In celebration of what would've been Elvis Presley's 77th birthday, here's an odd artifact from a very early stage in the career of songwriter and producer Felton Jarvis (1934 - 1981).
Jarvis was Elvis Presley's producer between the years 1966 and 1977, when Presley died. While still struggling to make a name for himself, he recorded this Elvis Presley tribute 45, which was released on the tiny VIVA label in August, 1959. While in the Marines in 1955, Jarvis experienced a life-changing event when was lucky enough to catch a live Elvis Presley show in Norfolk, Virginia.
Upon getting out of the Marines, he returned to Atlanta and went to work as a sheet music printer at Bill Lowery's National Recording Company (NRC). At the time, the label was over-flowing with talented performers who, in less than a decade, would be national stars: Jerry Reed, Mac Davis, Joe South, Ray Stevens and Freddy Weller. Jarvis moved into songwriting and producing, making a name for himself in 1961 by producing Every Beat Of My Heart, the first R&B #1 hit (of eleven, in all) for a local band called the Pips, soon to be renamed Gladys Knight & The Pips. From NRC, Jarvis went to work for the ABC label, where he produced "Sheila" a huge national hit for Tommy Roe, another graduate of Lowery's NRC concern. After a few years at ABC, he moved over to RCA where he and Presley established a solid working relationship that worked out pretty well for both of them.