Although there has always been discrepancies in the versions told by the lead participants (Marion Keisker and Sam Phillips), the most credible one is that Sam wasn't in the office when Elvis came into the Memphis Recording Service on his first visit.
In fact, it was Marion Keisker, along with two friends, who was in the control booth when Elvis came in to cut his acetate. Part way through the song, however, one of the friends mentioned she was "getting goose bumps" listening to Elvis so Marion set a tape going, catching the last third of My Happiness and all of That's When Your Heartaches Begin. It was these recordings she played to Sam later and made a note that Elvis had a good "ballad" voice. Unfortunately, the same tape was apparently used again for another artist at a later date, so nothing from this first visit exists on tape.
However, the story behind how Elvis' first recording found its way into Ed Leek's possession and how it all came to light many years later is an interesting, though somewhat confused one. Briefly, at the outset in 1953, having paid approximately four dollars to record the private disc, at some point later Elvis played it to Ed Leek, one of his friends from Humes High School (who later claimed that he had persuaded Elvis to record it in the first place), and somehow or other the recording ended up in his private possession for a great many years until the late 1980s when finally he agreed a deal with RCA for them to copy it and thereafter release it commercially.
What purports to be the full story of how the acetate was found and shared was actually printed in the US magazine Goldmine (issue 211). The story repeats the emphatic assertion by Marion Keisker (and supported by Leek who says Elvis told him it was Marion) that it was she who made the acetate in the first place and not Sam Phillips, as he long maintained. However, there is still some time discrepancy as to when Elvis actually left it in Ed Leek's possession. Elvis made reference to his first private recording at the studio during the Million Dollar Quartet session on December 4 1956 - basically saying it was lost - but Leek professed to be confused by that as he asserted that Elvis would know full well where it was.
Leek also went on to say that he had tried to return the disc to Elvis at a concert in Chicago, probably in 1957, presumably without success.
On the other hand, a newspaper story from a US magazine in 1956 entitled 'On The Record' throws another element of uncertainty into the equation. Writing about Elvis' first private recording – and quoting both Sam and Marion - the writer says the following: "He chose a slow ballad. In the recording, Elvis' singing style changes very eight bars. He swings from a high, thin tenor to a resounding bass, but most of the time the voice sounds merely undecided. The platter is worn and cracked today. But to his parents, it is still a most precious possession, to be played only on special occasions." This description of Elvis' delivery is most accurate and surely has to be the result of having heard the actual disc. The reference to its sentimental value to the family is most pertinent too.
At an auction at Graceland in January 2015, the acetate was sold to bidder Jack White (Third Man Records) for two hundred and forty thousand dollars plus commission (three hundred thousand dollars).
In March of 2007, Sony decided to go through all of Elvis' masters. They retransferred everything and remastered all tracks including repairing as many clicks, pops, bad edits and dropouts as they could. They have used these newly mastered recordings on their new releases since 2007 including budget soundtracks, 'Legacy' releases, the 30 disc 'Complete Elvis Presley Masters' collection and the Franklin Mint package.
According to the 'Memphis Recording
Service Volume 1' the date of this demo session
was August 22 1953.
Thanks to Kevan Budd for information regarding Marion's friend.