Hear and See Elvis’ First-Ever Recording, It Was NOT “That’s All Right Mama”
July 19, marks the date Elvis Presley's "That's All Right" was released by Sun Records of Memphis in 1954. Most people around the world believe it to be Elvis Presley's first-ever recording...but it's not.
The date was July 18, 1953, when a young 18-year-old truck driver for Crown Electric named Elvis Presley walked into Sun Studios on Union Ave. in Memphis on his lunch hour to record a belated birthday present for his mother Gladys. He also wanted to hear himself on tape.
Marion Keisker, Sam Phillips' (owner of Sun Studios) assistant who was sitting at her desk, greeted Presley that day. Elvis told her he wanted to make a record. Sam Phillips was not in, so Keisker recorded Presley herself.
Back then, you could actually leave with the 78 RPM record. It was called an acetate disc and could be played on a turntable just like a vinyl record.
Elvis recorded "My Happiness" and the flip side was a song called, "That's When Your Heartaches Begin".
As the story goes, Elvis stopped by a friend's house to play the song as the Presley's didn't have a record player at home. He ended up leaving the acetate disc at his friend Ed Leek's house.
Legend has it, decades later, the acetate disc of Elvis Presley's first-ever recording was found in a box in Leek's attic, other's say it was found in Leek's safe.
Lorisa Hilburn, the niece of the late Ed Leek, sold the recording in 2015 for $300,000. After auction house fees, Hilburn took home $240,000.
Almost a year after Elvis made the recordings for his mother Gladys Presley, Sam Phillips was in need of a white singer who sounded different, Phillips wanted something fresh. Marion Keisker suggested he bring in Elvis, as she had his name and phone number. Phillips finally agreed to give Elvis a shot and he was paired with Scotty Moore, an extraordinary guitar player who later became Elvis' first manager and Bill Black a crazy bass player. They jammed for a couple of hours and Phillips really wasn't impressed with anything. They had pretty much wrapped up the session when Elvis started playing the guitar and singing 'That's All Right Mama' which was originally performed by blues singer Arthur Crudup. Sam asked the boys to get back in there, they played it a couple of times while the tape rolled in the booth with Sam Phillips' legendary echo. When Sam got what he needed, "That's All Right" officially became Elvis Presley's third recording at Sun Studios, not his first.
"That's All Right" was released in 1954, side B was "Blue Moon of Kentucky".
Until his death in 1977, Elvis Presley continued to give Marion Keisker credit for everything he became.