"That's All Right"Elvis Presley
The 1954 recording session that produced "That's All Right," Presley's debut single and first major hit, actually wasn't the first time Presley had set foot in Sun Studio. He first checked in for studio time a year earlier, in 1953, to record a two-sided disc of "My Happiness" and "That's When Your Heartaches Begin." Presley didn't make much of an impression on Phillips at the time, although his secretary, Marion Keisker, wrote down in a note after the session that he was a "good ballad singer."
In January of 1954, Presley was back at Sun Studio, this time, to record "I'll Never Stand in Your Way" and "It Wouldn't Be the Same Without You." Once again, the session didn't lead to much.
Though things hadn't quite clicked for Phillips yet, the young Presley would soon turn out to be the key to a sound he'd been looking to find for quite a while. At the time, Phillips had a strong hunch that bringing a black musical sound to a white audience would be lucrative. Artists including BB King, Ray Charles and Muddy Waters were heating up, and down in Phillips' own hometown of Florence, Ala., black artists were just beginning to find a home at nearby FAME Studios. However, it wasn't until that fateful session on July 5, 1954, that Phillips and Presley finally struck gold with "That's All Right," a 1946 blues number originally penned by Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup.
After its release, the song sold only about 20,000 copies -- not enough to qualify as a national hit -- but stoked a career that would quickly launch both Presley and Sun into megastardom.