Musician Biographies » Elvis Presley » “That's All Right” - “i Don't Sound Like Nobody”, First Love: Dixie Locke, “without You”, Red Hot And Blue

“That's All Right” - “i Don't Sound Like Nobody”

elvis recording marion phillips

Sam Phillips and Marion Keisker owned and operated the Memphis Recording Service, which was also known as Sun Records. Phillips and Keisker started the company in 1950. They were known as experts in recording the best of black music. Sam Phillips recorded many black artists who went on to become famous, among them blues great B. B. King.

In August 1953, eighteen-year-old Elvis Presley walked into the Memphis Recording Service carrying the guitar he'd gotten for his eleventh birthday. In the interviews that he gave later, he said he'd gone to the studio to surprise his mother or to hear what he sounded like. However, he could have paid a quarter to make a record at the drugstore to give to his mother or to hear his voice. At that time, in addition to jukeboxes and soda counters where kids could hang out and listen to music with their friends, drugstores often had small recording booths similar to the ones you might see at a county fair. These recording booths weren't as professional as getting a recording done at Sun Studio, where a sound engineer could mix the sound levels to ensure a great recording. Elvis was smart. He wanted to have a record made in a place that had been in the newspaper for producing songs that were exciting the music industry.

In a 1970 interview, Marion Keisker said, “We had a conversation, which I had reason to remember for many, many years afterwards, having gone through it with every editor that I tried to talk to during the time that I was promoting him for Sun.”

Marion asked Elvis, “What kind of a singer are you?” “I sing all kinds,” Elvis said. She asked him, “Who do you sound like?” “I don't sound like nobody,” he answered.

Elvis recorded two songs that day: “My Happiness” and “That's When Your Heartaches Begin.” Sam Phillips told Elvis that he might call him sometime. Marion Keisker, however, made a note beside Elvis's name: Good ballad singer. Elvis stopped by the studio once in a while to see whether they needed singers for session recordings or demo tapes. Marion was always very nice to Elvis, but there was never any singing work for him to do.

“That's All Right” - First Love: Dixie Locke [next]

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