Tag Archives: Elvis: Return to Tupelo

“That’s All Right” by Elvis Turns 60

photo by Velvet, Flickr
photo by Velvet, Flickr

A young truck driver from Tupelo, MS walked into Sun Studio on the evening of July 5th, 1954 to record three songs and one of them, “That’s All Right,” changed music history. He and his band mates, guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, recorded the less-inspiring  “Harbor Lights” and  “I Love You Because” before launching into Mississippi bluesman Arthur Crudup’s 1954 song. Producer Sam Phillips knew a hit when he heard one and released the single 14 days later (with the B-side “Blue Moon of Kentucky”) and it went on to launch Elvis Presley’s career.

To mark that important milestone in music history, British actor and musician Sam Palladio will host a special program “That’s All Right: 60 Years On,” live from Sun Studio on July 5th on BBC Radio. Artists including Laura Bell Bundy, Candi Staton, and The Pierces will perform the songs Presley cut that hot night in Memphis along with other classic Elvis tracks.


BBC Radio

Sun Studio
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN, 38103
Phone: 800-441-6249


Graceland, of course, is hosting a big event on July 5th, called “60 Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll” which includes special tours, concerts, and fireworks.

3734 Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, TN 38116
Phone: +1 901-332-3322


The historic Levitt Shell (then called the Overton Park Shell) was the site of  Elvis Presley’s first professional performance on July 30, 1954. He opened for Slim Whitman and the young audience was more in tune with Presley’s hip-shaking than Slim’s yodeling abilities. Somebody had the presence of mind to shoot home movies of Presley’s first concert.

This weekend, Levitt Shell is hosting a free concert to commemorate what music historians now regard as the first live rock ‘n’ roll show.

Levitt Shell
1928 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104
Phone: (901) 272-2722

Elvis: Return to Tupelo


If you want to learn more about Elvis Presley’s upbringing, his musical influences, and what brought him to the studio that fateful day, this documentary features interviews with childhood friends, first girlfriends, and early band mates to build a complete picture.  It’s the story of Elvis’s dirt-poor upbringing in Tupelo, MS, his job as a Memphis truck driver with musical aspirations, and his rapid rise to stardom in 1956.  Even if you know a lot about Elvis, this 2008 documentary is still full of surprises. (He was actually blonde!)


Elvis: The Miniseries


The exhilarating moment when 19-year-old Elvis started improvising with Bill and Scotty in the studio and impressed Sam Phillips with their rendition of “That’s All Right” is dramatized in the 2005 CBS mini-series “Elvis.” Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers portrays Presley–from his shy, polite demeanor off stage to his confident, sexy swagger on stage. The biopic dramatizes the rise of Elvis to superstardom, using his original recordings and real Graceland locations.

(Meyers beat out 300 others who auditioned for the lead and he ultimately won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his performance as Elvis Presley.)




Memphis on Screen

If you want to know more about the history and culture of the area, these are helpful documentaries and movies:

Eyes on the Prize


Multi-part PBS documentary about the Civil Rights movement. Superb archive footage and insightful interviews. A must-see. Aired on public television in 1987 and was finally released on DVD in 2010.

Well-told drama about Martin Luther King Jr. (Jeffery Wright) leading the sanitation workers strike in Montgomery, Alabama. (2001.)

Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story


Music-filled documentary about the rise and fall of Stax Records and its important place in the history of American soul. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson. Highly recommended for the archive footage of all the big stars like Otis Redding, Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Sam & Dave, Rufus Thomas, The Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes, and many more! (2007.)

West of Memphis
Director Amy Berg’s documentary examines the West Memphis Three–teenagers who seemingly were falsely convicted for the murder of three little boys. (2012.)

Let Freedom Sing

Chronicles the power of music that helped move a generation during the Civil Rights Movement. Features 29 inspiring performances including Respect, Change Is Gonna Come, People Get Ready, Fight the Power, and What’s Going On.  (2009)

Elvis: Return to Tupelo

Features interviews with childhood friends, first girlfriends, and early bandmates to build a complete picture of the well-mannered Southern boy with a talent for singing.  It’s the story of Elvis’s dirt-poor upbringing in Tupelo, MS, his job as a Memphis truck driver with musical aspirations, and his rapid rise to stardom in 1956.  Even if you know a lot about Elvis, this documentary is still full of surprises. (Elvis was actually blonde!) (2008.)

Other movies filmed in Memphis and nearby:

21 Grams (2002)
3000 Miles to Graceland (2001)
The Angel Doll (2000)
Black Snake Moan (2007)
Cast Away (2000)
The Client (1994)
The Delta (1996)
Elizabethtown (2005)
Elvis (2005 TV Movie)
Elvis and Me (1988)
A Family Thing (1996)
Finding Graceland (1998)
The Firm (1993)
The Grace Card (2011)
The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag (1992)
Forty Shades of Blue (2005)
Great Balls of Fire! (1988)
Heart of Dixie (1989)
Highway 61 (1991)
Hustle & Flow (2005)
Leningrad Cowboys Go America (1989)
Making the Grade (1984)
Memphis (1992 TV Movie)
Memphis Beat (TV Series)
Memphis Belle (1990)
Mystery Train (1989)
Nothing But the Truth (2008)
A Painted House (2002)
The People Vs. Larry Flynt (1996)
The Rainmaker (1997)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Soul Men (2008)
Take Me to the River (2014)
This is Elvis (1981)
Trespass (1991)
Tricks (2007)
Walk the Line (2005)

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has a complete list of movies filmed in Memphis: