Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mr. Presley.

Today, I just wanted to post a little Happy Birthday to one of my all-time favourite 'vintage' musicians: The King himself, Elvis Presley. He would have been 75 today.

I know it's quite cliched but I do believe that his earlier recordings are amongst some of the finest to ever be recorded by anyone. Sam Phillips began recording local (Memphis) blues and rhythm and blues musicians in his tiny Sun Studio in 1950. He knew that many of the artists who passed through his studio had something special to offer - among them being the likes of Riley "B.B." King and Chester "Howlin' Wolf" Burnett - but he feared they would never be able to achieve anything more than moderate success on the charts. He wanted a musician to take this new style of music, which was sweeping Memphis and the surrounding area, to a mainstream audience and knew he would need to find a young white musician to do this.

Late one afternoon during the summer of 1953, Phillips finally found the young musician he was looking for when 18 year old Elvis Presley walked timidly through the front door of Sun Studio. It wasn’t until a year later in 1954, however, that Phillips brought Elvis back into the studio to play with guitarist Scotty Moore and bass player Bill Black who were struggling to find the right sound for their country band the Starlite Wranglers.

They recorded together unsuccessfully until the evening of July 5, 1954 – exhausted after another full but unproductive day, Phillips and the other musicians were about to call it quits. Suddenly, Presley began singing an old blues song by Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup called “That’s All Right (Mama)”. Sitting in the recording booth, Phillips knew immediately that he had finally found the sound for which he had been searching – and the young performer to sing it.

The song was released 2 weeks later and it immediately began to cause a sensation among both white and black listeners.

In less than a year Elvis became the most popular young entertainer in the mid-south and by the summer of ’55 Phillips realised that Elvis had outgrown the limited resources of Sun Studio – in November of the same year Colonel Tom Parker arranged for RCA Records to purchase the young singer’s contract from Sun Records for $35,000. By the time he was drafted by the US Army in 1958, Presley had already sold more than 16 million records for RCA and had established himself as one of the dominant figures in the history of popular music.

This is one definitely one of my favourite versions of Blue Moon. It's thoroughly haunting.

As well as being one of my favourite music artists, I have to say I dig Elvis' style, (mainly up to the early-mid '60s, anyway).

Photo found here.

And if you want to dress like The King? Lansky Brothers have their 'Clothier to the King' line (Elvis used to buy many of his cool threads from them).

This reproduction of the jacket Elvis wore in Speedway is definitely one of my favourites. I love the vibrant red and the racing stripes.

Although it was originally a Carl Perkins song, Blue Suede Shoes has been synonymous with Elvis Presley and these are certainly a nice pair!

I hope you all enjoyed my little birthday tribute to The King. It was impromptu so it may be a little sloppy but I didn't want it to be too long or too brief.

Andi B. Goode

P.S. I'd also like to note that, whilst looking for pictures for this post, I was overcome by many a swoon! Oh come another.

A lot of the information in this post comes from The History of Rock and Roll by David Shirley.


  1. Great post and pictures.
    Elvis is definately swoon worthy.

  2. I love Elvis Presley !!!
    Lindo, beautiful, bellíssimo !!!

    Kiss, my dear !!!

    Cláudia Brasil

  3. Oh, you picked the best pics of Elvis...he was SUCH a "hunk a hunk a burning love." Happy birthday to the KING!

  4. Great post, a really interesting history lesson! I can't believe he would only have been 75!

  5. Elvis is the king in so many ways...
    Blue Moon is my favourite by him (besides Jailhouse Rock, of course!). I find it haunting too.

  6. great post :) all hail the king of rock n roll!

  7. This is so wonderful! I love Elvis. :)

  8. Oh, Elvis. :) My grandmother is a huge fan, and my great-grandmother's birthday is today as well. My mother was also married the week that Elvis died. My grandmother thought her entire world had ended - her daughter leaving, and Elvis dead.

  9. I can feel The King living on through your marvelous tribute post, sweetie! :)

    Like many of us vintage gals, I adore Elvis too (especially in his younger years), a point I believe I picked up from my grandmother, who was a teenager during Elvis' emergence onto music scene, as she peppered her house with Elvis memorabilia and never tired of talking about him (if the subject came up).

    Wishing you a gorgeous Elvis Friday & weekend ahead!
    ♥ Jessica

  10. Happy birthday, Elvis! :) I love him!

  11. Andi, are you trying to make me die of lust this morning?! ;)

    Great post!

  12. yeah, that last photo is YUM
    thanks, Andi. i really enjoyed this!

  13. He was amazingly gorgeous there! I could never get tired of his music. It is sad to think of the direction his life took, however, and in particular how he was exploited by his record company and forced into making D-grade film after D-grade film. Can't help but wonder what it would be like if he were still around.

  14. I love him! He truly was amazing!

  15. Oh he really is one of the two most beautiful men who ever lived, sigh.
    I love listening to his music, there's always so much emotion in his voice, makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end! xx

  16. Great post and the pictures are lovely. Elvis sure was a very beautiful and sexy man. There's no one like him.

    Take care!

  17. Thanks to everyone for the comments. I'm glad you liked the post! And it's great to see so many Elvis fans. =D


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