Gotta Find My Baby!

May 05, 2022

Sun Studio Recordings Not Released By its Label

Sam Phillips' small studio at
706 Union Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee was known in the 1950s for having some of Rockabilly's biggest stars on its roster. Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich, Roy Orbison and several other names elevated the studio's status.

Elvis was one of its main names and one of the first stars to cross paths with Sam Phillips, back in July 1953. Elvis' return in January 1954 for yet another private recording would be the beginning of his rise.

Presley recorded the hits that made his career at Sun. "That's All Right", one of the most requested by fans until 1977, was the first official recording (four private recordings were made before it) and the main milestone of the 17 months that Elvis' name belonged to the studio, between July 5, 1954 and November 20, 1955.

The song is globally accepted as the first Rock in the history of music, placing Elvis as the inventor - or perpetrator - of the genre.

Sam Phillips, Elvis and Phillips' secretary, Marion Keisker

The small band formed by Elvis Presley, Bill Black and Scotty Moore recorded at least 24 songs in the studio, of which only 18 have survived, but only 10 were released on the Sun label. The remaining 8 were purchased by RCA and released on several LPs between 1956 and 1965.

The 31 songs - including the private recordings from 1953/54 - would only be heard together in 2012, when the box set "A Boy From Tupelo: The Complete - 1953-55 Recordings" was released by FTD.

Left to right: Elvis, Bill Black, Scotty Moore and Sam Phillips at Sun Studio in 1954

In addition to the 24 known songs, Elvis may still have recorded others that unfortunately were lost due to problems or reuse of the tapes, or even misplacement and RCA's marketing strategy.

According to the book "Elvis: The Illustrated Record", there are at least two takes of "Tennessee Saturday Night" in the possession of RCA. One of them would be released in "Elvis For Everyone!" (1965), but it was replaced by "Tomorrow Night". The book even mentions "Uncle Penn" and "Oakie Boogie" as two other songs recorded by Elvis at Sun.

At least four other first versions would have been lost by the studio: "I Got a Woman", "Just Because", "You're a Heartbreaker" and "Tryin' to Get to You" - the last three having been re-recorded.

"Without You" was the subject of a rehearsal with Elvis, Scotty and Bill on June 26, 1954, but according to inconclusive records, the moment may not have been recorded. At the same time - or perhaps in early July 1954 - according to Elvis himself, he would have recorded "Tiger Man".


(songs that were not released under the Sun label are written in red)

July 18, 1953 - November 20, 1955

Sun Studio

Memphis, Tennessee

Voice: Elvis Presley
Guitar: Elvis Presley
Electric guitar: Scotty Moore
Bass: Bill Black
Drums: Johnny Bernero (I Forgot to Remember to Forget)

Producer / Sound engineer:
Sam Phillips

JULY 18, 1953
                                  My Happiness WPA5 2531-NA
                                  That's When Your Heartaches Begin WPA5 2532-NA

JANUARY 4, 1954
                                  I'll Never Stand in Your Way CPA5 5101-NA
                                  It Wouldn't Be the Same (Without You) CPA5 5102-NA

JUNE 26, 1954
                                  Without You (lost or not recorded)
                                  Tiger Man (lost?)

JULY 5, 1954
                                  I Love You Because EPA3 2742-03
                                  That's All Right (Mama) G2WB 1086-SP (SUN 209)
                                  Harbor Lights F2WB 8040-04

JULY 7, 1954
                                  Blue Moon of Kentucky F2WB 8041-NA (SUN 209)

AUGUST 15-19, 1954
                                Blue Moon F2WB 8117-09

SEPTEMBER 12-16, 1954
                               Tomorrow Night F2WB 8115-07
                               I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin') F2WB 8116-NA
                               Satisfied (lost)
                                Just Because F2WB 8118-NA
                               Good Rockin' Tonight F2WB 8043-02 (SUN 210)
                               I Don't Care If the Sun Don't Shine F2WB 8043-03  (SUN 210)

NOVEMBER 15, 1954
                               Milkcow Blues Boogie F2WB 8044-NA (SUN 215)
                               You're a Heartbreaker F2WB 8045-NA (SUN 215)

JANUARY 6, 1955
                              Shake, Rattle and Roll WPA5 2534-NA
                              Fool Fool, Fool WPA5 2533-NA

JANUARY 19, 1955
                              Shake, Rattle and Roll HRA1 8699-NA

                              Tryin' to Get to You (lost)
                              I Got a Woman (lost)
                               Baby Let's Play House  (SUN 217)

MARCH 5, 1955
                                You're a Heartbreaker (lost)
                                I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone  (Fast tempo) F2WB 8047-06 (SUN 217)
                                I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (Slow tempo) OPA1 4196-05
                                How Do You Think I Feel (partially lost)

JULY 21, 1955
                              I Forgot to Remember to Forget F2WB 8000-NA (SUN 223)
                              Mystery Train F2WB 8001-01 (SUN 223)
                              Trying to Get to You F2WB 8039-NA

NOVEMBER 1-4, 1955
                              When It Rains, It Really Pours NPA5 5826-05
                              When It Rains, It Really Pours (Alternate take)




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