Life in the world of country music during the '40s, '50s and '60s was not for the faint of heart. Would-be stars toured and travelled for years, sometimes even decades, before reaching the first rung on the ladder of success.
Jim Reeves is a good example of a country singer who slowly grafted his way to the top: it took almost ten years before he secured a half-decent record contract, and even when an occasional hit record came along he was still a long way from national or international stardom.
He eventually signed with a serious label — RCA Victor — in 1955 just a few months before the fast-rising Elvis Presley, and they both chose Tree Music published songs for their initial RCA single releases. But it wasn't until 1959 that Jim scored a genuine hit record with "He'll Have To Go", which also established his signature intimate style. By that time, he'd been working in the country music field for over a dozen years.
When Elvis Presley recorded "Heartbreak Hotel" as his debut RCA record in January 1956, he'd been a professional musician for all of sixteen months. Such was the speed of the revolution kick-started by the boy from Memphis.
[Jim Reeves and RCA producer Chet Atkins, copyright unknown.]