July 30: The legend Sam Phillips died in 2003

sam phillips and Elvis
Sam Phillips with Elvis Presley

July 30:  The legend Sam Phillips died in 2003

Samuel Cornelius Phillips (January 5, 1923 – July 30, 2003), better known as Sam Phillips, was an American businessman, record executive, record producer and DJ who played an important role in the emergence of rock and roll as the major form of popular music in the 1950s. He was a producer, label owner, and talent scout throughout the 1940s and 1950s. He most notably founded Sun Studios and Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. Through Sun, Phillips discovered such recording talent as Howlin’ Wolf, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash.

Great documentary about Sam Phillips, part 1:

The height of his success culminated in his launching of Elvis Presley’s career in 1954. He is also associated with several other noteworthy rhythm and blues and rock and roll stars of the period. Phillips sold Sun in 1969. He was an early investor in the Holiday Inn chain of hotels.


  • In 1986 Sam Phillips was part of the first group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • his pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.He was the first ever non-performer inducted.
  • In 1987, he was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.
  • He received a Grammy Trustees Award for his lifetime achievements in 1991.
  • In 1998, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame
  • in October 2001 he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Phillips died of respiratory failure at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee on July 30, 2003, only one day before the original Sun Studio was designated a National Historic Landmark. He is interred in the Memorial Park Cemetery in Memphis.


Great Documentary about Sam Phillips, part 2:

Album of the day, Sun Records – The Essential Collection (Remastered):

– Hallgeir & Egil