Elvis Month: Getting the band together

Elvis 04/08/2019

1954 sees Elvis beginning his music career in earnest. The soon-to-be-King Presley jumps from job to job while taking part in a number of early recording sessions and taking night classes to be an apprentice electrician.

Record producer Sam Phillips was convinced by his assistant Marion Keisker, who had recorded Elvis previously, to contact Presley to audition for a song the producer hoped to put on record.

The song is ‘Without You’, although Elvis does not sing it to Sam’s satisfaction he is given a chance to show what he can do with songs of his choice. 

The producer is impressed enough to team Elvis up with local guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black. 

The trio struggle to find a piece that really clicks until July 5 when they break into a sped-up ‘That’s Alright’ which would form the first of five singles of early Elvis songs.

Elvis continues to work his day job while the trio perform together, on October 2 he suffers an early disappointment on the ‘Grand Ole Opry’ where an official reportedly told him to go back to driving a truck.

Undeterred they continue touring and in mid-October Elvis quits his day job. Appearing for the first time on the ‘Louisiana Hayride’ October 16, a Saturday night country music radio show. Elvis would become a regular and, in November, signs a year contract for 52 Saturday night appearances.

It is during his time with the Hayride that Elvis meets “Colonel” Tom Parker and for the first half of 1955 Elvis and the gang continue to tour and regularly play at the Hayride adding Drummer D.J. Fontana to the band.

In August Elvis signs an official management contract with Hank Snow Attractions, owned equally by singer Hank Snow and Parker. Although it is not long before Parker takes over exclusive control of Elvis’ career.