Elvis Presley Timeline: 1954

A historical Elvis Presley timeline of dates and important events

Elvis in 1954
Elvis in 1954. Getty Images

Here's a handy timeline of important dates and major events in the life of Elvis Presley in 1954. You can also find out what else Elvis was up to in 1954 and in all the years of his life.

1954

January 30: Elvis goes to the local skating rink, the Rainbow Rollerdrome, to meet a young girl, Dixie Locke, he's had his eye on for some time. Driving her home that night, they make a date for the movies; Locke would soon become Presley's first real girlfriend.


February 16: Elvis brings Dixie home for supper in order for her to meet his parents.
February 26: The couple visit the All-Night Gospel Sing at the Ellis Auditorium in order for Presley to see The Statesmen Quartet, whose bass vocalist, James "Big Chief" Wetherington, specializes in wild leg shaking and gyrations while at the microphone.
April 20: Elvis begins driving a truck for Crown Electric Company.
May 15: Elvis auditions with the house band at Memphis' Hi Hat Club and is told he'll never make it as a singer.
June 6: Sam Phillips, head of Sun Records, calls Elvis in to record two songs, "Without You" and "Rag Mop." 
July 4: While clowning around at Sun, Elvis, guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black begin to play Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's "That's All Right (Mama)." Hearing something he likes, Sam Phillips orders them to replicate it again and again. That same day, the trio begins working on a fast cover of the bluegrass standard "Blue Moon of Kentucky." Scotty Moore is heard saying they'd be run out of town for such a bluesy rendition of a beloved standard.

It proved to be a landmark in both rock n' roll and, very specifically, rockabilly.
July 7: Dewey Phillips of Memphis' WHBQ plays "That's All Right (Mama)" and its flip, "Blue Moon of Kentucky," on his Red Hot & Blue R&B show. An instant hit, the song is immediately played 14 more times. Callers to the station insist that Elvis must be a black man.


July 12: Elvis Presley signs his first contract with a manager -- his guitarist, Scotty Moore.
July 28: Elvis gives his first print interview.
July 30: Elvis gets his first billing, opening third at a Slim Whitman show.
October 2: Elvis bombs at the Grand Ole Opry, which does not approve of his take on traditional country music. The Opry's talent director, Jim Denny, famously tells Presley he should go back to driving a truck. Elvis swears never to return.
October 16: Elvis makes his first appearance as a guest on the popular Shreveport radio show "Louisiana Hayride" and quickly becomes a fan favorite. 
October 23: "That's All Right" b/w "Blue Moon of Kentucky" hits the Top Ten in the Nashville and New Orleans markets, representing the first hit for Elvis outside of Memphis.
October 25: Elvis records five songs at KWKH in Shreveport, LA. None of these recordings exist today.
November 6: After several very successful dates there, Elvis signs a year long contract with Shreveport's "Louisiana Hayride" concert/radio show.
November 26: Elvis sends a telegram to his father, Vernon: "HI BABIES HERES THE MONEY TO PAY THE BILLS STOP DONT TELL NO ONE HOW MUCH I SENT I WILL SEND MORE NEXT WEEK STOP THERE IS A CARD IN THE MAIL STOP LOVE ELVIS"