50 years ago today....
Beagley , 5 July 2004
are you doing this Monday night?
50 years ago today, on this same Monday night, while most
Memphis folk were cooking up dinner Elvis, Scotty Moore, &
Bill Black rolled into Sam Phillip's Sun Studios to kick around
a few songs. Tuesday was another workday for them all, Elvis
was at Crown Electric, so they had limited time and weren't
even sure what they should be putting down on tape.
fragile pleading of 'Harbour Lights', that they started out
with, certainly wasn't anything special. However that accidental
ground-breaking moment when Elvis 'stumbled' and managed to
blend his subconcious knowledge of rythym & blues, country,
hillbilly, gospel and pop into an old blues number of Arthur
Crudup's was truly revolutionary.
song, That moment, That foolin' around on his guitar, That burst
of suppressed energy, That tape machine rolling in Sam's control
room - 'That's All Right' - changed the very world that we live
in. Rock 'n' Roll was born! While it is a valid argument that Jackie
Brentson's 'Rocket 88' and even Bill Haley's 'Rock Around The Clock'
came first but Rock 'n' Roll is more than just a song. Rock 'n'
Roll is the sound of teenage rebellion, fast cars, hot girls, motorbikes,
cool clothes, political rebellion, black meets white, freedom, sex,
as well as being the soundtrack for the new generation. It is an
all-encompassing & exciting kick against the boring establishment
and with Elvis' astounding voice, gorgeous looks, sexual intensity,
dress sense and intimate understanding of every type of music, no
one else had a chance.
of course mustn't also forget the importance of producer Sam Phillips,
along with Scotty Moore's fine tuned guitar and Bill Black's exceptional
bass work. In fact the back-beat & slap of Bill's double-bass is
an essential element since even Arthur Crudup's original had a nice
& simple drum line to it. However to break free from the cosy Dean
Martin's sound of the time and the safe post-war era of "How Much
Is That Doggie in the Window?" there needed to be a dynamic focal
point that would blow away all in its path, and that was Elvis Presley.
'That's All Right' was the key, you also need to hear the originals
of 'Blue Moon of Kentucky' by Bill Monroe, 'Good Rockin' Tonight'
by Wynonie Harris or 'Mystery Train' by Little Junior Parker to
truly comprehend what an extraordinary leap this musical revolution
was. What Elvis imparted and added to these originals is astounding
- and it wasn't the big band shuffle of 'Rock Around The Clock'!
This was dangerous 'race music' (as the R&B chart was called in
those days) and Elvis meant every word… When he sang.. "I'm gonna'
hold my baby tight as I can, Tonight she'll know I'm a mighty, mighty
man" … we all knew exactly what he meant & it sure sounded exciting!
While it is fine to be there for the birth (and if Elvis recorded
nothing else after his 'Sun Sessions' they would still be a seminal
rock 'n' roll work) Elvis' genius was to see that child grow.
the magic of 'That's All Right', the invitation of 'Baby Let's Play
House' would follow eventually leading to the musical explosion
created by the unknown soulful moodiness of 'Heartbreak Hotel' to
the shear dynamite of 'Hound Dog', 'Don't Be Cruel', 'One Night'
and everything else that followed. Nothing would ever be the same
again. When asked in 1956 how long he thought Rock 'n' Roll would
last, Elvis replied. "I wish I knew… It is very hot now and I like
it. I enjoy rock and roll. .. As long as it lasts, as long as it
sells, I'll continue doing it, as long as that's what people want.
And if they change, if it dies out, I'll try to do somethin' else.
And if that doesn't work, I'll just say, 'Well I had my day' !"
years ago today Elvis Presley changed the world we live in and has
been enriching all of our lives ever since. Take a moment to think
about it, crank up that juke-box and celebrate! Why not celebrate
this fantastic day with the following Elvis feast?
All Right' - Don't miss out on the new 3 track CD single.
At Sun'. The exceptional new BMG remastered CD of Elvis'
Sun Story' (Rhino Records) - Let's not forget the all-important
part played by Sam Phillips. This compile features Sam's great work
with Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis etc, as well as the original
Elvis - The Sun Years' by Bill E. Burk. This fascinating book captures
some insightful truths about Elvis & Memphis at the time.
'56' (BMG) - The history of Elvis' musical revolution continues
and has recently been Remastered in fabulous sound quality.
(FTD) - A collector's treat of hundreds of rare photos plus 25 unreleased
Elvis tracks all from 1955-1958. A must have.
Comeback' DVD - Sensational. Elvis regains his crown after
all those wasted years by once again revisiting the glory of 'That's
All Right' and his rock 'n' roll roots.
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