01. Introduction
02. Grammar/Activities:
03. Reading Section
04 Listening Section:
05. Speaking Section:
06. Writing Section:
07 Practice TOEFL tests

Listening Test 1.10


Professor – Dear class, after having spoken of Elvis, his life, his later career, I would like us to focus on his early career, his first recording, a crucial time for his career. In August 1953, Presley walked into the offices of Sun Records. He aimed to pay for a few minutes of studio time to record a two-sided acetate disk, My Happiness and That’s When Your Heartaches Begin. He would later claim he intended to record this as a gift for his mother, or was merely interested in what he sounded like. Though, there was a much cheaper amateur record-making service at a nearby general store. Biographer Peter Guralnick argues that he chose Sun Records in the hope of being discovered. Asked by receptionist Marion Keisker what kind of singer he was, Presley responded, “I sing all kinds.” When she pressed him on, whom he sounded like, he repeatedly answered, “I don’t sound like nobody.” After he recorded, Sun boss, Sam Phillips, asked Keisker to note down the young man’s name, which she did, along with her own commentary – “Good ballad singer. Hold.” Presley cut a second acetate in January 1954, I’ll Never Stand in Your Way and It Wouldn’t Be the Same Without You, but nothing again came of it. Not long after he found an audition for a local vocal quartet, The Song Fellows. He explained to his father, “They told me I couldn’t sing.” Song Fellow Jim Hammill later claims that he was turned down because he did not demonstrate any of the harmony at the time. In April, Presley began working for the Crown Electric Company as a truck driver. His friend, Ronnie Smith, after playing a few local gigs with him, suggested he contact Eddie Bond, leader of Smith’s professional band, which had an opening for a vocalist. Bond rejected him after a try-out, advising Presley to stick to truck driving, because “you’re never going to make it as a singer,” he said. Phillips, meanwhile, was always on the lookout for someone who could bring a broader audience to the sound of the black musicians on whom Sun focused. As Keisker reported over and over I remember Sam saying, “If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars.” In June he acquired a demo recording of a ballad, Without You, that he thought might suit the teenaged singer. Presley came into the studio but was unable to do it justice. Despite this, Phillips asked Presley to sing as many numbers as he knew, who was sufficiently affected by what he heard, to invite two local musicians, guitarist Winfield Scotty Moore and upright bass player Bill Black, to work something out with Presley for a recording session. The session, held on the morning of July 5, proved entirely unfruitful until late in the night. As they were about to give up and go home, Presley took his guitar and launched into a 1946 blues number, That’s All Right. Moore recalled, “All of a sudden Elvis just started singing this song, jumping around and acting the fool, and then Bill picked up his bass and he played, starting acting the fool too and I started playing with them. Sam I think had the door to the control booth open. He stuck his head out and said, ‘What are you doing?’ and we said, ‘We don’t know.’ ‘Well, back up,’ he said. ‘Try to find a place to start and do it again.’ Phillips quickly began tapping. He was the sound he had been looking for.” Three days later, Poppy the Memphis DJ Dewey Philips played That’s All Right on his “Red, Hot & Blue” show. Listeners began phoning in, eager to find out who this singer was. The interest was such that Phillips played the record repeatedly during the last two hours of his show. Interviewing Presley on air, Phillips asked him what high school he attended in order to clarify his color for the many callers who had assumed he was black. During the next few days, the trio recorded a bluegrass number, Bill Monroe’s Blue Moon of Kentucky, again in a distinctive style, and employing a truly rigid echo effect that Sam Phillips dubbed “slapback.” A single was pressed with That’s All Right on the A side and Blue Moon of Kentucky on the reverse. Let’s listen to the single right now so you get an idea of what his music was like at the very beginning.