasing the crowd even though they didn't know who he was''.

Promoter Dick Blake says, ''They were at the Lyric for four days, and the crowd doubled on the second day and continued to increase for the four days Presley was there, some of the people came back to see Elvis three or four times''.

Tommy Flint says, ''When I met Elvis, he shook hands with me, and he had one of those little gadgets strapped to his hand that kind of gives you a shock. I jumped three feet into the air when we shook hands. He thought it was a lot funnier than I did. He also pulled the chair out from underneath one of the Nashville musicians as he was sitting down. The guy fell back on the floor, and when he got up, he was mad, started yelling at Elvis, who apologized to the guy''.
Tom Diskin reported to Colonel Tom Parker from Indianapolis, ''Dear Colonel. Enclosed is a statement for the engagement here, the figures speak for themselves. Presley seems to be building each night, by that I mean the major part of the audience seems to be young kids. He's been co-operative in taking suggestions, but he need plenty of seasoning as far as pacing his act. The kids get hopped up over him, and that is what counts. The record dealer and I talked tonight, and he's all for Presley. At first he was skeptical, but now he knows different. Also, the disc jockey here called to say he had gotten lots of requests since playing his record. haven't seen Hank. He didn't make the RCA tour of the plant (RCA operated a pressing plant in Indianapolis for many years), though Presley and Anita did. They took pictures. Also the guys are supposed to get pictures of the Marquee. I'll also bring the blowups with me. Haven't had much conversation with Hank, but I'm going down there now. Blake has been scarce today. Give my best to Marie, and see you both in a few days''.

RCA's Chick Crumpacker had attended the same RCA convention in New Jersey that delayed Hank Snow's arrival in Indianapolis, but by taking the train he had escaped the snowstorm. Crumpacker had suffered the wrath of Colonel Parker the year before on an RCA country caravan tour, but as they walked back through the snow to their hotel, all seemed forgotten. They saw how Elvis had improved as a showman. Although there was still some fine-tuning to do, the future looked bright, and the Colonel concluded: 'We'll do great things together''.
The Williams Morris Agency of New York, which was already involved in negotiations with  Colonel Tom Parker, sent out Lou Mindling from Chicago to take a look at Elvis Presley.  Mindling's positive report to the head office soon led to Elvis Presley signed with the  powerful Williams Morris Agency, which would negotiate future bookings.

Elvis Presley closed out his brief "tour" as part of the Hank Snow aggregation at the Rialto   Theater in Louisville, Kentucky. However, if a fan was looking through the local newspaper,  they would never know it. There were no advertisements for this show in the Louisville  Courier-Journal.
A close inspection of the ads for the Rialto Theater gives no hint that   there would be anything presented this evening other than the two scheduled films,  "Tarantula!" and "Running Wild". Luckily, a photograph exists showing the marquee of the  Rialto Theater announcing "Philips Morris Employee's Night - Hank Snow All Star Jamboree -  Elvis Presley - Duke of Paducah - Bill and Scotty and Don".

(The final name is undoubtedly a   reference to D.J. Fontana whose first name is Dominic, not Don). Clearly seen in the   photograph are huge posters and banners for "Tarantula" and a smaller sandwich board for   "Running Wild". Finally, this photograph is part of the Lin Caufield Collection of the  University of Louisville. It is dated December 8, 1955. In all likelihood, this was a private   performance just for Philip Morris workers - sort of an early Christmas present form the   company.

The only review of this show came from Elvis Presley, himself. In an interview before   another Louisville concert nearly a year later, he compared the crush of fans at that time   with those in 1955. "A year ago", he said, "I did a show for the employees of a cigarette firm   here, but there wasn't too much mobbing then".

Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash playing at the High School Auditorium in Swifton, Arkansas in  the afternoon.

"They put their speakers on folding chairs on the gym floor", recalls Mary Lou Campbell.  "Elvis arrived in his pink Cadillac. The gym was jumping; packed with maybe three hundred  people there.

As he began singing, we girls moved out or our seats and went right down on  the gym floor. He just mesmerized us. We just knew he was something special the minute he  started singing.
There was just something about his personality, his talent. He had charisma".  As had happened in Bono, Arkansas, the Swifton senior class officers had driven over too see  Elvis Presley at the C&R Club in Trumann, Arkansas and invited him to play the high school gig to raise funds  for their senior trip. "Elvis helped pay our way to New Orleans by doing the high school  concert", said Mary Lou Campbell.

"We all fell in love with him right there on that gym floor. After the show, I had my picture  taken with him and I carried that picture with me all through college", she said.

After that gig, Elvis Presley went to Bob Kings's B&I Club where he joined Sonny Burgess on  stage. Elvis entertained a full house of 250 people with the customary three forty-five-minutes  sets, backed by Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and drummer D.J. Fontana. Sonny Burgess  feels certain that this show was in the early winter of 1955. Bob King's nightclub sits about  four miles north of Swifton, Arkansas, at U.S. Highway 67, played country music there over  the years. It's one of the few nightclubs in northern Arkansas that hasn't succumbed to a  fire. Elvis Presley was scheduled to play one show, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., but he played  until 12:30 a.m. with only one intermission.

According to Sonny Burgess, ''While Elvis was on break at Bob King's, he went over and sat at a table with these high school kids. He was only 19 (sic) you know, so he sat down and talked to them, and they loved him for that. That night, Elvis offered Kern Kennedy, my pianist, a job playing piano. He didn't have a piano player, just D.J., Scotty, and Bill at that point. He also wanted our sax player, a guy named Punky Caldwell that played sax and clarinet. And boy, he could wrap up! But he weighed about 400 pound, and he didn't want to travel. So both Kern and Punky turned Elvis down, as far as a job, it wasn't that big a job back then''
After going through his Sun Records repertoire and a few predictable covers like, Bill Haley's  "Rock Around The Clock", the Platters' "Only You", Elvis Presley announced, "I've got this  brand new song and it's gonna be my first hit", then according to Bob King, launched into as-yet-unrecorded  "Heartbreak Hotel".

"I had seen him over in Bono and I had gone down to see him at the Silver Moon", said Bob  King. "I called Bob Neal and I booked Elvis for December 9, 1955, for the Swifton High School  and for my club and guaranteed him four hundred and fifty dollars. I didn't sweat it too bad.  We charged two dollars at the club and I gave them the door. We seated a hundred and fifty,  but there must have been two hundred there, including standing room".

"We served beer legally, but people bringing whisky in brown bags, we made them keep that  under the table. Everything north of Swifton was dry then, so there were a bunch of clubs -  perhaps as many as eight - right around here", said King.

"The place was crowded. The women's room was just off the left of the stage and a lot of  girls had to go there a lot of times, to get a closer look at Elvis. Johnny Cash and his wife  came to the club with Elvis. Elvis told me if I'd pay Johnny ten dollars, he'd get up and play a  song. I gave him twenty dollars and he sang three songs".

Elvis Presley introduced a new song he had just learned, "Heartbreak Hotel" and said he  would soon be playing that song on national television. This might have been the first place  he ever sang that song in public audience.

"When he finished that night, he had to be rushed out the back door to his car and he was  being chased by a bunch of screaming women. He hopped in his car and left", said King. The  club, now called the King Of Clubs, opened September 21, 1951, and a young performer  named Harold Jenkins and his Rock Houses band played there while Jenkins was recorded at  Sun Records. On the club's twenty-fifth anniversary, Jenkins packet the house for a return  engagement. By then he was better known as Conway Twitty.

Elvis Presley first song folio was published by Hill and Range Publishing Company. The  original issue containing the following song sheets: "Rag Mop", "I Almost Lost My Mind",  "Cryin' Heart Blues", and "I Need You So". The folio was re-published in the spring of 1956,  and the above titles were changed for "Blue Suede Shoes", Mystery Train", "I Was The One",  and "Heartbreak Hotel". 
The original folio sold for one dollar and the re-issue sold for a  dollar and twenty-five cents. In addition, several of the photos inside the folio were changed  in 1956.
DECEMBER 10, 1955

Elvis Presley played the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport. Barbara Pittman from Memphis,  who was a new Sun Record artist, was The Wilbourn Brothers, the special guest. "One night I was sitting with the Wilbourn Brothers when Elvis was on stage. Soon as he finished his set, he  came down and told them I was his girlfriend and told them, 'I want you to stay away   from my girlfriend'.

I told him, 'Elvis, it ain't no big thing'. He held his hand about six inches   apart and said, 'It's this big!'. That embarrassed me so much I had to get up and go on the  ladies room", said Barbara Pittman.

According to JoAnne Phillips, ''We (JoAnne and her cousin Melba) and two other girls were standing there, when the young man selling pictures went in and told Elvis we were out there. Shortly after, Elvis came out.
The other two girls were closer to the door, so he stopped and talked to them first. I took a picture of him leaning against the wall. When he got to Melba and me, I asked if we could have our picture taken with him. He said, 'sure' but he wanted to get his coat. It was pink like his trousers. I asked him to autograph my record center. He took it and looked at me, grinned and said, 'What's the matter? Don't you like my records'? I nearly died. The more I stammered trying to explain, the more he laughed. He was thoroughly enjoying teasing me''.

''Melba took my camera and said she would take my picture first with Elvis. He walked over and put his arm around me, and then all of a sudden he pulled me around and up against him and put his other arm around me. I completely stopped breathing; he was holding me so tight. On stage, he loved to pause between songs long enough that everyone would start shouting the song they wanted to hear. That night, everyone was shouting and I was yelling ''Money Honey''. He looked down at me and grinned, and I said 'please'. And he started singing it. I was thrilled to death''.
BARBARA PITTMAN (See: 1956-1 Session) - In 1954, Barbara Pittman's mother brought her to  the Eagle's Nest where she sang at intermissions. She also sang with the Snearly Ranch Boys  at the Cotton Club in West Memphis, Arkansas. Legend has it that Elvis Presley recommended  Barbara to Sleepy-Eyed John Lepley at the Eagle's Nest and he signed her after an audition.  She also dated Elvis Presley for a time, and went on to record for Sun Records.
Stan Kesler's  tune "Playing For Keeps" was the demo song she used when auditioning for Sam Phillips at  Sun. The song had been written for Elvis Presley, and Barbara performed it in a Presley vein.  She was one of the most talented female country-rockabilly singers in Memphis.

"I walked into Sam Phillips recording studio when I was only 12 years old. After expressing  my interest to sing with the receptionist, I was discouraged and told my voice wasn't good  enough and that maybe I should learn to be a secretary or something. Well that broke my  heart and I went home and cried for two days. If there was ever one thing that made me  want to sing it was that disappointment at the Phillips studios. So I went out and learned  how to sing. While doing this I went on the road with the famous Lash LaRue for a 1 year  travelling tour. This took me to California, but I was eager to come back home and did so  that next year. The one place to work those days was at the Cotton Club in West Memphis,  Arkansas. "Everybody I think one way or another whether Elvis Presley realized it or not,  was around because Elvis Presley was! It's the truth, and indirectly I would have never  gotten into the music industry without him. I got my first singing job because of Elvis. He  was working at a club called the Eagles Nest then, and his manager, by the way most people  think his first manager was Bob Neal nut it wasn't, his first manager was a guy called "Sleepy  Eyed John" a local disc jockey. Anyhow he was auditioning singers and I was currently  working as a carhop when Elvis Presley got me that audition. Well, I got the job. It was only  $5.00 a night but it was worth it. So you see if it hadn't been for Elvis I wouldn't have been  at Sum, I never would have recorded at 706 Union".

"I knew Elvis Presley when I was around 10 years old. His mother and mine used to have  Stanley parties. I used to go over there and just hang around. I guess I was madly in love  with Elvis Presley the first time I met him. yea, when Elvis used to wear those wild clothes,  long side burns and all, you know. But in those days Elvis wasn't very popular with people.  You know he looked like a rebellious young guy who liked to get into fights. So anyhow, he'd  stay home and sit around the house during these Stanley parties and we'd play games and  talk, we've always stayed friends. Well anyhow, while I was gone a year with Lash LaRue we  didn't talk or see each other, and when I came back I'd grown up a bit! I remember Elvis  saying, Hey, hey, hey, Well, well, well!!! What ever happened to that little girl I once knew?  So we started dating and kept on dating till he went in the service. Elvis' mother was a  beautiful person and a great mother and I'll always remember her that way. One thing that  people should know about Elvis' mother is that she was just like anybody else's mother. She  was a beautiful lady. She was a beautiful young woman then and just like any other beautiful  young woman then, she'd listen to the radio. She'd be listening to her favorite songs on the  radio sipping on a can of beer and dancing all over the kitchen floor. Gladys Presley was a  hell raisin, fun lovin, life livin', beautiful lady, 'she was!

"We sang a lot together in the studio", said Pittman. "A lot of gospel. Sam recorded a lot of  that stuff. I don't know where those tapes are today. Anyhow, while knowing Elvis he talked  me into doing a demo for him, a tune that Stan Kesler wrote, "Playing For Keeps".

"Well, I did it in Elvis' key and style and Elvis bought it. Of course Elvis and I were dating  then and we knew each other real good so he took this dub over to Sam Phillips. Well Sam  listened to it and said my Lord who the heck is that? He liked what he heard. Just think and I  was told only a year earlier that I didn't have enough talent to sing. Guess I did a good job of  learning, he', I've always been met to be a singer you know? Yea, Elvis and I hung around a  lot together. And just like anybody else we had a bunch of people we always hung around  with. One funny thing I remember; Elvis would sometimes drive around in an old two tone  Plymouth, his father's car. We called it the Push-mo-bile. Cause that's the only way it would  run, if you stood behind it and pushed it!

Anyway, when we were all together we'd go to a place called Kay's Drive-In, sort of the  Arnolds of Happy Days! We were all eating cheese burgers or something, by the way, whew,  could Elvis eat. I mean no one left anything on the table when Elvis was around, cause it  would have been gone before you knew it! Elvis was always flirting with all the girls, I mean  he could have been Miss America sitting right next to him and he'd still be sayin' "Hey Chick" ' You know... Anyhow he goes over to these girls and says "I'm Elvis Presley", well this one girl  says Yea, if you are, how come you're driving that old car. Elvis said, Oh that car, well that's  my weekday car, you should see my weekend car. It happened to be Saturday night. Elvis  was great, always trying to be funny. Speaking of funny. I remember a mina bird that Elvis  had. It was a cute bird and Elvis taught it how to talk. The darn thing would say whole  phrases. Now Mrs. Presley loved to nibble on left overs in the refrigerator late at night. And  Elvis didn't want Gladys to gain weight so he trained this bird to say, (everytime Gladys  would open the refrigerator at night) "Gladys get out of there and turn off the light!". Can  you imagine that?, said Barbara Pittman.

"Between recording sessions, we would go next door to Taylor's Restaurant and sit in a booth  and have a hamburger and a Coke. One day we were in there and three truck drivers were  there. Each of them was twice as big as Elvis and there were three of them. One of them  looked over at Elvis and said, 'Hey, boy, why don't you go get your hair cut?'. Elvis' temper  flared. I told him to swallow his pride. I told him, 'Elvis, they'll kill you'. He sat there,  fuming. Finally, he couldn't take it anymore. He went over to the guy and challenged him to  go outside".

"That's when the guy just started laughing and said, 'Aw, we were just jokin' you, boy. We  know who you are'. And with that, he got up, went over to the jukebox, put a nickel in and  punched up an Elvis Record".

"We'd go there mostly during session breaks", said Pittman. "Take a beer break, a hamburger  break. Everybody loved Mrs. Taylor's hamburgers. If she was getting ready to close for the  night, and we had another of those thirteen-hour sessions going next door, we would go over  there and take out a bunch of hamburgers. That was back in the days when they made big  hamburgers and a lot of big names came in there to gulp 'em down", said Pittman

Elvis Presley perform Nettleton and Jonesboro, Alabama. "The first time Elvis had come to  Nettleton, my sister went without me", said Diana Noah. "I told her, 'I'm not going to see that  hood'. After that, I began to learn more about him and when he came back, we went to the  gym and sat on the floor right on the front row. And later we saw him at the Jonesboro  YMCA. It was there he announced to us he would be appearing soon on the Ed Sullivan  show".

"After that, every time we saw a Cadillac going through town, we thought it was Elvis Presley  and we would run out and look, but it wasn't".  Later that night, Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins performed at a concert in Helena, Arkansas.

Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash appeared at the National Guard Armory in Amory,  Mississippi. Carl Perkins remembers the Amory concert well. This would be the last time Elvis  Presley, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash appeared on the same billing as each was achieving  stardom along similar, yet separate, paths.
Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley had driven to  Amory together from a concert the night before in Helena, Arkansas. En route, they were  discussing music and both mentioned how much they liked singing the song, "Only You",  made popular by the Platters.

During on the Amory stage, someone in the audience shouted, "Only You, Carl". You got it,  hoss" Carl snapped back, and sang his version of the song. Perkins had the house jumping  and they weren't ready for him to leave the stage when the time came. Backstage, Perkins  found Elvis sitting, head in hands, shutting out the world. "You feelin' okey?" he asked Elvis.  "Aw, ain't no need in me goin' on", Elvis replied. "They're ready for you. What'd you do Only  You for''?
Challenged, Perkins snapped, "Cause I wanted to. 'Cause I can sing it. There's two reasons.  You want another one?". "Well, go on out there and do it", Perkins commanded. "Hell, the  Platters are singing' it somewhere tonight". "I ain't that big a damn fool", Elvis said. "I ain't  goon' out there and sing something you done sung. You done tore 'em all to pieces''.
''I might as  well go on to the car". Bobby Sitter and a partner had seen this interplay. Sitter made a five  dollar bet, that despite the audience's reaction to Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley would come out  the crowd winner at the end.

"Walking toward the stage, Elvis asked me what we had been talking about", said Ritter. "I  told him about the bet". When Elvis Presley walked on, the crowd was still shouting "We  want Carl! We want Carl!". Elvis, said Ritter, seemed to become overly motivated. "He went  wild. He sang, he was all over that stage. He was down on his knees. He was attacking that  guitar. And it wasn't long before he had 'em eatin' outta his hands".

When Elvis re-entered the backstage area, Elvis winked at Ritter and said, "Go get your five  dollars!".

According to Gene Simmons, ''Elvis usually did these Little Richard and Chuck Berry things, and Carl went out and did them first. Carl was more popular as he had played some more shows down this area. As Carl walked off the show down to the dressing room, and sang one of the Little Richard songs, or something, that Elvis had planned to sing, Elvis was pacing the floor and said, 'This damned Perkins boy better....'''.

Jim Buffington says, ''In May of 1955, I was a student at Keegan Public Institute in Memphis, in the radio and TV production class. From March till May, one of my classmates was Johnny Cash. I graduated and got a job on June 1 at radio station WMPA in Aberdeen, Mississippi, 35 miles south of Tupelo. One of the announcers at this radio station, Charles Boren, assisted with promoting some shows on the air where Elvis and Cash and the other hopefuls were participating. (There was no newspaper advertisement for the show. Instead, local promoter Charles Boren promoted it on the radio, and even drove around town in his station wagon, announcing to the roof). Charlie Boren was a promoter; he had one or two movie theaters. Boren was the reason the show came to Amory''.
''The Armory is a large building. The floor is the size of a basketball court. There were wooden bleachers going up the side. They had folding chairs on the floor. As December approached, one of the other announcers, Bobby Ritter, in November, came in with a bunch of photos and said that Elvis and cash were gonna be at a show at the Armory.
I went there to speak with John, and Bobby Ritter came over and asked me if I wanted to meet Elvis and some of the others that were going to be on the show that night. We were going down the steps to the dressing room, and we saw Elvis looking up as we came down''

''I noticed that his hair was sandy brown, not as black as in the photos, and that he couldn't stand still. He was very nice. He had a sport coat on, an opened up shirt underneath, he was not wearing a tie. I had gotten a sport coat last Christmas from my parents. It was charcoal. It had a pattern of pink horizontal and vertical lines. Hey saw that coat of mine, and started talking about it, and he tried to talk me into selling it to him on the spot''.

''We had a rather solid bill that night'', says Buffington, ''Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, George Jones, and Gene Simmons. Bobby and Gene were good friends, and I knew Gene already from the radio station when Bobby had him on the program. I remember Elvis Presley performing that night, and the electricity that he generated with those movements of his, a natural way of moving, and exciting to watch. But the real hit that night was Carl Perkins with ''Blue Suede Shoes'', and he received a lot more applause than did Elvis''.

Harry Kalcheim is furious when he learns that Colonel Parker has booked Elvis for four  consecutive weeks in January on CBS's Saturday-night variety show, Jimmy and Tommy  Dorsey's Stage Show, through another agent, Steve Yates.
As a follow-up to the Stage Show booking, CBS requests a list of Elvis' songs, from which a  selection will be made with input from the show's producer at the dress rehearsal. Elvis is to  be paid $1,250 for each appearance, with an option for two more weeks at $1,500 each.

Elvis Presley and the band appear at Catholic Club, 123 Columbia Street in Helena, Arkansas. The newspaper ad boasted a ll five hundred tickets for this show with Carl Perkins are sold two days in advance, but another 500 would be available at the door. Carl Perkins didn't do ''Only You'' that night, uncomfortable that Elvis had taken the Amory incident so hard.

After the show, Elvis asked Carl and his band if they wanted to stop and eat, but Carl excused himself with the long drive home to Jackson. After exchanging a few niceties, Carl and his band went on their way. Elvis, his girlfriend, and his parents stayed to eat.

According to Evelyn, usher at the concert, ''We were two couples who went out to eat with Elvis at Papa Nick's''. Everybody but Evelyn had steaks.
After dinner, the group dragged Cherry Street in Elvis' convertible, and then went down to the slab field where they sat and talked about Elvis' mother and religion. ''I remember Elvis hanging from a tree by his feet. We were just a bunch of kids having a good time''.

Jim Rose says, ''The thing that makes this performance stand out was Elvis' antics after the concert. For some reason, we all ended upon Cherry Street, the main street in helena that runs adjacent to the Mississippi River levy, and Elvis showed up, parked his car, which I recall being an older model Cadillac, stopped the car, got out, and came over to talk us. Before it was over with, we were all in a line led by Elvis leapfrogging the parking meters on Cherry Street. That night, Elvis was just one of us, and no one, probably including Elvis, had any idea of what lay ahead for him, but he made several lifelong fans that night''. 

Elvis Presley perform at the Municipal Auditorium in Sweetwater, Texas. Showtime 8 p.m. Tickets advance on sale at Harp Music Co., the Sweetwater Music Shop, the Skyline Cafe, and Haney Drug Store in Roscoe.

The Colonel responds unrepentantly to Harry Kalcheim, reprimanding him for failing to work  hard enough to get Elvis on television. He lectures the agent that it is not enough just to  send out letters and sit and wait for a reply. An agent must pitch his artist "full force." If he  himself were simply to depend on people calling him back, the Colonel concludes, "I would  have to start selling candy apples again. Nuff said''.

CBS-TV and Jackie Gleason announced that Elvis Presley had been signed to appear on "Stage  Show" on four consecutive Saturday nights, starting January 8, 1956, NBC-TV had also been  in the bidding for Elvis' first national TV appearance.

Elvis Presley performed on the "Louisiana Hayride" in Shreveport, Louisiana. This special show, which  also featured Wayne Raney, was a benefit for the local YMCA and originated from Hirsch  Memorial Coliseum in Shreveport.
This special show helped Elvis Presley out of his contract  with the "Louisiana Hayride", which was to run another six months. That night, Elvis  performing his Sun hits along with cover versions of "I Got A Woman", Shake, Rattle And  Roll", "Money Honey", "Tutti Frutti", ''Only You'', and "Sixteen Tons".

The Colonel sends Bob Neal the Stage Show contract for Elvis to sign, pointing out that there  must be no "ad libs or gestures" on the show other than those the producer recommends.


"Cry, Cry, Cry" was still doing good business, and Sam Phillips held off releasing for Johnny  Cash's new single until December. A few weeks earlier, Phillips had acquired a little venture  capital from RCA, and he pumped it behind Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. He placed an  advertisement in the trade papers touting "handsome and young" Johnny Cash.

One night a year, the wrestlers would stage a benefit show, dividing the proceeds between  the two newspapers charities - the Memphis Press-Scimitar's Goodfellows, which annually  gave out toys and new clothes to the underprivileged children of Memphis; and the  Commercial Appeal's Basket Fund, which gave basket of groceries to needy Memphians.
At 8:00 p.m. in Memphis, Elvis Presley made what may have been the most unusual  appearance of his career. The show was held at Ellis Auditorium to benefit the Memphis  Press-Scimitar's Goodfellows Fund and the Commercial-Appeal's American Legion Basket  Fund. Elvis Presley and the Blue Moon Boys, along with Slim Rhodes and his Mountainaires  and other musical artists, provided the singing introduction for an "all-star wrestling  program". Rhodes opened with a thirty-minute set.
He was followed by the Dixie Dolls, four tap dancers, who preceded 15-year old Jo Haynes,  who twirled her baton to a pre-recorded jazz number. The master of ceremonies was Trent  Wood of WCMT, a radio station owned by the Commercial-Appeal. The benefit received preevent  coverage in both the Commercial-Appeal and the Press Scimitar. It is not clear whether  all the music was presented before the first wrestling bout, or whether Rhodes performed  first with Dixie Doll and Miss Haynes appearing between the three matches, and the "whole  shebang" wrapped up by Elvis Presley's show. The event was promoted by Les Wolfe. Believe  it or not, this was the seventh annual occurrence of Wolfe's "Christmas charity wrestlingmusical  show". 

When Jo Haynes come on, they had to put some plywood on the canvas mat so she could  perform properly. Elvis spotted the youngster backstage, struck up a conversation, then  asked her out for a date. She said she would have to get her mother's permission before she  could accept.

"I had just done a show with Bill Haley and the Comets", said Haynes. "I had danced to "Rock  Around The Clock" and "Shake, Rattle And Roll". I was appearing on the Top Ten Dance Party  with Wink Martindale on WHBQ-TV. When it came my time to go into that ring, I danced to  "Steam Heat", twirling a baton, and at the end of my dance I set the baton on fire and tossed  it into the air, catching it as it came down. That was really something then".

Elvis Presley had asked her to accompany him to Jim's Steak House, or to a movie, after the  benefit, but she was cool to the idea, for one "because I was going to a slumber party after  the show, the reason he kept his collar turned up was because he had pimples all over his  neck. I was sixteen at the time and this was important", said Haynes.

When Elvis Presley came on, Jo Haynes pointed to him in the ring and told her mother this  was the boy who had asked her out on a date. "I told her right away she couldn't go", said  mama Haynes. "the boy had pimples on his face". As if the pimples weren't bad enough, as  Elvis performed, he awkwardly told a couple of off-colour jokes, prompting Mrs. Haynes to  tell her daughter, "Don't you listen to that". One who remembers that night well is Benjamin  Armour, a retired Air Force sergeant. "I was being transferred from Korea to South Carolina",  said Armour. "Stopped off in Memphis en route to Donaldson Air Force Base. My father-in-law  was a big wrestling fan and so I went there with him. We sat on the front row of the balcony,  sort of leaning over the rail. After all the wrestling was finished, Elvis Presley got in that  ring. He had that guitar with the hand-tooled leather 'Elvis' on it".

"Elvis was the best performer that evening. He really had the crowd with him. He banged on  that guitar to hard he broke every string on it. Then he laid it down in the ring and kept  right on going", said Armour.

The both Haynes and Armour would cross Elvis' area in later years. Jo Haynes would open a  dance school in the Whitehaven area, just south of Graceland. One of her students was a  young girl named Priscilla Beaullieu, then a teenager living in the mansion with Elvis Presley  after having met him during his Army tour in Germany.  "I had a pink '59 Ford Thunderbird convertible with a black top", said Haynes. "After Priscilla  began taken lessons from me, Elvis wanted to buy my car and give it to her. I told him, 'Elvis,  you've got a driveway filled with cars up at Graceland'".

"Priscilla studied under Haynes almost a year. The dance instructor remembers her in those  days as "very shy", but she natural rhythm. She never wanted to be out front on the stage.  We would say in those days if ever we had children, we would want them to play together.  By the time she had Lisa Marie and I had Joe, we had gone our separate ways".

After South Carolina, Benjamin Armour found himself in Germany. His youngest daughter  went to a military school in Wiesbaden where she was in the same class as Priscilla.

During his Christmas vacation, Elvis Presley made an appearance at the Humes High School  holiday benefit show. He, along with Scotty Moore and Bill Black, played before a large  audience at the Auditorium. Backing them was the Humes Dance Band. No exact date for this  show is known. Money raised by the show was donated to the school discretionary funds,  according to Mrs. Scrivener, who was Elvis' homeroom teacher when he was a senior. Elvis  Presley was not advertised to appear on the Louisiana Hayride show on Christmas Eve,  December 24, 1955.
Article in the Memphis Press-Scimitar with the headliner said:
PRESLEY SINGS ON MAT CARD Country Star Set For Monday Night
Promoter Les Wolfe today announced that Elvis Presley, outstanding young Memphis country and western singer,  will appear on next Monday nigh's all-benefit, all-star wrestling program at Ellis Auditorium. The arrangements for  Presley's appearance were made by Bob Neal, his personel manager from WMPS.

In addition to Presley, Wolfe has arranged for the appearanceof Slim Rhodes and his Mountaineers, whi will play  for the card from 8 p.m. until the first bout. Wolfe is arranging other standouts arts. He'll have three grappling  bouts, including a tag team go, with everyonr donating services. All proceeds go to the Goodfellow's Fund of The  Press-Simitar and the Commercial Appeal Christmas Basket Fund.
Wolfe reports a brisk sale of tickets. He's taking reservations at 33-7448, while Sid Markus is taking orders at  Broadway 6-3563. Wolfe plans to open the box office at Florsheim's, Main and Madison, a day early, starting on  Saturday.

Elvis Presley was signed to four appearances on Jackie Gleason's CBS-TV program "Stage  Show" (starring swing-era veterans Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey), starting in January 1956,  with an option for two more.

Sam Phillips owned the publishing rights to Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes", although the  song was represented by Hill and Range as part of the Presley deal. This meant that every  record company who pushed a version onto the market owed Sam Phillips two cents for  every copy sold. The success of "Blue Suede Shoes" also enabled Sam Phillips to assemble the  nucleus of his foreign deals which saw Sun product go to Decca/London for most of the world  and to Quality Records and subsequently London Records in Canada.

The reel of tape, the bottles of bourbon and the night's work that Sam Phillips invested in  "Blue Suede Shoes" on December evening paid a dividend more handsome than anything he  dared dream as he locked up the studio and walked to his car that night. The record  business is a lottery and Phillips had hit the jackpot. More than that, he was a success on his  own terms. He had recorded music that no-one else believed in. He recorded it his way. He  released it on his own label. And he reaped the colossal rewards.

Carl Perkins too had been vindicated. However, for Perkins the struggle was just beginning.  Although he wrote songs that were, in some respects, better than "Blue Suede Shoes", he  could never recapture the commerciality of the muse that came to him at 3 o'clock on the  morning when he went downstairs and scratched his anthem on a potato bag.

At RCA, sales manager John Burgess could see the fruits of the hard work of his staff. The newest single ''Mystery Train''/''I Forgot To Remember To Forget''  (RCA Victor 20/47-6357) was now selling 3,700 per day, and, to keep the momentum going, in-store promotional material was being made available.
RCA Victor re-released the remaining four singles acquired from Sun Records in November:  "That's All Right"/"Blue Moon Of Kentucky" (RCA Victor 20/47-6380), "Good Rockin' Tonight"/"I  Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine" (RCA Victor 20/47-6381), "Milkcow Blues Boogie"/"You're A  Heartbreaker" (RCA Victor 20//47-6382), and "Baby Let's Play House"/"I'm Left, You're Right,  She's Gone" (RCA Victor 20//47-6383).

Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley performed at the Jonesboro's YMCA, Arkansas.  "Johnny took us backstage", said Nancy Zimmer. "I had never heard of Elvis Presley in my life  before that night. Elvis tripped over me back there and I told him, 'Don't touch me'. Later,  just before he was going on, he ran up to me and hugged me. And wow! He had it! He just  did it to you! I got an autographed picture of him and the next day at school all the girls  were wanting to know who this greasy-haired guy was. Six months later, they were all  wanting my autographed picture!".

"When we went to the YMCA that night, he was totally unknown to me. We didn't even know  about all the screaming and crying that was going on at his concerts".

Meanwhile, Steve Sholes at RCA had to ready himself to record his newest artist. There was enough criticism and jealousy within the label to develop a fear of failure. After all, they spent a fortune, and Steve definitely felt the heat. The inclusion of Hill and Range in the deal meant that the Aberbachs would control at least one side of each Elvis single. Sholes had an obligation to make sure that this happened, but it also helped provide repertoire for his new artist. 

Steve Sholes sends Elvis demonstration records of ten songs to his home on 1414 Getwell, he would like him to  consider for his first RCA recording session, scheduled for January in Nashville. Elvis will  eventually record two, "I'm Counting on You" and "I Was the One," both ballads.
STEVE SHOLES - born as Stephen Henry Sholes on February 12, 1911 was one of the most influential producers in  postwar music; he was responsible not only for the birth of the Nashville Sound, but also for  signing Chet Atkins and Elvis Presley to RCA. Sholes was born in Washington, D.C., but his  family moved to New Jersey in the 1920s, and it was while attending high school in 1929  that he first took a part-time job in sales with RCA Victor Records.
After college, in 1935 he  returned to RCA, joining the jazz artists and repertory department. During World War II,  while serving in the army, he was responsible for producing "V-Discs", records made for  distribution specifically to servicemen overseas as part of the war effort by Fats Waller.

In 1945, upon his release from the military, Sholes returned to RCA and became manager of  the company's country and western and rhythm and blues, Artist and Repertoire. Among his  first signings were the Sons of the Pioneers, who became the linchpin of the company's  burgeoning country & western line-up. In 1949, Sholes signed guitarist Chet Atkins to the  label to provide RCA with a competitor to Merle Travis on Capitol. He ended up getting far  more than a guitar virtuoso, Atkins proved to be a master arranger and producer as well.  Although country groups like the Pioneers hit hard times in the early 1950s, country music  was undergoing a boom, and Sholes was prepared to expand the company's roster. He  brought such artists as Elton Britt, Eddie Arnold, the Browns, Homer & Jethro, Hank Snow,  Hank Locklin, Jim Reeves, Pee Wee King, and Elvis Presley to RCA. By the end of the 1950s,  RCA was a country music powerhouse, with one of the strongest rosters in the business,  much of it Sholes' doing.

In 1957, Sholes promoted Chet Atkins to production manager in Nashville, and he became  one of the most successful producers in the history of country music. In the 1960s, RCA  became the home to such artists as Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton, and Waylon Jennings, even  as its best 1950s artists continued to fare well in the marketplace. This was the decade that  the so-called "Nashville Sound" nurtured by Sholes and Atkins came into its own as the  dominant commercial force in country music, and RCA was the label that best exemplified  that sound. Sholes was also a key player in organizing and raising money for the Country  Music Hall of Fame, which opened in 1967. By that time, Sholes was nearing the uppermost  echelon of RCA management, having been promoted to Vice President in charge of Pop  Artists and Repertory that same year. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in  1967, the year that it opened. Steve Sholes died on April 11, 1968 of a heart attack in  Nashville at the age of 57.

Bob Neal wrote that Elvis Presley was on vacation this week. However, Elvis bought an airline ticket to an unidentified place on December 27, and Scotty Moore bought gas in Camden, Arkansas, the following day and drove on to Shrevepoort. Elvis was definitely back in Memphis on the 29th, if he went away at all. It's possible that there was a show somewhere in West Arkansas on December 27.

Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash played a date in Texarkana supporting George Jones, who was  riding his first hit, "Why Baby Why". "None of us had ever been that far away before", Carl  Perkins remembers. "It was the big break. I met Johnny Cash in West Memphis and we had to  go 350 miles. I spent most of the time in John's car and we wrote songs together. The next  day we were in Tyler, Texas, and the promoter promised us a hundred dollars each. Up to  then, our biggest pay had been in Parsons, Arkansas, when Bob Neal stood at the door with a  cigar box and charged everyone who came in a dollar unless they were under twelve. We  split the take and got eighteen dollars for every guy".
LATE 1955

Elvis Presley performed in Parkin, Arkansas. This show is remembered by Johnny Cash and  Carl Perkins. The venue may have been the back of a flatbed truck. Perkins has said that he  wrote "Blue Suede Shoes" here, which would place the gig about December. Nothing specific  could be unearthed.

Elvis Presley was featured in an article in Country Song Roundup's winter issue. The article  was titled "Rockin' To Stardom". In the same issue, Elvis was ranked ninth in a list of the top  country artists in the nation. Country And Western Jamboree magazine, a trade publication,  reported that Elvis Presley had received 250,000 votes in a reader's poll for "New Star Of  The Year".


Local residents remember a show at the B&B Club in Gobler between Christmas and New  Years. Appearing with Elvis Presley was Johnny Cash, and they were paid $400 plus 60% of  the door. Elvis Presley purchased a Chevrolet from C.E. Sinks, a Kennett auto dealer, and the  car was delivered to the B&B for Elvis Presley to take back to Memphis, presumably as a  Christmas gift. Jimmy Haggett, a country singer/musician who was spinning records on KBOA  radio in Kennett at this time recalls that he played with Elvis Presley at the B&B Club on at  least two occasions.

Johnny Cash's musician Marshall Grant, was convinced that they would see better times. "On  a lot of early shows we were openers", he told David Booth, "but I could see the momentum  already there. Johnny Cash was becoming popular with that little different sound we had.  His big gigantic voice was cutting through something fierce. You could see it grow day by  day".

As 1955 ended, Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two were still holding down day jobs. In  fact, the only colour television set Johnny Cash would ever sell was to Marion Keisker at  Sun. Whitin the next few weeks, though, Johnny Cash would sell his last domestic appliance.  In December 1955, Johnny Cash played a guest shot on the Louisiana Hayride.

Elvis Presley flew to Shreveport for the Hayride show on New Year's Eve.

Elvis Presley performed on the New Years Eve edition of the Louisiana Hayride broadcast  from Shreveport. The special guest tonight was Johnny Cash and Ferlin Husky. Reportedly,  Elvis Presley sang three new songs: "Heartbreak Hotel", a new one that he picked up at the  disc jockey convention in Nashville the previous November, "Blue Suede Shoes", a song that  Carl Perkins had just recorded for Sun Records, and "Peace In The Valley", one of his favorite  hymns.

When RCA acquired Elvis Presley's contract, they also bought all of the recordings Sam  Phillips had made with Elvis. However, when Sam Phillips handed over the 15 or 16 tapes to  RCA, it was obvious that they didn't represent all of the sessions Sam had recorded on Elvis.  Sam had sometimes re-used session reels for other sessions, if he thought nothing worth  preserving was on the tapes. This was the case with one of the tapes from the session that  produced the master of ''I Don't care If The Sun Don't Shine''.
The master was later recovered  by John and Shelby Singleton on one of the tapes they received when they bought Sun  Records from Sam Phillips.  The recording only survived over the original Elvis session didn't  last as long as the Elvis session. What is a bit more surprising, is the fact that RCA never got  the masters to titles ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', You're A Heartbreaker'', and ''Milkcow Blues  Boogie''.
When re-released by RCA, the company used Sun records to dub from. As Steve Sholes prepared  the re-leases of the Sun singles and the first LP, he made new compilation tapes of all  the tracks he wanted to use, adjusting the sound as he saw fit. In 1959, RCA cleaned up their  vault in Indianapolis, and in the process, dumped the majority of the Sun tapes.

Apart from the production master for the single ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget''/''Mystery  Train'', RCA has no masters, and only a handful of tapes from the original transaction  survived: Tape 5 (or 6), 8, 11, 13, and 15 (See list).
Sunrise A Conclusion

If Elvis Presley had never made another record after his last Sun session in the fall of 1955, there seems  little question that his music would have achieved much the same mythic status as Robert Johnson's blues.  The body of his work at Sun is so transcendent, so fresh, and so original that even today you can scarcely  listen to it in relation to anything nut itself. Like all great art its sources may be obvious, but its overall  impact defies explanation.
Just how Elvis Presley came to create this music suggests certain mysteries of its own. Some time in the  summer of 1953, shortly after graduating high school at the age of eighteen, he showed up at the one  legitimate recording studio in town and announced that he wanted to make a record. There was nothing  particularly surprising in this request. The Memphis Recording Service, which doubled as the home of the  fledgling Sun label, took as its motto ''We Record Anything – Anywhere – Anytime'', offering as one of its  service the opportunity for some to just walk in off the street and pay four dollars to make an acetate dub of his own voice. The label, on the other hand, like the studio under the one-man direction of 31-year-old Sam  Phillips, was dedicated to blues recording exclusively and had up to this time released records solely by  African-American performers.

It was a Saturday, and the young man fidgeted incessantly as he waited in the tiny outer office, partitioned  off by a thin wall from the almost equally tiny studio and crowded with other walk-ins. Phillips' office  manager, Marion Keisker, a leading Memphis radio personality, interrupted her work only because she felt  sorry for the boy. They made small talk while he waited his turn, and he was drawn out by her kindly  manner, but Marion was puzzled by his seeming mix of boldness and abject self-effacement and she always  remembered his answers to her questions. ''What kind of singer are you''? She asked. ''I sing all kinds''.  ''Who do you sound like''? Said Marion. ''I don't sound like nobody''. It was obvious to Keisker that he was  trying to recommend himself to her attention in some way beyond the usual, but she was baffled for the  moment as to what could be his motive. In later years he would always say that he went in to make a record  for his mother, or simply to hear the sound of his own voice – but it became plain to Marion Keisker and  Sam Phillips over the succeeding weeks and months that what the boy really wanted was to make a  commercial record.

What was it exactly that could have led so cripplingly shy and limited a musician to conceive of so bold a  plan when none of the peers from whom he took his musical cues seems even to have contemplated such a  visit? Up until this time Elvis Presley had confined his music-making almost entirely to private occasions,  with his appearance on the Humes high annual talent show, just four months earlier, the first time that many  of his classmates even became aware that he sang. He was well known, however, to the residents of  Lauderdale Courts, the housing project where he had lived with his family until January of that year, as one  of the group of boys who played their guitars on the leafy, tree-shaded mall between the two-and threestory  residences – but by no means one of the more talented ones. Dorsey and Johnny Burnette, Johnny  Black, above all Jesse Lee Denson, a Golden Gloves boxer who had created a sensation the previous year  by performing Hank Snow's ''Golden Rocket'' between bouts, were the musicians that everyone  remembered. If anyone recalled Elvis Presley, it was for appearance – his long, greasy hair and the  outlandish outfits that he wore. Music may have been his deepest passion since being given his first guitar  as a small child in Tupelo and singing, with other schoolchildren, in the children's, or even of the extent of  his talents, until he walked in the door of Sun. Why should he alone have made the journey?

The answer may lie in a story that had just appeared in the Memphis Press-Scimitar on July 15, 1953, about  a new group making records at Sun. The Prisonaires were the group. They had begun their career inside the  walls of the Tennessee State Penitentiary in Nashville, and when they first came to Sam Phillips' attention,  the studio proprietor, according to the Press-Scimitar, ''was skeptical – until he heard the tape''. At that point  he was sold. And so on June 1, 1953, ''the five singing prisoners'', accompanied by an armed guard and a  trusty, were transported to 706 Union Avenue to make their first record for Sun. ''They worked from 10:30  a.m. To 8:30 p.m., until the records were cut just right to suit painstaking Mr. Phillips''.

''Just Walkin' In The Rain'' came out at almost the same time as the Press-Scimitar story. The song went on  to become something of a hit, as reporter Clark Porteous had predicted, it nowhere near as big a hit as it  was for pop singer, Johnnie Ray years later. It was the song that put Sun Records on the map, though, and,  very likely, the item that captured the attention of Elvis Presley as he read about the studio, the label, and  the ''painstaking Mr. Phillips'', who had staked his reputation on a recording by an unknown singer and a  song whose plaintive notes Elvis could hear reverberating both in his imagination and on the air. Nor was  he the sort to be put off, as many of his contemporaries might have been, by Sun's status as a blues and  ''race'' label – in fact, that may just have added to the allure for someone not only open to the sound of black  music but equally open to a democratic dream based on a sense of his own exclusion.

He showed up in any case not long after the article appeared and presented himself to Marion Keisker with  a difference she would always remember, cradling his battered, beat-up child's guitar in his arms. From the  first quavering notes of the first song he sang, it was obvious that his mumbled self-description was true –  while it might not be difficult to detect his influences, he didn't sound like anyone else. There was a quality  of almost unutterable plaintiveness in his version of ''My Happiness'', a 1948 pop hit for Jon and Sandra  Steele that he had sung over and over in the Courts, a sentimental ballad that couldn't have been further  from anyone's imagining of rock and roll. There is more than a hint of the pure tenor of Bill Kenny of the  Ink Spots – but mostly the almost keening solo voice conveys a note of yearning that alternates with a  crooning fullness of tone and a sharp nasality that fails to sustain its possessor's intent. The guitar, Elvis  later said, ''sounded like somebody beating on a bucket lid'', and there is, of course, the added factor of  nervousness which cannot be fully assessed – and yet there is a strange sense of calm, an almost unsettling  stillness in the midst of great drama, the kind of poise that comes as both a surprise and a revelation.

When he finished with the first song, he embarked almost immediately upon a second, ''That's When Your  Heartaches Begin'', a smooth pop ballad that the Ink Spots had originally cut in 1941, with a deep spoken  part for their baritone singer, Hoppy Jones. Here Elvis was not so successful in his rendition, running out of  time, or inspiration, and simply declaring, ''That's the end'' at the abrupt conclusion of the song. When it  was all over, he sat in the outer lobby while Marion Keisker typed out the copy on the blank sides of a  Prisonaires label (''Softly And Tenderly'', Sun 189). The singer's names was typed underneath the title on  each side, and he hung around for a while hoping in vain that something might happen. After he left,  Marion Keisker made a note of his name, which she misspelled and then editorialized beside it: ''Good  ballad singer. Hold''.

He stopped by the office all through the fall, trying to put himself in the way of discovery, and when that  failed, he returned in January to cut another acetate, without even the excuse of surprising his mother by the  sound of his voice. His selection this time consisted of a 2953 pop hit by Joni James, ''I'll Never Stand In  Your Way'', and a Jimmy Wakely country tune, ''It Wouldn't Be The Same Without You''. This time,  however, his lack of confidence betrayed him, and he sounds more forced, less self-assured than he did the  first time he entered the studio. There is still that same feeling of aching tenderness, though, that same  sense that he is reaching down deep within and summoning up feelings not necessarily related to the lyrics  and far more ''naked'' than those of the ''heart'' singers like Eddy Arnold, and the smooth pop crooners like  Dean Martin, Perry Como, and Bing Crosby, that he so much admired. Perhaps in the end he couldn't help  being different, an outside observer might have been led to conclude. But if he had once again passed  through the Sun doorway with the idea, if not of stardom, at the very least of being asked back – once again  he was doomed to be disappointed. Because, just as the last time, there was no follow-up on anyone's part  but his own. When he went to work delivering supplies for Crown Electric in the spring, Marion Keisker  grew used to seeing his truck regularly pass by, and having its driver stop from time to time to ask if she  knew of a band was looking for a singer.

Finally, on June 26, almost a year after he had first appeared at the studio, he got the call he had been  waiting for. Sam Phillips, transfixed by an acetate he had picked up on his last Nashville trip by a singer  whom he was subsequently unable to locate or identity, came up with the idea of trying out ''the kid with  the sideburns''. The song was a plaintive lament called ''Without You'', sung in a quavering voice that  sounded like a cross between the Ink Spots and a sentimental Irish tenor, and white it was undeniably  amateurish, there was something about it – perhaps its very amateurishness, or else just its quality of  yearning – that put him in mind of the boy. When Marion Keisker called, as Elvis recounted the story in  later years. ''She said, 'Can you be here by three''? I was there by the time she hung up the phone''.

They worked on the number all afternoon. When it became obvious that the boy was not going to get it  right, Phillips had him run down other songs he could barely provide the faltering accompaniment. ''I guess  I must have sat there at least three hours'', Elvis told Press-Scimitar reporter Bob Johnson in 1956. ''I sang  everything I knew, pop stuff, spirituals, just a few words of (anything) I remembered''.

When it was over, he was exhausted, but he felt strangely elated, too. ''I was an overnight sensation'', he  always told interviewers in later years. ''A year after they heard me the first time. They called me back''!  Everyone caught the boyish modesty, but they may have overlooked the understandable pride. Sam Phillips  had called him back – his perseverance had paid off. And while nothing was said about what would happen  next, there was little now in Elvis' mind that something would.

Exactly one week later, it did. This time he got a call from Scotty Moore, a 22-year-old guitarist who had  himself made his Sun Records debut with his group, the Starlite Wranglers, just one month earlier, but who  had bigger plans than simply playing in a hillbilly band. When Sam Phillips started telling him about this  young singer who had something different about him, Scotty began pestering Phillips for the singer's name.  On Saturday, July 3, Scotty phoned the Presley home, and, identifying himself as a scout for Sun, asked  Elvis if he would like to audition – ''and he said guessed so''. The next day they got together at Scotty's  house, with Scotty's neighbor, Wranglers' bass player, Bill Black, stopping by for a few minutes to check  him out. The following day, Monday, July 5, 1954, the three of them went into the studio for what was  intended to be nothing more that a rehearsal session.

At first nothing seemed to go right. The first few songs they tried were all ballads, various touchingly  revealing takes of ''I Love You Because'' are all that is left of this part of the session, and the musicians  seemed to be casting about for a direction, trying out snatches of one song, then another, without ever really  hitting on, or even knowing, what it was they were looking for. But Sam Phillips was nothing if not patient,  and if he was discouraged, he showed no sign of it, even as Elvis clearly sensed his chances slipping away.  Then, during a break, as the musicians were sipping on Cokes, ''all of a sudden'', said Scotty, ''Elvis just  started singing this song and acting the fool, and then Bill picked up his bass and he started acting the fool  too, too, and I started playing with them. Sam, I think, had the door to the control booth open, and he stuck  his head out and said, 'What are you doing'? And we said, 'We don't know'. 'Well, back up', he said, 'try to  find a place to start, and do it again'''.

The song was ''That's All Right'', an old blues by Arthur Crudup, and nothing could have surprised Sam  Phillips more than that this boy should know, let alone perform with such uninhibited freshness and zeal,  the music for which Sam had crusaded all these years. But if it was a direction he could not have  anticipated, it was one that he now wholeheartedly embraced, as he had the trio run through their new  number over and over, until they finally got it right, with Elvis gaining confidence on each try. In the next  few nights, they hit upon an almost equally startling transformation of Bill Monroe's bluegrass waltz, ''Blue  Moon Of Kentucky'', which evolved from a slow, bluest lament to a high-spirited declaration of selfdiscovery  in 4?4 time. We thought it was exciting'', said Scotty of the manner in which, almost unwittingly,  they had turned the music upside down, ''but what was it? It was just so completely different. But it just  really flipped Sam – he felt it really had something. We just sort of shook our heads and said, 'Well, that's  fine, but good God, they'll run us out of town''.

That, in a way, was the story of Elvis Presley's recordings at Sun: not just art as inspired accident (and it's  hard to know what can better describe the origins of all art) but the peeling away of layers, psychological  and musical, the uncovering of depths which, if not hitherto unsuspected, had hitherto lain unplumbed. As  he had already done with the blues singers for whom he had built his studio (Howlin' Wolf, Little Junior  Parker, Ike Turner, B.B. King), and as he would with each of the rockabilly artists (Carl Perkins, Johnny  Cash, Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich, Jerry Lee Lewis) who followed, Sam Phillips saw it as his mission to  ''open up an area of freedom within the artist himself, to help him to express what he believed his message  to be''. With Elvis Presley he was astonished to discover an individual with a musical curiosity as  omnivorous as his own (''It seemed like he had a photographic memory for every damn song he ever heart,  and he had the most intuitive ability to hear out that curiosity, to encourage that area of creative difference,  to stifle not even the smallest element of exploration.

For Elvis it was like stumbling upon the unlocking key. All of a sudden everything that he had been  listening to all his life – blues and gospel, hillbilly, semi-classical, and pop – could coalesce into a single  sound, and the astonishing thing was that his experience served not just for himself but for a generation. In  Houston, Arkansan Sleepy LaBeef heard Elvis' first Sun sides and recognized their gospel roots, heard  Brother Claude Ely and Sister Rossetta Tharpe just beneath the secular veil. Carl Perkins picked up on it in  nearby Jackson, Tennessee, while Jerry Lee Lewis heard the same melding of blues, country, and western  swing that he had been groping for in the honky tonks around Ferriday, Louisiana. There was no question  that the sound was in the air, but at the same time there was equally little question that it crystallized in the  freshness, innocence, and invention that Elvis Presley brought to the music. Bill Haley and his Comets may  have established the potential for a commercial trend (his ''Rock Around The Clock'' was on the charts for  the first time when Elvis cut his first Sun single), but Elvis Presley laid the groundwork for a musical  revolution.

In part it was the simplicity of the music, in part it was the sound, but most of all it was the feel. For Elvis  Presley, as much as for Sam Phillips, it was the accidental, the unexpected, the unique that mattered, each  placed his full faith in the spontaneity of the moment. And that is exactly how Elvis Presley's records were  made. Listed to ''Good Rockin' Tonight'', ''Mystery Train'', ''Milkcow Blues Boogie'' – each is based on a  classic source, each in a way is intended as a kind of homage. And yet each continues to surprise. The laugh  with which ''Mystery Train'' trails off, the bubbling enthusiasm of ''Baby Let's Play House'', the sheer,  uninhibited ardor of ''Trying To Get To You'' – this is the gold that Elvis and Sam Phillips were mining for,  this is the hard-won inspiration that finally emerged from each sessions.

At the same time, if you want to look behind the scenes at the kind of creative experimentation that went  into the sessions, Elvis' live sides from this period are almost equally illumination. No recording has yet  surfaced of Elvis' early live performance of Martha Carson's gospel rouser, ''Satisfied'', or of his attempt at  the same song in the Sun studio. But various examples exist of his and the band's first stabs at such rhythm  and blues classics as the Clovers' ''Fool, Fool, Fool'', Big Joe Turner's ''Shake, Rattle And Roll'', Lavern  Baker's 'Tweedlee Dee'', Otis Williams and the Charms' ''Hearts of Stone'', and Chuck Berry's ''Maybellene''  and their presence on the Sunrise set, along with previously unreleased versions of Elvis' own ''I Don't Care  If The Sun Don't Shine'' and ''I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone'', further expand our sense of the group's  capabilities – and of their limitations, when they stop somewhere short of the finish line. Most of all,  though they confirm the impression of pure, vaulting ambition, the sense of almost joyful release that the  studio sides proclaim; they convey the same intimation of a deeper emotion underlying even the most  ephemeral of the Sun sides, an emotion that comes across whatever the tempo, whatever the genre,  mistakes and all.

It's hard so say what creates such a sense of high-tension drama in the midst of such assured ease, the  conviction that all is right with the world while at the same time an assault is being mounted on every  complacent assumption of the culture, social, racial, and not least, musical. Whether or not this improbable  balance could have been maintained is open to question, but even before Elvis ended his stay at Sun, by the  summer of 1955 you can already hear it changing, with the last full session that Elvis would have with  anyone other than himself as his principal producer (in 1969 Chips Moman would oversee some of his  greatest post-Sun sides, but only take responsibility for about half the session). It is arguably, his greatest  moment in the Sun studio, with ''Mystery Train'' defining that peculiar combination of soaring high spirits  and casual insouciance that characterized every one of the released sides. It was ''I Forgot To Remember To  Forget'', though, that was the hit, the second song to which Sam Phillips added drums and the first that he  had to use his considerable powers of persuasion to get Elvis to perform (''I thought it was something we  needed at that point to show a little more diversification''). The resulting treatment of a composition that  Elvis at first considered too conventionally country was far from conventional, and the last song of the day,  ''Trying To Get To You'' with its suggestive combination of the secular and the spiritual, only points to a  direction yet to be explored. With his final song at Sun, ''When It Rains, It Really Pours'', never finished  because the session was broken off due to the imminent sale of his contract to RCA, Elvis is back on  familiar ground: once again, we hear him confidently singing the blues, though this time, seemingly, with  far more knowingness than the innocent nineteen-year-old of just one year earlier could ever have assumed.

This abrupt ending, little more than the inevitable intrusion of business that all popular art invites, leads to  the kind of what's ifs that are by by-product of both art and commerce – and no more profitably pursued in  either. The fact is that when Elvis Presley first came to Sun, he was an inspired amateur; by the time he left,  on November 21, 1955, ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget'' was on the national country and western charts,  where it remained for thirty-nine weeks and became his first number 1 national hit. The music that he  would make at RCA would clearly reflect the lessons that he had learned at Sun and result almost  immediately in such calculated triumphs of craft and feeling as ''Heartbreak Hotel'', ''Hound Dog'', ''Don't  Be Cruel'' and ''All Shook Up''. He fashioned these songs with the same patience, dedication, and  spontaneity that he had poured into his earlier work, but the Sun sides would be forever set aside, perhaps  simply by the very innocence of their invention. They were, as Sam Phillips often said in describing Elvis  himself, impudent, playful, they almost dare the listener to smile. The music that Elvis created, as Phillips  said of another of his favorite artists, Howlin' Wolf, existed on its own terms only, an unmapped territory  ''where the soul of man never dies''.

Liner notes by Peter Guralnick, November 1998