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Great Lives - Sam Phillips


Feb 15, 2018 07:30 PM


(540) 654-1065


Great Lives - Sam Phillips

Dodd Auditorium - UMW

Fredericksburg VA 22401


Sam Phillips

Lecture Date: February 15, 2018

Speaker: Peter Guralnick

Sam Phillips could well be said to be the man who invented Rock ‘n’ Roll. When he opened his little studio in Memphis in 1950, he recorded mostly obscure black artists – until a shy, insecure kid with sideburns wandered in his studio to make a record “for his mother,” and in hopes that somehow he might attract notice. Elvis Presley, Phillips recalled, was “probably innately the most introverted person that ever came into that studio.” From there Phillips went on to record some of the most prominent performers of the early Rock ‘n’ Roll years, notably including (in addition to Elvis) Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Roy Orbison. It was in his studio in December, 1956 that Perkins, Lewis, Cash, and Presley serendipitously met for an informal session that has been recently immortalized in “The Million Dollar Quartet.” The popularity of that musical, as well as the continued prominence of the music of those early artists, attests to the accuracy of Peter Guralnick’s claim that Sam Phillips “was seen, both then and now, as the avatar of the revolution, whose vision gave birth to a moment of freedom and individuation that continues unabated to this day.”