On this day in 1955, entertainment conglomerate RCA Victor made its best investment when they paid $35,000 to Sam Philips’ small Memphis record company for Elvis Presley’s contract, making today
NATIONAL SUN RECORDS DAY!
Everyone knows that Presley went on to become one of the most successful and recognizable entertainers of all time, but Sun Records and Sam Philips were not done creating Rock & Roll history when the King left the castle.
Do the names Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash mean anything to you? How about Conway Twitty, Rufus Thomas, Charlie Rich, Roscoe Gordon, Little Milton and Carla Thomas?
Sam Philips was a DJ, radio engineer, recording service owner and talent scout for big record companies when he founded Sun Records in 1952 with the intended mission of popularizing Rhythm & Blues.
What he did was produce and promote a Who’s Who of early Rock & Roll, and Sun Studios was the very first of rock’s legendary “incubator” studios of an exciting new genre.
Before Motown, before Muscle Shoals, before Stax Volt or Electric Ladyland, there was Sun Studios on Union Street, where the soundtrack for the first Rock & Roll generation was written and recorded, where musical giants jammed on songs they had learned from their Grandmas between sessions.
Sam Philips just let the tape roll, taking RCA’s money and using it to make more and more great records, his mission accomplished.
•Suggested Activities: Shake, rattle and roll in your blue suede shoes.