It was 1953 when a young Elvis Presley walked into Sun Studios to have his music recorded, a song called “My Happiness.” That first record, transferred direct to acetate, is a one of a kind piece of rockabilly history. This particular process of recording creates a disc that can be used to make copies, but which is itself a true original. There is only one acetate record made from a live session, its grooves cut on the spot into the acetate-covered wax disc. What’s more, this material is more prone to damage from use than vinyl, so these discs are even more special to collectors and archivists.
When musician Jack White from the White Stripes purchased the original acetate first record of Elvis Presley’s at auction in 2015, he bought a unique piece of Elvis memorabilia (and at no small price). At the Country Music Hall of Fame, archivist Alan Stoker transferred this gem into a digital recording that will not suffer the ravages of age and decomposition like records will. Watch as they begin this process and hear The King’s first ever recording from 1953! What’s incredible is getting to see the other side of the record label, too. Have a listen and a look below.