The ‘Sun’ was Shining For Elvis Fans on This Day in Music History
He had many nicknames. Elvy, Tiger Man, Big E, The Pelvis, Country Cat, Wiggle Hips, Memphis Flash, Hillbilly Bopper, and, most famously, The King. However you referred to him, Elvis Aaron Presley fans have reason to celebrate today. It's a special anniversary.
It was July 19, 64 years ago, that Elvis had his very first single released by Sun Records, the independent record label formed in Memphis, Tennessee that many consider to be the place where rock and roll was born. Sun was the first studio to record Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison. Now THAT is some rock history! As a matter of fact, Elvis, Carl, Jerry Lee and Johnny had an impromptu jam session on December 4, 1956; famously known as the Million Dollar Quartet.
Elvis Presley's debut single was "That's All Right (Mama)". And on the flip-side? A little song called "Blue Moon of Kentucky". Now, Elvis wrote neither of those songs. That honor goes to Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup for "That's All Right(Mama)" and bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe for "Blue Moon of Kentucky". But that should come as no surprise to Elvis fans. Elvis received co-writing credit on a few songs, but he was never a songwriter. He was an interpreter, or perhaps I should say, re-interpreter of songs written by others. Elvis was so good at it, he made many songs his own just by putting his stamp on them.
Take a look at just SOME of the songwriters that Elvis covered: Otis Blackwell; Don McLean; Neil Diamond; Bob Dylan; Carl Perkins; Chuck Berry; Doc Pomus; Leiber & Stoller; Gordon Lightfoot; Kris Kristofferson; Mack David; Ray Charles; Mac Davis; Eddie Rabbit; Paul Simon and George Harrison, just to name a few.
As for his debut, one of the most important 45's in the history of rock. In 1954, that music came out of your speakers like incendiary flames. According to legend, Elvis' bassist Bill Black famously said of the song, "Get that on the radio and they'll run us out of town". Well said.