August 4, 1957 – In the Studio with Johnny Cash (with his Hot and Blue Guitar)

On August 4, 1957, Johnny Cash recorded the final set of songs for his upcoming release, Johnny Cash with his Hot and Blue Guitar.  Produced by Sam Phillips and Jack Clement, Hot and Blue was released October 10, 1957, on the Sun Records label.  Six of the final twelve tracks were laid down on August 4th, including “(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle”, “Country Boy”, “If the Good Lord’s Willing”, “So Doggone Lonesome”, “I Was There When it Happened”, and “Doing My Time”.  Other great Cash songs on the album: “The Rock Island Line”, “Cry Cry Cry”, “I Walk the Line”, “The Wreck of the Old ’97”, and “Folsom Prison Blues”.

Johnny was 25 when he recorded Hot and Blue.  Along with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich, Bill Justis, and Harold Jenkins (Conway Twitty), he began his recording career at Phillips’ small storefront studio on Union Avenue in Memphis.  He was Sun Records’ most prolific and best-selling artist after the departure of Elvis Presley.  Hot and Blue was Cash’s debut album and Sun Records’ first long-playing record released.

Image Credit: Sun Records

June 26, 1957 – Elvis Spends His First Night at Graceland



Elvis takes in the sights at Graceland, with a friend

On June 26, 1957, Elvis spent his first night at home at Graceland.  Fresh off the set of his third movie, “Jailhouse Rock” for MGM, Elvis arrived at the 10,250 square foot, tan limestone mansion set on 13.8 acres in Memphis, Tennessee three months after purchasing it in March for $102,500.  The classical revival-style mansion with large white entrance columns had been built in 1939 by Ruth Moore and her husband, Dr. Thomas Moore.  Ruth was the niece of Grace Toof, who was the daughter of S. C. Toof, founder of the Memphis commercial printing firm S.C. Toof & Co.  S. C. had purchased the property originally and named it Graceland Farms, after his daughter, who gave Ruth a portion of the land holdings after her father’s death.

Elvis had extensive modifications done to the mansion before he moved in, including the addition of the famous waterfall-containing Jungle Room, a swimming pool, and a racquetball court.  Over the years, Elvis expanded the mansion to almost 18,000 square feet, using a decorating philosophy that included swathes of white and red, accented with peacocks and leopard skin.  Friends generously described the interior as “tacky”, while critics used such terms as cheap, “gaudy”, “garish”, “phony”, and “turn-of-the-century bordello” style taken from New Orleans’ French Quarter.  “Tasteless white trash” was a general verdict.

Elvis had his revenge on the critics. Graceland is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated a National Historic Landmark.  It is the second-most visited residence in the United States each year, after the White House.  Elvis is buried at Graceland, along with his parents and grandmother, in an area he had built and named Meditation Garden.

Image Credit: david/flickr