Before The Fame and Fortune





















It was a cold winter day in the quiet little town of Tupelo, Mississippi. You can almost hear music from "Also Sprach Zarathustra," building, as Jesse Garon and Elvis Aaron were born in a tiny two-room house. One boy was stillborn at birth while the other boy would live to become the greatest entertainer of the 20th century

Confusion arose in later years over the spelling of Elvis' middle name Aaron. It appears as though the physician scribbled a name on the birth certificate that looks like "Aron". Elvis and Vernon always used the more common spelling of Aaron. Hence, that is believed to be the correct spelling and is the way it appears on his gravestone.

Elvis received his first guitar as a birthday present around 10 or 11 instead of the bicycle or rifle he really wanted. His uncles Johnny and Vester taught him the basics of how to play the guitar.

On October 3, 1945 a very shy, cute little guy named Elvis, made his first public appearance on a stage at the Alabama State Fair. He had to stand on a box to reach the microphone as he sang "Old Shep." He won second place prize of $5.00 and free admission to the rides that day.

Elvis was 16-years-old when he first heard J.D. Sumner at the Ellis Auditorium and dreamed of someday being on stage with him. Little did he know then that someday J.D. would be performing as part of his very own Elvis Presley ensemble.

On April 17, 1952 Elvis got a part time job in Memphis, Tennessee's Loew's State Cinema as an usher. However, he was soon fired. It seems someone found out about the concession stand girl that was giving him free candy and popcorn. Why isn't that surprising ?

Soon after that he went to work for Marl Metal Manufacturing Company. Elvis was forced to quit when Gladys found out he was falling asleep at school.

On April 9, 1953, the Humes High School Talent Contest was treated to Elvis performing, "Cold Cold Icy Fingers." They liked him so well they ask him to do a second song, "Till I Waltz with you Again."

This side burned, duck tailed young man in a crew cut world, graduated from L.C. Humes High school on June 3, 1953.

Elvis went to work for Crown Electric Company driving a delivery truck in July, 1953. He had always wanted to be a truck driver. But that didn't last long either, as the world was about to discover what Elvis Presley was really all about.

It was 1953 when Elvis walked into Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Service. Sam was out of the office that day and his secretary Marion Keisker was in charge. She ask Elvis who he sounded like. He announced "I don't sound like nobody." Elvis cut two songs on a ten-inch acetate that day as a present for his mothers birthday. "My Happiness" and "That's When Your Heartaches Begin". Sam's now famous words of "If I could find a white man who had a Negro sound and a Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars" kept churning in Marion's mind as she heard Elvis sing.

 It was a year later before Sam and Elvis finally met. After that meeting on June 27, 1954 Sam decided Elvis needed a little accompaniment. He called in electric guitarist Scotty Moore, and stand-up bass player Bill Black, of the Starlite Wranglers. The trio worked on several numbers together before clowning around and accidentally hitting on the perfect combination of sounds with, "That's All Right Mama)" They immediately recorded it on one side and "Blue Moon of Kentucky," on the other.

On July 7, 1954, Dewey Phillips, a disc jockey in Memphis, Tennessee had a radio program called "Red Hot and Blue" at WHBQ. He was the first one to play, "That's all Right Mama)." Phone calls flooded the lines that night begging to hear the song again. Dewey is said to have played both sides of the record all night long.

The phenomenon of "Elvis Presley" was about to take the world by storm.

Interesting bit of trivia: "Also Sprach Zarathustra," was written by Richard Strauss in 1896. Later it would become known as "Theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey"; and then, of course, would become Elvis's theme song. The number was perfect as it would build, along with our emotions, as we await the appearance of the one and only Elvis Presley.


Originally published on Suite 101.com

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