''It was like it happened overnight'', Scotty says. ''We didn't have a dime to promote it'' As the orders started coming in, they hired a national promotion man, Stevie Brodie of Buffalo,
New York, to push the record. ''He said, 'I can make this a big hit', so we paid him a nickel a record''.
Scotty Moore and Slim Wallace added a third partner, Memphis
attorney Robert Buckalew. Their most immediate problem was getting large orders of record pressed.
Working together, Buckalew and Brodie persuaded record pressing plants
to give them sixty days credit, since they knew it would be at least that long before the money started trickling in. Once that happened, Brodie started working the song on radio, beginning with his hometown of Buffalo. As it climbed the charts there, he focused
his attention on larger markets.
By March, ''Tragedy'' had risen to number 8 on the national charts, making it a million-seller. Ironically, without trying to compete
with Sun Records, Scotty had stolen its thunder. Before ''Tragedy'' hit, only three records recorded in Memphis had ever scored higher on the pop charts, and they were all Sun releases: Jerry Lee Lewis's ''Great Balls Of Fire'' and ''Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin'
On'', and Carl Perkins's ''Blue Suede Shoes''.
Trying only to stay afloat, Scott had made history and a few bucks in the process. ''We grossed about $600,000'', says
Scotty. ''Of course, when the money started coming in and I sat down and started writing checks, it went (out) pretty fast. I remember writing one check for $150,000 to the pressing plants. Oh, that hurt''.
After the record hit, Scotty send a copy to Colonel Parker, who responded on April 2 with a letter. ''Have just returned from a promotion trip on Elvis latest release and LP'', he wrote. ''Thought it only proper to congratulate
you on the fine work you have been done with Mr. Thomas Wayne. My best wishes are with you and him for a big future''. He signed the letter ''Colonel''.
Scotty paid himself
a salary from the record company with the agreement of the two other partners, but most of the money was funneled back into Fernwood Records. They rented an office downtown in the same building where their attorney (and new partner) was located. Later, they
rented a building on 297 North Main Street and installed a fully equipment studio. It was located next door to a delicatessen that specialized in corned beef. What Scotty remembers most about the studio is the plentiful supply of food. ''I've never eaten so
much corned beef in my life'', he says.
That spring and summer, Scotty Moore was on top of the world. He had a hit record and his own recording studio. It was another
one of those rags-to-riches stories of which the music industry is so found. In March he purchased a C-5 Classic Gibson guitar for $85 from Chicago Musical Instrument Company and a black El Dorado Cadillac with a red interior.
To promote Thomas Wayne's record, he organized a touring band made of himself, Bill, D.J. Fontana, and Reggie Young. Scotty was coming and going so fast, he sometimes lost his sense of direction. Reggie remembers
one night when they returned to Memphis at three o'clock in the morning. ''We pulled up in front of Scotty's house, stopping out in the middle of the street'', says Reggie. ''He just got out, left the car running, and went into the house and went to bed. Bill
or someone slid over and took us home''.
Scotty often booked Reggie Young for sessions at Fernwood. They got to be good friends and usually wound up the sessions by sitting
on the curb drinking cheap wine. Reggie went on to become one of the premier session guitarists in the country, working in Memphis with literally hundreds of artists including Neil Diamond, Wilson Picket, and Dionne Warwick, and then later in Nashville with
Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Cash. But in those days he was just finding himself as a musician; the Blue Moon Boys were among his heroes.
''That whole deal
of Scotty, Bill and Elvis was unique'', he says.''Scotty and Bill were as much a part of Elvis's music as he was. No one sounded like that. You always copy records you can play parts to. Scotty's parts, they weren't real easy to play, but they were playable.
They weren't something you couldn't figure out. I'm sure a lot of would be guitar players sat down with Elvis's records and copied Scotty's licks. He was the first one to make people want to do that''.
Fernwood Records followed up ''Tragedy'' with a number of Thomas Wayne recordings including ''Scandalizing My name'', ''Girl Next Door'', ''Just Beyond'', and ''Guilty Of Love'', some of which were written by Burch and Nelson.
One Thomas Wayne release, ''This Time'', was penned by a newcomer to Memphis, a young Georgian named Chips Moman. Unfortunately, none of Thomas Wayne's subsequent releases achieved the success of ''Tragedy''.
In the aftermath of ''Tragedy'', Sharri Paullus, a songwriter whose physician husband had started a record label named Rave Records, took two instrumental ideas to Fernwood. For that project, Scotty asked Bill Black to play
bass and saxophonist Ace Cannon to do the horn work. The finished product, with its gritty, hypnotic groove, is remarkably similar to records later recorded by the Bill Black Combo. The songs, ''The Gambler'' and ''It's Not Fun Loving You'', were released
on Rave Records. As the year ended, Scotty Moore reported his highest income to date, $13,547.64, but the money from Thomas Wayne's hit was quickly petering out at Fernwood.
Phillips International 3548 "Mad At You" b/w ''Willie Brown'' by Mack Self.
Cochran scores his biggest hit with "Summertime Blues".
The Microchip (integrated circuit), an essential piece of technology used in modern electronics, was created during
September of 1958 by Jack Kilby. Kilby, a newly-hired engineer at Texas Instruments, came up with the idea to miniaturize all of the parts of an entire transistor circuit and connect them all together, creating a smaller and easy to produce unit called an
integrated circuit. While Kilby was not the only person credited with the idea of an integrated circuit, he was the first to create a working model and file a patent for the technology. The creation of the integrated circuit led to much of the technology our
modern computers and electronics are based on today.
SEPTEMBER 1, 1958 MONDAY
in Billboard magazine says, ''Break Up'' (Sun 303) is a rocker, and Lewis sells the tune with great drive and spirit. His pounding style of piano is prominent in support. Flip, ''I'll Make It All Up To You'', is a country and western ballad read along traditional
lines. Chorus and work support help sell the side. It's a strong contender and a likely market click''.
After Johnny Cash finished his last Sun recordings, Sam Phillips
wished him well, and he wished himself well, too, in a letter to the industry that appeared in both Billboard and Cash Box in September 1958. ''Sun Records has patiently recorded Johnny Cash with always potent material'', he pointedly wrote, ''first in the
country category and gradually manipulating his material and approach to songs to gain him a fantastic following in the pop field.... Through the help of our Sun distributors and our ever faithful disc jockey friends we have built another artist into a solid
commercial performer who sells records one after the other. Sun has always believed in building artists, not just selling a single record. This has been our aim since the beginning and will remain so''.
It was also Sun's aim, Sam Phillips stressed with no less sincerity than selfinterest, to continue selling Johnny Cash records. To that end, ever since learning of cash's intention to sign with Columbia, Sun had spent the last
five months ''producing some of the finest sides for future Sun releases on Cash that we have ever had the pleasure of cutting''.
''Please believe us when we say you
are in for some tremendous releases on cash on SUN for at least the next two years. Our thanks to Johnny for being a wonderful person to work with during our association. We are going to miss him no end around 706 Union, but our aim is to keep him ''hot''
on Sun 'If the Good Lord's Willing and The Creek Don't Rise'. Appreciatively, Sam C. Phillips, President Sun Record Co.''. For all of those reasons, and others unspoken, Sam put everything he had behind ''The Ways Of A Woman In Love'', the first departure-anticipatory
Cash release, which rose to the top of the country charts in October 1958 and even reached number 24 pop, while Columbia's initial release languished in its wake.
fledgling Warner Bros. Records released its first albums, an undistinguished . Eventually, the label adds a country division, with hit albums from Faith Hill, Randy Travis, Hank Williams Jr. and Blake Shelton, among others.
Decca released a pair of Webb Pierce hits, ''Tupelo County Jail'' and the flip side, ''Falling Back To You''.
4, 1958 THURSDAY
Hawkshaw Hawkins holds his last RCA recording session.