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Sun King: The Life and Times of Sam Phillips, the Man Behind Sun Records Paperback – January 1, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kevin Crouch is the former archivist for the Roy Orbison estate. Tanja Crouch worked in the music business for more than 15 years, most notably as an agent for artists such as Carl Perkins, Randy Travis, and Vince Gill, and as the vice president of Roy Orbison's estate. Her other books include 100 Careers in Film and Television and 100 Careers in the Music Business.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Piatkus Books (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749929464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749929466
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #435,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By franz douskey on February 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Any author would have an impossible time trying to fit all of Sam Phillips' spirit, personality, accomplishments, impact and wisdom into one book. Sam Phillips was a pioneer in many ways. In 1955, he started a radio station that was run completely by women: staff, technicians, disc jockeys, sales and promotion. His brilliance in recording B. B. King. Howlin' Wolf, Dr. Ross, Junior Parker has been documented, but never quite fully realized. Kevin Crouch and Tanja Crouch's biography, THE SUN KING, is a strong attempt to cover and add insight into the musical impact and business acumen of Sam C. Phillips. The authors are successful on one level in that they get the facts right; however, they don't get to the spirit, the strong orator, the strength of reason and the unreasonableness that was Sam Phillips.

Sam Phillips was a genius, a huckster, a ferociously passionate preacher, an innovator with a strange case of conflicted self-confidence, and the man who not only changed American music, but also, he changed American Culture.

The SUN KING tells us about those qualities, but it doesn't make us feel them. It is a solid, factual book. I believe that a CD of some of Sam Phillips' discussions, his exhortations and his insights as a complimentary addition to the book would have given a reader unfamiliar with Memphis, Southern Culture, Sun Records and Sam C. Phillips a clear sense of how he lived, what he believed and what passions, both internal and external, that drove Sam to become a rare force for greatness in the mid-20th Century. A good supplementary resource to this well-documented book is the A&E PROGRAM, "THE MAN WHO INVENTED ROCK AND ROLL."

I have reread THE SUN KING several times. It is soundly researched and tautly written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By reading man on October 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
While this book doesn't add much new to the Sam C. Phillips story, it's pleasantly readable and should be of special interest to those who aren't familiar with the life and times of the "Father of Rock 'n' Roll". Unfortunately, Phillips never produced the autobiography that he occasionally mentioned in interviews, and even more disappointing, nobody close to him in life has written a full-length book about him, at least as far as I know. There is quite a bit of miscellaneous and interesting information in speciality music magazines of the time about Phillips, and if the Crouches revise their book or if someone else writes a similar book, I suggest they definitely have a look at the back issues of the British fanzine BLUES UNLIMITED, which featured articles on Billy Emerson and other early Sun blues artists.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By LAMS on July 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are into Rock and Roll history, this is a great book. There aren't many books published on Sam Phillips and he was definitely a driving force behind some great musical icons.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a sucker for most anything related to Sun Records. I was glad to see this book solely about Sam Phillips. If you know much about Phillips you will already recognize most of the stories and information in this book. With that said, it's good to have it collected and presented in one dedicated source. It was insightful to read the story of Phillips and Sun Records in chronological order. It gave me a sense of how frantic things must have been in the heyday of Sun! (One tidbit I got from the book was about a youtube clip of Phillips on the David Letterman show. Definitely worth a look!)
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