Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Elvis Presley

Yes, the 50s. In Cleveland. The birthplace of Rock n' Roll, where a riot where no music was played, certainly none anyone could hear, and was broken up during the first song, has been declared the first rock concert. That was in 1952.

None of the characters in These Are The Times would have listened to "rock and roll" during the 1950s, not even the younger ones. That was strictly for teenagers. However, it happened. And there is history.

Elvis Presely was 19 years old in mid-1954 when he recorded That's All Right in Memphis, Tennessee. And that is a dynamite freaking record. At that time they called what he was doing "rockabilly" and one of his nicknames was "The Hillbilly Cat." For the time being, he was strictly a Southern phenomenon ... until October 20, 1955 when he played his first gig above the Mason-Dixon Line.

Brooklyn High School (that's Brooklyn, Ohio) held a rock n' roll concert that night, crafted by DJ Bill Randle, and starring Bill Haley & The Comets, The Four Lads and Pat Boone. Elvis was an unknown addition to the bill.
Randle had been playing their records in Cleveland since January and still thinking he had spotted a winner, he plugged the "sensational young singer" in his Oct. 1, 1955, newspaper column, "Randle on Record," as the singer "whose style is a combination of hillbilly nasalties, rock ’n’ roll, Johnnie Ray and a peculiar sound all his own. The new phenomenon looks like Tony Curtis and drives a pink and black Cadillac. Watch him roar."
Elvis was wearing an orange suit. His set included Mystery Train, That’s All Right, Blue Moon of Kentucky, Good Rockin' Tonight and I Forgot to Remember to Forget.

Autographs for Cleveland girls



  1. A dynamite freaking record, indeed. I consider it one of my great accomplishments in life that I helped you come to an appreciation of Elvis Presley.

    Driving to Memphis reading Guralnick, good times.