1935-1957: Page 3
January 1, 1955
Elvis signs a contract with Bob Neal, who now becomes his manager.
January 15, 1955
During his association with the Hayride, Elvis meets “Colonel” Tom Parker, a promoter and manager connected with various acts and the ”Louisiana Hayride.” Parker is also the manager for country star Hank Snow. A previous Parker client is country star Eddy Arnold.
Elvis, Scotty and Bill continue touring on their own and in package shows with various country stars, including package tours of artists from the Hayride. Colonel Parker is involved. This includes touring with Hank Snow. The regular Hayride appearances continue. Drummer D.J. Fontana joins Elvis’ band. In the spring, Elvis fails to be accepted on “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts,” a network television show. As always, Elvis’ live appearances have special appeal for the teenagers, especially the females. His unusual style, sexy moves, and good looks start to cause more and more excitement wherever he plays. Sometimes the crowds break through the barricades in near-riot behavior. Elvis gains more and more popularity and begins to receive national attention. Colonel Parker becomes more involved in Elvis’ career.
August 15, 1955
Elvis signs a management contract with Hank Snow Attractions, which is owned equally by Snow and Colonel Tom Parker. Bob Neal remains involved as an advisor. Colonel Parker is to be Elvis’ exclusive manager from this time on and Snow is soon no longer connected to Elvis.
November 20, 1955
Elvis signs his first contract with RCA Records. Colonel Parker negotiates the sale of Elvis’ Sun contract to RCA, which includes his five Sun singles and his unreleased Sun material. The price is an unprecedented $35,000, with a $5,000 bonus for Elvis. RCA soon re-releases the five Sun singles on the RCA label. At the same time, Elvis signs a contract with Hill and Range Publishing Company, which is to set up a separate firm called Elvis Presley Music, Inc. Elvis will share with Hill and Range the publishing ownership of songs bought by Hill and Range for him to record. Elvis is the hottest new star in the music business.
January 10, 1956
Two days after his twenty-first birthday, Elvis has his first recording session for RCA, held at their studio in Nashville. Among the songs laid to tape during this session is "Heartbreak Hotel."