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Music  >>  Vinyl  >>  Rock/Pop

Elvis Presley

A Boy From Tupelo: The Sun Masters (1LP)

Elvis Presley A Boy From Tupelo The Sun Masters (1lp)
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In July of 1953, an 18-year-old Elvis Presley walked into the offices of Sun Records to record two songs, “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin,” as a gift for his mother. When asked by receptionist Marion Keisker about his style and whom he sounded like, Elvis had two answers: “I sing all kinds,” and “I don’t sound like nobody.”

A Boy From Tupelo: The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings chronicles the rise of the singer who “don’t sound like nobody,” before he became The King of Rock and Roll. It includes every surviving demo and master recording Elvis recorded for the Sun label, rare session takes and live recordings on local radio stations and at the Louisiana Hayride, where Elvis enjoyed his breakthrough success as a live performer.

Sun founder Sam Phillips, who’d cut the first records for artists like Howlin’ Wolf and Junior Parker, believed that blues songs written by predominantly black artists had the potential to reach white audiences, and was taken by Presley’s voice. After recording another acetate in early 1954, Presley—struggling to find his footing in the record business and driving a truck to support himself and his family—was recruited by Phillips to formally record single sides with local guitarist Winfield “Scotty” Moore and bassist Bill Black.

The first session, held on July 5, 1954, consisted largely of country ballads. But late in the evening, Presley spontaneously launched into an Arthur Crudup blues tune, “That’s All Right,” and galvanized everyone in the room. Within two weeks, its first plays on Memphis radio spurred some 6,000 advance orders, and the single (backed with “Blue Moon of Kentucky”) became a regional hit throughout that year.

Through 1954 and 1955, Presley, Moore and Black toured throughout the South, becoming a fixture at the Louisiana Hayride (the South’s greatest rival to the Grand Ole Opry). Elvis’ arresting voice and unprecedented onstage gyrations drove fans into a frenzy, and it was clear his popularity could spread throughout the rest of the United States. At the end of 1955, Phillips sold Elvis’ contract to RCA Victor for a then record-breaking sum of $40,000; the label re-released all five Sun singles nationally and Elvis earned a smash hit with his first RCA single, “Heartbreak Hotel,” in 1956.
 


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