Both artists had an unshakable charisma to them, although ol’ Elvis had a tendency to shake his hips much more than Cash did, and when Elvis first burst onto the music scene, he was arguably the most polarizing artist in the game because of it.
“The first time I saw Elvis, singing from a flatbed truck at a Katz drugstore opening on Lamar Avenue, two or three hundred people, mostly teenage girls, had come out to see him. With just one single to his credit, he sang those two songs over and over.
That’s the first time I met him. Vivian and I went up to him after the show, and he invited us to his next date at the Eagle’s Nest, a club promoted by Sleepy-Eyed John, the disc jockey who’d taken his name from the Merle Travis song and was just as important as Dewey Phillips in getting Sun music out to the world.”
And back in 1959, the duo actually toured together, with Cash as the opener.
On that tour, both Elvis and Cash began to impersonate each other during their sets, and there’s footage floating around out there of Cash covering a few of Elvis’s hits like “Heartbreak Hotel.”
It’s pretty wild to watch, as you can see Cash with his hair all over the place, and shaking his hips, doing his best signature Elvis impersonation.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any video footage of Elvis impersonating Johnny, but there’s audio recordings of him singing “Folsom Prison Blues, and “I Walk the Line,” and it’s easy to see the mark the two left on each other after meeting.