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Elvis Presley’s Hometown Issues New License Plates

Elvis Presley’s hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi, is encouraging the state’s residents to sign up for a new specialty license plate. The town’s Elvis Presley fan club helped win approval from the Mississippi legislature last year, but 300 applications are needed before production begins. Currently only 120 Mississippi residents have applied. Proceeds from the plates, which cost $31 more than regular tags, will raise money for a youth center, with a possibility of building an aquatic complex. Presley was born in Tupelo, Miss., in 1935, and lived there until this family moved to Memphis, Tenn., when he was 13.

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Bear Family Sun Collections

In the Spring of 1952, Sam Phillips took the bold step of launching his own record label. He’d been in business as an independent producer for a couple of years, and he’d recorded the biggest R&B hit of 1951, Jackie Brenston’s Rocket 88, so he knew he had ears and he knew he was in the right place. But could he make Sun succeed when the casualty rate among independent labels was already very high? At first, the answer seemed to be “No.” There were one or two Sun releases, and then the label was folded for almost a year. But slowly the hits began coming… the recently-deceased Rufus Thomas, the Prisonaires, then Junior Parker, and then of course Elvis Presley. The floodgates opened, and in came Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich, Roy Orbison, Conway Twitty, Carl Mann, Billy Riley, Warren Smith, and many others. The music they made literally changed the world.

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