If not the father of rock & roll, he certainly attended at the birth.
July 31, 2003 8:30 AM   Subscribe

Sam Phillips dies. [More inside.]
posted by timeistight (14 comments total)
Man, T-Bone Burnett must be bummed.
posted by soyjoy at 8:41 AM on July 31, 2003

The founder of Sun Records, Phillips is remembered primarily as the first man to record Elvis Presley and secondarily for his follow-up work with Carl Perkins, Johhny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. But before he even met Presley, Phillips had recorded what is probably the first rock and roll record.
posted by timeistight at 8:44 AM on July 31, 2003

Man, T-Bone Burnett must be bummed.

Kids these days got no respect.
posted by timeistight at 8:47 AM on July 31, 2003

Some of us read the news, you know.
posted by the fire you left me at 8:50 AM on July 31, 2003

I thought maybe it would spark a good discussion. Was that wrong?
posted by timeistight at 9:08 AM on July 31, 2003

Candidates for the first rock 'n roll record abound. Sam Phillips would have gone into the history books as the first man to record Howlin' Wolf, let it be noted as well. There are better Sun Records sites of the linking. Sam Phillips matters enough that his death deserves proper notice.
posted by y2karl at 9:32 AM on July 31, 2003

I think the claim for Rocket 88 is based on the combination of heavy backbeat, distorted electric guitar and a lyric about a hot car, but yeah, I'd go for Good Rockin' Tonight as previously recorded rock and roll.
posted by timeistight at 9:39 AM on July 31, 2003

great balls of fire!
posted by ArcAm at 10:16 AM on July 31, 2003

sam phillips: ...

tfylm: pot, kettle, black
posted by turbodog at 11:49 AM on July 31, 2003

Boy, the fire, you sure left yourself wide open for that.

To me, Sam Phillips's passing means a lot more than, say, Bob Hope's. I'll play some Sun sides tonight.
posted by languagehat at 1:00 PM on July 31, 2003

Strange, Sam owns a local radio station and I didn't hear about it.
posted by nyxxxx at 1:33 PM on July 31, 2003

Listening to "That's All Right, Mama" right now. Just for that he should be a Hero of American Culture. (Nice Fresh Air special on him tonight; you can probably listen to it online.)
posted by languagehat at 4:53 PM on July 31, 2003

I was with you, soyjoy. I said WHAT three times in increasingly horrified tones as I waited for the page to load. Then I sighed in guilty relief.

Sorry, guys. The female Sam just happens to be the most honest and underrated songwriter and performer around, so I freaked. Doesn't mean I'm not deeply sorry for your loss.
posted by divrsional at 7:02 PM on July 31, 2003

Proud of your lack of perspective, are you? The "female Sam" will be utterly forgotten in ten years, maximum. Here, read this and get a clue:
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."
posted by languagehat at 6:55 AM on August 1, 2003

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