The story, as I understand it, can be summed up in these two parables, noted by Chris Davis in the Memphis Flyer in 2006. At the peak of their popularity in 1964, British duo Peter And Gordon played a gig in Chicago. At the time, they held the top spot nationwide with their song “A World Without Love.” Travis Wammack, who grew up in Memphis, was a young guitarist in the touring band, and also had a single on the charts. Before the concert, Wammack took a call from legendary WLS DJ Art Roberts. Art wanted to make sure that Travis would play his song, called “Scratchy,” that night.
In 1964, as the nation’s record charts were awash with British product ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, the Memphis recording scene was hanging in there. When you look at the Billboard chart from April 4, 1964, The Beatles had the top five songs in the US. The following week, the 11th, 14 of the 100 spots were taken up with Beatle songs released on five different labels. But a closer look at that chart brings up some old familiar names.
The Patty Duke Show premiered on TV in September of 1963, in which the actress played the dual role of twin-like “identical” cousins. At the same time, Elvis Presley was working on Kissin’ Cousins, a movie with a similar plot twist. In order to keep a lid on expenses, Colonel Tom Parker ordered the soundtrack work to be recorded in Nashville this time, instead of Hollywood. The title track to the film would be Presley’s next single, making it to number 12 in early ‘64, as Elvis waded ankle-deep into the rising tide of what would be known as the British Invasion.
Elvis Presley spent September of 1962 in Seattle, working on his 12th movie, It Happened At The World’s Fair. Probably the most memorable scene from this movie involved Presley’s character bribing a kid to kick him in the shins.