My friendship with Elvis Presley was something which changed my life. The music we made with Bill Black, later D.J. Fontana and the Jordanaires has lived on now 50 years later. We had a lot of fun in those early days. Little did we know at the time, what we were creating…don't blame us! I first met Elvis when he came to my house in Memphis to audition for me on the 4th of July 1954. The next day Elvis, Bill Black and I recorded “That’s Alright” at Sun Studios. I am proud of our first band “Elvis Presley and The Blue Moon Boys”. I am happy to be a part of that rock ‘n’ rock history as Elvis’ first guitarist, first manager and “right hand man” in the early years. Elvis and I recorded 500 songs together – that is a whole lot of music! I write this letter to confirm that I own a very special collection of records that used to belong to Elvis, and to confirm the story of the records: In early January 1968 I got a call from Elvis. We were soon to meet in Nashville to record at RCA’s Studio B. Elvis asked if I could transfer his old favourite 78 RPM records to reel-to-reel tape for him at my studio. I told him yes. When we met at the sessions in Nashville, which took place on January 15th and 16th 1968, Elvis brought with him a briefcase with 26 78s wrapped in the January 14th edition of the Memphis news-paper “The Commercial Appeal”. Elvis left me the briefcase with the records and asked me to mail the tape back to his house in Memphis, which I did. I made a safety copy for myself and kept the records and tape in my studio in Nashville. Elvis never asked for the records to be returned. Later in that year 1968, Elvis called me to get our old band together for a program which later has become known as the “NBC Comeback Special”. We rehearsed and taped the program, and after the program was filmed, Elvis asked me and D.J. Fontana if we would go to Europe for a tour with him. We all agreed, but Elvis went to Las Vegas instead of Europe. This was the last time I saw Elvis. Some years later – around 1973, I believe, I was cleaning out my studio when I noticed the briefcase with the 78 RPM records. I called Graceland who took notice of the titles, and I took the records back to my home studio in Nashville where they have been kept safe in my home ever since. For 40 years, the records have never left my possession. These records were some of Elvis’ first and all time favourite records. They influencedElvis as a musician and vocalist for sure. They were to be part of the recorded music Bill and I created with Elvis back in the 1950's.
After Elvis, Bill and I recorded “That’s Alright” / “Blue Moon of Kentucky”, we were thinking of other songs we like to record. From this collection of 78s we recorded “Blueberry Hill”, “I Got A Woman”, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”, “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, “Let’s Play House” and “Hound Dog”. I hope the records will end up in a museum for all in the world to see. They have Elvis’ DNA all over them! I wish Elvis and Bill Black were still around to see the influence our music has on later generations of fans and musicians. The 78s were a large part of that musical journey for Elvis and later Bill and I. The record collection shows Elvis' wide range of musical tastes and his passion for the music and the song. I want to show the world and everyone now listening, the impact these recordings had on Bill, Elvis and me. Here are the records which helped inspire us to create the music which later inspired the ones who came after us.Joe Turner - Corrine Corrina / Boogie Woogie Country Girl; The Dominoes - That's What You're Doing To Me / When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano; Ivory Joe Hunter - It's A Sin / Don't You Believe Her ;Roy Brown - Hurry, Hurry Baby / Travelin' Man; Fats Domino - Blueberry Hill / Honey Chile; The Crickets - You're Mine / Milk And Gin; Tommy Edwards - It's All In The Game / All Over Again; Ray Charles - I Got A Woman / Come Back; Hank Snow - I'm Gonna Bid My Blues Goodbye/ Just A Faded Pedal From A Beautiful Bouquet; Louis Jones & His Band - Rock And Roll Bells / All Over, Goodbye; Lowell Fulson - Reconsider Baby / I Believe I'll Give Up; The Four Lads - Moments To Remember / Dream On, My Love, Dream On; Johnny Ace with The Beale Streeters - My Song / Follow The Rule; Roy Hamilton - Hurt / Star Of Love; Sammy Davis Jr. - Because Of You Parts 1 & 2; Fats Domino - Ain't It A Shame / La-La ; Lloyd Price - Lawdy Miss Clawdy / Mailman Blues; Brownie McGhee - I'm 10,000 Years Old / Cherry Red; Buddy Blake - Rosie / You'll Cry For Me; The Pearls - Your Cheatin' Heart / I Sure Need You; Ivory Joe Hunter - Since I Met You Baby / You Can't Stop This Rockin' And Rollin'; Carl Perkins - Matchbox / Your True Love; Billy Ward & His Dominoes - Rags To Riches / Don't Thank Me ; The Billy Vaughn Orchestra - The Shifting