Rock ’n’ roll was born in Memphis in the tiny storefront recording studio of Sun Records. This is the definitive account of how it happened!
Sam Phillips’s credo was: “If you’re not doing something different, you’re not doing anything.” If he had done no more than discover Elvis Presley and produce his first five singles he would still be the godfather of rock ’n’ roll. But he did more. Much more. While Elvis was still sitting on the edge of his bed listening to the radio and figuring out guitar chords, Phillips was discovering and recording blues giants like B.B. King, Howling Wolf, and Ike Turner. During the few months that Elvis was with Sun Records, Phillips found Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. Soon after, he found Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Charlie Rich. And he did it almost singlehandedly—from his two-room studio in Memphis, Tennessee.
Phillips’s story, which Colin Escott tells in beautiful detail, is more than a catalog of hits. Without Sun’s philosophy of experimentation, innovation, and genre transcendence, the musical revolution could have never begun.