“The Sun recordings maximized the effective contrast between the hustling rhythm of the bass and acoustic guitar and the ponderous, sparse vocals & lead guitar. Phillips achievement was to keep Cash’s sound at it’s bare essentials, an then fatten it up with the use of slapback echo. Subsequent producers and engineers could never quite recapture that formula. .. Johnny Cash’s three years of recordings for Sun are a wonderful demonstration of just how far a whole can outclass the sum of it’s parts”
~Colin Escott & Martin Hawkins (Good Rockin’ Tonight: Sun Records and the Birth of Rock ‘N’ Roll)
I’m visiting SUN Studio again i January, and will post a series of SUN/STAX/Memphis related articles the coming months. This is the first one.
….. Either way, its daring sonic adventures and consistently stunning songcraft set the standard for what pop/rock could achieve. Even after Sgt. Pepper, Revolver stands as the ultimate modern pop album and it’s still as emulated as it was upon its original release.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)
Sammi Smith (August 5, 1943 – February 12, 2005) was an American country music singer and songwriter. Born Jewel Faye Smith, she is best known for her 1971 country/pop crossover hit, “Help Me Make It Through the Night”, which was written by Kris Kristofferson. She became one of the few women in the outlaw country movement during the 1970s.
Luther Monroe Perkins (January 8, 1928 – August 5, 1968) was an American country music guitarist and a member of the Tennessee Three, the backup band for singer Johnny Cash. Perkins was an iconic figure in what would become known as rockabilly music. His creatively simple, sparsely-embellished, rhythmic use of Fender Esquire, Jazzmaster and Jaguar guitars is credited for creating Cash’s signature “boom-chicka-boom” style.
The Stooges is the self-titled debut studio album by American rock band The Stooges, released 5 August 1969 on Elektra Records. Two songs, “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “1969”, were released as singles and the album peaked at #106 on the Billboard album charts. It is widely considered one of the best proto-punk albums. With Ron Asheton’s walls of distortion, and distorted wah wah solos, textures and power chord riffs, it is also considered to have had an impact on hard rock.
On August 5, 1951, after a Sonny Boy Williamson II recording session, Elmore James recorded “Dust My Broom” at Ivan Scott’s Radio Service Studio in Jackson, Mississippi. James, who provided the vocals and amplified slide guitar, is accompanied by Williamson on harmonica, Leonard Ware on bass, and Frock O’Dell on drums. The recording studio had not made the transition to tape technology, so the group was recorded direct-to-disc using one microphone. It was the only song recorded by James; Trumpet’s McMurray felt that his other songs were not suitable for recording
When I first heard Elvis’ voice I just knew that I wasn’t going to work for anybody; and nobody was going to be my boss. He is the deity supreme of rock & roll religion as it exists in today’s form. Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail.
~Bob Dylan (1987)
His music and his personality, fusing the styles of white country and black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American popular culture. His following was immense, and he was a symbol to people the world over of the vitality, rebelliousness, and good humor of his country.
~President Jimmy Carter August 17, 1977
Elvis Presley is a supreme figure in American life, one whose presence, no matter how banal or predictable, brooks no real comparisons. … The cultural range of his music has expanded to the point where it includes not only the hits of the day, but also patriotic recitals, pure country gospel, and really dirty blues. … Elvis has emerged as a great artist, a great rocker, a great purveyor of schlock, a great heart throb, a great bore, a great symbol of potency, a great ham, a great nice person, and, yes, a great American.
~Greil Marcus (The Village Voice – Apr 7, 1975)
Elvis Aaron Presley
January 8, 1935
Tupelo, Mississippi, U.S.
August 16, 1977 (aged 42)
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Rock and roll, pop, rockabilly, country, blues, gospel, R&B
Vocals, guitar, piano
Sun, RCA Victor
The Blue Moon Boys, The Jordanaires, The Imperials
Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is commonly known by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the “King of Rock and Roll” or simply “the King“.
I know he invented rock and roll, in a manner of speaking, but … that’s not why he’s worshiped as a god today. He’s worshiped as a god today because in addition to inventing rock and roll he was the greatest ballad singer this side of Frank Sinatra—because the spiritual translucence and reined-in gut sexuality of his slow weeper and torchy pop blues still activate the hormones and slavish devotion of millions of female human beings worldwide.
~Robert Christgau (December 24, 1985)
Elvis Presley may be the single most important figure in American 20th century popular music. Not necessarily the best, and certainly not the most consistent. But no one could argue with the fact that he was the musician most responsible for popularizing rock & roll on an international level. Viewed in cold sales figures, his impact was phenomenal….
More important from a music lover’s perspective, however, are his remarkable artistic achievements.
~Ricihe Unterberger (allmusic.com)