Go to main content

Elvis In Arkansas

December 01, 2019 | Book

Today the book "Elvis In Arkansas" by Joe Walker is issued. 

From his website:

When he set out to write "Elvis in Arkansas," author Joe Walker chose to focus on the historical Elvis and how those early times in Arkansas impacted his career. 

During those earliest days, as Elvis' father, Vernon Presley, would recall, the state played an important role in his son's early career: "[Elvis] started out in '55 playing locally, you know, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi." To many, Elvis Presley came out of nowhere, emerging that hot July night at Sun Records, recording "That's All Right." And even there, Arkansas had an impact, with a small radio station in northeast Arkansas being one of the very first ever to play an Elvis Presley record. 

And if Memphis, Tennessee was the cornerstone of Elvis Presley's career, then Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas were the bricks that completed the foundation of Rock ‘n Roll. And not just for Elvis. Sun Record artists Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Charlie Rich just to name a few all had their start in the juke joints and high school gymnasiums across the Ark-La-Tex. 

"Elvis in Arkansas" offers a fresh perspective on those early days when Elvis and his bandmates, Scotty Moore and Bill Black first ventured west out of Memphis with the trio criss-crossing the Ark-La-Tex, performing in hundreds of shows across Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. And when they weren't playing a show in Arkansas, they were driving back and forth across the state weekly, sometimes eating at a local diner, or visiting friends they had made along the way. 

You'll read the stories from those who were there, not realizing they were witnessing the birth of Rock 'n Roll. For them, they were witnessing something, they just weren't sure what. 

Among the stories you'll read are the night Elvis' original pink Cadillac burned alongside an Arkansas highway, the Arkansas gymnasium floor that collapsed while Elvis was performing, Elvis being thrown out of an Arkansas club by a Catholic priest for signing a girl's thigh, Elvis' fear of flying caused his plane nearly crashing over western Arkansas, Elvis being Inducted into an Arkansas college fraternity, Elvis singing  "Heartbreak Hotel" live for the very first time  (which happened in an Arkansas night club), The night in Little Rock where Gladys and Vernon Presley met Colonel Parker for the very first time, Elvis singing before a crowd of only twelve people at an Arkansas show, Elvis' attempt at purchasing a 14,000 acre duck hunting farming operation in Arkansas and the  auto accident where the authorities wouldn't take his check because they had no idea who Elvis Presley was.

In Joe Walker's book, "Elvis in Arkansas," you'll travel with Elvis across Arkansas and experience the birth of Rock 'n Roll through eyewitness accounts of the people who were there as well as never before published photographs.