In early 1958, the introduction of army induction suddenly threw everything into fast forward for Elvis Presley and those in his immediate circle. During his time in the service, there would be a two-year hiatus in Presley‘s ability to create new product, but contracts still committed Elvis to four singles and an album per year owed to RCA. The clock was ticking on his 90-day deferment, and much of the calendar was already tied up with the filming of King Creole.
The Elvis Presley story is full of “what ifs” that were trumped by manager Col. Tom Parker dictating “what is”. By 1957, the Colonel had reportedly turned down at least two movie opportunities, basically because the producers couldn’t guarantee the requisite million dollars upfront. One was a serious role opposite Burt Lancaster in The Rainmaker. Another would have been a shot in the musical comedy The Girl Can‘t Help It.
Almost every recording artist can cite the first time they heard their song on the radio. Just like in the movie That Thing You Do, the dancing-in-the-street euphoria of the Oneders when their song split the airwaves in Erie, PA, was experienced time and again throughout the 50’s and 60’s for garage bands, singers and pickers alike. Surely the most repeated radio debut story has to be the night Dewey Phillips played “That’s All Right Mama” and “Blue Moon Of Kentucky” repeatedly on his Red Hot And Blue show on WHBQ.