Richard Hudson

I Am A Child Of The 50's

There are a few things on my mind.  Yesterday, Jan 8, was Elvis' birthday.  Those of you who are younger might say, well, big deal. But, to those of us who were around when Elvis came on the scene, it was a big deal.  A very big deal.  More like a huge deal. Unlike anything else I have witnessed in my lifetime.  Rock and Roll was in its infancy, in the mid 50's.  There was a stir when Elvis first emerged about 1954, but nothing earth shattering.  Bill Haley and The Comets had already released "Rock Around The Clock," and Happy Days was being played out in real life for us.  Elvis was part of the opening acts for country stars like Hank Snow and others for a while, but it soon became evident that everyone was not coming to see Hank Snow.  They were coming to see this young kid from Tupelo, MS with the swivel hips and the sultry voice, and the girls were screaming and going crazy.  Elvis' records were getting more and more air time and his recordings were charting.  Then somewhere along the way, Colonel Tom Parker took over, and Elvis was going to be on The Ed Sullivan Show.  He was going to be paid $50,000.  An unheard of amount at the time.  Ed Sullivan, being the conservative type that he was, gave strict orders that Elvis would be shown from the waist up only, but that didn't stop the girls from screaming, and the Elvis phenomenon was in full swing.  Elvis drew crowds that up to that time, were unheard of.  Many times he would do two shows to try to accommodate the overflow crowds.  I remember that was the case in Oklahoma City at the Municipal Auditorium.  The capacity at that time was about 7,500.  It was filled to overflowing, and there was still pandemonium outside of fans wanting to get in, so Elvis agreed to do another show.  It was filled again, and still there was a mob outside wanting to get in. That was the way it was.  There were other big stars at the time, such as Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, and many others, but none created the stir that Elvis did.

 

Before all of this, this young truck driver walked into Sun Studios in Memphis and asked if he could make a recording for his Mother for her birthday.  Sam Phillips agreed and I am sure he thought to himself, Yeah, another kid that thinks he can sing.  The recording was rough and crude, but Sam Phillips knew this kid had something special.  Deed Eddy, Duane's wife, posed a question of what would we be doing if Elvis hadn't went in to make that recording for his Mother?  That is a hard one to answer.  Rock and Roll had already started, and it was obvious that it was something new, but when Elvis came out, everything exploded and the music world hasn't been the same since.  Am I a fan?  You'd better believe I am.  I have been since I first heard him.  Elvis was uncomfortable when folks would refer to him as The King, but there is no doubt about it.  He is The King Of Rock and Roll, and always will be.

 

Happy Birthday, Elvis.

 

Comments

I agree. Gospel was Elvis' first love. They tell me that after a show he would invite all of the musicians and other folks up to his hotel room and they would play and sing nothing but gospel all night long.
I saw Elvis on a show last night talking about all the gospel stuff he did and he was great at that too; not just rock and roll.
 

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