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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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Million Dollar Quartet – Dec. 4 1956

The Million Dollar Quartet is the name given to recordings made on Tuesday December 4, 1956 in the Sun Record Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. The recordings were of an impromptu jam session between Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash. The jam session seems to have happened by pure chance. Perkins, who by this time had already met success with “Blue Suede Shoes,” had come into the studios that day, accompanied by his brothers Clayton and Jay and by drummer W.S. Holland, their aim being to cut some new material, including a revamped version of an old blues song, “Matchbox.” Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records, who wished to try to fatten this sparse rockabilly instrumentation, had brought in his latest acquisition, singer and piano man extraordinaire, Jerry Lee Lewis, still unknown outside Memphis, to play the piano on the Perkins session.

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