Sun 182 ''Heaven Or Fire'' b/w ''Tears And Wine'' by Dusty Brooks and His Tones is
released. These recordings were provided by Jim Bulleit in Nashville and were the first very few sides that Sun leased from other labels.
According to Billboard, "Word
has it that Rufus Thomas Jr., who waxed the smash "Bear C at" for Sun Records, is turning down many a one-nighter so he can remain mike side at his WDIA deejay post". Nevertheless, Rufus did from a touring band of sorts, called the Bearcats. He said, "I worked
all over Memphis. We had four of five pieces in the band most times. We did a lot of work after I had "Bear Cat" out".
MAY 16, 1953 SATURDAY
Rosco Gordon's ''We're All Loaded'' b/w ''Tomorrow May Be Too Late'' (RPM 383) released.
Jimmy Dean makes his Grand Ole
Opry debut, introduced to the audience at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium by Carl Smith.
MAY 18, 1953 MONDAY
Bonnie Lou recorded ''Tennessee Wig Walk'' in Cincinnati.
Sam Phillips' partner, Jim Bulleit, was thrown into something of a panic. He commissioned
a formal comparison study, which only went to prove what Sam had known all along. The two songs ''Hound Dog'' and ''Bear Cat'' were identical. He questioned whether Sam fully understood the business of publishing. He pleaded with Sam to release more product,
since ''releasing is the life of this business... Don't let the distributors forget us''. And he constantly asked for money, stressing in one letter, ''I wouldn't nor haven't asked for money unless I needed it. Please understand and let me have the money,
In the end Sam Phillips settled. He knew he was in the wrong, given the new copyright climate, and he had neither the resources nor the inclination to drag
out what seemed certain to be a losing battle. Sam Phillips pays Don Robey's Lion Music $1580,80 in settlement of the ''Bear Cat'' case, and gave up all claims to the publishing. The record itself was an unqualified triumph. sales kept climbing, and it eventually
reached number 3 on the rhythm and blues charts, not dropping off again till the middle of June. Sam had already had big hits with other labels, but this was the first he had ever had on his own. And even if in the end, for all of the spirit that Rufus Thomas
brought to it, there was no denying that it was a ''copy'' tune, and in spite of all the legal and financial trouble it had caused him, nothing could diminish the satisfaction he took, the pride that came with Sun Records' first real breakthrough success.
It caused him to redouble his effort in the studio, to redouble his efforts to get to know the disc jockeys, the distributors, all the people he would need to make a go of it in the business.
He was disturbed by what he was beginning to see as Jim Bulleit's lack of good judgment when it came to sizing up people, many of Jim's distributors seemed poor prospects for Sun's type of material, and when they did place orders, it was almost impossible
to get some of them to pay, but Sam wasn't sure how much of that could be attributed to Jim's almost permanent state of impecuniousness. In any case he was not to be deterred. He had always thought of the studio as his cathedral. Now he saw it more as a kind
of living presence. ''What we had'', he said, ''was a church of the spirit that fed on itself'', a house of worship in which he could express his faith in his own unequivocally private terms.
MAY 19, 1953 TUESDAY
Sam Phillips pays white pianist Lucille Van Brocklin (who worked with the Snearly Ranch Boys) and Houston Stokes for an unknown
Carl Smith recorded ;;Hey Joe!'' during an evening session at Nashville's Castle Studio.
Jean Shepard and Ferlin Husky recorded ''A Dear John Letter'' on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood, at the Capitol Studios.
Rose Maddox holds her first recording
session as a solo artist, for Columbia.
MAY 20, 1953 WEDNESDAY
Gene Autry and
Smiley Burnette star, as the western ''Goldtown Ghost Raiders'' reaches movie theaters.
MAY 21, 1953 THURSDAY
Merle Travis recorded ''Re-Enlistment Blues'' for the movie ''From Here To Eternity'' during an evening session at the Capitol Studios on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood.
MAY 23, 1953 SATURDAY
Jim Reeves makes his Grand Ole Opry debut, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, singing ''Mexican Joe''.
The Davis Sisters, Skeeter Davis and the unrelated Betty Jack Davis recorded ''I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know''. An auto accident kills Betty Jack in August, making this the only hit
record they cut together.
Ruben Tarpley, the father of eight-year-old Brenda Lee, dies from a freak accident, after being hit on the head by a hammer during a construction
project in Georgia.
MAY 25, 1953 MONDAY
Guitarist Rich Alves, from Pirates Of
The Mississippi, is born in Pleasanton, California. He co-produces and plays on the band's lone hit, 1991's ''Feed Jake''. He also plays on hits by Leon Everette, Mickey Gilley and Bobby Bare.
MAY 26, 1953 TUESDAY
Meridian, Mississippi, dedicates a monument to the late Jimmie Rogers, following a drive engineered by Hank Snow and Ernest Tubb.
On hand for the ceremonies are Roy Acuff, Bill Monroe, Charlie Monroe, Minnie Pearl and Lefty Frizzell.
MAY 28, 1953 THURSDAY
Unproductive session with Walter Horton.