Another great post Cliff!
When Elvis Conquered ClevelandJanuary 2: Bill Randle plays his first Elvis record ("Blue Moon of Kentucky") on WERE radio in Cleveland. Randle told me he always liked the Bill Monroe song.
February 26: Thanks to the efforts of Tommy Edwards and his WERE radio show, Elvis performed for the first time in Cleveland at the "Circle Theatre Hillbilly Jamboree." There were two shows at 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. These were the first shows that Elvis and his combo had performed outside of the South.
March 28: Elvis performed again at the Hillbilly Jamboree in Cleveland. According to Patricia Jobe Pierce this performance was noticed by Bill Randle and also some of the Elvis performance was aired on Randle's WERE show. [Note: This information is incorrect because in the book, Elvis - Day By Day by Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jorgensen, this Cleveland performance conflicts with an Elvis appearance in Mississippi on the same date.]
August 16: According to Pierce's book, Colonel Tom Parker contacted well-known publishing house manager, Arnold Shaw, and asked him to give Elvis tapes to Bill Randle to play on his weekend WCBS radio show in New York. Randle said it was not appropriate to play the Elvis music on his New York show but had played his records in Cleveland and received an "incredible response." The Colonel then could contact RCA executives and tell them "his boy" was really "hot" outside of the South.
August 20: Elvis supposedly performed two shows at the Circle Theater. Bill Randle was in the audience and reportedly "took note of the Hillbilly Cat's overall improvements in singing and guitar playing. Elvis had lost his initial stage fright and seemed calmer, more confident, and humorous." [Note: This date by Pierce is also incorrect because in Elvis - Day By Day, Guralnick and Jorgensen have Elvis listed as performing on the Louisiana Hayride on Shreveport, Louisiana on this same date.]
October 19: This time Elvis performed with country legends Roy Acuff and Kitty Wells at the Circle Theater. Acuff and Elvis didn't get along because Acuff had criticized Elvis's first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
October 20: One of the landmarks in the early career of Elvis. It was the first time he was filmed for a commercial movie (still unreleased).
Here is the description as told in Pierce's book:
Elvis, Pat Boone (whose "Ain't That a Shame" just hit the charts), Bill Haley (who had seven Top 20 hits), and The Four Lads (who had released "Moments to Remember") sang at the Brooklyn High School and St. Michael's Hall in Cleveland. Elvis performed by request in front of a camera for the well-known Cleveland disc jockey Bill Randle, who produced a forty-eight minute documentary with a $4,000 budget titled, The Pied Piper of Cleveland: A Day in the Life of a Famous Disc Jockey .
Tom Edwards photographed Elvis and Bill Haley shaking hands at Cleveland's Brooklyn High School Auditorium. At the evening performance at St. Michael's Hall, Elvis sang "That's All Right, Mama," "Blue Moon of Kentucky," "Good Rockin' Tonight," "Mystery Train," and "I Forgot to Remember to Forget." Randle's documentary was shown at Euclid Shore Junior High School and on WEWS-TV, Channel 5, in Cleveland.
(Photo taken the day of Cleveland concert, 20 October 1955 -- courtesy of Bill Randle)
The photo shows two Cleveland disc jockeys standing at the microphone: Bill Randle and Tommy Edwards. Standing behind them (left to right) are guitarist Scotty Moore (white shirt and tie), unidentified men in the background, Elvis Presley in sports jacket, and bassist Bill Black, also in white shirt and tie.
There has been much speculation and disbelief that the October 20, 1955 footage with Elvis still exists. According to reliable sources it was sold by Bill Randle to a British company in 1992. It has yet to be released, probably due to publishing and copyright difficulties. Will it ever be released? Hopefully it will some day.
Tommy EdwardsHe was known as "The City Slicker Turned Hillbilly" and was the one who first told Bill Randle about Elvis. Edwards played his records on his "Hillbilly Jamboree" show on WERE radio, which was aired on Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Edwards began his radio career at WICD in Spencer, Iowa in 1945. In 1948 he moved to WOKY in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. About a year and a half later he moved on to WERE in Cleveland, where he had his "Hillbilly Jamboree" show and another show where he played mainstream pop music.
The "Hillbilly Cat"Just one month before Elvis appeared in Cleveland for his film debut in The Pied Piper of Cleveland, he was featured in COUNTRY SONG ROUNDUP (Vol. 1/ No. 40, September 1955) under the column: "Folk Music Fireball."
When writing about his SUN first record --"That's All Right" and "Blue Moon of Kentucky"-- the magazine claims that "the disc represented something new in records: the unusual pairing of an R&B number with a Country standard."
They also describe Elvis as "the big blonde (?) guy" whose hobbies include movies, listening to records, practicing football, and eating. His girlfriend Dixie was quoted saying that Elvis "ate 8 Deluxe Cheeseburgers, 2 Bacon-Lettuce--Tomato sandwiches--and topped it off with three chocolate milk shakes." Guess he was still a growing boy!
Another great post Cliff!
"If you're an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you're not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible.“
Love reading all these fabulous articles from the "past." Thanks! Cliff.Keep them comin'.
The One and Only King of Rock'n'Roll.
A great article, Cliff, lol.
Thanks so much, lol.
"They also describe Elvis as "the big blonde (?) guy" whose hobbies include movies, listening to records, practicing football, and eating. His girlfriend Dixie was quoted saying that Elvis "ate 8 Deluxe Cheeseburgers, 2 Bacon-Lettuce--Tomato sandwiches--and topped it off with three chocolate milk shakes." Guess he was still a growing boy!"
How the hell could he eat that much at once???
I feel stuffed just by reading it...
Poke a little sock salad...