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Teenage Star

Behind Closed Doors: Elvis Presley’s Humble Life Before Fame, Revealed

Inside the legend’s journey, from truck driver to rock & roll icon.

Opening the door to the past, the new Reelz episode Elvis: Behind Closed Doors tells all on rock and roll icon Elvis Presley’s humble beginnings, and the key individuals who helped him become the legend we remember to this day.

As can reveal, Presley was a machinist turned truck driver turned singer who had immense talent in his early teens, but simply hadn’t been discovered.

In 1954, after Memphis Recording Service co-owner Marion Keisker discovered his unique voice, Presley began working with known produced Sam Phillips.

“I was morning man at WHBQ radio in Memphis,” says Presley’s old pal Wink Martindale in the clip. “We had a DJ by the name of Dewey Phillips, who played black music for white kids. That’s the way it was at night in the mid 1950s.

“Dewey Phillips, he was the DJ of the town. All the young people looked up to him because he was cool!” says Clothier to the King, Hal Lansky. “People listened to his show religiously.”

“I happen to be at WHBQ radio one night, in July ’54. I notice the switchboard lit up on the telephones and I couldn’t figure it out and I heard this commotion in Dewey’s studio,” says Martindale.

“Sam, who founded Sun Records, had walked in with an acetate, it wasn’t even a phonograph record yet just an acetate, a demo, of a song he had cut early that day called That’s Alright Mama by Elvis Presley,” he adds.

As Radar previously revealed, that song was Presley’s first hit, and what eventually led him to become a teenage star.

Elvis: Behind Closed Doors airs Sunday, August 13 at 9 ET/PT.

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