The Bob Luman connection

Elvis Presley was not the only Southern white boy playing with the blues in the mid-1950s. In Texas, for example, Bob Luman knew there was more to music than c&w songs, however good and powerful they may be. But it was only when he actually saw Elvis perform in the summer of 1955 that the pieces fell into place. From that moment on, Luman joined the movement and never looked back. His early career reports are frustratingly vague with regard to dates, but he does have a surprising connection to the story of "Heartbreak Hotel", and, as part of the book's quest for the truth, his story is presented in a newly-researched and more-detailed fashion. Luman is pictured here with his short-lived band

The Boren family

Mae Boren Axton's full birth name was Nannie Mae Boren which is exactly and precisely the same name as her mother. She was the penultimate child of nine, and the only daughter. In letters to her brother Lyle, Mae conifrmed that their family was not overly demonstrative as far as affection was concerned, but there was a strong bond between the siblings. This photograph was probably taken about 1932 when Mae was aged 18. Her father, Mark, would feature prominently in her life, never moreso than when "Heartbreak Hotel" was racing up the charts in spring 1956. Photograph copyright The Boren family, Ancestry.com

Eddy Arnold's gold record

During the 1940s, Tom Parker assembled a team around Eddy Arnold that he would eventually use with Elvis Presley in the 1950s. In order to better understand how Elvis' career progreesed, one might simply look at what Parker did with his first substantial client, The Tennessee Plowboy himself. This delightful picture from the cover of Billboard in April 1949 shows some of the key players in Presley's story. From the right there's Tom Parker (manager), Jean Aberbach (part owner of Hill & Range music publishers) and Steve Sholes (RCA's head of hillbilly and race records, and Eddy's producer), then Eddy himself. If one were to replace Eddy Arnold with Elvis Presley, the right side of this pictur

Elvis: One Night

Here is a wonderful example of the young Elvis Presley working at the limits of his considerable talent. The multi-instrumentalist (guitar, bass, piano) here accompanies himself on Scotty Moore's Gibson L5 CESN guitar on a 1957 recording that he initially rejected because his quality-control level was so high. When he was unable to re-record his performance because he was drafted into the army, RCA Victor begged him to approve the song for release in 1958. He agreed, and the track hit number one all over the world. Arranged, produced and probably lyrically tweaked by Elvis himself, this was one of the sexiest and most passionate of all 1950s rock 'n' roll hits. Elvis. an obsessive r&

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