Sun Records

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Sun Records

Established in Memphis by visionary Sam Phillips in 1952, Sun Records revolutionized pop music. At his Memphis Recording Service, Phillips recorded blues artists and then started Sun as a home for some of them. In 1954 Phillips recorded Elvis Presley, whose blending of musical genres had a major impact on the course of popular music. In his book on Sun, Colin Escott quotes Phillips on Elvis: "He sings Negro songs with a white voice which borrows in mood and emphasis from the country style, modified by popular music. It's a blend of all of them." After selling Elvis' contract to RCA for $35,000, Phillips had the capital to continue work with influential artists like Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Charlie Rich. In 1969, Sun was sold to recording executive Shelby Singleton who went about reissuing many of Sun's important early recordings.

—Joyce Linehan

Further Reading:

Escott, Colin, and Martin Hawkins. Sun Records: The Brief History of the Legendary Record Label. New York, Quick Fox, 1975, 1980.