Ah, October 1962, a month etched in my memory. Not just because of the tense atmosphere brought on by the Cuban Missile Crisis, but because it was the month I discovered the one and only Elvis Presley. I was a 13-year-old living in Spokane, Washington, and the sound of Elvis’s “Return to Sender” playing on the radio marked the beginning of an unforgettable journey into the world of rock ‘n’ roll.
The Soundtrack of My Youth
Before that fateful October, I was no stranger to music. Like any self-respecting fourth-grader, I carried around my small 6-transistor radio, tuned in to the Top 40 hits on KNEW radio. But it wasn’t until 1959 that pop music truly took hold of me. It became the soundtrack of my youth, accompanying me to Natatorium Park and Doyle’s Ice Cream Parlor.
A Dollar a Week for a Song
Every Saturday morning, armed with my weekly allowance of one dollar, I made my way to The Music Box record store. The walls were adorned with racks of the latest single releases, a feast for my young, music-hungry eyes. I would pick a few records, retreat to one of the store’s record booths, and play them, carefully deciding which one to take home.
A Brush with Elvis in 1961
Now, you might think that with such a passion for music, I would have gravitated towards Elvis sooner. But in 1961, it was Roy Orbison who captured my attention. I almost bought an Elvis record that year, swayed by the popularity of “Surrender” among my friends. But when I heard the B-side, “Lonely Man,” I was drawn to another path. In the end, I left The Music Box with a Roy Orbison record in hand.
The Elvis Epiphany
It was in the fall of 1962, amidst the Cuban crisis and starting junior high school, that Elvis truly entered my life. The exact trigger for my attachment remains a mystery, but I owe it all to a friend who had grown tired of my Elvis criticisms. One day, he sat me down and insisted, “Just listen!” And listen I did.
From Fan to Collector
After that day, there was no turning back. “Return to Sender” became my first Elvis purchase, followed by the soundtrack LP for “Girls! Girls! Girls!” It was around that time that my paper route boosted my income, allowing me to indulge in the purchase of Elvis’s back catalog. As funds permitted, I collected all 15 of his past LPs, turning my room into an Elvis shrine.
Reveling in Elvis’s World
I eagerly awaited each new Elvis album release, always opting for the mono version, as my little record player couldn’t detect much of a difference. And when “Girls! Girls! Girls!” hit Spokane’s Fox Theater, I couldn’t resist watching it over and over again. It was just the beginning of my quest to see all of Elvis’s movies, a goal that would take years to achieve.
Despite Elvis’s gradual decline in the charts and the arrival of The Beatles, my loyalty never wavered. Through the lean years, I remained a devoted fan, and my dedication paid off when Elvis’s career experienced a revival in the late ’60s and early ’70s. And incredibly, I had the chance to see him perform live in Spokane, a dream I never thought would come true.
So there you have it, my love affair with Elvis, sparked in October 1962 and still burning bright. The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll captured my heart and continues to reign supreme. If you want to delve deeper into the captivating world of Elvis Presley, head over to All about Elvis and let the magic unfold.
*Note: This article is based on the personal experience and perspective of the author, Alan Hanson.