I Remember Elvis
Posted by James Simmons on January 08, 2003 - I live and grew up in Tupelo, Ms. I also remember Elvis. My first thoughts of Elvis was at the Mid South Fair in Memphis in September, 1955. I was a freshman in high school. The FFA and FHA would make a trip from our school to FFA and FHA day at the Memphis Fair. We took in the shows and rode the rides all day. All day long, we heard, That's Alright Mama on the sound system. The only time it was interrupted was by a fair announcement. I remember someone asking, who is that singing? Oh that's a local boy by the name of Elvis Presley.
Elvis made two trips back to 'Tupelo to do stage shows at the Miss.-Ala. Fair in Tupelo. All of the proceeds were to go to build an Elvis Presley park in East Tupelo.
That is where I now live. For years, there was a small sign on the side of Highway 78 (East Main Street) that said: Future Home Of Elvis Presley Park. It is told that Elvis came to Tupelo, went to the park site, kicked the sign over and went to the mayor and told him that he had donated many thousands of dollars for a park and if there was not a park on that site within a year, someone was going to jail. The park site was assaulted by heavy equpment. Within six months, Elvis Presley Park was on the map.
Since that time a birthplace, museum and chapel has been construted. As a boy of 15, I was asked to play piano for a young Hi recording artist by the name of Charles Cockrell. My childhood dreams had come true. I was a band member for a recording artist. Needless to say, the recording he made (Little Girl and I Want Somebody) did not become no 1. We went into the studio at HI and recorded a song I had written. Homer Ray Harris was the engineer at that time. We recorded the master complete with a black backup group. I was finally making it as a songwriter. At this time London Records bought Hi.
To this day, I have not heard anymore about my song. But back to Elvis. When Elvis came to Tupelo the first time, some of us guys made the suggestion that we enter a float in the parade they had on Children's day at the Miss.-Ala Fair. There were four of us guys at that time in high school who were flusterated muscians. One of the guys in my class who had long blond hair died his hair black and became Elvis. I played an acoustic guitar, we had two more guitars, and one guy picked the upright bass tub. There was a young person dressed as a rabbit and another dressed as a hound dog. The hound dog chased the rabbit while Elvis sang Hound Dog. I was not a guitar player. By the time the parade was over after 20 city blocks, my fingers were mush. We won 1st place of $125.00. We never saw the money. The school just happened to get it.
Now that I think of it, Howard was the first Elvis impersonator. He was one of the greatest.
The Lakeland Music Group.