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Featured Timeline Winner for September - Elvis, Scotty Moore and Bill Black Record "That's All Right"

August 31, 2010

The winning Elvis timeline milestone for September that Elvis fans voted as their number one favorite Elvis moment is #5 - Elvis, Scotty Moore and bass player Bill Black record "That's All Right."

When Elvis recorded an acetate record at Sun Records as a birthday gift for Gladys in 1953, Sam Phillips' business partner, Marion Keisker, made a note about Elvis, saying "Good ballad singer. Hold." Over the next year, Elvis visited the recording studio several times to try and persuade Phillips to give him an audition. Elvis was given a chance to audition a new song from Nashville, "Without You," yielding somewhat uninspiring results. Despite this, guitarist and talent scout, Scotty Moore offered Elvis another audition, which resulted in the two performing in front of Sam Phillips at Sun Records along with bass guitarist Bill Black.


During the studio session, Phillips found Elvis' renditions of "Harbor Lights" and "I Love You Because" stiff and uninspired, prompting him to call for a break. It was during this break, that Elvis and the guys launched into an informal jam session of Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's "That's All Right." Hearing the song in a way he had never heard it before, at twice the tempo, Sam Phillips knew he had found the sound he was looking for. Two days and several recording sessions later, Phillips previewed the record for local radio DJ for WHBQ, Dewey Phillips, who excitedly vowed to play it on his show. He did so on July 8th, and the song was an instant hit, with listeners calling in to request it again and again.

See a full gallery of photos related to the recording of "That's All Right."


Five new photos relating to the recording of "That's All Right" have been added to the Elvis Mobile app for iPhone and iPod Touch users. Download the free app to enjoy weekly Elvis photo updates, periodic video updates, the latest news on all things Elvis, the Graceland LiveCam, podcasts and more.

Each week in September, Elvis Insiders will have access to a new, rare artifact relating to the recording of "That's All Right" from the Graceland archives in the members-only exclusive image gallery on ElvisInsiders.com.

Be sure to visit Elvis.com/timeline and vote for your favorite Timeline event, which will be featured in October. 

Facts About Recording "That's All Right:"

- Ironically, the record's B side song came in almost the same way as "That's All Right," with Elvis, Scotty and Bill improvising an up-tempo version of Bill Monroe's bluegrass classic in waltz time, "Blue Moon of Kentucky."

- When Dewey Phillips played "That's All Right" for the first time on air, the fan reaction was so great that Phillips called Elvis' home to request Elvis' presence in studio. Gladys and Vernon pulled Elvis out of the movie theatre and sent him to the station for an interview.

- In January of 1954, Elvis paid to record a second acetate at Memphis Recording Service, cutting two country songs, "I'll Never Stand in Your Way," and "It Wouldn't Be the Same Without You," again garnering the interest of Marion Keisker and Sam Phillips.

- It was at Marion Keisker's insistance to Sam Phillips that he gave "the boy with the sideburns" a chance to come in and audition Red Wortham's new song, "Without You" in June of 1954.

- Starlite Wrangler bass player Bill Black was the brother of Johnny Black, who also played bass and whom Elvis knew from Lauderdale Courts.

Other Current Events in 1954:

- In Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the Supreme Court unanimously banned racial segregation in public schools.

- The MLB Word Series was broadcast in color for the first time ever.

- Boeing tested the 707, the first jet-powered transport plane.

- Ernest Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

- "From Here to Eternity," produced by Buddy Adler, won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

- Bill Haley and the Comets began writing hit songs, venturing into the Rock 'n' Roll music genre.