The earliest known footage of Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and Johnny Cash recorded in 1955
We’re dipping back into the Far Out Magazine vault to revisit the rare footage of Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins which emerged online in recent years.
The clip, which is said to have been shot in 1955 with an 8mm camera in Holly’s hometown of Lubbock, Texas, is considered to be some of the earliest known video content of the four iconic musicians.
The video was filmed by Holly’s friend Ben Hall who also worked as a local disc jockey in the town. Hall, also a musician, would eventually go on to work with Holly and co-wrote the song ‘Blue Days Black Nights’ which appeared on his iconic album That’ll Be The Day.
Researching the silent footage, many claims have been made that Hall filmed the musicians after one of Presley’s concerts on April 29, 1955. Hanging around in the Cotton Club in Lubbock, Holly and Presley had previously met at the Fair Park Coliseum that year.
“The first time I saw Elvis, singing from a flatbed truck at a Katz drugstore opening on Lamar Avenue, two or three hundred people, mostly teenage girls, had come out to see him,” Johnny Cash once remembered of his contemporary. “With just one single to his credit, he sang those two songs over and over. That’s the first time I met him. Vivian and I went up to him after the show, and he invited us to his next date at the Eagle’s Nest, a club promoted by Sleepy-Eyed John, the disc jockey who’d taken his name from the Merle Travis song and was just as important as Dewey Phillips in getting Sun music out to the world.”
Adding: “I remember Elvis’ show at the Eagle’s Nest as if were yesterday. The date was a blunder, because the place was an adult club where teenagers weren’t welcome, and so Vivian and I were two of only a dozen or so patrons, fifteen at the most. All the same, I thought Elvis was great. He sang That’s All Right, Mama and Blue Moon of Kentucky once again (and again) plus some black blues songs and a few numbers like Long Tall Sally, and he didn’t say much. He didn’t have to, of course; his charisma alone kept everyone’s attention. The thing I really noticed that night, though, was his guitar playing. Elvis was a fabulous rhythm player.
“He and I liked each other, but we weren’t that tight – I was older than he was, for one thing, and married, for another – and we weren’t close at all in his later years. I took the hint when he closed his world around him; I didn’t try to invade his privacy. I’m so glad I didn’t, either, because so many of his old friends were embarrassed so badly when they were turned away at Graceland.”
While Elvis was a major star in the South at the time, Holly was said to be a rising star and was only 18 years of age. Cash, looking a little shy in the clip, had just released his debut album.