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1956 SESSIONS (3/1)
March 1, 1956 to March 31, 1956

Studio Session for Rudy Grayzell, May 1956 (2) / Starday Records
Studio Session for The Teen Kings, March 4, 1956 / Je-Wel Records
Studio Session for Dean Beard, March 29, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Eddie Bond, March 1956 / Mercury Records

For Biographies of Artists see: > The Sun Biographies <
Sun recordings can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on 
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Future Sun recording artist Rudy Grayzell last Capitol single was released in June 1955 and his first Starday single was issued in mid-March 1956. ''I made the contact with Starday through Charlie Walker again'', Rudy remembered. ''Starday was run by Pappy Daily in Houston, and his son, Bud, van Pappy's distributor and he'd come through San Antonio. So Bud called me and brought me to Houston. Pappy stood behind me. He said, 'Rudy, you've got a message in there somewhere, and we're gonna find it''. There were four Rudy Grayzell singles on Starday, and Pappy was true to his word, trying one style after another. Two of the singles, ''Duck Tail'' and ''Let's Get Wild'', have come to define rockabilly in all its go-for-broke looniness.

The songs on the first Starday single, ''The Moon Is Up''/''Day By Day'' were stone hillbilly and were credited to Rudy's first wife, Norma. The Other Starday songs were credited to Rudy's father, Joe Grayzell, Rudy says that he credited his father as a way of honoring him, but it was probably to duck a prior contract with American Music. There were two certain things about Starday singles: first, the record label would be yellow; second, the song would be published by Pappy Daily's company. By the time the second single ''Duck Tail'', hit the stores in April 1956, Rudy had been dubbed Rudy ''Tutti' Grayzell by Elvis Presley. Again, the connection came through Charlie Walker.

''I was playing the opening of a food store'', he said, ''and Charlie said that Elvis Presley was coming. I said, 'How will I know him'? . He said, 'You'll know'. I felt goosebumps when I saw him. We played some shows together, and we did one in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We sang ''Tutti Frutti' and he said, 'From now on, you're Rudy Tutti'''. This doesn't quite check out because Elvis was in Tulsa for a on April 18, 1956, a couple of weeks after ''Duck Tail'' was released under the name Rudy ''Tutti'' Grayzell, but the story is probably true in essence if not in detail. ''Duck Tail'', said Rudy, was inspired by the local greasers slicking back their hair. As a song that told the square world not to mess with your fashion statement, it seemed to have been inspired by ''Blue Suede Shoes'' but Rudy vigorously denies any connection, even though he name checks ''Blue Suede Shoes'' in the song.

The recording engineer slathered the song in echo and a guitarist hits all the right licks. On April 25, 1956, within days of release, Rudy's song was covered by Joe Clay for RCA's Vik label. Clay coupled it with another just-released Starday song, Link Davis' ''Sixteen Chicks''.

''Duck Tail'' sold well in and around Texas, and Rudy became a local celeb. ''One night'', he said, ''I was driving home from a concert when my car stalled and I was forced to hitch-hike. Three girls drove by, recognized me from the show and picked me up and drove to a cemetery where they hid my clothes and told me to sing ''Duck Tail'' for them in private in the nude''. Never one to disappoint his audience, Rudy stood on a tombstone and cut loose with ''Duck Tail''. Someone drove by, saw what was going on and called the police. Rudy got a towel until he could find his clothes and the girls got a night in the drunk tank.

Around that time, Rudy was working a show date for Pearl Beer in Laredo, Texas. ''I had a bus and I told the driver to get us as close to the border as he could. He parked alongside the Rio Grande. I wandered off, drank a few tequilas and beers and waded into the river. I was in maybe up to my head when I saw a vehicle on the Mexican side. It was the Mexican police. They shouted out. 'hey stupid, you're swimming the wrong way', 'cause I was swimming toward Mexico and they thought I was an illegal immigrant swimming to the United States. My band was on the bank laughing their heads off'.

Session Published for Historical Reasons



01 – ''DUCK TAIL'' – B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Joe Grayzell
Publisher: - Starrite Music
Matrix number: - 2434
Recorded: - Unknown Date March 1956
Released: - April 25, 1956
First appearance: - Starday Records (S) 45rpm standard single Starday 241 A mono
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16837-4 mono

02 – ''YOU'RE GONE'' – B.M.I. - 2:00
Composer: - Joe Grayzell
Publisher: - Starrite Music
Matrix number: - 2435
Recorded: - Unknown Date March 1956
Released: - April 25, 1956
First appearance: - Starday Records (S) 45rpm standard single Starday 241 B mono
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16837-3 mono

Name (or. No. Of Instruments)
Rudy Grayzell – Vocal
Dave Sullivan – Guitar
Roy McMeans - Drums

For Biography of Rudy Grayzell see: > The Sun Biographies <



Carl Perkins performed at the Boys Club Gymnasium in Paris, Texas. Also on the bill, Jimmy and Johnny, The Belew Twins, and Carolyn Belew. Tickets $1 at the door. Children tickets will be 50 cents.

Ray Price recorded ''Crazy Arms'' and ''You Done Me Wrongs'' during an overnight session at the Bradley Studios in Nashville, Tennessee.


Elvis Presley gets pulled over on Riverside Drive in Memphis for speeding.

The Cowsill's John Cowsill is born in Newport, Rhode Island. Best known for ''The Rain, The Park and Other Things'', The Cowsills also notch a 1968 hit with ''Indian lake'', destined for country success when it's covered by Freddy Weller.

''Loose Talk'' songwriter, Freddie Hart holds his first Columbia recording session. Under the affiliation, he makes his first chart appearance three years later.


Ernest Stoneman, of The Stoneman Family, tapes an appearance on NBC-TV's ''The Big Surprise''. His run on the game show lasts five weeks, as he earns $10,000.

''Heartbreak Hotel” debuted on the chart at number 68. It moved up the chart quickly, and by the end of the month it was inside the top 10 at number 9 and on its way to number 1. The flip side, “I Was The One” became Elvis’s second chart song when it entered the Top 100 at #84 on March 10, 1956. By the end of the month, it had climbed to #25. Elvis Presley perform at the Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana. Upcoming Sun recording star Tommy Blake also appeared at the Louisiana Hayride on this day.


Roy Orbison recorded ''Ooby Dooby'' in Clovis, New Mexico, with his band The Teen Kings, including future country songwriter Johnny ''Peanuts'' Wilson. The song becomes Roy Orbison's first single.


Amongst the first to find their way to Norman Petty's doorstep were The Teen Kings, from Vernon, Texas, they were led by Roy Orbison, who would come to be regarded as one of the greatest vocalist in popular music. The band recorded "Ooby Dooby" and a cover of the Clover's "Tryin' To Get To You''.

A West Texas record dealer with contacts in Memphis, played "Ooby Dooby" over the telephone for Sam Phillips, who immediately signed Orbison to Sun Records. Before leaving for Tennessee, Roy Orbison recommended Petty's studio to another group of young Texas rockers, The Rhythm Orchids.

This was a talented bunch that featured both Buddy Knox of Happy, Texas, and Jimmy Bowen ( who was born in Santa Rita, New Mexico) The group recorded three songs at Petty's studio, including "Party Doll" by Knox and Bowen's "I'm Stickin' By You", Petty released the tracks as a double-sided single. Roulette Records signed both artists, split the single, with both songs then selling over a million copies. Norman Petty was now a force to be reckoned with in the music business.

This was an session for Je-Wel Records.
The session is published on the Sun vaults priority has been given to historic content.



Roy Orbison had been approached by local entrepreneur Weldon Rogers, who had an associate by the name of Chester C. C. Oliver. They were just starting up the Je-Wel label and wanted to record Roy and the band. Roy was anxious to take Rogers and Oliver up on their offer and Je-Wel's first recording session was hastily arranged for March 4, 1956 at Norman Petty Studio in Clovis, New Mexico. This time, Roy and The Teen Kings, recorded The Clover's "Tryin' to Get to You" and "Ooby Dooby". The single was released two weeks later circa March 19, 1956. That same day, Roy took a copy to Cecil Hollifield in Odessa.

He was a well-know record dealer in West Texas. "Poppa" Hollifield liked the record and played it on the phone to one of his connections in Memphis. The guy on the other side of the line asked him to send him a copy. His name was Sam Phillips, owner of Sun Records. A few days later "Poppa" telephoned Roy to say that Phillips wanted the Teen Kings in Memphis in three days to record for Sun Records.

01 - "OOBY DOOBY" - B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Wade Lee Moore-Allen Richard Dick Penner
Publisher: - T-N-T Music
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - March 4, 1956
Released: - March 19, 1956
First appearance: - Je-Wel Records (S) 78/45rpm Je-Wel JE-101-B mono
Reissued: - 2001 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16423-1-1 mono

Only 100 copies of Jewel 101 were pressed on 78rpm, making for a rarity even upon release.

02 - "TRYIN' TO GET TO YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - Charles Singleton-Rose Marie McCoy
Publisher: - Williamson Music
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - March 4, 1956
Released: - March 19, 1956
First appearance: - Je-Wel Records (S) 78/45rpm Je-Wel JE-101-A mono
Reissued: - 2001 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16423-1-2 mono

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
The Teen Kings consisting of
Roy Orbison - Vocal and Guitar
Johnny ''Peanuts'' Wilson - Guitar
James Morrow - Electric Mandolin (Echoplex)
Jack Kennelly – Upright Bass
Billy Pat Ellis – Drums

''We had this TV show on Channel 2 in Midland, hosted by Keith Ward'', Weldon Rogers told Kevin Coffey. ''Just before we came on for thirty minutes there was a young band on for thirty minutes. It was Roy Orbison and the Teen Kings. So, anyway, we had a session set - we were going to do a session at Norman Petty's - and the gentleman that went in with me on this deal, Chester Oliver said, 'Did you listen to them boys in there'? I said, Yeah, I listened to them'. He said , 'What do you think'. I said, 'Well, I was thinking we ought to go talk to this young man that's the head of the group... Do you think it'd sell'? I said, 'Yep. It sure would'. So we talked to him a night or so later, went over to his apartment in Odessa... He said, 'Well, I've been turned down by every record label there is.. we've tried 'em all''.

The Olivers lived in Seminole, Texas, sixty miles north of Odessa and 150 miles from Clovis. James Morrow claimed at one point that he dated Jean Oliver and paid for the Clovis session, and Roy once insisted that he paid for it, but in an interview with Glenn A. Baker he confirmed Rogers' account: ''There were some people in Seminole, Texas who wanted me to make a record for them, so they paid for the time. It was the first custom session Norman Petty ever did''.

''I was selling those records just as fast as I could peddle ém'', said Weldon Rogers. ''They were selling faster than I could get 'em pressed. Cecil Holifield had a record shop in Odessa and a record shop in Midland. He was selling a lot of those records. I went back about a third time to take him a hundred. There was a music store in Lubbock that bought ém 250 at a time - and a week later they called, 'Hey, I'm out! I need some more'. It was doing that well. Well, Cecil Holifield, it stirred him up. He picked up the phone and called Sam Phillips at Sun Records in Memphis. When I signed the contract with Roy Orbison, age did not enter my mind or Mr. Oliver's mind. We just took for granted that he was of age. Well, he wasn't. He was only 19. We didn't ask him. He didn't tell us. He signed the contract - but you know about how much that was worth. Cecil Holifield called Sam Phillips and told him: Í got some boys out that's got a record that's just selling like hotcakes and this old boy that signed him to a contract don't know that he's just 19. If you'll get them down there and record them, you can make a mint with this old boy'. So Sam Phillips got in touch with Roy, said, 'You boys come on down. Bring your father to sign the contract'. In the meantime, they filed an injunction against me and Mr. Oliver in the district court in Odessa, an injunction to stop me from selling his records''.

It seems as if the Je-Wel record had been on the market no more than a week when Phillips approached Ray, and the fact that he approached Moore and Penner to acquire ''Ooby Dooby'' on March 20, 1956 supports this. A district judge ruled against Je-Wel, leaving Orbison free to sign with Sun, but ordered that Orbison's father cover some of Oliver's and Rogers' expenses. Orbie didn't have the money and the lawyer refused the offer of ten percent of Roy's profits, thinking no one would pay to see someone as ugly as he thought Ray was. In addition, Rogers says, ''The judge ordered me to give Roy all of the records that I had on hand... about fifty is all I had with me. So I gave 'em to him. Later on, I went back to Norman Petty's and I told Norman what happened. It made Norman (mad) - it hacked him off pretty good. He said, 'What exactly did that judge tell you'? I said, 'He told me that I had to turn over all the records that are on hand to Roy Orbison'. Did he tell you, 'Do not press any more'? I said, 'Yeah'. He reached over and got the phone, said, 'This call's on me'. He called (the plant) in Phoenix and said, 'Press this Je-Wel 101 - press five thousand up and send ém to me just as soon as you can get ém here'. So, anyway, we sold another five thousand records of that - except for about a dozen that I kept''. That would certainly account for the fact that, although rare, Je-Wel 101 is available with several different label backgrounds and is nowhere near as hard-to-find as it would be if it had only been on the market a few weeks.

For Biography of Roy Orbison see: > The Sun Biographies <


NORMAN PETTY STUDIOS - Located at 1313 West 7th Street, Clovis, New Mexico, Buddy Holly cut most of his massive-selling 1950s hits under Norman Petty's supervision in sleepy Clovis, just inside the New Mexico state line with Texas. A year after recording Roy Orbison's debut single, "Ooby Dooby", in 1956, Petty turned his attention to Buddy Holly. A winning formula for the bespectacled singer came only after a lot of experimentation, at first Petty used a cardboard bix instead of drums because he couldn't figure out how to get the right sort of amplification. Unable to decide whether to present Holly as a rough rockabilly singer or a sensitive crooner, Petty covered his bases by doing both.

In the early 1960s Petty enjoyed chart success with Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs, and he scored again in the 1970s with the babys after moving operations in 1968 to an old cinema at 206 Main Street. The original West 7th Street studio is now a mini-Holly museum and hosts an annual Holly festival at the end of July.

NORMAN PETTY - (May 25, 1927 – August 15, 1984) was an American musician, songwriter, and pioneer record producer who helped shape modern popular music, including pop and rock. Born in the small town of Clovis, New Mexico, near the Texas border, Petty began playing piano at a young age. While in high school, he was regularly heard on a fifteen minute show on a local radio station. Petty and his wife Vi founded the Norman Petty Trio, along with guitarist Jack Vaughn. They landed a recording contract and were voted Most Promising Group of 1954 by Cash Box Magazine.

In 1956, their major hit "Mood Indigo" had sold a half million copies and enabled Norman to expand his recording studio, considerably. In 1957, their song "Almost Paradise" hit number 18 and Norman won his first BMI writers award.

Despite the success with his own records, Petty is most famous for his recording studio in Clovis. In his homespun studio, he made 78 and 45 rpm singles for his own musical group and for then-unknown Texan singers Roy Orbison, Buddy Knox, Waylon Jennings, Carolyn Hester and Buddy Holly, with whom he is most closely associated in the public mind. "Sugar Shack" and "Bottle Of Wine" by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs and "Wheels" by the String-A-Longs were recorded at Petty's studio. Petty produced a number of Canadian groups including Wes Dakus & The Rebels, Barry Allen, Gainsborough Gallery, and the Happy Feeling; all which had chart success in their homeland.

Petty served as Buddy Holly's recording engineer and also as his first manager and producer until late 1958. Many of Holly's best and most polished efforts were produced by Petty at the Clovis studio. After Holly's death, Petty was put in charge of overdubbing unfinished Holly recordings and demos to add to Holly's record output. According to Buddy's immediate family and his wife, Petty refused to pay Holly money contractually owed the composer-singer. Petty reportedly told Holly, "I'd rather see you dead than to give you the money now''.

In 1963 Petty launched the FM radio station KTQM next door to the recording studio; he added the AM station KWKA in 1971. Petty ran both stations until 1979, when they were sold to their current owner. Norman Petty posthumously was named Clovis Citizen Of The Year in 1984.

Norman Petty died in Lubbock, Texas, in August 1984 of leukemia. His wife Vi died in March 1992. The original 1313 West 7th Street Studio in Clovis, New Mexico, is available for tours by appointment only. Originally named "The Norman & Vi Petty Music Festival" which featured many artists that recorded at the Studios, the event halted in 2002, later to resurge as "The Clovis Music Festival" which is held in September.

Norman & Vi were given "Outstanding Graduate Accomplishment" awards (Class of '45 and '46 respectively) by the Clovis Municipal Schools Foundation and Alumni Association in April 2011. The awards go to Clovis High School graduates based on achievement in their realm of business. Graduates are chosen because their strengths of character and citizenship serve as models to inspire and challenge today’s CHS students. The plaques were given to Vi's relative Nick Brady who turned them over to Kenneth Broad of the Petty Estate to display during Studio tours.

THE TEEN KINGS – roots go back to 1948, two years after Roy Orbison's family moved to Wink, Texas, when the 12-year-old Orbison began playing guitar with a friend and schoolmate named James Morrow. The following year, the two put together a quintet, Morrow on electric mandolin, Orbison on lead guitar, Charles "Slob" Evans on upright bass, Richard "Head" West at the piano, and Billy Pat "Spider" Ellis on drums.

At a teacher's suggestion, they christened themselves the Wink Westerners, and they played school dances and other small local events. Within two years, they were good enough to get some radio appearances, and by 1953 they had their own sponsored show on KERB once each week. The Wink Westerners played country and western, and their repertory included lots of instrumentals, among them "In the Mood" and "Little Brown Jug''.

They were popular at local dances, presenting a lively show that the kids appreciated, and at the center of it was Roy Orbison, who was not only a strong singer but a talented lead guitarist. He didn't yet have the operatic depth to his singing that would make him internationally famous a decade later, but he could wail out a ballad or rip through a dance number like nobody's business. The group's radio show, as was the case with most performers in those days, was barely a break-even affair financially, but it served well as a promotional medium to get them the performing gigs.

They also appeared on the KERB Jamboree with other local bands, again doing country & western material. The group was good enough to impress their high school principal, who got them a performance at a Lion's Club convention in Chicago.

By 1954, they were also backing up players like Slim Whitman. Orbison and Ellis attended North Texas State College in Denton, and the group held together during this period, sufficiently long enough to discover rock and roll by the end of 1954. Around that time, they'd even added "Shake, Rattle & Roll" to their repertory.

It was while at North Texas State that Orbison first encountered a fellow fraternity member, Wade Lee Moore, who had co-authored a song called "The Ooby Dooby" with Dick Penner. The Wink Westerners later auditioned for Columbia Records using the latter song, to no avail.

Following a brief hiatus, the Wink Westerners resumed their activities during the summer of 1955, and managed to get an appearance on a television show on KMID-TV in Midland, TX, doing country songs but also covering what was becoming increasingly familiar rock and roll material, including the current hit "Rock Around the Clock" by an ex-Western swing band, and "That's All Right" by that Elvis Presley fellow out of Memphis, and Moore and Penner's "Ooby Dooby''.

As the radio show had been, the television appearances were used mostly to promote the band's live appearances. The band had gotten very good, and doubly so in the context of local performing groups. Although he was no Scotty Moore (who could play anything), Orbison had become a formidable lead guitarist and singer, and the band matched him. The kids were also starting to dance more enthusiastically to rhythm and blues songs (what were called "rhythm numbers" in those days), and the group was performing more Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, and Big Joe Turner than Hank Williams.

A change in name was called for, and the Wink Westerners became the Teen Kings. The group had a few lineup shifts, Orbison himself had to teach Evans' successor on bass, Jack Kennelly, how to play the instrument, but kept playing and hoping for a break.

Texas in those days was filled with hundreds, perhaps thousands of small bands that were evolving out of country music and into rock and roll. Buddy Holly was just getting into the music seriously around that time, and a lot of veteran country players were busy adapting their styles to the new music, or trying to. The Teen Kings were young enough that it wasn't a stretch, and the results were natural.

Their break came with help from the father of a woman that James Morrow was dating. Having heard the group's radio broadcasts, and seen some shows and television spots, he arranged for a recording session at Norman Petty's studio in Clovis, New Mexico, which yielded a pair of songs, "Tryin' To Get To You," which had been a single by an rhythm and blues vocal group called the Eagles, and had been covered (but not yet released) by Elvis Presley, and "Ooby Dooby''.

Roy Orbison early-mid 1950s, jammin' (above) with some of the members of the Teen Kings, in Lubbock, Texas. Photo taken by his girlfriend, Claudette Frady's mother. From left: Jack Kennelly, Johnny ''Peanuts'' Wilson, Roy Orbison, Billy Pat Ellis, James Morrow.

They were issued on two sides of a single (45 and 78 rpm) in early 1956 on the Je-Wel label. The songs were played by a record store owner friend of the band in Odessa, Texas, over the telephone to Sam Phillips of Sun Records. By the end of March, the band was under contract to Sun and playing gigs with Johnny Cash.

The Sun single of "Ooby Dooby" had a different B-side,"Go! Go! Go!" Ironically, the original B-side of Je-Wel, "Tryin' To Get To You," went through a bizarre odyssey of its own, Weldon Rogers had also recorded the song, and the Teen Kings' version was sent to Lew Chudd at Imperial Records by mistake, along with Rogers' rendition and the song "So Long, Good Luck, And Goodbye", the Teen Kings' version accidentally ended up on the B-side of the latter single by Rogers, and was "lost" and forgotten in the Imperial catalog for the next 36 years, until it was licensed for inclusion on Sony Music Special Products' 1991 box set The Legendary Roy Orbison.

The Teen Kings' "Ooby Dooby" (which already credited Orbison more than the rest of the group) peaked at number 59 nationally, and their next single, "You're My Baby" b/w "Rockhouse'', again credited to Orbison and the Teen Kings, failed to chart nationally. Sam Phillips' strategy was becoming clear, he'd pegged Orbison for stardom, and the other group members came to resent this, not only in the billing on their records but, ultimately, the structure of the recording sessions. The end came when they turned up for a recording session and saw that Phillips had booked in additional musicians to work with Orbison. His success at Sun ended with "Ooby Dooby," and it would take another half-decade for another label and producer, Fred Foster (ironically, the producer of the Eagles' original version of "Tryin' To Get To You") at Monument Records, to help Orbison achieve the level of success that Phillips saw in his potential. The Teen Kings only left behind a handful of Sun and Je- Wel tracks, but in 1995, a group of 16 live recordings from KOSA-TV in Odessa in 1956 were unearthed and released for the first time by Rollercoaster Records. Featuring the last incarnation of the band, it's a special body of work for a variety of reasons, presenting Orbison at the peak of his early rockabilly period, and also a rare chance to hear live-in-the studio performances by an early Sun act, with no producer getting in between the artists and their music, or the public and appreciating it.

MARCH 1956

Carl Perkins is in the national pop chart on March 10 with "Blue Suede Shoes". Perkins disc also appears on the country and Rhythm and Blues charts, the first time has happened. Elvis Presley's RCA cover version of the song appears in the charts later in the year, as part of an EP drawn from his first album "Elvis Presley (RCA Victor LPM-1254).

Roy Orbison and the Teen Kings arrived at Sun Records during March 1956.

MARCH 1956

In March of 1956, just before he sent his order to get a new batch of records pressed, Phillips pulled Jack Earls' ''Hey Jim'' from the docket and added ''Slow Down'' in its place. Just a week or two later, Earls' single was birthed (on 78rpm and 45rpm) among a crowd of noisy, rockin' platters that signaled the direction Phillips would take for the next couple of years.


Sid King & The Five Strings record ''Ooby Doobie'' (sic) for Columbia Records. On the 78rpm single, it is shown as Wade Moore's solo composition, published by Peer Music.


Merle Travis and actress Judy Hayden are divorced after seven years of marriage.


Webb Pierce recorded the Jimmie Rodgers classic ''Any Old Time'' in Nashville's Bradley Recording studio.

Less than a week after he was cited for driving over the speed limit, Elvis Presley gets another speeding ticket in Memphis.


''Slippin' And Slidin''' the flip side of Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" is picked number on new record on NBC radio's "National Juke Box Fan Club".

Fats Domino's "I'm In Love Again" destroys the Fontane Sisters tepid remake and by years end white pop singers virtually give up covering rhythm and blues hits as a result.


Eddie Cochran is made a regular member of Hollywood Jubilee a weekly show at Los Angeles' American Legion Stadium.


Carl Perkins becomes the first country artist to reach the national rhythm and blues charts, "Blue Suede Shoes" eventually peaks at number 2. He is followed three weeks later by Elvis Presley with "Heartbreak Hotel", which peaks at number 3.

Ernest ''Pop'' Stoneman, of The Stoneman Family, is a guest on NBC-TV's ''The Big Surprise''. The game show, taped one week earlier, begins a five-week winning streak for Stoneman, who earns $10,000 by answering trivia questions.

George Jones reached number 1 on the Billboard country chart for the first time as the writer of Red Sovine and Webb Pierce's ''Why Baby Why''.


Decca released Kitty Wells' ''How Far Is Heaven'' featuring daughter Carol Sue Wright.

Elvis Presley pays $29,500 for a home at 1034 Audubon Drive in Memphis, Tennessee.

The moment it all happened for Sun Records. An order (order number 5459) by Plastic Products Company, located at 1746 Chelsea Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, for 20,000 copies of "Blue Suede Shoes" (Sun 234).


Elvis Presley's first LP, RCA Victor LPM 1254 ''Elvis Presley'' issued. This first Elvis' release contains 3 Sun recordings.


Ampex demonstrates a working rotary head quadruplex (four-head) videotape recorder to 200 CBS TV affiliates at the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters convention in Chicago. The event causes a tremendous stir throughout the entire broadcasting world and within the four days of the show the small California company has orders worth nearly $4m for over 70 of the first VRX1000 machines - later renamed Mark IV - at $50,000 each. The first orders come from the NBC, CBS and ABC networks and the US government.

On this date and after two years in the service in Yokohama, future Sun artist Harold Jenkins (Conway Twitty) arrived back in Helena, Arkansas. He quickly realized that Elvis Presley had changed the game while he'd been away. Bands in northeast Arkansas led by guys like Billy Riley, Sonny Burgess, and Ronnie Hawkins, were playing the new music. Twitty wanted in. ''I still had some thoughts of baseball, but Elvis Presley stirred me up'', he said later.

''Elvis knocked me out, and the first time I heard him talk it sent cold shivers up my back. Later, when I was compared with Elvis, it made me proud and still does. He's the ultimate. Of course I was influenced by Elvis. Hundreds were. The only difference is, I admit it. I laid down my baseball bat, picked up a guitar, and decided to get with it''. Sitting on his porch at 1011 Poplar Street in Helena, he was playing guitar when another wannabilly, Bill Harris, heard him. They assembled Harold Jenkins and the Rockhousers. Before he joined the Army, Twitty probably thought that Nashville was the center of the musical universe. Suddenly, it was Memphis - barely an hour's drive away.


Harold Jenkins (Conway Twitty) leaves the Army after a four-year stint.

Boy Howdy guitarist Larry Park is born in Stockton, California. The group fashion two hits, ''A Cowboy's Born With A Broken Heart'' and ''She'd Give Anything'', before disbanding in 1996.


Elvis Presley's management deal with Bob Neal expires, and Neal chooses not to exercise his option, leaving Colonel Tom Parker as Presley's sole manager.

"My Fair Lady" opens on Broadway starring Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle and Rex Harrison as Professor Higgins. The smash hit musical comedy “My Fair Lady” debuts on Broadway during March of 1956. The musical, created by Lerner and Loewe, was based off of George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play “Pygmalion” and starred Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews in the lead roles of Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle. The show proved to be immensely popular with audiences and was praised by critics. It was nominated for ten Tony Awards and won six, including Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical, and Best Direction. Its original run continued until September of 1962 with a total of 2,717 performances, making it the longest running musical at that time. It was revived in 1976, 1981, and 1993 and there was a popular film version released in 1964.


Jerry Lee Lewis and Jane Lewis have their second son, Ronnie Guy Lewis.


Carl Perkins makes his first national appearance on Red Foley's ABC-TV's "National Jubilee", sings ''Blue Suede Shoes''.

Carl Perkins Perkins became the first country artist to reach the number 3 spot on the rhythm and blues charts. He is followed by Elvis Presley with ''Heartbreak Hotel''. In the United Kingdom, the song became a Top Ten hit. It was the first record by a Sun label artist to sell a million copies. The B-side, "Honey Don't", was covered by The Beatles, Wanda Jackson, and (in the 1970s) T. Rex. John Lennon used to sing lead on the song when the Beatles performed it before the song was given to Ringo Starr to sing. Lennon performed the song on his own as recorded on the Lost Lennon Tapes.

Elvis Presley appears for the fifth time on The Dorsey Brothers ''Stage Show'', singing ''Heartbreak Hotel'' and ''Blue Suede Shoes''. His ''Heartbreak Hotel'' reaches number 1 on the Billboard country singles chart.

Pete Seeger leads a benefit concert to raise money for singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie, who is suffering from Huntington's chorea, at New York's Pythian Hall. The concert is considered a significant event in the revival of folk music.


Patsy Cline sends a letter to fan club president Treva Miller from her mother's home in Winchester, Virginia, to say she's left husband Gerald Cline: ''He told me if I was gonna sing, I wasn't going to live with him. So I'm back home''.

Roy Orbison's first single ''Tryin' To Get To You'' / ''Ooby Dooby'' released by Je-Wel Records (Je- Wel 101).


Elvis Presley's parents, Vernon and Gladys, move into a new house that Elvis bought for them on Audubon Drive in Memphis, Tennessee. Purchase price: $29,500

Elvis Presley performs at Bell Auditorium in Augusta, Georgia. Backstage, he is introduced to Brenda Lee.


After playing a show in Norfolk, Virginia, on March 21, 1956, the Perkins Brothers Band headed for New York City and their appearance on the nationally-broadcast or the Perry Como Show. Shortly before sunrise near Dover, Delaware, Stuart Pinkham, aka Dick Stuart and Poor Richard, and Charlie Feathers', brother-in-law assumed the duties as driver. After fell asleep at the wheel, running head on into the back of a pickup truck, their car ended up in a ditch of water about a foot deep, and Carl was lying face down in the water.

Drummer W.S. ''Fluke'' Holland rolled Carl over, saving him from drowning. Carl had suffered 3 fractured vertebrae in his neck, a severe concussion, a broken collar bone, and lacerations all over his body in the crash. Carl remained unconscious for an entire day. The driver of the pickup, Thomas Phillips, a forty year old farmer, died when he was thrown into the steering wheel of his pickup. Carl's brother Jay had a fractured neck along with severe internal injuries. Carl will be in the hospital until April 10. Jay will never recover fully.


Alan Freed stages a three day "Rock And Roll Stage Show" at the State Theater in Hartford. Although Freed denies that there was a riot, eleven teenagers were arrested over the weekend.

Dr. Francis J. Braceland of the Institute of Living in Hartford calls rock and roll a "communicable disease with music appealing to adolescent insecurity and driving teenagers to do outlandish things... It's cannibalistic and tribulistic..'' Dr. Braceland's remarks prompt a published defense of rock and roll from Freed and three well known bandleaders of another generation, Sammy Kaye, Benny Goodman and Paul Whiteman.


Bill Black, Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana visited Carl on their way to New York to appear with Elvis the next day. Bill Black told Carl, "Hey, man, Elvis sends his love", and lit a cigarette for him, in spite of the fact that the patient in the next bed was in an oxygen tent. A week later, Carl was given a telegram, which had actually arrived on the 23rd, from Elvis wishing him a speedy recovery.

Sam Phillips had planned to surprise Perkins with a gold record during the Perry Como show. "Blue Suede Shoes" had already sold more than 500,000 copies by March 22.

Now, while Carl recuperated from the accident, "Blue Suede Shoes" rose to number one on most pop, rhythm and blues, and country regional charts. It also held the number two position on the Billboard Hot 100 and country charts. Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" held the number one position on the pop and country charts, while "Shoes" did better than "Heartbreak" on the rhythm and blues charts. By Mid-April, more than one million copies of "Blue Suede Shoes" had been sold.


Elvis Presley makes his sixth and final appearance on The Dorsey Bothers ''Stage Show'', performing ''Heartbreak Hotel''. His single had finally broken into the pop charts at number 11, and Carl Perkins' ''Blue Suede Shoes'' at number 9, and the two records were chasing each other up the charts, all the charts, in a manner that had never been seen before.


The Louvin Brothers recorded ''Hoping That You're Hoping''.


After recording the song once previously, Roy Orbison remakes ''Ooby Dooby'' during his first session for Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. (See: below)

Keyboard player Paul Wickens is born in Chelmsford, England. Noted for his work with Paul McCartney, Paul Carrack and Nik Kershaw, he also backs alternate-country singer Kim Richey on the soundtrack to 1999's ''Happy, Texas''.


Dean Beard also made the two-day trek from west Texas with hopes high. ''Rakin' And Scrapin''' (August 26, 1956) later found release on Atlantic, but it's hard to make the case that his Sun recordings deserved a better fate in 1956.



Intent on duplicating Presley's success, Beard borrowing one hundred dollars from his father for the trip to Memphis, and cut two demo sessions in Memphis for Sun Records in 1956, but Sam Phillips decided not to sign him. Asked why he didn't see a release, Beard said that he ran around town with Sam Phillips's girlfriend, Sally Wilbourn, thereby ensuring that his sessions would remain in the can. The truth might have been more prosaic: the recordings weren't that good. The songs were undistinguished and it's Seals on saxophone he sounds like an angry goose. One of the demos was "Rakin' And Scrapin'," which Beard recorded again the next year in Abilene for Willet's Edmoral label.

01 - "DON'T LIE TO ME" - B.M.I. 2:03
Composer: - Dean Beard
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 29, 1956
Released: - 1974
First appearance: - Bopcat Records (LP) 33rpm BLP 200-9 mono
Reissued: - 1997 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8236-6 mono

02 - "ROCK AROUND THE TOWN" - B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Dean Beard
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 29, 1956
Released: - 1974
First appearance: - Bopcat Records (LP) 33rpm BLP 200-8 mono
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm MID 8118-18 mono

03(1) - ''WHAT CAN I DO'' - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Dean Beard
Publisher: Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 29, 1956
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8161-4 mono
Reissued: - 1997 Charlie Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8274-2-49 mono

03(2) - ''WHAT CAN I DO'' - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Dean Beard
Publisher: Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 29, 1956
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Encore Records (CD) 500/200rpm ECD 193587-13 mono

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Dean Beard - Vocal and Guitar
James Steward - Guitar
Jimmy Seals - Saxophone
Johnny Black - Bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums

For Biography of Dean Beard see: > The Sun Biographies <
Dean Beard's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <


DEAN BEARD - remembered by brother Danny Ray. My name is Danny Ray from Coleman, Texas, home of Dean Beard and birthplace of Ronnie Dunn of the Country Music duo "Brooks & Dunn". I was raised on the music of Elvis Presley at the age of five. I won a boppin' contest at age six dancing to "Hound Dog". My dad Leonard Ray used to play lead guitar for Ray Thompson's Band (country star Hank Thompson's brother). My dad (who passed away in 1993) used to set Dean on his knee when he was a kid and show him chords on the guitar.

This encouraged Dean to get involved in music and he later learned to play the keyboards. After Dean graduated from Coleman High he began futhering his musical career. He also had a crush on my older sister Elizabeth. He had to come to our house quite often to not only watch my dad play, but to eye my sister. When Dean got his band "The Crewcats" together, he began moving up in popularity.

Here I was age six in 1957 and everytime Dean came home and staged a dance, I either had to get my sister Liz or my dad to take me where Dean was playing. I couldn't go inside, but I would bop on the sidewalk outside. People would get excited watching me bop and they would go in and tell Dean that he had a young fan outside dancing. Dean would have them open the door wide enough so he could see me. Dean would wave at me and I would wave back. He would dress in a nice black outfit with a Spanish lace white shirt underneath. He would cut down on one of his tunes and I would cut down on my dancing. Then Dean had purchased an old transit bus in an auction and he brought it to my dad to fix-up for a band bus. My dad was a auto-bodyman at the time. He stripped out all the seats in the bus and put in an ice-box, stove, fold-down table that the sections laid across the booth-type seats and made a bed. He built more bunk-type beds at the rear of the bus. My mom made curtains for it, my dad also carpeted the floor. Then my dad and I grabbed sandpaper and began sanding this big bus all over, worn my fingers to the bone. After we got it all sanded, then dad primed it out, and we sanded it again until we got the primer smooth. Then we had to maskoff all chrome and glass and my dad painted it a pretty blue with white top. That was Coleman's school colors. Then in real fancy letters, my dad painted "Dean Beard and the Crewcats" on both sides. I almost forgot, my dad had to overhaul the engine in this bus too.

Then Dean and the band took off on tour. I didn't see him for a long time. Then when I had my 12th birthday in 1963, The Beatles struck America. I went from Elvis to the Beatles. At age 13th, I received my first set of skins and my younger brother Bob at 5 years old was playing guitar. He and I started our own band together and began playing on television for charity and around Abilene, Texas, where we were living at the time. We played on the stage with many famous television stars and music groups. Then at age 15, I was asked to play my first professional gig with Eddie Burns.

I would go to school M-F, and Friday and Saturday nights I was Honky-tonky with Eddie. His wife was a cousin to B.B. King. I got the honor to jam with B.B. for nearly an hour. Then Eddie, me, and a white guy named Bill Holman playing bass guitar. He could eat that bass up.

I recorded two 45rpm records with Eddie on "Plantation Records". His two big hits from these were "Color Me Country" and "The Southside of Chicago''. Then my parents moved back to Coleman, thus ending my career with Eddie. We heard that Dean had been involved in a car wreck and messed his back up. I began playing in a rock band named "Showboat" here in Coleman and played with them all through high school. I graduated in 1969, got married in 1971, went into the U.S. Air Force in 1972 and got out in 1975. Served some time in Vietnam. Messed me up nerve-wise. Couldn't hold a job until I finally found a job that didn't pressure me in 1976. Worked for them for 21 years, was forced to quit in 1997 because of health problems due to being exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam. I played drums in a country music band my brother Bob started named "Southern Cross".

The Lord finally got me out of the honky-tonks in 1986 and called me to preach. I thought Dean Beard was dead until my cousin told me that he was bed-fast living in the government apartments. I called him and he was glad to hear from me. He invited me over and I went to see him. When I knocked on the door, He said,"Come on in Danny''. When I walked in, there was his piano setting against the wall and a big oil painting of Elvis hanging on the wall. When I got to his bedroom door, He said, "Hello Danny, Long time no see!" I grabbed him and hugged him, both of us had tears in our eyes. I told Dean I was a Minister and he was so glad. Then I found out that no one was coming over and giving Dean his baths. He said everyone that wanted to do it asked for money. I said, "No more Dean-O, I am going to come over here at least three times a week, carry you to the bathroom, set you in that chair in the bathtub, so you can take your shower, and I will not charge you one cent''. He couldn't believe it.

Each day I went over to give him his bath, we would talk about the old days. He would make me pull down his picture album and we would go through looking at all the autographed pictures of different musical groups he toured with. I remember "Buck Owens & the Buckaroos" was one. He showed me pictures of he and Elvis together in front of Elvis' 1955 Cadillac. The Cadillac that Elvis and Dean dragged up and down our main street chasing girls. Dean had told Elvis that he had a dance to do here in Coleman and asked Elvis to front for him. Elvis did. Dean had met Elvis after Elvis had done his dance in Brownwood only 30 miles away from Coleman. They became best of friends. Elvis loved Dean's voice. Dean showed me the hand-written and hand-signed letters that Elvis sent to him for some time until Elvis started making it big in movies and he stopped writing Dean. He showed me the picture of his band bus and asked, "Danny do you remember this bus?" I replied, "Boy, do I ever!" He asked me to pull a box out from under his bed. When I pulled it out it was full of his records. He picked two of his hits out and autographed them for me. He said, "Keep these, they will be worth a lot some day. This is payment for your kindness.

I was setting there one day with Dean when the phone rang. Dean answered and he said, "Yes this Dean Beard. No I ain't dead yet''. The conversation went on for a few minutes and he hung up. Dean asked, "Danny do you know who that was?" I said, "No Deano, who was it?" He said it was a big record promoter in London, England, and his song "Party, Party, Party" was still number 1 in Europe. This made old Deano very happy and I was glad for him too. Dan Seals (country star and little brother of Jimmy) used to come by once a month to check on Dean. Jimmy Seals and Dash Croft used to play in Dean's band. When the band broke up in the mid 1960s, Jimmy and Dash formed the famous rock duo "Seals and Croft." Dan Seals was also known as England Dan when he was duo with John Ford Coley.

Then Dean asked me to come to come get him on Sundays for church. I had just introduced Terry Moffet to Dean. I would pick Dean up and put him in his wheel chair, wheel him to my car, take him out and seat him in the back seat and take him to church. It felt good to him to get out of his apartment and meet people. He got up in front of the church and gave his testimony warning kids to stay from booze, chasing wild women, and popping pills. He said he was paying for his sins. There was not a dry eye in the church building. He thanked me and Brother Terry in front of the church for the kindness we had shown him. He said all he wanted to do was to go to Heaven and see his mother. We asked Dean if he knew the Lord Jesus as his Savior and he said "yes'', but he had never been baptized. Brother Terry baptized him. Then a week later, Dean caught pneumonia and was rushed to the Brownwood Hospital. He was in there nearly two weeks. His body was so weak from his other health problems, he couldn't pull out. He passed away in 1989 at age 54. My wife and I, along with a few friends, threw Dean his last birthday party in his apartment. It thrilled him so much. My wife fixed his favorite meal, spaghetti and meatballs and chocolate cake with white icing. He ate until he couldn't eat any more. It was a thrill to me to be able to make this great rockabilly star of the 1950s last few months of his life a little more comfortable. He was in constant pain all the time, but he always praised Jesus and witnessed to those who came to see him. He is missed.

MARCH 1956

Billboard picks "Blue Suede Shoes" as one to watch for the pop market. It features in their "Coming Up Strong" picks. The cover versions start appearing. The first is probably by western swing bandleader Pee Wee King, whose version hits the market in early March. It is followed in short order by versions from Boyd Ennett, Bob Roubian with Cliffie Stone's Orchestra, Sid King, Lawrence Welk, Roy Hall, Sam "The Man" Taylore and Jim Lowe. It is also covered by Elvis Presley but Presley's version is only initially available on his first album and an EP drawn from it. However, Presley performs the song during his appearance on the Dorsey Brothers television show on March 17.

"Blue Suede Shoes" appears on Billboard's Hot 100 on March 3. Presley's debut RCA single, "Heartbreak Hotel" makes its appearance on the charts during the same week, and tops the charts for eight weeks. Billboard dubs both songs 'mongrel music' and notes that Perkins is showing up on several rhythm and blues charts. ''It has already been suggested'', Paul Ackerman wrote in the issue of Billboard, ''that country artists with rhythm and blues-styled material, or rhythm and blues-styled delivery, be excluded from the best-selling country chart''. Ackerman suggested slyly, would not only be wrong, it would be un-American, striking at the very foundation of the free enterprise system in which ''competition is the soul of business''.

Carl Perkins returns to the studio to cut a follow-up. Four songs are recorded but the intense action surrounding "Blue Suede Shoes" convinces Sam Phillips to delay mastering a new single. "Blue Suede Shoes" is selling over 20,000 copies a day.


Session Published for Historical Reasons

During the two years Eddie Bond was on Mercury Records, he was booked by Bob Neal's Stars inc., a company in which Phillips probably owned a stake. ''The dyed-in-the-wool country musicians would look down at us and say, 'There's one of THEM'', Bond told Raiteri. ''I was ashamed to do rockabilly, but not so ashamed I didn't want to make a livin' at it. We'd play schoolhouses, little theaters, honky tonks, and bar-rooms''.

''Played on top of every drive-in movie theater from Texas to Arizona. Bob Neal would keep you real busy like that. Little school houses would fill up with people come to see Eddie Bond, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Roy Orbison''.

Bond doubled as a disc jockey on KWEM, West Memphis from 2:30 until 4:30 every afternoon and, from April 28, 1957, he was a featured performer on the Louisiana Hayride. If not in the charts, he was busy.



Nashville, Tennessee was the location of the next session that produced Eddie Bond's strongest rockabilly performances ever with ''Boppin' Bonnie'', ''Flip, Flop Mama'', ''Slip, Slip, Slippin' In'' and ''Baby, Baby, Baby (What Am I Gonna Do)'' used by Mercury on two singles in June and September of 1956, which sold well enough for Mercury to organise two more sessions held in Houston, Texas, in 1957.

01 – ''SLIP, SLIP, SLIPPIN' IN'' – B.M.I. - 2:09
Composer: - R. Belyew-C. Wright
Publisher: - Murray Nash Association
Matrix number: - YW 12700
Recorded: - Unknown Date March 1956
Released: - June 1956
First appearance: - Mercury Records (S) 45rpm Mercury 70882-A mono
Reissued: 1993 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15708-1-7 mono

02 – ''BABY, BABY, BABY (WHAT AM I GONNA DO)'' – B.M.I. - 2:12
Composer: - R. Newton
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - YW 12701
Recorded: - Unknown Date March 1956
Released: - September 1956
First appearance: - Mercury Records (S) 45rpm Mercury 70941-A mono
Reissued: 1993 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15708-1-8 mono

03 – ''FLIP, FLOP MAMA'' – B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - C. Edens-Eddie Bond
Publisher: - Alpine Music
Matrix number: - YW 12702
Recorded: - Unknown Date March 1956
Released: - June 1956
First appearance: - Mercury Records (S) 45rpm Mercury 70882-B mono
Reissued: 1993 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15708-1-9 mono

04 – ''BOPPIN' BONNIE'' – B.M.I. - 2:06
Composer: - Jody Chastain- Jerry Huffman
Publisher: - Alpine Music
Matrix number: - YW 12703
Recorded: - Unknown Date March 1956
Released: - September 1956
First appearance: - Mercury Records (S) 45rpm Mercury 70941-B mono
Reissued: 1993 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15708-1-10 mono

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Eddie Bond - Vocal & Guitar
Reggie Young - Lead Guitar
Tommy Potts - Bass
Possibly Jody Chastain – Bass
Johnny Fine – Drums
Jimmy Smith - Piano

For Biography of Eddie Bond see: > The Sun Biographies <


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> Continued to: 1956 Sessions 3 (2) <

For Biographies of Artists see: > The Sun Biographies <
Sun recordings can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on 
> YouTube <