Lot 29: Sun Record Co. Check Written to and Signed by Legendary Blues Producer Lester Melrose Covering Earned Royalties for Elvis Presley's Recording of "That's All Right"
29 October 2016
Memphis, TN, USALive Auction
From a New York State Collection
Lester Melrose is considered one of the most important men in music history because of his contributions in creating what became known as the "Chicago Blues" prior to World War II. He was one of the first producers of blues records, and as producer assigned most of the composer credits to himself while only paying his musicians for their time, an unfortunate and all too-commonplace practice in the record industry of the 20th century. The result was that Melrose, who couldn't play a lick, held the copyright to thousands of songs, including the Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup composition "That's All Right." Crudup did share in royalties for the song, eventually, but the offered Sun Record Co., Inc. check no. 1131, written on May 20, 1955, pays Lester Melrose $184.44 for "full payment of Promissory Note dated March 5, 1955, covering earned royalties on THAT'S ALL RIGHT." The check is signed by Marion K. MacInnes, who is, of course, Marion Keisker, the very woman who was present the day in 1953 that a young singer named Elvis Presley walked into the Memphis Recording Service and recorded his first song. Fitting that she should be the one to sign this particular Sun Record check. Lester Melrose has signed on the reverse. This amazing artifact brings together one of history's most legendary blues producers and a seminally important figure in the birth of rock 'n' roll. Accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.
Condition Report: The check shows normal signs of wear including bank stampings and cancellation punch holes. It has been very well preserved. Near Mint condition.