Elvis Presley's Sun Recordings on RCA CD reissues

Reconsider Baby (PCD1-5418) Elvis Presley
The Sun Sessions CD (6414-2-R) Elvis Presley
The Million Dollar Quartet (74321 13840 2) Various Artists
The Great Performances (PD 82227) Elvis Presley
When All Was Kool (CDT-2001) Elvis Presley
Elvis For Everyone (3450-2-R) Elvis Presley
The Complete 50's Masters (PD 90689(5) Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley (ND 89046) Elvis Presley
Platinum - A Life In Music (07863 67469 2) Elvis Presley
A Golden Celebration (07863 67456) Elvis Presley
Sunrise (07863 67675 2) Elvis Presley
Elvis At Sun (828766 12051) Elvis Presley
The Complete Louisiana Hayride  Archieves  1954 - 1956 (MRS 30001256) Elvis Presley

A Boy From Tupelo
 The Complete 1953 - 1955 Recordings (506020 975049) Elvis Presley
 For Elvis Presley's Biography (See:> The Sun Biographies <
Elvis Presley's Sun recordings can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <
1985 RCA Records (CD) 500/200rpm PCD1-5481 mono digital

A 12-song, budget-priced compilation of Elvis' most notable blues sides for the label. A good place to start  digging Elvis' commitment to the music, always returning to it right up through the 1970s like an old friend,  whenever he needed a quick fix of the real thing, as he takes on everything from rhythm and blues slices like  Tommy Tucker's "High Heel Sneakers" to Percy Mayfield's "Stranger In My Own Home Town''. Major  highlights on this collection are Elvis playing acoustic rhythm guitar and driving the band through a take of  the Lowell Fulson title track, blistering versions of two Arthur Crudup songs, an unreleased Sun recording of  Lonnie Johnson's "Tomorrow Night," and the R-rated take of Smiley Lewis's "One Night (Of Sin)''. Also included 2 page booklet with liner notes by Peter Guralnick. The fine photograph on the cover was taken by Lloyd Russell Sherman.
Elvis Sings The Blues
''I remember the first time I met the great bluesman, Howlin' Wolf, in 1966. He started talking about white blues singers, a new concept at the time. He liked Paul Butterfield, he said, also "that other boy - what's his name? Somewhere out in California, that ''Hound Dog'' number." He was talking about Elvis Presley. But surely Elvis couldn't be considered strictly a singer, somebody pointed out. Maybe not, conceded Wolf in that great hoarse growl of his, but "he started from the blues. If he stopped, he stopped. It's nothing to laugh at. He made his pull from the blues''.

Wolf was right, of course, but I never thought the world would come around to that point of view. Elvis Presley, Bluesman? It sounds a little far-fetched, even though this was the very title that my friends and I conferred on Elvis in fantasy as we were growing up and discovered, one by one, both the songs on this record and others like them buried on albums, disguised as Christmas offerings, obscured as the B-sides of singles. Elvis continued to sing the blues, obviously because he wanted to. No one was pushing him to record this sort of material, and it seemed to us over the years as if he was transmitting a kind of secret message, keeping faith with his roots and his fans as he delivered some of his most engaged, and engaging, performances (often in the midst of an utter wasteland of surrounding material) on songs that recalled his earliest sides. His first record ("That's All Right"), after all, was a blues. The first source of cultural confusion that he provoked was primarily racial (when he went on the radio in Memphis immediately after the release of his first single, disc jockey Dewey Phillips immediately established the name of the high school from which he had recently graduated, simply to dispel the widespread assumption that he was black). And if he didn't exactly fit the stereotype -well, neither did Howlin' Wolf, neither does B.B. King; individuation is the essence of the blues. At its best this is truly a music of personal expression, not happy, not sad, not limited to any musical formula, but sui generis, engaging the singer on whatever terms he happens to choose. And in the end who could be more sui generis than Elvis Presley, a bluesman who yearned to be saved, a rocker who aspired to sing like Dean Martin, a convention-scatterer who prized convention, a white man singing the blues?

The proof should be in the music - and it is. From the opening notes of Lowell Fulson's "Reconsider Baby" (introduced by Elvis' emphatically strummed rhythm guitar) to the impassioned version of Charles Brown's "Merry Christmas Baby" that closes the album, what we get here is a singer who is altogether absorbed, and altogether at - so much so that he doesn't want to let it go and in several instances just keeps mashing home with his material down on the lyrics, repeating a verse over and over (like Wolf, or his favorite gospel singers) until he has wrung every last ounce of emotion from it. There's every kind of blues here, from the intensity of "Stranger In My Own Home Town", a Percy Mayfield tune that Elvis transforms into a very personal metaphor even in the midst of some of the most screwy production work Chips Moman ever did (but it works!), to the irrepressible high spirits of "Ain't That Loving You Baby" (taken at a breakneck pace in this hitherto unreleased alternate version, which thankfully omits the Jordanaires). There's the casual insouciance of Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's "So Glad You're Mine," the breathtaking beauty of Lonnie Johnson's blues ballad "Tomorrow Night" (which in this also unreleased Sun demo version is taken almost a capella) along with the tough rhythm and blues stance of "Down In The Alley" and "One Night (Of Sin)'' - yes, these are the original, un bowdlerized lyrics. Sometimes the instrumentation is a little shaky, occasionally the production may falter, but Elvis is always idiomatic, lyrically at ease, rhythmically confident, never doubting for a moment that when he growls "Play those blues, boy," his accompanists will respond in kind. When his voice fails him (on the "Hi-Heel Sneakers" session he seems to have had a cold, as well as to have pitched the song too low), he improvises like a bluesman, making a virtue out of necessity and creating out of his hoarseness a sense of wordless you feel as if on each of these songs Elvis has been set free. There is no need to menace. The whole album is like that - worry about image, there is no need to worry about effect. He remains on each of the cuts the same shiny-eyed teenager who showed up in the Sun studio in Memphis one day and declared to label owner Sam Phillips (who had himself declared already that he was looking for a white boy with "the Negro sound and the Negro feel") that he was a "sucker" for the blues.

In the early 1960s, when Elvis was out of style, he seemed to lose faith in himself and his music. Not surprisingly the signal for his regeneration was a series of blues singles ("Big Boss Man'', "Guitar Man'', ''Hi-Heel Sneakers'', ''U.S Male") that went largely unnoticed at the time, and the '68 TV Special, whose centerpiece was a nakedly intimate, almost embarrassingly spontaneous live concert he did with his original Sun sessionmates (now packaged on video as ''One Night with You''), which focused not surprisingly on the blues. In the end I don't think there is any question that this is what Elvis will be remembered for: the feeling that he created, not necessarily the fashion. And that's what you get on this album in abundance: the pure feeling of Elvis' music, unencumbered by myth or self-consciousness, the very sound that first rocked the world.

- Peter Guralnick, February 1985
1 - Reconsider Baby
2 - Tomorrow Night (Sun Recording)
3 - So Glad You're Mine
4 - One Night
5 - When It Rains, It Really Pours
6 - My Baby Left Me
7 - Ain't That Loving You Baby
8 - I Feel So Bad
9 - Down In The Alley
10 - Hi-Heel Sneakers
11 - Stranger In My Own Home Town
12 - Merry Christmas Baby
Project A&R Director - Gregg Geller
Project Marketing Director - Don Wardell
Project Engineer - Rock Rowe
Mastering Engineer - Jack Adelman
June 1987 RCA BMG (CD) 500/200rpm 6414-2-R-11 mono digital
Silver label. RCA logo left at center. Tracks printed in black letters. Although this compact disc is titled "The Sun Sessions", it is actually the two-Lp record set "The Complete Sun Sessions" minus six tracks. Those six tracks are the outtakes: "I Love You Because" (Take 1) and the alternate takes "I Love You Because" (Take 4), "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" ("My Baby's Gone") (Takes 8, 10, 11, and 12). 10-pages booklet inside the box with liner notes by Peter Guralnick. Perfect starting point to understanding how Elvis, as Howlin' Wolf so aptly put it, "made his pull from the blues''. All the source points are there for the hearing; Arthur Crudup's "That's All Right'', Roy Brown's "Good Rockin' Tonight'', Kokomo Arnold's "Milkcow Blues Boogie'', Arthur Gunter's "Baby, Let's Play House'', and Junior Parker's "Mystery Train''. Modern day listeners coming to these recordings for the first time will want to reclassify this music into a million subgenres, with all the hyphens firmly in place. But what we ultimately have here is a young Elvis Presley, mixing elements of blues, gospel and hillbilly music together and getting ready to unleash its end result, rock and roll, on an unsuspecting world.

The Master Takes
1 - That's All Right
2 - Blue Moon Of Kentucky
3 - Good Rockin' Tonight
4 - I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine
5 - Milkcow Blues Boogie
6 - You're A Heartbreaker
7 - Baby, Let's Play House
8 - I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone
The Master Takes
9 - Mystery Train
10 - I Forgot To Remember To Forget
11 - I Love You Because
12 - Blue Moon
13 - Tomorrow Night
14 - I'll Never Let You Go
15 - Just Because
16 - Tryin' To Get To You
The Outtakes
17 - Harbor Lights
18 - I Love You Because (Take 2)
19 - That's All Right
20 - Blue Moon Of Kentucky
21 - I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine
22 - My Baby Is Gone (Take 9)
23 - I'll Never Let You Go
24 - When It Rains, It Really Pours
The Alternate Takes
25 - I Love You Because (Take 3)
26 - I Love You Because (Take 5)
27 - My Baby Is Gone (Take 7)
28 - My Baby Is Gone (Take 12)
Original Sun Recordings
He tried not to show it, but he felt so inferior... Elvis Presley probably innately was the most introverted person that ever came into that studio. He didn't play with bands. He didn't go to this little club and pick and grin. All he did was sit with his guitar on the side of his bed at home. I don't think he even played on the front porch.

- Sam Phillips, founder of Sun Records

It was on a hot summer day in 1953 that a young man, just out of high school, first showed up all the door of the Memphis Recording Service, a custom studio whose motto read ''We record anything – anywhere – anytime''. For a few minutes he paced nervously outside the plate-glass window clutching a beat-up guitar, then finally plunged into the small outer office whose reception area was already filled to capacity by the three or four customers waiting to make a "personal" record of their own for just $3.98 plus tax. Sitting behind the desk jammed to the left of the door was an attractive woman in her mid-thirties, who took the young man's name and politely asked him to take a seat while he waited his turn. "(At first) I wondered if he wanted a handout'', Marion Keisker later recalled. "We get a lot of drifters along Union Avenue. His hair was long and shaggy, and he was wearing khaki work clothes and was dirty. Of course he had his guitar''.

"W"ho do you sound like''> Mrs. Keisker asked, just to make conversation.
"l don 't sound like nobody'', said the young man politely.

When it finally came his turn to record, Marion Keisker ushered the young man back info the little studio where blues singers B.B. King and Howlin Wolf and Ike Turner had all cut their first sides for Memphis Recording Service owner Sam Phillips, who had a leasing arrangement with the Chess and Modern labels in Chicago and Los Angeles. Phillips, who had recently started his own label, Sun, was just about to go out for lunch, so Marion set up the acetate disc cutter herself and, halfway through the young man's performance of his first song, an old Ink Spots number called "My Happiness'', she decided to make a reference tape as well. His guitar playing was rudimentary, and his singing style "changed every eight bars'' as he swung erratically from a thin tenor to a somewhat wobbly bass and back again - but Marion felt there was something "differed'' about his voice and she thought Sam would, too. She got about a third of "My Happiness" on tape and all of his second song, another Ink Spots number called "That's When Your Heartaches Begin'', complete with recitation. She noted down his address and a neighbor's telephone number on a piece of paper that was headed: Elvis Presley. Good ballad singer. Hold''.

The young man returned some six months later, on January 4, 1954, and recorded two more slow numbers, this time in a western style, "Casual Love Affair" and "I'll Never Stand In Your Way''. On this occasion it was 31-year-old Sam Phillips who noted the singer's name and the fact that he was "a good ballad singer''. If anything suited to his style were to come up in a commercial vein, Sam assured the young truck driver, he would call him. "I had never sung anything but slow music and ballads in my life at that time'', said Elvis Presley, reminiscing just two years later.

He stopped by the studio often in the next few months, trying out songs and seeking out advice, but Sam Phillips didn't call him for anything even resembling a session until June. Phillips had gotten a demonstration record that spring from Peer Publishing in Nashville on a song called "Without You'' and, struck by the soulful quality in the singers voice, had contacted Peer to see if he could put out the demo on Sun. No one at Peer even knew the name of the singer, though; it was just a young black man who had been hanging around the studio.

"What about the kid with sideburns''? said Marion Keisker.
''If you can get him over here.. said Phillips.
I called and asked him at his convenience to come see us'', recalled Marion. "l turned around, and there was Elvis coming through the door. I think he ran the way''.

As good an idea as if may have seemed to every one involved, it didn't work out the way that any of them planned. For whatever reason, Elvis Presley couldn't capture the special quality that Sam Phillips had heard in that anonymous black man's voice and Sam Phillips was definitely looking for something different. For Phillips, who had started out as a radio announcer and engineer in his hometown Florence, Alabama, individuality had always been the one quality he had most pursued and prized. In Memphis he had made his reputation broadcasting the big bands on a national hookup for the Hotel Peabody Skyway, but he soon grew disillusioned with the way those bands were ''programmed''. Every orchestra, every number sounded alike. It bored me, and I assumed it also bored the public. It just seemed to me that (the Negro people) were the only ones who had any freshness left in their music''. That was why he had started the Memphis Recording Service in 1950, "just to make records with some of (the) great Negro artists''. And it was why he had started his own record label two years later. He had never, he boasted at the time, "made a record with an established star yet", and he was looking even then for the same distinctiveness that he continues to seek to this day.

"Without You" was simply not the right vehicle to bring it out in this singer. At Phillips' instigation the young man ran through every song in his repertoire, including "Rag Mop'', a host of Billy Eckstine favorites, and just about every number in the Dean Martin songbook. Sam Phillips wasn't sure just what he head but he knew he heard something. "I suppose it was all the gospel singing Elvis had done that gave me a hint of that special thing'', he said a year or two later. Marion Keisker had evidently heard the same thing when she originally noted the name. ''Over and over," she told Elvis biographer Jerry Hopkins, "I remember Sam saying, 'If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars'''.

At this same time there was a young guitarist in Memphis named Scotty Moore who also had a vision. Moore, recently out of the Navy and working as a hatter in in his brother's dry-cleaning establishment, had just cut a record for Sun with the group he was fronting, Doug Poindexter and the Starlite Wranglers. The record, "My Kind Of Carrying On'', has been pointed to as a seminal step in the development of rockabilly music, but if it in fact represented the seed of the revolution, it was a very modest seed that remained to be planted. For Scotty Moore if was contact with Sam Phillips that crystallized his sense of where the music was going.

"He knew there was a crossover coming'', says Scotty. "He foresaw it. I think that recording all those black artists had to give him an insight; he just didn't know where that insight would lead. Well, Sam and I got to be pretty good friends, just by my hanging around the studio at the time. It got to be an almost daily thing, fact, I would get through work and just drift down to the studio, and we would sit there over coffee at Miss Taylor's Cafe next door and say to each other, ''What is it?''.

That was where Sam Phillips first mentioned Elvis Presley's name to Scotty Moore "The best I can remember, he can sing pretty good'', Sam said. Well, that started me to thinking, and every day after that I would ask him, Did you call the guy? No, ''Did you call the guy? After a couple of weeks of this - either me or Marion bothering him all the time - he finally went back to the studio one day and actually came up with the number. He fold me, 'You get him to come over the house and see what you think of him'. Which I did''.

"Bill Black (the bass player in the Starlite Wranglers) lived just a couple of doors down, and he came down and listened for a while. Well, you know, Elvis came in, he was wearing a pink suit and white shoes and duck-tail, I thought my wife was going to go out the back door. We sat around a couple of hours going through a bit of everything - Marty Robbins, Billy Eckstine, Hank Snow, Eddy Arnold, you name it. After he left Bill came back and said, do you think? I said, 'Well, he sings good, but I can't really say he knocks me out.' This was on a Sunday afternoon. The next day I told Sam the same thing, and he called Elvis to set up an audition''.

''A few days later, I believe it was the following Monday night (this would have been July 5, 1954, following that June 27 initial meeting), Elvis came in for the audition. Sam just wanted to see what he sounded like on tape, because quite naturally you can sound quite a bit different in the studio than sitting around the living room singing. It wasn't intended to be a session - that was the reason just Bill and I were there. Well, we tried three or four things. ''Love You Because''' I believe was the first thing we actually put on tape. Then we were taking a break, I don't know, we were having Cokes and coffee, and all of a sudden Elvis started singing a song, jumping around and just acting the fool, and then Bill picked up his bass and he started acting the fool, too, and, you know, I started playing with 'em. Sam, I think, had the door to the control booth open - I don't know, he was either editing some tape or doing something - and he stuck his head out and said, you doing?' And we said don't know'. 'Well, back up,' he said, 'try to find a place to start, and do it again'''.

And that, according to Scotty Moore, was the genesis of "That's All Right'', a free-flying blues with a country beat that sounds - for all the work that went into it - as fresh and spontaneous as the most spontaneous Howlin' Wolf blues that Sam Phillips ever put on wax. The next night the trio came up with "Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', a reworking of the Bill Monroe classic arrived at under similar circumstances, and by the end of the week Sam Phillips had a two-sided acetate to deliver to three Memphis disc jockeys. Country disc jockeys Uncle Richard and Sleepy Eye John jumped on the bluegrass tune, but it was the irrepressible Dewey Phillips, a Memphis taste maker whose role in the popularization of rock and and rhythm and blues cannot be overstated, who really put the record across. He played it over and over again, first one side, then the other, while the unwitting subject of all this furor went to the movies (a western double bill). "When the phone calls and telegrams started to come in," Dewey told writer Stanley Booth, "I got hold of Elvis' daddy, Vernon. He said Elvis was down at Suzore's No. 2 Theatre. 'Get him over here', I said, and before long Elvis came running in. Sit down, I'm gone interview you', I said. He said, 'Mr. Phillips, I don't know nothing about being interviewed'. Just don't say nothing dirty', I told him''.

"He sat down, and I said I'd let him know when we were ready to start. I had a couple of records cued up, and while they played we talked. I asked him where he went to high school, and he said, 'Humes.'I wanted to get that out, because a lot of people had thought he was colored. Finally I said, All right, Elvis, thank you very much.'Aren't you gone interview me?' he asked. 'I already have', I said. The mike's been open the whole time'. He broke out in a cold sweat''.

The record was released on July 19, just two weeks after it was recorded. On July 27, Marion Keisker brought a very uncomfortable - looking Elvis Presley down to the Memphis Press-Scimitar building, where he was interviewed by theater critic Edwin Howard (who would later make a record of his own for Sun). "Marion said he was a truck driver'', recalled Howard, "and he could only come during his lunch hour. I'll never forget.. .he walked in there looking like the wrath of God. Pimples all over his face. Duck-tail hair. Had a funny-looking thin bow tie on. He was very hard to interview. About all I could get out of him was yes and no''.

On July 30 Elvis appeared at an outdoor concert at the Overton Park Shell headlined by Slim Whitman. He didn't go over very well at the afternoon show, where he sang mostly ballads. In the evening he came back with ''Good Rockin' Tonight'', and the shock was heard all around the world. Elvis Presley himself was no less shocked, it seemed. "My very first appearance'', he recalled in a 1956 interview, "I was on a show in Memphis as an extra added single. I was scared stiff. I came out, and I was doing a fast-type tune, and everybody was hollering, and I didn't know what they were hollering at. Everybody was screaming and everything, and I came offstage and my manager told me that they was hollering because I was wiggling. And so I went back out for an encore, and I did a little more. And the more I did, the wilder they went''.

That was the story in a nutshell; that was the genesis of Elvis Presley. The more he did, the wilder they went. Everyone knows something of the progression of events. Sometimes it is portrayed Hollywood-style as a long, hard, roller coaster-like climb, with obstacles looming along the way. Unquestionably, to the participants it must have seemed like a perilous ride which could come to an end of any moment ("We didn't have any idea how this thing was going to turn out'', says Sam Phillips today (1987). With the benefit of hindsight, though, it seems more like a nuclear explosion.

On September 10, Elvis recorded "Good Rockin' Tonight'', the Wynonie Harris blues with which he had shaken up the Overton Park Shell, while "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" hit the top of the Memphis Country and Western charts (it had probably sold 20,000 copies nationally at this point). In October he made his debut on the Louisiana Hayride, the Saturday night broadcast on which Hank Williams had made his reputation, and the next month signed on as a regular, after quitting his job at Crown Electric. In November, too, he was named eighth-most- promising Country and Western vocalist by Billboard' magazine (behind Tommy Collins, Justin Tubb, and Jimmy ''C" Newman), and in December he was acknowledged as "the hottest piece of merchandise on the Louisiana Hayride... the youngster with the hillbilly blues beat" by the same magazine. Within a year he had left forever the schoolhouse gyms and hardwood floors, the shopping center openings and impromptu shows on the back of a flatbed truck, and signed with RCA Victor. By the time he was 21- years-old he had acquired the status of legend and would never again be able to venture out in the world.

All this is known and can be interpreted in various ways. What isn't known, and what can perhaps never by fully explained, is where the music came from and what caused it to hit the way if did. Nor is it simply that there never was a phenomenon quite like Elvis Presley either before or since. If this were all there was to the story, you could always point to Sinatra or the Beatles, say, as similar manifestations of cultural implosion. No, what is truly astonishing - what is unique - about Elvis Presley is that at 19 he knew instinctively not so much who he was as what he wanted to be and that, out of that desire, he was able to create a style which was original from start to finish.

That is what is so important about this record. It shows the creation of the style. It shows Elvis Presley and Sam Phillips groping for something it would have been impossible to name (simply because it didn't exist), struggling to discover a common language, and, together, creating a new form out of what anyone else might have discarded on the scrapheap of history. Even this might be deserving of only passing cultural note, were it not for the fact that the ten sides that Sun issued in the sixteen months that Elvis Presley was on the label are so perfectly realized that, had he never recorded again, they alone would be sufficient to sustain the legend of the birth of rock and roll. This is the most improbable story of all: in a tiny Memphis studio, in 1954 and 1955, Sam Phillips and Elvis Presley created rock and roll.

What do we actually hear on the Sun sides? Here is what Bob Johnson, the Memphis Press-Scimitar reporter who followed Elvis from the beginning of his career, wrote all the time. "That's All Right'' was in the rhythm and blues idiom of Negro field jazz, ''Blue Moon'' more in the country field, but there was a curious blending of the two different musics in both... (Sam Phillips) doesn't know how to catalogue Elvis exactly. He has a white voice, sings with a Negro rhythm which borrows in mood and emphasis horn country style. When I first read these words 32 years after they were written, in 1987, it was as if the theory of relativity had finally been proved by practical demonstration. Certainly this is the received wisdom about Elvis ("A white boy with black hips'', as the New York Times once said), bud as often as I and others had stated it, sometimes I wondered if we were not merely perpetuating some abstract theoretical construct on to which the participants themselves had unaccountably latched. It's only recently that I've had a chance (mainly through the Dutch

publisher and archivist, Ger Rijff, whose Long Lonely Highway and Faces and Stages: An Elvis Presley Time-Frame are essential reading and viewing) to scrutinize some of the contemporary accounts, and there is no longer any question in my mind that Elvis and Sam Phillips knew exactly what they were doing, if not why they were doing it. "The colored folks been singing it and playing it just like I'm doing now, man, for more years than I know'', declared Elvis in a 1956 interview. "They played it like that in the shanties and in their juke joints, and nobody paid it no mind till I goosed it up. I got it from them. Down in Tupelo, Mississippi, I used to hear old Arthur Crudup (the Mississippi bluesman who originated "That's All Right'') bang his box the way I do now, and I said if I ever got to the place I could feel all old Arthur felt, I'd be a music man like nobody ever saw''.

He may or may not have gotten to that place - but, of course, he did become a music man like nobody ever saw. With this record we see, insofar as you can ever see anything of the nature of creativity, how the process occurred.

The issued sides (the first ten cuts) have been written about so often that I'm not going to dwell on them here, They illustrate perfectly Sam Phillips' belief in purity, simplicity, and economy of musical expression. They also possess that indefinable spark that could not have been drown out, no matter what the production methods, if it had not simply arrived unbidden. For a clue to the more prosaic mysteries, though, listen to the outtakes and the five completed master takes (from "I Love You Because" to "Trying to Get to You") that RCA put out after Elvis came to the label. It's here that we see for the first time the extent to which spontaneity merely served as hand-maiden to a great deal of experimentation and hard work. It's here that we are finally able to glimpse not just the range of styles attempted but the range of possibilities. Musically, the song selection runs the gamut from the most sentimental of ballads ("I Love You Because" and the Hawaiian-inspired "Harbor Lights") to the most low-down of blues - but all have one element in common: a willingness to go out on a limb, a zest for taking risks, for venturing off into unknown territory, regardless of whether anyone has ever been there before.

Listen to "Blue Moon'', the Rodgers and Hart ballad which Billy Eckstine recorded in 1948 in a satin-and-silk version with which Elvis must have been familiar (Eckstine was one of his favorite singers). What is he doing to this song? What is that eerie falsetto wail? The first time I heard this cut on Elvis's debut album in 1956 when I was 12 years old, I was outraced! I must have taken it as a betrayal of rock and roll! Now I hear it somewhat differently: now it seems touching to me, a ghostly echo from the past, though whose past - Elvis' or mine - I'm not really sure. That isn't really the point, though. The point is that here in the course of a single song we witness the first rock and roll wedding; we see an improbable marriage of the most unlikely elements approaching consummation. Here is the crooner who admired Dean Martin and Eddie Fisher, the devout church-goer whose single greatest ambition was to sing with the gospel Songfellows, the Beale Street dreamer who listened to rhythm and blues bird groups and wanted more than anything to be able to sing like Clyde McPhatter, the apprentice bluesman who wanted to feel all that Arthur Crudup had felt. We hear the western clip clop of Scotty Moore's guitar. We hear all of these elements coming together, or not coming together as the case may be. We see Elvis Presley struggling blindly to create a new music by instinct and will. And we see Sam Phillips doing all that he can - technically and psychologically - to further that instinct, fulfilling his own mission to bring out of a person what was in him, to recognize that individual's unique quality and then to find the key to unlock it''.

"Tomorrow Night'', "I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')'', the various takes of "I Love You Because" and "I Don't Care If the Sun Don't Shine" all offer the same blend of drama and tentative resolution. On the alternate takes of "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone'', a straightforward country tune written expressly for Elvis by Stan Kesler and Bill Taylor, the musicians explore a blues direction which seems unpromising at first, is then refined but finally discarded for the light breezy flavor of the issued take. "Don 't make it too damn complicated'', Sam remonstrated with Scotty after an unsuccessful take of "When It Rains, It Really Pours'', a blues which was never completed in the Sun studio and to which Elvis eventually returned nearly two years later. "That's All Right'', the song which has always been portrayed mainly as an inspired accident, appears here in a version very close to the issued take and yet undeniably lacking the magic. Simplify, Sam Phillips seems to keep on saying. "All right, boys, we just about on it now. Do it again. Do it one time for Sam''. And they did. The guitar solo got less complicated. The vocal communicated more of the essence of the song. The whole finally flowed. And at the end, just as he did when the band finally started hitting it on "Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', Sam Phillips might pronounce himself pleased. "That's fine," he says. 'Hell, that's different. That's a pop song now, nearly 'bout''. And it is.

You can see the sessions in your minds eye. Time didn't matter. Trends didn't matter. Mistakes didn't matter. "You just forgot about making a record and tried to show him'', Carl Perkins later recalled. "I'd walk out on a limb, I'd try things I knew I couldn't do, and then have to work my way out of it. I'd say, Mr. Phillips, that's terrible' He said, That's original. I said, But it's just a big original mistake'. And he said, That's what Sun Records is. That's what we are'''. There was simply no containing the enthusiasm, the ingenuousness, the sense of possibilities. You listen to the Elvis Sun sessions, and you sense the belief in those possibility, the firm conviction that if didn't matter a damn what the rest of creation thought as it went about its appointed rounds, that if didn't matter a damn if to the "music industry" Memphis was just another back water town out of which nothing, and no one of significance could ever come - there was simply no formula that could encapsulate Sam Phillips' vision or Elvis' omnivorous embrace of the world and all that was in it. That is what I think the records finally come down to: a young man hungry for success - no, hungry for everything - and just impatient to get on with it. A few years ago I happened to be watching the television documentary, "The Heroes of Rock And Roll'', with Sam Phillips, when Elvis came on the screen, looking impossibly young, impossibly expectant.

"Ah, wasn't he something? Let me fell you some - thing about him. Elvis - you looking at him now, back then - he looks so clumsy and so totally uncoordinated. And this was the beauty of it, he was being himself. Well, he had that little innocence about him, and yet he had, even then, he had a little something that was almost impudent in a way. That was his crutch. He certainly didn't mean to be impudent, but he had enough of that, along with what he could convey, that he was. just beautiful and lovely - and I'm not talking about physical beauty, because he was not that good-looking then. Really, by conventional standards he was supposed to have been thrown off that stage, and I - listen, I calculated that stuff in my mind. An they going to resent him? With his long sideburns? That could be a plus or a minus. But I looked at it as this. When he came through like he did, it was neither. He stood on his 'own''.

- Peter Guralnick, April, 1987

All Recordings Produced and Engineered by Sam C. Phillips at the Memphis Recording Service, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, July 1954-July 1955.

This compilation A&R Director - Gregg Geller
Marketing Director - Don Wardell
Audio Restoration by Rick Rowe.
Mastered by Jack Adelman
Cover liner notes by Peter Guralnick
Art Director - Ria Lewerke
Design - Piedro Alfieri
Hand Tinting Theresa Alfieri-Weinberg

Thanks to:
Sam Phillips, Knox Phillips, Ger Rijff, Colin Escott, Stan Kesler,
Stanley Booth, Marion Kaisker, and Scotty Moore


March 1990 RCA BMG (CD) 500/200rpm 74321 13840 2-1 mono digital
This picture disc CD was the first official release of the Million Dollar Quartet session on RCA Records. RCA and Sun logo low on bottom. On the back cover RCA and Sun logo on bottom. The selections are identical to the 1987 bootleg LP The One Million Dollar Quartet. Also included 8-pages booklet with track listing and liner notes and track information by Colin Escott. On December 4, 1956 four musicians from Memphis were giving American teenagers a first taste of selfexpression and rebellion. Discovered by Sun Records' founder Sam Phillips, known as "the father of rock and roll", these guys were Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. And on one extraordinary night three of them played together for the first and only time in their careers. See session notes 1-1956 Elvis Presley.

1 - You Belong To Me
2 - When God Dips His Love In My Heart
3 - Just A Little Talk To Jesus
4 - That Lonesome Valley
5 - I Shall Not Be Moved
6 - Peace In The Valley
7 - Down By The Riverside
8 - I'm With The Crow
9 - Father Along
10 - Jesus Hold My Hand
11 - On The Jericho Road
12 - I Just Can't Make It By Myself
13 - Little Cabin On The Hill
14 - Summertime Has Passed And Gone
15 - I Hear A Sweet Voice Calling
16 - Sweetheart You Done Me Wrong
17 - Keeper Of The Key
18 - Crazy Arms
19 - Don't Forbid Me
20 - To Much Monkey Business
21 - Brown-Eyed Handsome Man
22 - Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
23 - Brown-Eyed Handsome Man
24 - Don't Be Cruel
25 - Don't Be Cruel
26 - Paralyzed
27 - Don't Be Cruel
28 - Home, Sweet Home
29 - When The Saints Go Marching In
30 - Softly And Tenderly
31 - Is It So Strange
32 - That's When Your Heartaches Begin
33 - Brown-Eyed Handsome Man
34 - Rip It Up
35 - I'm Gonna Bid My Blues Goodbye
36 - Crazy Arms
37 - That's My Desire
38 - End Of The Road
39 - Black Bottom Stomp
40 - You're The Only Star In My Blue Heaven
41 - Elvis
Original Sun Recordings
Digital Series Coordinator - Don Wardell
Digital Producer - John Snyder
Digital Engineer - Joe Lopes
Digital mastered at BMG Recording Studios, New York, November 1989
Sonic Research and Annotation - Colin Escott
Photograph courtesy of Marion keisker
Art Direction & Design - Norman Moore
Special Thanks to Shelby S. Singleton, John A. Singleton, Harlan Dotson III,
Sam Phillips, Jack Clement, and Sun Records.
August 1990 RCA BMG (CD) 500/200rpm PD 82227-1-1 mono digital
Black label. Silver letters. RCA logo left at center. On the back cover RCA logo lower right. Including the previously unreleased 'My Happiness', the legendary first recording ever made by Elvis Presley at Sun Studios in July 1953 and stereo version of ''Treat Me Nice''. Also included and fold bootled with liner notes by Andrew Solt and Jerry Schilling. 

1 - My Happiness (Unissued Sun Recording)
2 - That's All Right
3 - Shake, Rattle And Roll
4 - Flip, Flop And Fly
5 - Heartbreak Hotel
6 - Blue Suede Shoes
7 - Ready Teddy
8 - Don't Be Cruel
9 - Teddy Bear
10 - Got A Lot O' Livin' To Do
11 - Jailhouse Rock
12 - Treat Me Nice (Stereo Version)
13 - King Creole
14 - Trouble
15 - Fame And Fortune
16 - Return To Sender
17 - Always On My Mind
18 - American Trilogy
19 - If I Can Dream
20 - Unchained Melody
21 - Memories

September 1991 Mystery Train Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDT-2001 mono digital

Import release. Mystery Train logo printed in white letters on top. On the cover Mystery Train logo in upper right. On the back cover photo of Elvis Presley at home, 1034 Audubon Drive, Memphis, Tennessee.

Contains two unreleased RCA studio tracks from April 11, 1956; Excerpts from radio broadcast from Canada, April 1957; nine Sun recordings directly from recently re-discovered first generation master tapes; Radio promo 1956 concert in Oakland, California; The Milton Berle Show, April 3, 1956; Elvis talks.

1 - I Want You, I Need You, I Love You (Take 3)
2 - I Want You, I Need You, I Love You (Take 4)
3 - Elvis In Canada (Radio Broadcast, April 4, 1957)
4 - Live In Toronto (Heartbreak Hotel, Part One, April 2, 1957)
5 - Toronto Teenagers Talk About Elvis
6 - Heartbreak Hotel Part Two
7 - Elvis Talks To Mac Lipson In Ottawa, April 3, 1957
8 - I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone
9 - Tryin' To Get To You
10 - That's All Right
11 - Blue Moon Of Kentucky
12 - I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine
13 - Good Rockin' Tonight
14 - Baby, Let's Play House
15 - Mystery Train
16 - How Do You Think I Feel
8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16
Original Sun Recordings

17 - Radio Promo For June 3, 1956, Concert In Oackland, California
Elvis Live At The Milton Berle Show, April 3, 1956
18 - Shake, Rattle And Roll
19 - Heartbreak Hotel
20 - Blue Suede Shoes
21 - Comedy Skit
22 - Elvis Talks To Happy On NBC Late 1956


1992 RCA BMG Music (CD) 500/200rpm 3450-2-R stereo digital
Included unissued Sun recording ''Tomorrow Night''. Since LaVern Baker's recording hadn't yet been released, it was Lonnie Johnson's version that Elvis influenced his styling. This overdubbed version of "Tomorrow Night" was released nine years after Elvis recorded it. For several years it was feared the original master of "Tomorrow Night" was either lost or destroyed. That fear provide to be unfounded, as RCA released the original version in 1985 on the "Reconsider Baby" (AFL1-5418) album, Sun master. The original LP "Elvis For Everyone" released in 1965, was originally going to be called "Elvis' Anniversary Album" to commemorate Elvis' tenth year with RCA. Tracks on the album were primarily unreleased songs from recording sessions dating back as far as February 24, 1957. The cover featured Elvis behind a sales counter with the following five LPs displayed: "Elvis Presley", "Elvis", "Elvis' Golden Records", "G.I. Blues", and "Blue Hawaii". The LP "Elvis For Everyone" reached number 10 on Billboard's Top LPs chart. It had a 27-week stay on the chart.

1 - Your Cheatin' Heart
2 - Summer Kisses, Winter Tears
3 - Finders Keepers, Losers Keepers
4 - In My Way
5 - Tomorrow Night (Overdub Unissued Sun Recording)
6 - Memphis, Tennessee
7 - For The Million And The Last Time
8 - Forget Me Never
9 - Sound Advice
10 - Santa Lucia
11 - I Met Her Today
12 - When It Rains, It Really Pours
June 1992 RCA BMG (CD) 500/200rpm PD 90689(5)-5-1 mono digital
Picture on sleeve and disc. RCA logo left at center. On the back cover RCA logo lower left. 5 compact disc boxed set. Includes fourteen previously unreleased performances. 45-pages, four-color booklet with many rare photographs from the Graceland photo archives. First release of "That's When Your Heartaches Begin" from the legendary 1953 acetate. First release "Fool, Fool, Fool" demo record never otherwise recorded by Elvis. Contains complete 1950s sessionography and discography. Biographical text by Peter Guralnick. Includes a sheet of RCA Records label. Four-color stamps depicting Presley's 1950s record covers. This recording was prepared with the cooperation of the Elvis Presley Estate. The ultimate digitally remastered collection from original RCA Records label and Sun master recordings. Sound Restoration by Sonic Solution. Mastered at BMG Recording Studios, New York City, 1991.

Disc 1: Contains
1.1 - My Happiness
1.2 - That's All Right
1.3 - I Love You Because
1.4 - Harbor Lights
1.5 - Blue Moon Of Kentucky
1.6 - Blue Moon
1.7 - Tomorrow Night
1.8 - I'll Never Let You Go
1.9 - I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine
1.10 - Just Because
1.11 - Good Rockin' Tonight
1.12 - Milkcow Blues Boogie
1.13 - You're A Heartbreaker
1.14 - Baby, Let's Play House
1.15 - I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone
1.16 - Mystery Train
1.17 - I Forgot To Remember To Forget
1.18 - Tryin' To Get To You
1.19 - When It Rains, It Really Pours
1.1 -1.19 Original Sun Recordings
1.20 -  I Got A Woman
1.21 - Heartbreak Hotel
1.22 - Money Honey
1.23 - I'm Counting On You
1.24 - I Was The One
1.25 - Blue Suede Shoes
1.26 - My Baby Left Me
1.27 - One Sided Love Affair
1.28 - So Glad Your Mine
1.29 - I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry
1.30 - Tutti Frutti

Disc 2: Contains
2.1 - Lawdy Miss Clawdy
2.2 - Shake, Rattle And Roll
2.3 - I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
2.4 - Hound Dog
2.5 - Don't Be Cruel
2.6 - Any Way You Want Me
2.7 - We're Gonna Move
2.8 - Love Me Tender
2.9 - Poor Boy
2.10 - Let Me
2.11 - Playing For Keeps
2.12 - Love Me
2.13 - Paralyzed
2.14 - How Do You Think I Feel
2.15 - How's The World Treating You
2.16 - When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again
2.17 - Long Tall Sally
2.18 - Old Shep
2.19 - Too Much
2.20 - Anyplace Is Paradise
2.21 - Ready Teddy
2.22 - First In Line
2.23 - Rip It Up
2.24 - I Believe
2.25 - Tell Me Why
2.26 - Got A Lot O' Livin' To Do
2.27 - All Shook Up
2.28 - Mean Woman Blues
2.29 - Peace In The Valley
Disc 3: Contains
3.1 - That's When Your Heartaches Begin
3.2 - Take My Hand, Precious Lord
3.3 - It Is No Secret
3.4 - Blueberry Hill
3.5 - Have I Told You Lately That I Love You
3.6 - Is It So Strange
3.7 - Party
3.8 - Lonesome Cowboy
3.9 - Hot Dog
3.10 - One Night Of Sin
3.11 - Teddy Bear
3.12 - Don't Leave Me Now
3.13 - I Beg Of You
3.14 - One Night
3.15 - True Love
3.16 - I Need You So
3.17 - Loving You
3.18 - When It Rains, It Really Pours
3.19 - Jailhouse Rock
3.20 - Young And Beautiful
3.21 - I Want To Be Free
3.22 - Baby, I Don't Care
3.23 - Don't Leave Me Now
3.24 - Blue Christmas
3.25 - White Christmas
3.26 - Here Comes Santa Claus
3.27 - Silent Night
3.28 - O Little Town Of Bethlehem
3.29 - Santa Bring My Baby Back
3.30 - Santa Claus Is Back In Town
3.31 - I'll Be Home For Christmas

Disc 4: Contains
4.1 - Treat Me Nice
4.2 - My Wish Came True
4.3 - Don't
4.4 - Danny
4.5 - Hard Headed Woman
4.6 - Trouble
4.7 - New Orleans
4.8 - Crawfish
4.9 - Dixieland Rock
4.10 - Lover Doll
4.11 - Don't Ask Me Why
4.12 - As Long As I Have You
4.13 - King Creole
4.14 - Young Dreams
4.15 - Steadfast, Loyal And True
4.16 - Doncha' Think It's Time
4.17 - Your Cheatin' Heart
4.18 - Wear My Ring Around Your Neck
4.19 - I Need Your Love Tonight
4.20 - A Big Hunk O' Love
4.21 - Ain't That Loving You Baby
4.22 - A Fool Such As I
4.23 - I Got Stung
4.24 - Interview With Elvis (Unreleased Highlights From
Press Conference, September 22, 1958

Disc 5: Contains
5.1 - That's When Your Heartaches Begin (Acetate) Sun Recording
5.2 - Fool, Fool, Fool
5.3 - Tweedlee Dee
5.4 - Maybellene
5.5 - Shake, Rattle And Roll
5.6 - Blue Moon Of Kentucky (Sun Recording)
5.7 - Blue Moon (Sun Recording)
5.8 - I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (Sun Recordings)
5.9 - Reconsider Baby (Sun Recording)
5.10 - Lawdy Miss Clawdy
5.11 - Shake, Rattle And Roll
5.12 - I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
5.13 - Heartbreak Hotel
5.14 - Long Tall Sally
5.15 - Blue Suede Shoes
5.16 - Money Honey
5.17 - We're Gonna Move
5.18 - Old Shep
5.19 - I Beg Of You
5.20 - Loving You (Slow Version)
5.21 - Loving You (Fast Version)
5.22 - Young And Beautiful
5.23 - I Want To Be Free
5.24 - King Creole
5.25 - As Long As I Have You
5.26 - Ain't That Loving You Baby
All tracks on disc 5 previously unreleased
1994 BMG (CD) 500/200rpm ND 89046 mono digital

This CD issued with an ''Elvis In The '90s'' sticker came with an 1 page fold out front insert booklet with  five pictures and liner notes written by RCA. Elvis Presley's original first album (LPM-1254), consisted of  five tracks recorded at Sun Records and seven tracks recorded in January 1956 at the New York City and  Nashville studios of RCA. The cover photo was credited to Popsie, a pseudonym of photographer William S.  Randolph. Four photos of Elvis Presley graced the back cover. First copies of the jacket had "Elvis" in light  pink letters; in later pressings the letters were dark pink. "Elvis Presley" was the first album in history to sell  one million copies. Certification as a million-seller was made by the RIAA on November 1, 1966. The album  spawned a record five EPs. "Elvis Presley" entered Billboard's Best-Seller Pop Album chart on March 31,  1956 at number 11. Within six weeks, it reached number one, remaining at the top 10 consecutive weeks.  The total stay on the chart was 49 weeks.

1 - Blue Suede Shoes
2 - I'm Counting On You
3 - I Got A Woman
4 - One Sided Love Affair
5 - I Love You Because
6 - Just Because
7 - Tutti Frutti
8 - Tryin' To Get Of You
9 - I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)
10 - I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')
11 - Blue Moon
12 - Money Honey
5-6-8-10-11 Original Sun Recordings
July 14, 1997 RCA BMG (CD) 500/200rpm 07863 67469 2 stereo digital
White label. Photo from Elvis appears on the disc. RCA logo below. An ultimate Elvis Presley collection, includes the recently discovered January 1954 demo "I'll Never Stand In Your Way". Released on the eve of the 20th anniversary of Presley's death, Platinum: A Life in Music attempts to trace an alternative history of Elvis' career by concentrating on alternate takes and unreleased material. Over the course of four discs, 23 hit singles are interspersed with 77 previously unreleased items. The hits function as touchstones, so the listener has an idea of where Elvis was in his career when he was recording such unreleased gems as a 1966 cover of "Blowin' in the Wind" or the 1959 "Bad Nauheim Medley." Certainly, the sheer amount of unreleased material means that Platinum: A Life in Music is targeted at hardcore collectors, but what is surprising is how listenable the set is, even for casual fans. The homemade recordings and demos are occasionally sonically rough, but the rarity of these items make the sound a moot point. Some of the performances aren't particularly remarkable -- alternates of "Always on My Mind" and "Heartbreak Hotel" simply sound like the released versions, only not as good -- but there's an abundance of gems scattered throughout the set, making it worthwhile for any serious Elvis collector.

Disc 1: Contains
1.1 - I'll Never Stand In Your Way (Sun Unissued)
1.2 - That's All Right (Alternate Take)
1.3 - Blue Moon (Alternate Take)
1.4 - Good Rockin' Tonight
1.5 - Mystery Train
(Original Sun Recordings)
1.6 - I Got A Woman (Alternate Take)
1.7 - Heartbreak Hotel (Alternate Take)
1.8 - I'm Counting On You (Alternate Take)
1.9 - Shake, Rattle And Roll/Flip, Flop And Fly
1.10 - Lawdy, Miss Clawdy (Alternate Take)
1.11 - I Want You, I Need You, I Love You (Alternate Take)
1.12 - Hound Dog
1.13 - Don't Be Cruel
1.14 - Rip It Up (Alternate Take)
1.15 - Love Me Tender
1.16 - When The Saints Go Marching In
1.17 - All Shook Up
1.18 - Peace In The Valley (Alternate Take)
1.19 - Blueberry Hill
1.20 - Teddy Bear
1.21 - Jailhouse Rock
1.22 - New Orleans
1.23 - I Need Your Love Tonight (Alternate Take)
1.24 - A Big Hunk O' Love (Alternate Take)
Bad Nauheim Medley
1.25 - I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen
1.26 - I Will Be True
1.27 - It's Been So Long Darlin'
1.28 - Apron Strings
1.29 - There's No Tomorrow

Disc 2: Contains
2.1 - Stuck On You
2.2 - Fame And Fortune
2.3 - It's Now Or Never
2.4 - It Feels So Right (Alternate Take)
2.5 - A Mess Of Blues (Alternate Take)
2.6 - Are You Lonesome Tonight
2.7 - Reconsider Baby
2.8 - Tonight Is So Right For Love (Alternate Take)
2.9 - His Hand In Mine (Alternate Take)
2.10 - Milky White Way (Alternate Take)
2.11 - I'm Comin' Home (Alternate Take)
2.12 - I Feel So Bad (Alternate Take)
2.13 - Can't Help Falling In Love
2.14 - Something Blue (Alternate Take)
2.15 - Return To Sender
2.16 - Bossa Nova Baby (Alternate Take)
2.17 - How Great Thou Art (Alternate Take)
2.18 - Guitar Man (Alternate Take)
2.19 - You'll Never Walk Alone (Alternate Take)
2.20 - Oh How I Love Jesus
2.21 - Tennessee Waltz
2.22 - Blowin' In The Wind
2.23 - I Can't Help It
2.24 - I'm Beginning To Forget You
2.25 - After Loving You

Disc 3: Contains
3.1 - I Got A Woman
3.2 - Tiger Man
3.3 - When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again
3.4 - Tryin' To Get To You
3.5 - If I Can Dream
3.6 - In The Ghetto (Alternate Take)
3.7 - Suspicious Minds (Alternate Take)
3.8 - Power Of My Love (Alternate Take)
3.9 - Baby What You Want Me To Do
3.10 - Words
3.11 - Johnny B. Goode
3.12 - Release Me
3.13 - See See Rider
3.14 - The Wonder Of You
3.15 - The Sound Of Your Cry (Alternate Take)
3.16 - You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
3.17 - Funny How Time Slips Away
3.18 - I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water
3.19 - I Was The One
3.20 - Cattle Call
3.21 - Baby, Lets To Play House
3.22 - Don't
3.23 - Money Honey
3.24 - What'd I Say
3.25 - Bridge Over Trouble Water

Disc 4: Contains
4.1 - Miracle Of The Rosary (Alternate Take)
4.2 - He Touched Me (Alternate Take)
4.3 - Bosom Of Abraham (Alternate Take)
4.4 - I'll Be Home For Christmas (Alternate Take)
4.5 - For The Good Times (Alternate Take)
4.6 - Burning Love (Alternate Take)
4.7 - Separate Ways (Alternate Take)
4.8 - Always On My Mind (Alternate Take)
4.9 - An American Trilogy
4.10 - Take Good Care Of Here (Alternate Take)
4.11 - I've Got A Thing About You Baby
4.12 - Are You Sincere (Alternate Take)
4.13 - It's Midnight (Alternate Take)
4.14 - Promised Land (Alternate Take)
4.15 - Steamroller Blues
4.16 - And I Love You So (Alternate Take)
4.17 - T.R.O.U.B.L.E
4.18 - Danny Boy (Alternate Take)
4.19 - Moody Blue
4.20 - Hurt (Alternate Take)
4.21 - For The Heart (Alternate Take)
4.22 - Pledging My Love (Alternate Take)
4.23 - Way Down (Alternate Take)
4.24 - My Way
4.25 - Excerpt From The Jaycees Speech
Compilation Produced and Directed by Ernst Mikael Jorgensen and Roger Semon
Mixing Engineer - Dennis Ferrante
Mastering and Additional Engineering by Paul Brizzi, Vince Caro, Marlan Conaty,
Dennis Ferrante, Tom MacCluskey and James Nichols, BMG Studios, New York
Executive Directors - Mike Omansky and Klaus Schmalenbach
Project Manager - Dalita Keumurian
Art Layout and Desigh Peacock, London
February 9 1998 RCA BMG (CD) 500/200rpm 07863 67456 2 mono digital
Gold label with white letters. RCA logo left at center. 4 compact disc boxed set with 32-pages booklet rare photographs inside the boxed set. Same selection s as RCA CPM6-5172. Originally released on 6 LP's in 1985, this compilation of mostly unreleased material was produced by Joan Deary and definitely not fitted for the general public. Reissued on 4 CD's in 1998 with new liner notes by Colin Escott, this is for the 1950's fans only, for that decade is in almost total focus, as it would be on the first three albums in the Essential series. A downside of this is that we get seven different versions of ''Heartbreak Hotel'' and ''Hound Dog,'' along with five different versions of ''Blue Suede Shoes'' and ''Don't Be Cruel.'' We are given a front row seat at two complete live appearances from 1956 and all of Elvis' television appearances from the 1950's are here, offering a fascinating insight to Elvis' rise to stardom and a glimpse at American television in its early days. Disc 4 contains unique home recordings and a few songs from the "boxing ring" in Burbank '68 (mostly 1950's material!) but the prize of this box set are the outtakes from Sun studios on disc 1.

Disc 1: Contains
The Sun Sessions Outtakes
1.1 - Harbor Lights
1.2 - That's All Right
1.3 - Blue Moon Of Kentucky
1.4 - I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine
1.5 - My Baby Is Gone
1.6 - I'll Never Let You Go
1.7 - When It Rains, It Really Pours
The Dorsey Brothers "Stage Show"
1.8 -  Shake, Rattle And Roll/Flip, Flop And Fly
1.9 - I Got A Woman
1.10 - Baby,  Let's Play House
1.11 - Tutti Frutti
1.12 - Blue Suede Shoes
1.13 - Heartbreak Hotel
The Dorsey Brothers "Stage Show" Continued
1.14 - Tutti Frutti
1.15 - I Was The One
1.16 - Blue Suede Shoes
1.17 - Heartbreak Hotel
1.18 - Money Honey
1.19 - Heartbreak Hotel

Disc 2: Contain
The Milton Berle Show
2.1 - Introduction
2.2 - Heartbreak Hotel
2.3 - Blue Suede Shoes
2.4 - Dialogue
2.5 - Blue Suede Shoes
2.6 - Hound Dog
2.7 - Dialogue with Milton Berle
2.8 - Dialogue
2.9 - I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
The Steve Allen Show
2.10 - Dialogue with Steve Allen
2.11 - I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
2.12 - Dialogue with Steve Allen
2.13 - Introduction And Hound Dog
The Mississippi-Alabama Fair And Dairy Show
2.14 - Heartbreak Hotel
2.15 - Long Tall Sally
2.16 - Introduction And Presentation
2.17 - I Was The One
2.18 - I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
2.19 - Elvis Talks
2.20 - I Got A Woman
The Mississippi-Alabama Fair And Dairy Show Continued
2.21 - Don't Be Cruel
2.22 - Ready Teddy
2.23 - Love Me Tender
2.24 - Hound Dog
2.25 - Interviews Vernon And Gladys Presley
2.26 - Nick Adams
2.27 - A Fan
2.28 - Elvis

Disc 3: Contains
he Mississippi-Alabama Fair And Dairy Show Continued
3.1 - Love Me Tender
3.2 - I Was The One
3.3 - I Got A Woman
3.4 - Announcement
3.5 - Don't Be Cruel
3.6 - Blue Suede Shoes
3.7 Announcement
3.8 - Baby, Let's Play House
3.9 - Hound Dog
3.10 - Announcements
The Ed Sullivan Show
3.11 - Don't Be Cruel
3.12 - Elvis Talks
3.13 - Love Me Tender
3.14 - Ready Teddy
3.15 - Hound Dog
3.16 - Don't Be Cruel
3.17 - Ed Sullivan
3.18 - Love Me Tender
3.19 - Ed Sullivan Introduces Elvis
3.20 - Love Me
Hound Dog
The Ed Sullivan Show Continued
3.21 - Hound Dog
3.22 - Elvis' Closing Remarks
3.23 - Introduction
3.24 - Hound Dog
3.25 - Love Me Tender
3.26 - Heartbreak Hotel
3.27 - Don't Be Cruel
3.28 - Too Much
3.29 - Elvis Talks
3.30 - When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again
3.31 - Ed Sullivam Speaks
3.32 - Peace In The Valley
3.33 - Ed Sullivan Speaks

Disc 4: Contain
Elvis At Home
4.1 - Danny Boy
4.2 - Soldier Boy
4.3 - The Fool
4.4 - Earth Angel
4.5 - I Asked The Lord He's Only A Prayer Away
Collectors Treasures
4.6 - Excerpts From An Interview For TV Guide
4.7 - My Heart Cries For You
4.8 - Dark Moon
4.9 - Write To Me From Naples
4.10 - Suppose
4.11 - Blue Suede Shoes
4.12 - Tiger Man
4.13 - That's All Right
4.14 - Lawdy Miss Clawdy
4.15 - Baby What You Want Me To Do
4.16 - Love Me
4.17 - Are You Lonesome Tonight
4.18 - Baby What You Want Me To D
4.19 - Blue Christmas
4.20 - One Night
4.21 - Tryin' To Get To You
Disc 2 / Disc 3 Vocal Accompaniment by The Jordanaires
Original complication by Joan Deary and Gregg Geller
Digitally Remastered by Dennis Ferrante and Vince Caro
Reissue Coordinated and Produced by Ernst Jorgensen and Roger Semon
Project Manager - Dalita Keymurian
Executive Directors - Mickael Omansky and Klaus Schmalenback
Design by Peacock, London
February 5, 1999 RCA BMG (CD) 500/200rpm 07863 67675 2 mono digital
Yellow label. Have circle of musical notes and staff around the entire label, with exception of the bar wherein "Memphis, Tennessee" appears.  The letters SUN with sun rays pressed in light brown at the top of the label.  On the front cover Elvis Presley's first professional photo for Sun Records by photographer William Speer. 2 compact disc boxed set first released in the Artist Of The Century series. Includes the complete Sun masters and previously unreleased Sun Records studio and early live performances. Also included a full-color booklet with liner notes by Peter Guralnick, track list and session information.

Disc 1 Contains
The Master Takes
1.1 - That's All Right
1.2 - Blue Moon Of Kentucky
1.3 - Good Rockin' Tonight
1.4 - I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine
1.5 - Milkcow Blues Boogie
1.6 - You're A Heartbreaker
1.7 - Baby, Let's Play House
1.8 - I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone
1.9 - I Forgot To Remember To Forget
1.10 - Mystery Train
1.11 - I Love You Because
1.12 - Harbor Lights
1.13 - Blue Moon
1.14 - Tomorrow Night
1.15 - I'll Never Let You Go
1.16 - Just Because
1.17 - I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (Slow Version)
1.18 - Tryin' To Get To You
1.19 - When It Rains It Really Pours
Original Sun Recordings

Disc 2 Contains
The Alternate Takes, Previously Unreleased Private and Live Performances
2.1 - My Happiness (Acetate)
2.2 - That's When Your Heartaches Begin (Acetate)
2.3 - I'll Never Stand In Your Way (Acetate)
2.4 - It Wouldn't Be The Same Without You (Acetate)*
2.5 - I Love You Because (Alternate Take)
2.6 - That's All Right (Alternate Takes)
2.7 - Blue Moon Of Kentucky (Alternate Take)
2.8 - Blue Moon (Alternate Take)*
2.9 - I'll Never Let You Go (Alternate Take)
2.10 - I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine (Alternate Takes)
2.11 - I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (Alternate Take Slow Version)
2.12 - Fool, Fool, Fool (Acetate)
2.13 - Shake, Rattle And Roll (Acetate)
2.14 - I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (Acetate Live)*
2.15 - That's All Right (Acetate Live)*
2.16 - Money Honey (Acetate Live)*
2.17 - Tweedlee Dee (Acetate Live)*
2.18 - I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine (Acetate Live)*
2.19 - Heart Of Stone (Acetate Live)*
All live performances recorded live at the Louisiana Hayride 1955.
1-11 Original Sun Recording
* Previously Unreleased
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 but 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 services the opportunity for someone 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 a group of boys who played their guitars on the leafy, tree-shaded mall between the two-and three-story 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 his 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 contest at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair. But he had never given any hint of his true ambitions, 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, if now here near as big a hit as it was for pop singer, Johnnie Ray, three 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 diffidence 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 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 Miss Keisker typed out the label copy on the blank sides of a Prisonaires label ("Softly And Tenderly'', Sun 189). The singer's name 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 1953 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 in from time to time to ask if she knew of a band that 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 latest Nashville trip by a singer whom he was subsequently unable to locate or identify, 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 while 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 Miss 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 knew - almost every one of them a slow ballad, some for which 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 over night 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. Mr. Phillips had called him back - his perseverance had paid off. And while nothing was said about what would happen next, there was little doubt 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 he 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 than a "rehearsal session''.

At first nothing seemed to go right. The first few songs they tried were all ballads (various touchingly revealing takes of "l 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, 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 ''Big Boy'' 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 whole heartedly 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, bluesy lament to a high-spirited declaration of self-discovery 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 heard, and he had the most intuitive ability to hear songs without ever having to classify them, or himself'). In the studio his aim was to bring 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 Rosetta 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. Listen 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, Lets 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 session.

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 illuminating. 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 Stones" and Chuck Berry's "Maybellene'', and their presence on this 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 alb though, they confirm the impression of purey 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 to 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-ifs that are the 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 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'' b/w"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''.

- Peter Guralnick, November 1998

Peter Guralnick is the author of the award-winning ''Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley'', the first volume of a two-volume biography which concludes with the just-published ''Careless Love: The Unmaking Of Elvis Presley''.

June 22, 2004 BMG Heritage (CD) 500/200rpm 82876612051 mono digital
Elvis at Sun marks the third time that RCA has given Elvis Presley's seminal Sun Records recordings a refurbishing for release on compact disc (fourth if you count their appearance on the box set The King Of Rock And Roll: The Complete 50's Masters), but while 1987's The Complete Sun Sessions and 1999s Sunrise both added plenty of bonus materials along with the ten single sides and various outtakes Elvis Presley cut for Sam Phillips' pioneering label, Elvis at Sun seems to follow the notion that "less is more''. While the supposedly definitive Sunrise spread 38 cuts over two discs, Elvis at Sun sticks to 19 cuts (all of which appeared on disc one of Sunrise), and reissue producers Ernst Mikael Jorgensen and Roger Semon have done extensive cleansing on these vintage recordings, in some cases buffing off layers of echo and reverb that have been part of these performances since they first appeared on LP (most notably on "You're a Heartbreaker" and "Good Rockin' Tonight"). With neither Elvis nor Sam Phillips around to offer their views, it's hard to say if this amounts to presenting the tapes as they were meant to be heard or playing around with history, but on most of the tracks the effect is startling, these recordings have never sounded quite so clear and sharp, with a richer sense of detail in the nooks and crannies of Elvis' voice and Scotty Moore's guitar (the always spooky "Blue Moon" is now gloriously spectral, has anyone ever sounded quite like that?). Too bad they couldn't fix the speed glitch on "I Don't Care if The Sun Don't Shine," though. The disc also abandons the sequencing of most previous releases of this material, which presented songs in the order they were released, in favor of assembling the songs in the order they were recorded, which is probably better history if less satisfying as pure listening. As for the music, well, this is arguably the most important music of Elvis' career and the growth of rock and roll into a mass art form; Presley's wildly idiosyncratic fusion of blues, country, pop, and anything else that crossed his path was still evolving as he recorded these songs, and there's a thrill of discovery here that's a wonder to behold.

1 - Harbour Lights
2 - I Love You Because (Alternate Take 2)
3 - That's All Right
4 - Blue Moon Of Kentucky
5 - Blue Moon
6 - Tomorrow Night
7 - I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')
8 - Just Because
9 - Good Rockin' Tonight
10 - I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine
11 - Milkcow Blues Boogie
12 - You're A Heartbreaker
13 - I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (Slow Version)
14 - I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone
15 - Baby, Let's Play House
16 - I Forgot To Remember To Forget
17 - Mystery Train
18 - Trying To Get To You
19 - When It Rains It Really Pours
Original Sun Recordings

Recordings Published in Historical Reasons

November 2011 MRS (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 30001256 mono digital

Compact disc. Map of the State of Louisiana printed on disc. Picture of Elvis on stage from the Louisiana Hayride printed right of the disc. Memphis Recording Service logo printed left at bottom. On the back cover catalog number printed right of the bottom of disc. Contains the complete live recordings of the Louisiana Hayride by Elvis Presley from 1954-1956. All of the 25 tracks herein are re-mastered using the most sophisticated technology. Also on CD contains the recent discovery of Elvis' last performances on the Louisiana Hayride in December 1956. Also included 100-page booklet with many rare and unreleased photographs and extentensive liner notes with informative and historical facts on Elvis' time with the Louisiana Hayride during 1954-1956.

1 - Hayride Begin Jingle
2 - Introduction/That's All Right
3 - Blue Moon Of Kentucky (October 16, 1954)
4 - Hearts Of Stone
5 - That's All Right
6 - Tweedle Dee (January 15, 1955)
7 - Money Honey
8 - Blue Moon Of Kentucky
9 - I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine
10 - That's All Right (January 22, 1955)
11 - Tweedle Dee (April 30, 1955)
12 - I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (July 16, 1955)
13 - Baby Let's Play HouseMaybellene
14 - That's All Right (August 20, 1955)
15 - Heartbreak Hotel
16 - Long Tall Sally
17 - I Was The One
18 - Love Me Tender
19 - Don't Be Cruel
20 - Love Me
21 - I Got A Woman
22 - When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again
23 - Paralyzed
24 - Hound Dog
25 - Elvis Has Left The Building
26 - Hayride End Jingle (December 16, 1956)
27 - Bonus Tracks: June Carter Talks About Elvis On The Hayride
28 - Maybellene (Tunzi Remix)


August 3, 2012 Follow That Dream Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020 975049 mono

Includes for the first time in one collection every known Elvis Presley Sun master and outtakes, plus two private records Elvis Presley paid for with his own money, as well as thrilling radio and concert performances from the period. This 3 CD package features 10 previously-unreleased cuts. The accompanying book written by Ernst Mikael Jørgensen, is in essence, a fully-illustrated travelogue. It thoughtfully details the birth of Elvis Presley's career through facts, anecdotes, documentation, many rare photos, and a succinct narrative. Independence Day 1954 is when this uniquely American saga begins, less than 24 hours before his first professional recording session, and it ends in December 1955, when the rights to Elvis Presley's Sun tapes officially expire, and the singer leaves Sam Phillips to record for RCA. This is Elvis Presley before he becomes world-famous, and the mystery of how this amazing young man readies himself for stardom, achieving success on a level that no one could have dreamed possible. All audio has been re-mastered and restored best as could, but Disc 3 has pretty rough audio. The book is 512 pages in 12'' by 12'' format and includes more than 500 photos of which about 200 are previously unpublished. If you are not an expert in this period of Elvis Presley's career, a lot more photos will be new to you. Many familiar photos will be seen in best ever quality, but since this is a historical document, there will also be many images of less quality, included for their rarity value and support of the story. The book also includes, for the first time, Steve Sholes’ original notes on the Sun tapes. The project will come in a slip case that holds both the book and the CD holder, a double album type package.

''A Boy From Tupelo'' August 3, 2013 Follow That Dream 506020-975049-1-2-3 is Sold Out!


CD 1

Memphis Recording Service Acetates:
01. My Happiness
02. That’s When Your Heartaches Begin
03. I’ll Never Stand In Your Way
04. It Wouldn’t Be The Same (Without You)

Sun Masters
05. Harbor Lights
06. I Love You Because (Unprocessed Master Edit)
07. That’s All Right (45 rpm Master)
08. Blue Moon Of Kentucky (45 rpm Master)
09. Blue Moon
10. Tomorrow Night
11. I’ll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin’)
12. I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine
13. Just Because
14. Good Rockin’ Tonight
15. Milkcow Blues Boogie
16. You’re a Heartbreaker
17. I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (Slow Version)
18. Baby Let’s Play House
19. I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone
20. I Forgot to Remember To Forget
21. Mystery Train
22. Tryin’ To Get To You
23. When It Rains It Pours

RCA Masters
24. That’s All Right (Single Version)
25. Blue Moon Of Kentucky (Single Version)
26. I Love You Because (LP Version)
27. Tomorrow Night (LP Version)

CD 2

Sun Studio Sessions
01. Harbor Lights (Takes 1 - 2, 3/Master)
02. Harbor Lights (Take 4)
03. Harbor Lights (Takes 5 - 8)
04. I Love You Because (Takes 1 - 2)
05. I Love You Because (Take 3)
06. I Love You Because (Takes 4 - 5)
07. That’s All Right (Takes 1 - 3)
08. Blue Moon of Kentucky (Slow Tempo Outtake)
09. Blue Moon (Takes 1 - 4)
10. Blue Moon (Take 5)
11. Blue Moon (Takes 6 - 8)
12. Blue Moon (Take 9/Master)
13. Dialogue (Fragment before ‘Tomorrow Night’)
14. I’ll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin’)
15. Good Rockin’ Tonight (Fragment from vocal slapback tape)
16. I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine (Takes 1 - 3/Master)
17. I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (Slow Version, Take 1)
18. I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (Slow Version, Take 2)
19. I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (Slow Version, Take 3)
20. I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (Slow Version, Take 4 - 5)
21. I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (Slow Version, Takes 6 - 7)
22. How Do You Think I Feel (Guitar slapback tape, Rehearsals + Take 1)
23. When It Rains It Pours (Vocal slapback tape, Take 1)
24. When It Rains It Pours (Vocal slapback tape, Take 2 - Rehearsal 1 - Takes 3 - 4)
25. When It Rains It Pours (Vocal slapback tape, Take 5/Master)
26. When It Rains It Pours (Vocal slapback tape, Take 6 - 8)

CD 3

Live and Radio Performances
01. That’s All Right (Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, October 16, 1954)
02. Blue Moon of Kentucky (Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, October 16, 1954)
03. Shake, Rattle and Roll (KDAV Radio, Lubbock, Texas, January 6, 1955)
04. Fool, Fool, Fool (KDAV Radio, Lubbock, Texas, January 6, 1955)
05. Hearts of Stone (Likely recorded at Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, January 15, 1955)
06. That’s All Right (Likely recorded at Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, January 15, 1955) *
07. Tweedlee Dee (Likely recorded at Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, January 15, 1955)
08. Shake, Rattle and Roll (WJOI Radio, Florence, Alabama January 19, 1955) *
09. KSIJ Radio commercial with DJ Tom Perryman (KSIJ Radio, Gladewater, Texas, 1955) *
10. Money Honey (Likely recorded at Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, January 22, 1955)
11. Blue Moon of Kentucky (Likely recorded at Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, January 22, 1955) *
12. I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine (Likely recorded at Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, January 22, 1955)
13. That’s All Right (Likely recorded at Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, January 22, 1955)
14. Tweedlee Dee (Likely recorded at Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, March 5, 1955) *
15. Money Honey (Likely recorded at Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, March 5, 1955) *
16. Hearts of Stone (Likely recorded at Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, March 5, 1955) *
17. Shake, Rattle and Roll (Likely recorded at Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, March 5, 1955) *
18. Little Mama (Likely recorded at Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, March 5, 1955) *
19. You’re a Heartbreaker (Likely recorded at Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, March 5, 1955) *
20. Good Rockin’ Tonight (Likely recorded at Eagles’ Hall, Houston, Texas, March 19, 1955)
21. Baby Let’s Play House (Likely recorded at Eagles’ Hall, Houston, Texas, March 19, 1955) *
22. Blue Moon of Kentucky (Likely recorded at Eagles’ Hall, Houston, Texas, March 19, 1955) *
23. I Got a Woman (Likely recorded at Eagles’ Hall, Houston, Texas, March 19, 1955)
24. That’s All Right (Likely recorded at Eagles’ Hall, Houston, Texas, March 19, 1955) *
25. Tweedlee Dee (Gladewater High School, Gladewater, Texas, April 30, 1955)
26. That’s All Right (Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Festival, Meridian, Mississippi, May 26, 1955) *
27. I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, July 2, 1955) *
28. Baby Let’s Play House (Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, August 20, 1955)
29. Maybellene (Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, August 20, 1955)
30. That’s All Right (Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, August 20, 1955)
31. Interview with Bob Neal (WMPS Radio, Memphis Tennessee, between August 29-31, 1955)

32. I Forgot To Remember To Forget (Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, October 29, 1955) * (Sony Music, July 7, 2017)

* Previously Unreleased

Written and Research by Ernst Mikael Jorgensen
Concept and Art Direction - Ernst Mikael Jorgensen
Design and Image Restoration - Nic Oxby
Additional Image Restoration and Correction Work - Leif Korreborg

Music Credits
Produced by Sebastian Jeansson and Ernst Mikael Jorgensen
Audio Restoration and Mastering - Sebastian Jeansson
Audio Assistance - Vic Anesini
Original Sun Recordings Engineered and Produced by Sam Phillips 

Technical Support, Advice and Additional Equipment
Dominick Costanzo, Maria Triana, and Mark Wilder at Battery Studios, New York, NY
Additional Disc Transfers 0f 45RPM Sun 209 and January 19, 1955 Acetate -  Alen Stoker 

The Research Team
Giovanni Luca Fabris, Danny Kane, Sean O' Neal, Kevan Budd, Stanley Oberst,
Brian Petersen, Sabastian Jeanson, and Johnny Saulovich 


 For Elvis Presley's Biography (See:> The Sun Biographies <
Elvis Presley's Sun recordings can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <