August 8, 2003 by

Sam Phillips


Categories: Musicians

sphillips.jpgSamuel Cornelius Phillips, the man who started Sun Records and discovered the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, died on July 30 of respiratory failure. He was 80.
Phillips’ first job in the music industry was as a radio engineer and disc jockey for stations in Decatur, Ala., and Nashville, Tenn. He settled in Memphis in 1952 and founded Sun Records. His goal was to record raw, up-and-coming blues and hillbilly singers and share their music with the world. The company’s motto was: “We Record Anything, Anywhere, Anytime.”
Two years after he launched the Sun label, Phillips gave a young singer from Tupelo, Miss., his big break. That singer, Elvis Presley, produced his first album with Sun Records, and released the singles “That’s All Right (Mama)” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky.”
Phillips sold Presley’s contract in 1955 to RCA for $35,000, and focused his attention on producing other artists, including Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Conway Twitty. That same year, the Carl Perkins’ song, “Blue Suede Shoes,” became Sun’s first certified million-seller.
In 1969, Phillips sold Sun Records to Shelby Singleton and returned to the business of running radio stations in Memphis and Alabama. In his later years, Phillips was inducted into the Rock and Roll and Country Music Halls of Fame.
Listen to an NPR Interview With Phillips

2 Responses to Sam Phillips

  1. ria noome

    It is with great regret that I heard of the death of Johnny Cash. I am and will forever be a big fan of him. I saw the DVD “Walk the mile” the movie of him and June this weekend and I also have a DVD of his life’s story. I didnt know both of them(Johnny & June)were dead. Today his songs are in my heart and head. The DVD of there life together is in my heart. I felt like he was my dad. My family are also musicians and he felt like my dad, I never knew my dad but he filled that place in a way.
    My deepest sympathy with their family. I know its 3years later but I only heard of their deaths this weekend. The two actors who played them (Quintin Phoenix & Reese Whitherspoon) played fantastic in protraying them. Good for them.
    Again, my deepest sympathy and I am sure their children will always remember them.
    Ria Noome
    South Africa
    Monday 7th Aug 2006.

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