Elvis Presley | Photo credit: 45cat.com

There are times when we run out of something. This happens in almost all types of careers. The recording job isn’t an exemption to this. And, even the best recording artists experience running out of a song to record during a particular session. This happened specifically to the late King of Rock & Roll Elvis PresleyIn July 1954, Presley was recording his first couple of songs for Sun Records. He’s done with the first single “That’s All Right” and needed one more to serve as the B-side. He and his camp had almost lost hope during that period. They’re running out of time and still can’t find a song to record. Until one of his buddies, Bill Black started singing Blue Moon of Kentucky,” an original record of Bill MonroeBlack’s falsetto voice excited Presley and soon he joined him singing and playing the song.

Elvis Presley’s Version

With the owner of Sun Records Sam Phillips’ words of encouragement, Presley and his band created a new song out of something already existing. From Monroe’s original slow waltz in 3/4 time, the song had metamorphosed into an upbeat, blues style tune in 4/4 time. Hearing the primary recording of the song by the group, Phillips can’t help but feel delighted. At the time of the song’s recording, Presley has just turned 19 and he’s already at his imaginative best. With Black and Scotty Moore’s superb hillbilly backbeat, Presley’s version of the classic tune would soon become a breakthrough hit for him.

Also, his cover had consistently received high ratings and began to chart, together with its A-side, across the Southern United States. In Memphis, “Blue Moon of Kentucky” ranked No. 6 on the C&W Territorial Best Sellers. Three months after its release, it became a Top 10 hit not only in Memphis but in two more countries including Nashville and New Orleans. 

Listen to Elvis Presley’s recording of “Blue Moon of Kentucky” below.

The Original Record

Here’s also an original performance of the song by Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys.

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