Memphis Shaken as Rock 'n' Roll Heart Is Stilled
He had been ailing for months, his friends all knew, but Sam Phillips's death on Wednesday still knocked the wind out of Memphis.
The man who discovered Elvis Presley and in many people's minds invented rock 'n' roll, who gave the world Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison, Howlin' Wolf and Johnny Cash, who carried a childhood yearning with him from small-town Alabama to the biggest city in the mid-South and in short order set off a musical and cultural revolution that literally changed the world — a man like that, no matter how old, does not leave this earth quietly...
Far more important, Mr. Dickinson said, was Mr. Phillips's influence on society, all the more amazing because it stemmed from a simple statement — that he would record anything, anywhere, any time. "It's hard to imagine the world before rock 'n' roll, before Elvis, or before Sam, however you want to put it," he said. "We were not nearly as free as individuals, because that was what Sun Records was about, was freedom of expression."
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