Elvis Timeline 1930's - 1950's
October 3, 1945
His fifth grade teacher Mrs. Oleta Grimes recommended Elvis to Principal Mr. J.D. Cole, who signed him up for the music contest at the 38th Annual Mississippi – Alabama Fair and Dairy Show in Tupelo. Elvis, aged 10, performed the country classic “Old Shep” and won a fifth prize. This was his first known public performance.
November 6, 1948
The Presley family packed their belongings in a trunk strapped to the roof of their 1939 Plymouth and moved to Memphis, Tennessee in search of a better life. In Memphis they moved into an apartment on 370 Washington Street, and Elvis was enrolled at Humes High School just a few days later.
Elvis was still working part-time at Loew's State Movie Theater, but he got fired for punching out a fellow usher who told the manager that Elvis was getting free candy from the girl working at the concession stand.
April 9, 1953
Elvis sang and played the guitar at the Humes High School Annual Minstrel show. He got an unexpected good response from his fellow students. Elvis recalls; “I wasn’t very popular in school. I wasn’t dating anybody… and then they entered me in this talent show, and I came out and did my (first number) ’Till I Waltz Again With You’, by Teresa Brewer… it was amazing how popular I became after that”.
July 18, 1953
Elvis recorded “My Happiness” and “That's When Your Heartaches Begin” at the Memphis Recording Service (Sun Studios). The demo record cost him 4 USD. Staff member Marion Keisker wrote down his phone number and address to give to Sam Phillips later. We’ve been told that Elvis made the record as a birthday gift for his mum, but it was certainly a way for Elvis to get Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Studios, to notice him.
January 4, 1954
Elvis recorded “It Wouldn't Be The Same Without You” and “I’ll Never Stand In Your Way” in SUN studios. This was a private recording that Elvis paid for himself. At the time, Sam Phillips at SUN was looking for someone who could deliver a blend of black blues and boogie-woogie music.
July 5, 1954
On this day Elvis recorded his first Rock ‘n’ Roll song in SUN Studio; a fueled-up version of Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s “That’s All Right, Mama”. Elvis initially wanted to be a crooner, and during the first part of the recording session he only did slow ballads. But then, in between takes, Elvis, Scotty and Bill started fooling around and singing Crudup’s blues tune. Phillips asked them to start over again, this time he recorded the song, and history was made!
July 8, 1954
Radio DJ Dewey Philips played “That’s All Right, Mama” on his radio show for the very first time, and he received loads of requests to play the song again. However, Elvis, too nervous to stay at home, had decided to visit the movie theatre. When his parents received a call from Dewey, they picked up Elvis and told him to go visit Dewey at the radio station. Dewey had a conversation with Elvis, without Elvis knowing it was live on the air.
October 16, 1954
Elvis performed at the Louisiana Hayride for the first time. The hayride show was a very popular country radio show broadcasted live from Shreveport, Louisiana. Elvis later became a regular at these shows, together with artists such as Johnny Cash, June Carter, Hank Williams and Jim Reeves.
January 10, 1956
On this day Elvis recorded “Heartbreak Hotel” in the RCA Studio’s in Nashville, Tennessee. It was released as a single on January 27th, and three months later on April 21st, it turned out to be Elvis’ first #1 on the Billboard singles chart. Ultimately it became his first Gold Record by selling over 1,000,000 copies.
August 8, 1956
On this day the duo “Don’t Be Cruel” / “Hound Dog” entered the top spot on the Billboard singles chart. This single, that is the only one in the history where both sides ended up at #1 on the same chart, spent formidably 11 weeks on the top position (the top spot was shared between the sides).
September 9, 1956
Elvis appeared at the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time. This show was at the time the most popular TV-show in the US. Elvis’ success on the Milton Berle and Steve Allen shows prompted the previously reluctant Ed Sullivan to sign Elvis for his own TV-shows. The show was viewed by 82.6 percent of the television audience; the largest single audience in television history!
September 26, 1956
Elvis performed live twice in front of huge crowds at the Mississippi Alabama Fair And Dairy Show in his birth town Tupelo. During these shows, that was announced as “Tupelo Welcomes Elvis Presley Home”, the mayor James Ballard proclaims the “Elvis Presley Day” in Tupelo, and presented Elvis with the Key to the City.
December 4, 1956
This day Elvis visited the SUN recording studio in Memphis to meet up with Sam Phillips. He landed in the middle of a recording session with Carl Perkins. Elvis stayed to jam with Perkins, as well with Jerry Lee Lewis, who was the piano player on the session. Johnny Cash was also present during parts of this session. Sam Philips taped the whole thing and these recordings have later become known as the Million Dollar Quartet session.
September 22, 1958
Elvis leaves for Germany on the USS Randall to serve abroad in Germany for 18 months. A number of fans and press were present at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in New York to cheer him goodbye. The USS Randall arrived at the German port of Bremerhaven 9 days later on October 1st. More than 1500 fans and a huge press corps greeted Elvis welcome to Europe.
Sources; “Elvis: Day By Day” – Peter Guralnick, Ernst Jørgensen / “Last Train To Memphis” – Peter Guralnick / “Careless Love” – Peter Guralnick / “Elvis Files Volume 1-6” – Erik Lorentzen / “A Boy From Tupelo” – Ernst Jørgensen / “The Complete Chart History Of Elvis Presley” – Joseph A. Tunzi / Wikipedia / www.keithflynn.com / www.elvis.com.au / www.officialcharts.com / www.imdb.com