On This Day: Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black Record ‘That’s All Right’ in 1954

by Jacklyn Krol
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Elvis Presley recorded “That’s All Right” on this day sixty-seven years ago.

The song was first recorded by Arthur Crudup and recorded in 1946. Meanwhile, Presley recorded the song on July 5, 1954. He released the song with the B-side being “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” His version of the track is roughly two times faster than the original blues recording.

This marked Elvis Presley’s first-ever single release. Local WHBQ disc jockey Dewey Phillips played the song on the radio on July 7, 1954. Meanwhile, Presley went to the movie theater to focus on something else and not have to worry about the debut.

According to Sun Studio, Dewey played the song fourteen times during his show. He got over 40 calls from listeners about the song. He even had Presley come in that night for an in-studio interview.

This song also marked the first song that Elvis Presley played in concert. According to SongFacts, on July 30, 1954, he performed the song first at a concert. He was opening up for Slim Whitman and also performed “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and “I’ll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin’).”

In the 1970s there was a lawsuit concerning Crudup allegedly not being paid royalties. He should have been paid $60,000 in royalties in a settlement but it never came to fruition.

Amazingly, the song was re-released 50 years later, in 2004. The song as a CD charted at No. 3 in the UK, and in the top 50 in Ireland, Australia, and Sweden.

Elvis Presley’s Recording Process

Elvis Presley’s cousin Billy Smith recounted witnessing recording sessions with The King in a YouTube video. He was there to help and watch the Memphis Mafia while he was a child.

In one particular instance, he was in RCA Studio B back in 1958. Elvis Presley was home for leave from the United States Army. During his brief time home, he decided to record a few singles while he was home in Tennessee.

Even though he was family, it was still a magical experience to witness The King at work. It was also something that only a few handfuls of people ever got to experience.

“I feel like so many of Elvis’ fans know exactly what I’m talking about.” If he had to try to nail it down, he shared, “I think he put his heart and soul into every song he recorded, good or bad.”

That same energy he would bring to both the studio and concert.

“When Elvis was on stage, somehow he had a way of bringing you into his world,” he added.

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