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1954-2014, 60 YEARS OF ROCK 'N'ROLL

'THAT'S ALL RIGHT' Elvis’ first professional recording, considered by many music historians to be the birth of the rock ‘n’ roll music movement.

The Lost Letters! The Birth of Elvis! The Archives of Sun!
July 1954 - December 1955



Forty seven historical original letters from the files of Sun Record Company at 706 Union Ave. in Memphis Tennessee.

Forty one historical Sun Record Company, Inc. letters and six historical letters from the distributors to Sun Record Company.

These are the original authentic letters which chronicles the birth of Elvis' career under contract at Sun, ranging from July 1954 through to December 1955 that were kept in the Sun Record Company, Inc. files for there own records and archives.

Some of these letters were lent to and displayed at the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art's “Rock 'N Roll 1939-1959” exhibit in Paris, France in the summer and fall of 2007. The exhibit was a lavish affair, with a Grand Opening attended by Little Richard, Tina Turner, Wanda Jackson, songwriters Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller, etc. A couple of these letter's were even given a full page (each) in Cartier’s gorgeous coffee-table book put out in conjunction with the exhibit.

In 2010 Ernst Jorgensen spoke to Daniel Johnson about these letters pertaining to Ernst Jorgensen's Sun CD/Book project called Elvis Presley A Boy From Tupelo The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings, in association with Sony. Ernst Mikael Jorgensen, Elvis Sony producer. RCA/Legacy is a division of Sony Music Entertainment Inc.


You can view the first page of one of these letters, the letter dated July 29, 1954 to Nate Duroff of Monarch Record Manufacturing Company from Sam C Phillips in the Book/CD project called Elvis Presley A Boy From Tupelo The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings, Chapter 4 page 26. This letter as with all the letters are owned by Daniel Johnson.





Enquires from Television and Media
For all enquires worldwide from television and media pertaining to these historic letters which are available for TV, Film, News, Documentaries and editorial purposes.
 
Exhibitions worldwide
For enquires worldwide for company's to exhibit these historic letters.
 
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For enquires to purchase these historic letters.
Estimate $175,000

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Please e-mail: info@sunrecordcompany.com



July 29, 1954 from Sam Phillips 2 pages
July 29, 1954 from Sam Phillips 2 pages
August 6, 1954 from Sam Phillips
August 9, 1954 from Marion Keisker
August 10, 1954 from Sam Phillips 2 pages
August 16, 1954 from Sam Phillips
August 18, 1954 from Sam Phillips 2 pages
August 31, 1954 from Marion Keisker
September 11, 1954 from Sam Phillips
September 24, letter to Sam Phillips from Miami
September 22, 1954 from Sam Phillips 2 pages
September 22, 1954 from Sam Phillips
September 22, 1954 from Sam Phillips
September 25, 1954 from Marion Keisker
November 4, 1954 from Sam Phillips
December 6, 1954
December 28, 1954 from Marion Keisker
December 29, 1954 from Sam Phillips
January 3, 1954 (January 3, 1955) from Los Angeles
January 6, 1955 from Marion Keisker
January 19, 1955 Marion Keisker, plus work sheet
January 24, 1955 from Sam Phillips 
February 12, 1955 from Miami 2 pages 
February 12,1955 from Marion Keisker
February 15, 1955 from Sam Phillips
February 17, 1955 from Marion Keisker 
March 1, 1955 from Sam Phillips 2 pages
March 10, 1955 from Sam Phillips 2 pages
March 14, 1955 from Sam Phillips 
March 21, 1955 to Sam Phillips from Los Angeles
June 1, 1955 from Marion Keisker 
July 14, 1955 from Marion Keisker 
July 14, 1955 from Marion Keisker
July 23, 1955 from Sam Phillips 
July 30, 1955 from Sam Phillips
August 3, 1955 from Sam Phillips 
August 8, 1955 from Marion Keisker 
August 15 1955 from Marion Keisker 
August 17, 1955 from Sam Phillips 2 pages
August 20, 1955 from Sam Phillips 
August 26, 1955 from Boston
September 19, 1955 from Sam Phillips
September 28, 1955 from Marion Keisker
September 29, 1955 from Marion Keisker
October 22, 1955 from Marion Keisker
December 10, 1955 from Marion Keisker
December 19, 1955 from Philadelphia


Each individual letter stands up in its own right as a complete letter. The forty seven letters cover all of Elvis' ten released songs at Sun and start from July 1954 through to December 1955.

Ten songs, making five singles, were originally released on the Sun label. These records (in both 45 RPM and 78 RPM formats)
 
Sun 209 July 19, 1954: That's All Right / Blue Moon of Kentucky
Sun 210 September 25, 1954: Good Rockin' Tonight / I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine
Sun 215 December 28, 1954: Milkcow Blues Boogie / You're A Heartbreaker
Sun 217 April 10, 1955: Baby Let's Play House / I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone
Sun 223 August 6, 1955: I Forgot To Remember To Forget / Mystery Train


 
At the time, the entire Sun Record Company operation was run by owner Sam Phillips and office manager Marion Keisker. When Sam wanted to send a letter to a record distributor, disk jockey or retail outlet, he would dictate the contents to Keisker.

Keisker would take a sheet of Sun Record Company stationary, put a piece of carbon paper below it, and put a piece of plain white paper below that (sometimes with the words "Copy" pre-printed on it in red). She would type out the letter, mail the top letter, throw away (or re-use) the carbon paper, and file the bottom sheet in the Sun's files.

Each one is original, unique, and was once an important part of the Sun Record Company operation and Presley's emergence. Each one is unique, one-off part of the original three-layer "sandwich" of this historical correspondence which had Sam Phillips desperately trying to sell his new young phenom to the world. Each one was created by Marion Keisker's fingers striking her typewriter's keys. Every distributor company involved is long long gone so these letters are the only known in existence in this quantity..

July of 1954 is when everything happened… the month during which the nuclear bomb was built that created rock ’n’ roll’s big bang. On July 4, 1954, Elvis first met Scotty and Bill. On July 5, they recorded “That’s All Right.” Sometime early in the month, “Blue Moon of Kentucky” is recorded. On July 8, Dewey Phillips first spins an acetate of “That’s All Right” on the air. On July 12, Scott Moore becomes both manager and booking agent for the new trio. Only on July 17, Elvis makes his nightclub debut by jumping on stage with Scotty Moore’s Starlite Wranglers. Days later on July 19, “That’s All Right” b/w “Blue Moon of Kentucky” is released as Sun 209. On July 26, Elvis and his parents sign a recording contract with Sun Record Company. On July 27, Elvis gives his first-ever press interview, to the Memphis newspaper. On July 28, Elvis receives a $46 paycheck from Crown Electric for 46 hours of work that week. ON JULY 29, THIS LETTER IS TYPED. The following day, on July 30, Elvis makes the first concert appearance of his life, opening for Slim Whitman at the Overton Park Shell in Memphis, performing just the two songs found on his brand new Sun single.
 
This letter to Nate Duroff of Monarch Record Manufacturing in Los Angeles is devoted entirely to Sun 209.  Phillips fairly pleads with Duroff to “please get on this record out there… both sides are hitting, and in every category: pop, R&B and Hillbilly… this record has the necessary potential to sell in any territory in the country… it is definitely going to be one of the biggest records of the year, and you know we can use the business.”
 
What’s hilarious and remarkable about this particular letter is that nowhere, not once in this two-page letter, does Phillips mention the words “Elvis,” “Presley,” “That’s All Right” or “Blue Moon of Kentucky”!  That’s because Elvis was a total nobody, an absolute zero at this point, so why bother mentioning him?  Phillips just kept calling it “this record” and “209.”  How funny & historic is that?

This exact artifact was displayed at the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art's “Rock 'N Roll 1939-1959” exhibit in Paris, France in the summer and fall of 2007.  The exhibit was a lavish affair, with a Grand Opening attended by Little Richard, Tina Turner, Wanda Jackson, Jerry Lieber of Lieber & Stoller, etc.


You can also view the first page and second page of one of these letters below. The first page of this letter dated July 29, 1954 to Nate Duroff of Monarch Record Manufacturing Company from Sam C Phillips appears in the 2012 Book/CD project called Elvis Presley A Boy From Tupelo The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings, Chapter 4 page 26. This letter as with all the letters are owned by Daniel Johnson.





 

 
In addition, Cartier published a large, gorgeous, massively expensive, 400-page coffee-table book, with hardshell slipcase, to commemorate the event.  The book contains many of photographer Alfred Wertheimers’ famous 1956 photos of Elvis (because Alfred was part of the exhibit), and they gave two of these letters a full page each, on pg. 252 and 253.












Pete Howard: We would like to thank Pete Howard who has contributed to writing a number of parts of these pages pertaining to the Sun letters on elvispresleymuseum.com and sunrecordcompany.com. Pete Howard who is extremely well respected in the music industry, he spent several years as a executive at CBS records and is a music historian and is often called upon by the media as an expert in the field of music. He was contributing editor of Rolling Stone Magazine, and owned published and edited ICE magazine for 19 years and also penned Goldmine magazines 22,000 word cover story on collectible music posters. Pete Howard of PosterCentral.com


Aaron Benneian: We would also like to thank Aaron Benneian for his sincere contribution. Aaron is a former collector of early Elvis Presley memorabilia from the 1953 to 1955 Sun Records era. Originally these historic letters were discovered decades ago, in the 1970s. Aaron realised the historical significance of these letters pertaining to the birth of Elvis' career at Sun and acquired them in the 1990s. Aaron had accumulated one of the finest collections of pre-RCA Presley items anywhere in the world and had travelled extensively throughout Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee researching Elvis' early musical career. Although still a fan, today he deals in antique photographs and historical Americana. Aaron Benneian of PhotosAndAmericana.com