​How a $4 dollar recording gave birth to Elvis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Angie Marchese is holding early Elvis -- as early as it gets.

"This is the holy grail of rock and roll," said Marchese, the director of archives of Graceland. "The very first acetate, the very first song Elvis ever recorded."

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CBS News' Mark Strassmann, left, with Angie Marchese, the director of archives of Graceland
CBS News

    In 1953, Elvis Presley was 18 and driving a truck. At Sun Studio in Memphis, he paid $4 to record a record -- legend has it, a birthday gift for his mother.

    Side "A" is called "My Happiness."

    "You could hear Elvis at the age of 18; he doesn't want to mess up," said Marchese. "This is his one take to do this and he wanted it to be perfect."

    His mother never heard it. The Presleys did not own a record player. And Elvis never recorded the song again.

    A year later, he recorded "That's All Right Mama." By 1956, he was Elvis. More than one billion Elvis records have sold worldwide.

    Thursday night, Graceland will help private owners auction 68 Elvis items: his first driver's license, checkbook, and that original acetate record. "My Happiness" could become your happiness. Marchese thinks the record could easily go for more than $100,000.

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    "My Happiness," Elvis Presley's first record
    CBS News

    At Sun Studio, also now legendary, local guitarist Memphis Jones says every musician owes a debt to Elvis.

    "He came out of left field, he was from outer space and once he landed the world just changed," said Jones.

    Elvis walked into Sun Studio with a dream -- and left pop culture all shook up.

    • Mark Strassmann

      Mark Strassmann was named CBS News Transportation correspondent in August 2011. He has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001, and is based in the Atlanta bureau.