About Sam Phillips, Elvis Presley And Sun Records

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The reason I choose the topic Sam Phillips and Sun Records is because it is a familiar topic for me. Coming from Memphis I have been raised the rich culture of blues and Barbecue. I have toured Graceland and learned of Elvis and his history. Another Memphis must is the tour of Sun Records. Before I participated in this class I did not think much of it and just seemed like an old recording studio. I wish I knew of the numerous famous people that walked that building and made it a very successful business.

Sam Phillips had humble beginnings growing up in a small town outside of Florence Alabama. His parents were poor farmer tenants that had little to offer Sam and his future outside of farming. Research provided said that Sam heard the black workers singing as they worked in the fields and it made a lasting impression on him. The soulful music was sure to inspire him for the rest of his career. From there his music interest grew, he allowed his surroundings to tune his taste. Sam himself said that when de decided to go into the music industry he wanted to do what everyone else was not doing. He wanted to develop and make the sound of black artist popular. The road into the music industry was far from easy, Sam had to work his way up. He went to school and majored in engineering.

From there he started as a disc jockey and radio engineer. He then soon became a radio announcer. He was very good at his job and his passion and his love for music grew everyday he spent on the job. He was able to use his engineering degree to care for the studio and developed recording skills. He often wondered what talent was still out there left to be discovered. He gathered up some of his own personal money and some borrowed by others. He rented out a building that cost $140 a month. Not sure what his plan were for the space, so he started with what he knew. He built a small radio station with a few commercials. This small act of faith sparked a fire in Phillips and pushed him to start a recording company. He used his time during the radio business, and saved his money like any smart business man would.

He used this money to buy new equipment, allowing him to get a start. This was not an easy task for Phillips to do, but he decided to risk it all for his dream of music. He wanted to record and sell records, little did he know where this business would take him. The first hit recorded by Phillips was “boogie in the park”, sang by Joe lewis.Though he had just created this label, it failed after this release. Disappointed and frustrated with some of his artist he tried to start again. He started under a new name of Sun Records and coined the term, “We record anything, anytime, anywhere”. He named Sun Records after the sun promising himself it is a new day with new opportunities. Sam wanted to create a fun and spontaneous environment. Only charging two dollars to record in a non-critical space, which allowed all different groups of people to record. Sun Records had no limitation to its label and recorded every type of genre.

Sam worked and recorded with gospel and church groups. He cherished the soulful sound of the black singers. He often wondered if it were possible for a white man to be able to sound the same way. Elvis Presley came into Sun Records wanting to record a birthday single. Once Phillips heard his deep soulful voice, he realized this was the man he was looking for. He wanted to sign Elvis immediately and Sam believed he was going to be the next star. Phillip and Presley met in a very unique setting but did not always agree when it came to the music. In the beginning Phillips was very hard on Elvis because he knew he was special. With Sam’s help, Elvis became an international icon. Recording numerous number hits and became a heart crusher for every woman in the nation. He sold his fans with his scandalous hip movements and good looks. Even though when Elvis was hitting top charts Phillips was hitting an all time low going almost bankrupt. He was forced to sell his contract with Elvis to bring his company from ruin. Sam was a very smart business man but had multiple fanatical issues throughout his career.

Sun recorded it all, with famous artist such as Johnny Cash, Jerry lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. After scoring these artist and then hitting fam on a national level, Roy Orbison and Charlie Kich. Eventually the Label narrowed to recording blues and RnB. after reaching its peak in fam, Phillips was eventually forced down the studio because bigger companies were siphoning his artist out. Producer Shelby Singleton bought the studio in 1969. Today this studio is available for tourist who are interested in the history of Rock n Roll. Inside the studio it is very small and and holds numerous pictures of Elvis in the studio and on stage. Numerous writers who have studied the history of rock and roll have written on how Sam Phillips has impacted many lives. He has opened a door for listeners to hear music they may never have heard. Sam Phillips has been inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and is the producer non-singer songwriter to do so. With out his influence on many musical artist the musical world would not be what it is today. 

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About Sam Phillips, Elvis Presley And Sun Records. (2022, Nov 09). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/about-sam-phillips-elvis-presley-and-sun-records/

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