From the window near the reception desk, Marion Keisker amusedly watched the young man step out of an old Lincoln Zephyr, pull a beat up guitar from the rear seat and sling it over his shoulder. He bent forward and looked into the side mirror, rubbing a wet finger across his eyebrow. It was a busy Saturday inside so Marion couldn’t watch any longer and returned to her work in the back.
When she came out of the studio, she noticed the young man patiently sitting in the waiting room, guitar on his lap, foot tapping to some tune in his head. The first thing that struck her about him was his hair – jet black and long, raised up in a pompadour. It was accented by thick sideburns and filled with enough gunk and oil that she was afraid to smoke near him. The collar on his flashy pink shirt was turned up. He looked like he had walked out of the display window at Lansky Brothers on Beale Street. He snapped to his feet when he saw her.
They small-talked as the young man followed Marion to her desk. He wanted to make a record to surprise his mother. Sweet boy, Marion thought.
“So, you’re a singer then?” she asked him, of course already knowing the answer.
“Yes, ma’am,” he said shyly.
“Who do you sound like?” By his looks, she was guessing he would say Dean Martin, Vic Damone, or even Tony Bennett.
“Well … I don’t sound like nobody,” he said thoughtfully and confidently.
When the young man had finished his recording, paid the $3.98, and was gone, Marion kept a tape of his session and sealed it in an envelope. On the outside, she scribbled “Sam, listen to this - July 18, 1953 - Elvis Presley.”