Tupelo in Lee County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
— Mississippi Country Music Trail —
Raised on country here in Tupelo, first introduced as “The Hillbilly Cat,” then by RCA Victor as “the hottest new name in country music,” Elvis Presley’s revolutionary musical mix always had country as a key ingredient. Appearing on the country charts over 50 times, Presley’s music pushed traditional country towards the modernizing Nashville Sound, which followed the pop, if not the rock ‘n roll path he’d fashioned. Elvis would record the country songs he loved throughout his career.
Elvis Presley Born in Tupelo on January 8, 1935, Elvis Aron Presley grew up in a household that knew and valued country music, playing records by Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills, listening to Ernest Tubb, Bill Monroe and Roy Acuff on the radio. By age ten Elvis was singing Red Foley’s “Old Shep” at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair at the Fairgrounds here; he received his first guitar the following year. While rhythm and blues, Southern gospel, and pop would all be part of the Elvis Presley repertoire, country songs and his country music legacy, which began here, would have their own important place in
He took a secondary role in a local band during his high school years in Memphis, as they played songs by his future label mates Eddy Arnold and Hank Snow. His first records, produced at Sun Records in Memphis in the mid-1950s, included tunes in roughly equal measure from country and R&B sources. The rock ’n roll style he developed there, along with band members Scotty Moore and Bill Black and producer Sam Phillips, demonstrated enough twang that it came to be known as rockabilly, and Elvis himself was promoted as “The Hillbilly Cat.” His Southern regional fame grew with regular appearances on the Louisiana Hayride, the adventurous live country broadcast out of Shreveport. It seemed completely appropriate to audiences that Presley was soon on tour with Hank Snow, Slim Whitman and Faron Young, making connections that led to his signing by RCA Victor records and, before long, global fame.
Elvis would consistently place hit songs on the country charts as well as the pop charts for years to come. Ten Presley records were Number One country, and such classics as “A Fool Such as I,” “Always On My Mind,” “There Goes My Everything” and “Green, Green Grass of Home” would be as much Presley signature tunes as they were for the strictly country artists who also recorded them.
In the late 1950s, the massively successful Presley pop style and rock ’n roll’s
Erected 2011 by the Mississippi Country Music Trail. (Marker Number 12.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • Communications • Entertainment • Industry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Country Music Trail series list. A significant historical date for this entry is January 8, 1935.
Location. 34° 15.581′ N, 88° 40.804′ W. Marker is in Tupelo, Mississippi, in Lee County. Marker is at the intersection of Elvis Presley Drive and Reese Street, on the right when traveling north on Elvis Presley Drive. Located within the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 306 Elvis Presley Dr, Tupelo MS 38801, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Elvis Presley's Childhood Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Elvis Presley and the BluesThe Birthplace / East Tupelo 1935-1948 (within shouting distance of this marker); Birthplace of Elvis Presley (within shouting distance of this marker); The Outhouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Native American Site (approx. 0.2 miles away); Town Creek Tupelo Encampment / Camp Life in Tupelo (approx. ¼ mile away); The Tupelo Swamp / Plank Road (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tupelo.
Also see . . . Graceland story about Elvis and Country Music. (Submitted on April 13, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 31, 2023. It was originally submitted on April 13, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 829 times since then and 113 times this year. It was the Marker of the Week January 5, 2020. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on April 13, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.