I was looking for what was coming from a man's soul and a man's conviction. I didn't care about his past...if it was innate and natural and felt good to him and it communicated. If you're not doing something different, you're not doing anything. I am a sound freak. I could play around with sound forever. I grew up on what everybody called a plantation - but believe me, it wasn't a plantation. It was just an old farm. I grew up with a lot of black people working in the fields, and it was during the Depression between 1930 and the war, so we were all poor - black and white. Feeling has as much to say as the words do. You can have the greatest words in the world and if they're not believable, they don't strike a chord and they're not said convincingly, it's not a great song. Sam Phillips, Founder of Sun Records
Sam and Johnny
Sam and Jerry Lee
After Elvis’s breakthrough “That’s All Right,” Phillips went on to record Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and many more. Last Train to Memphis by Peter Guaranick depicts an epic confrontation between Phillips and Elvis’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker. “These were two very strong, independent men with two very different visions of life,” writes Guralnick. “Sam’s embraced the sweep of history; it very consciously conjured up the agrarian hero as the focus of the democratic dream. The Colonel’s vision, on the other hand, denied history; it centered on the here and now, focusing on survival by wit and instinct in a universe that was indifferent at best. The difference between Tom Parker and Sam Phillips was the difference between a colorful businessman and a visionary. The rock-and-roll revolution owes everything to Sam Phillips.
From the Boston Phoenix
Issue Date: August 8-14, 2003