Elvis Presley Week:
Most people know Elvis recorded for Sun Records in the beginning. There is a famous quote that is attributed to Sam Philips who was the owner of Sun. He once said “If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars.”
Elvis took a black blues song which was almost a ballad and speeded it up. What would become his first hit for Sun Records was born, “That’s All Right, Mama”. They had to play with it a little to get it exactly like Philips wanted, but finally he was satisfied. They then recorded the flip side, “Blue Moon of Kentucky” which was a bluegrass song done by Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys. Monroe’s version is much slower.
If you listen to these two songs, you are hearing the birth of a new sound in America. No one had really done this before. This was the birth of rockabilly. Rockabilly was the combination of country and rhythm & blues. Elvis would stray from this later, particularly after he joined RCA Records, but in the early days, Elvis was rockabilly.