About The Song

The sequence of events that led to this moment began when a young truck driver walked into the offices of Sun Records and the Memphis Recording Service on a Saturday night in the summer of 1953 and paid $3.98 plus tax to make an acetate record as a birthday present to his mother. Sam Phillips recorded Elvis singing “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin,” and he told his business partner Marion Keisker something that made her write down “Good ballad singer. Hold” in her notes. It was Kreisler who was impressed enough by the incredibly shy young singer that she repeatedly brought his name up to Phillips over the next year and mentioned that he seemed worth following up with. In early July 1954, Phillips finally sent two of his favorite session musicians, guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, to go meet with Elvis and report back to him with their assessment. After talking and jamming a bit with Presley, Moore and Black gave Phillips a report that was hardly enthusiastic. “He didn’t knock me out,” Moore told Phillips, “[but] the boy’s got a good voice.” Phillips decided to take a flyer and schedule a recording session with Presley for July 5.

See also  Elvis Presley - Bossa Nova Baby

Phillips knew that something was brewing in the music world of 1954, and he had a pretty good idea what it would take to make the pot boil: A white singer who could sing “black” rhythm and blues. However, the first several hours of the July 5 session did nothing to convince Sam Phillips that Elvis was the one he’d been looking for. Elvis’s renditions of “Harbor Lights” and “I Love You Because” were stiff and uninspired, and after numerous takes and re-takes, Phillips called for a break. Rather than shoot the breeze with his fellow musicians or step outside for a breath of fresh air, Elvis began to mess around on the guitar, playing and singing “That’s All Right,” but at least twice as fast as the original.

Through an open door in the control room, Sam Phillips heard this unfamiliar rendition of a familiar blues number and knew he’d found the sound he’d been looking for. “[Phillips] stuck his head out and said ‘What are you doing?’” Scotty Moore later recalled. “And we said, ‘We don’t know.’ ‘Well, back up,’ Sam said, ‘try to find a place to start, and do it again.’”

Phillips continued recording with Elvis over the next two evenings, but he never captured anything as thrilling as he did that first night. Released to Memphis radio station WHBQ just two days after it was recorded, and then as a single two weeks later, Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right (Mama)” became an instant regional hit and set him on his path toward stardom.

See also  Elvis Presley - Today, Tomorrow and Forever

Video

Lyric

🎵 Let’s sing along with the lyrics! 🎤

Well, that’s all right now mama
That’s all right with you
That’s all right now mama, just anyway you do
That’s all right, that’s all right
That’s all right now mama, anyway you do

My mama, she done told me, papa done told me too
“Son, that gal you’re foolin’ with
She ain’t no good for you”
But that’s all right now, that’s all right
That’s all right now mama, anyway you do

I’m leaving town, baby
I’m leaving town for sure
Well, then you won’t be bothered with me hanging ’round your door
Well, that’s all right, that’s all right
That’s all right now mama, anyway you do

That’s all right, that’s all right
That’s all right now mama, anyway you do
Well, that’s all right now mama, anyway you do