“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Tupelo in Lee County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)

Elvis Presley and the Blues

Elvis Presley and the Blues Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, April 7, 2010
1. Elvis Presley and the Blues Marker
Inscription. Marker Front:
Elvis Presley revolutionized popular music by blending the blues he first heard as a youth in Tupelo with country, pop, and gospel. Many of the first songs Elvis recorded for the Sun label in Memphis were covers of earlier blues recordings by African Americans, and he continued to incorporate blues into his records and live performances for the remainder of his career.

Marker Rear:
Elvis first encountered the blues here in Tupelo, and it remained central to his music throughout his career. The Presley family lived in several homes in Tupelo that were adjacent to African American neighborhoods, and as a youngster Elvis and his friends often heard the sounds of blues and gospel streaming out of churches, clubs, and other venues. According to Mississippi blues legend Big Joe Williams, Elvis listened in particular to Tupelo blues guitarist Lonnie Williams. During Elvisís teen years in Memphis he could hear blues on Beale Street, just a mile south of his familyís home. Producer Sam Phillips had captured many of the cityís new, electrified blues sounds at his Memphis Recording Service studio, where Elvis began his recording career with Phillips's Sun label. Elvis was initially interested in recording ballads, but Phillips was more excited by the sound created by Presley and studio musicians
First Assembly of God Church and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, April 7, 2010
2. First Assembly of God Church and Marker
Scotty Moore and Bill Black on July 5, 1954, when he heard them playing bluesman Arthur “Big Boy” Crudupís 1946 recording “Thatís All Right.” That song appeared on Presleyís first single, and each of his other four singles for Sun Records also included a cover of a blues song—Arthur Gunterís “Baby Letís Play House,” Roy Brownís “Good Rockiní Tonight,” Little Junior Parkerís “Mystery Train,” and Kokomo Arnoldís “Milk Cow Blues,” recorded under the title “Milkcow Blues Boogie” by Elvis, who likely learned it from a version by western swing musician Johnnie Lee Wills. Elvis's sound inspired countless other artists, including Tupelo rockabilly musician Jumpin' Gene Simmons, whose 1964 hit “Haunted House” was first recorded by bluesman Johnny Fuller. Elvis continued recording blues after his move to RCA Records in 1955, including “Hound Dog,” first recorded by Big Mama Thornton in 1952, Lowell Fulsonís “Reconsider Baby,” Big Joe Turnerís “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” and two more by Crudup, “My Baby Left Me” and “So Glad Youíre Mine.” One of Elvisís most important sources of material was the African American songwriter Otis Blackwell, who wrote the hits “All Shook Up,” “Donít Be Cruel,” and “Return
Elvis Presley Birthplace and Memorial Chapel image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe
3. Elvis Presley Birthplace and Memorial Chapel
Entrance sign
to Sender.” In Presley's so-called "comeback" appearance on NBC television in 1968, former bandmates Scotty Moore and D. J. Fontana rejoined him as he reprised his early Sun recordings and performed other blues, including the Jimmy Reed songs "Big Boss Man" and "Baby What You Want Me to Do." Blues remained a feature of Elvis's live performances until his death his 1977.
Erected by Mississippi Blues Commission.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
Location. 34° 15.572′ N, 88° 40.792′ W. Marker is in Tupelo, Mississippi, in Lee County. Marker can be reached from Elvis Presley Drive near Berry Street. Click for map. Marker is located on grounds of Elvis Presley's birth home, museum and Church. Marker is at or near this postal address: 306 Elvis Presley Drive, Tupelo MS 38804, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Elvis Presley's Childhood Church (here, next to this marker); Birthplace of Elvis Presley (within shouting distance of this marker); Shake Rag (approx. 1.1 miles away); Shake Rag Community (approx. 1.1 miles away); Elvis Presley and Tupelo
1939 Plymouth-Memphis Bound image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe
4. 1939 Plymouth-Memphis Bound
(approx. 1.2 miles away); Tupelo Confederate Soldiers Monument (approx. 1.5 miles away); The Younger Cabin / Confederate Headquarters (approx. 1.5 miles away); Battle of Tupelo (approx. 3.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Tupelo.
Also see . . .  Elvis and the Blues - Tupelo. (Submitted on December 25, 2012.)
Categories. African AmericansNotable BuildingsNotable PersonsNotable Places
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 1,211 times since then and 20 times this year. Last updated on , by Paul Jordan of Burlington, N. C., U. S. A.. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.   3, 4. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Picture of the marker's reverse. • Can you help?
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