"There's a man in New Orleans who plays rock and roll;He's a guitar man with a great big soul;
He lays down a beat like a ton of coal; He goes by the name of King Creole"
-- "King Creole" by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller

"King Creole" was released in the summer of 1958. I was 11 years old, but had an older sister who was a fan. It was probably late that summer when she took me along to the drive-in to see Elvis's newest movie (late summer because the films were always released to the drive-ins after their first run at the theaters.) Maybe as much as anything, that movie hooked me on rock and roll. When I watch it today, I still think it is one of Elvis's better jobs of acting. And in this early movie, the music numbers still seem to have a lot of energy, unlike many of the other formula movies he would make in the 1960's. But the plot was still pretty standard -- young rebel trying to make it in the music industry and being pursued by different women (nice girl, not so nice girl).

I remember owning a 45 of the Kingston Trio's "Tom Dooley" and I remember going to the skating rink and hearing David Seville's "Witch Doctor." And I think one of my favorites of the year was "Lollipop" by the Chordettes -- probably because I thought it was fun to make the "pop" sound with my thumb in my mouth. Such is the world of an 11 year old.

We lived in Lincoln, Nebraska and had moved across town to a new school the previous summer. While Charles Starkweather was on his murder spree in the city I was attending elementary school just a couple of miles away from the house of the Ward family where three of Starkweather's victims were killed. At the time I was what today would be called a "latch-key" kid as my mother was working at a retail store in downtown Lincoln. I would either go home after school to my house alone, or ride the bus to downtown or to Lincoln High School where my father was coaching basketball. It's all pretty scary to think of today, but at the time I was only vaguely aware of the "killing spree" as my mind was pre-occupied by preteen stuff and my dad's basketball -- they would win the state championship that March.

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