Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. He grew-up there in a shotgun shack that his father, Vernon, built. Elvis was thirteen when his parents moved to Memphis. Throughout his teens, the family moved around, living in small apartments and low-cost public housing.
For a couple of years there, Sam The Sham was the real deal. Almost in tribute to his name, Sam had the first record to be named Billboard’s number one song of the year which hadn’t actually held the number one position during the year. And it probably won’t come as a surprise that Sam wasn’t even really his name.
In May, 1963, Elvis Presley spent a couple of days in RCA’s Studio B in Nashville working on an album project. Fourteen songs were recorded, of which “Devil In Disguise” and “Please Don’t Drag That String Around” were immediately siphoned off as a single. The balance of the tunes never did coalesce as a unit, but were parceled off as single B-sides or album filler.
The story, as I understand it, can be summed up in these two parables, noted by Chris Davis in the Memphis Flyer in 2006. At the peak of their popularity in 1964, British duo Peter And Gordon played a gig in Chicago. At the time, they held the top spot nationwide with their song “A World Without Love.” Travis Wammack, who grew up in Memphis, was a young guitarist in the touring band, and also had a single on the charts. Before the concert, Wammack took a call from legendary WLS DJ Art Roberts. Art wanted to make sure that Travis would play his song, called “Scratchy,” that night.