On July 5th 1954 the world changed forever when a group of young men, namely Sam Phillips; Bill Black; Scotty Moore and a young boy named Elvis Presley, got together and started playing music that would infiltrate the airwaves for decades, perhaps even centuries to come.
Sam Phillips had been producing country and blues with some success for a few years but he yearned for something more, he wanted to find the road less traveled and Scotty’s style of fast upbeat guitar licks reflected this same desire. When Elvis first came into his studio on July 4th for an audition things didn’t go so smoothly.
Elvis had a good voice but the music just wasn’t clicking, Phillips was frustrated and the foursome considered packing it up and calling it a night. It was back to their day jobs tomorrow and they had enough of trying to replicate old songs.
Elvis, being the persistent and sprightly teen in the room, didn’t want to call it quits just yet and started strumming his own rendition of “That’s All Right, Mama,” by Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup on his faithful Kay acoustic guitar. Bill and Scotty’s ears perked up and they immediately plugged their instruments back in and started playing along.
“Man, that’s good,” Said Phillips. He rushed to turn the microphones back on. “It’s different. What is it?”
Nobody knew the answer, it WAS different. Music the world had never heard before. It was Rock ‘n’ Roll.
This is what came out of Philips’ Studio exactly 60 years ago and even now after all these years you can still hear a special kind of uniqueness in the sound that influenced generation after generation of musicians to come.
The 60th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s first song was marked with special events around the globe and we thank The Tennessean for bringing this story to us.
You can read about the life and times of these legends in Scotty and Elvis: Aboard the Mystery Train