Airdate – Feb 26, 2023

On November 20, 1955 Elvis Presley left Sun Records and signed his first RCA contract, a deal negotiated by Colonel Tom Parker – a deal that included five Sun singles and other unreleased Sun material.

A few months later in March of 1956, a young 15 year-old female singer/songwriter signed with RCA Victor. Both Elvis and the Colonel were impressed by this talented phenom – to a point that the Colonel offered to manage her to exploit the potential of a boy-girl act …


By the time she was 15 she had chalked up 10 years of experience singing and playing guitar in the country and rockabilly genres. She soon tired of performing ballads, discovering rhythm and blues which became an entry point for her in pursuing Rock & Roll.

On March 8, 1956 she recorded “Will You, Willyum” for RCA Victor. This record was her biggest hit, reaching #35 on the pop charts and selling almost 750,000 copies. On the flip side of the record was a song called “Drugstore Rock And Roll” that she had written herself.

She became in constant demand all over the US, appearing on TV and radio, including the Tonight Show Starring Steve Allen, The Today Show, American Bandstand, and The Grand Ole Opry. She did her first road tour with Hank Snow and went on other tours with Faron Young, Porter Waggoner, the Browns, Johnny Cash, Del Wood and Carl Perkins. She was chosen by RCA to become a regular member of the Jim Reeves show and traveled with him exclusively.

To top things off she was voted the ‘Most Promising Female Artist of 1956″ at the annual disc jockey convention.

Colonel Tom Parker sure saw her potential and, along with Elvis and RCA, granted her permission to be billed as “the female Elvis Presley,” a title she epitomize given her Elvis-like moves on stage. However, Parker’s offer to manage the girl was rejected by her parents.

Her name was Janis Martin. She formed her own band called the “Marteens” and travelled the US, Canada and subsequently Europe.

Unfortunately, her career came to an abrupt halt due to a personal situation that came up in 1958. She’d been secretly married since 1956, and her husband was stationed overseas in the army. During her European tour she got to see him in 1958. The result was that the then 17-year-old rockabilly star became pregnant and was dropped by RCA immediately.

In 1960, after passing on recording for King Records and Decca, Janis Martin eventually signed on with Palette, a Belgium label. It was with Palette that she recorded a song that may have summed up her career, for it was “Hard Times Ahead,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.

YouTube video of this song:

This “Moments In Time” story is yet another example of a “golden oldie” or forgotten favorite that earned its place in the evolution of Rock & Roll.