Elvis Presley – That’s All Right

This is the song that started it all for Elvis. After trying many songs on the same night and not coming up with much, Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and Elvis Presley started to play this song and Sam Phillips knew he had recorded something different. Sam didn’t know what to think of the song…or how to classify it. That ni

On June 7, 1954, WHBQ Radio in Memphis became the first station to play this song when their disc jockey Dewey Phillips aired it on his Red, Hot and Blue show the day after Elvis recorded it.

Phillips was a pioneering DJ who played a mix of black and white music that attracted a large and diverse following. Elvis recorded “Blue Moon of Kentucky” the next night and it was the B side to this single.

The song didn’t chart nationally in 1954 but it was re-released in 2004 and peaked at #3 in the UK Charts. Scotty Moore’s solo in this record is fantastic. It’s simple but very effective.

From Songfacts

This was Elvis’ first single, and it came out of his first recording session. Elvis was a 19-year-old truck driver when he came to Sun Records in Memphis to record a song as a gift for his mother. Sun was owned by Sam Phillips, who his assistant, Marion Keiser, knew was looking for a “white man who sounds like a black man.” She alerted her boss to Elvis, and Phillips arranged some sessions with some local session players: bassist Bill Black and guitarist Scotty Moore.

The trio tried a few different songs in various styles, finally hitting the mark when they informally started playing Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s obscure 1946 blues song “That’s All Right,” in a fast, innovative style. Phillips liked what he heard and had them record the song this way. This uptempo Blues variation led some music historians to consider it the first rock song.

Presley told Rolling Stone magazine, “I said if I ever got to the place where I could feel all old Arthur felt, I’d be a music man like nobody ever saw.”

This song was only the second time Elvis and lead guitarist Scotty Moore played together. It was also the first song Elvis played in concert: On July 30, 1954, Elvis opened for Slim Whitman in Memphis’ and performed “That’s All Right, Mama,” “Blue Moon Of Kentucky,” and “I’ll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin’).” >>

According to Scotty Moore, this session wasn’t so smooth. He says Elvis started jumping around, “acting the fool,” which drew the ire of Sam Phillips, who owned the label and recording studio. Phillips made them start over, and it was this second take that was the keeper.

I slipped in the Beatles version in…

That’s Alright Mama

Well, that’s all right, mama
That’s all right for you
That’s all right mama, just anyway you do
Well, that’s all right, that’s all right
That’s all right now mama, anyway you do

Mama she done told me
Papa done told me too
‘Son, that gal your foolin’ with
She ain’t no good for you
But, that’s all right, that’s all right
That’s all right now mama, anyway you do

I’m leaving town, baby
I’m leaving town for sure
Well, then you won’t be bothered with
Me hanging ’round your door
Well, that’s all right, that’s all right
That’s all right now mama, anyway you do

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

12 thoughts on “Elvis Presley – That’s All Right”

    1. I know….It had to be so different at the time. The one comparable moment is when people talked about Love Me Do and Please Please Me…

      Dewey seems like an interesting character. He lived fast that is for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. First of all… Absolutely love Elvis! My dad played guitar in a wedding band for years and Elvis was a huge influence. I remember him playing all of those Elvis songs on his guitar.

    I’ve been to Memphis a couple times for conferences and have had a chance to walk through Graceland. I had hoped to have time to visit sun records, but never had the chance. That is still on my bucket list.

    The great example in this story of the disc jockey turning the record over and playing the other side is a fantastic example of how radio stations should program! There were many double-sided hits in the fifties and sixties because The songs that the record company issued as singles… Just weren’t as strong as the other side. The Beatles had this same success with B-sides. Granted, most of the B-sides we’re not as strong as the singles on the A-side, but kudos have to go out to those disc jockeys who listened to both sides and played the one they liked most! Without guys like that, who knows what songs would have never become hits.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I wish radio still worked like this…and the business in general.
      I’ve went to Graceland twice…once in the 80s and once in the 90s…. Coming back the second time we got lost and ended up in McNairy county where Bufford Pusser lived and walked through his old house that is a museum now.

      Double A sided hits were cool…The one that comes to my mind is Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Speaking of Pusser…true story…

        I worked in state law enforcement for a decade (non-sworn). One of the officers I worked with, his father was one of Pusser’s Deputies. This officer always kept one bullet in his left (uniform) shirt pocket (yeah, just like Barney). To him, it was a practical move & a memory of his dad. His dad cleaned his service weapon one night & dropped a bullet. Reloading the weapon, he couldn’t find the bullet. He grabbed another one & went to bed. The next day, on the way to work, he finally caught sight of the bullet. He put it in his left shirt pocket. During a bad traffic stop, a driver was armed & came after him. Exchange of gunfire & an empty revolver put him behind his own patrol car. The bullet in his pocket was the deciding factor. The driver was out of ammo, too.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is a great story. That makes total sense why he did it in the future. I’ve heard great and bad stories about Pusser…going through his house was cool. It was a total time warp. It was 1977 in that house forever. After going through Graceland not touching a thing…you could just go in Pusser’s house and sit on his couch…they don’t let you now I don’t believe.

        Like

      3. Wow. I’d like to visit both. I never lived in TN long enough to see anything other than the Underground Sea. I visited Gatlinburg many times from NC. My first honeymoon was in Gatlinburg.

        I never got to see Dollywood. Changing the subject, did you ever hear about the mess Dolly’s brother Randy caused here?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. No I didn’t know she had a brother…. I just read it in Wiki.. terminated the contract a year later…wow
        I’ve been to Gatlinburg around 3 times in my life. Where I live it’s pretty much the same scenery.

        Like

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