Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll

Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll

Peter Guralnick / Oct 18, 2019

Sam Phillips The Man Who Invented Rock n Roll The author of the critically acclaimed Elvis Presley biography Last Train to Memphis brings us the life of Sam Phillips the visionary genius who singlehandedly steered the revolutionary path of Sun R

  • Title: Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll
  • Author: Peter Guralnick
  • ISBN: 9780316042741
  • Page: 417
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The author of the critically acclaimed Elvis Presley biography Last Train to Memphis brings us the life of Sam Phillips, the visionary genius who singlehandedly steered the revolutionary path of Sun Records The music that he shaped in his tiny Memphis studio with artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, Ike Turner, Howlin Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, introduced aThe author of the critically acclaimed Elvis Presley biography Last Train to Memphis brings us the life of Sam Phillips, the visionary genius who singlehandedly steered the revolutionary path of Sun Records The music that he shaped in his tiny Memphis studio with artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, Ike Turner, Howlin Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, introduced a sound that had never been heard before He brought forth a singular mix of black and white voices passionately proclaiming the vitality of the American vernacular tradition while at the same time declaring, once and for all, a new, integrated musical day With extensive interviews and firsthand personal observations extending over a 25 year period with Phillips, along with wide ranging interviews with nearly all the legendary Sun Records artists, Guralnick gives us an ardent, unrestrained portrait of an American original as compelling in his own right as Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, or Thomas Edison.

    Sam Phillips Sam Phillips Official Website New Album, Human Contact is Never Easy, out November Sam Phillips Samuel Cornelius Phillips January , July , was an American record producer who played an important role in the development of rock and roll during the s He was the founder of Sun Records and Sun Studio, in Memphis, Tennessee, where he produced recordings by Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Howlin Wolf. Sam Phillips musician Sam Phillips born Leslie Ann Phillips, January , is an American singer songwriter.She began her career in the contemporary Christian music industry but, uncomfortable with that image and industry, she re branded herself as Sam transitioning into the mainstream market after meeting producer T Bone Burnett.Her albums include the critically acclaimed Martinis Bikinis in . Sam Phillips Sam Phillips .Januar in Florence, Alabama, als Samuel Cornelius Phillips Juli in Memphis, Tennessee war ein amerikanischer Produzent und Plattenlabelbesitzer.Phillips war Grnder der Plattenfirma Sun Records und hat Stars wie Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison und Johnny Cash entdeckt. Sam Phillips Album Discography AllMusic Find Sam Phillips discography, albums and singles on AllMusic REFLECTING LIGHT CHORDS ver by Sam Phillips Ultimate Reflecting Light C Am C Em C Cmaj Am C Now that I ve worn out, I ve worn out the world Dm G Dm I m on my knees in fascination G Em Dm Looking through the night G Em C F And the moons never Wavestation FAQ Dan Phillips Can I use M PCM Cards with the Wavestation For the Wavestation, Wavestation EX, and Wavestation A D, the answer is yes with some caveats, as detailed below. Henry Phillips Comedian BIO HENRY PHILLIPS has been seen and heard performing his twisted songs and stories on Comedy Central Presents , ABC s Jimmy Kimmel Live , as well as satellite and terrestrial radio nationwide His critically acclaimed comedy albums earned him mention in Billboard magazine s Critic s Choice , as well as acclaim from such notable artists as Moby, who has referred to About Iron Wine Sam Beam is a singer songwriter who has been creating music as Iron Wine for over a decade Through the course of seven albums, numerous EPs and singles, and the initial volumes of an Archive Series Iron Wine has captured the emotion and imagination Jacob Lawrence Migration Series SAM Seattle Art Museum In celebration of the th anniversary of the birth of one of this city s most beloved artists, Jacob Lawrence, the Seattle Art Museum presents Jacob Lawrence The Migration Series.Acclaimed as Lawrence s masterwork, this epic series chronicles in words and pictures the exodus of African Americans from the rural South to the industrial North in the decades after the First World War.

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    About "Peter Guralnick"

      • Peter Guralnick

        Peter Guralnick is an American music critic, writer on music, and historian of US American popular music, who is also active as an author and screenwriter He has been married for over 45 years to Alexandra He has a son and daughter, Jacob and Nina.Guralnick s first two books, Almost Grown 1964 and Mister Downchild 1967 , were short story collections published by Larry Stark, whose small press in Cambridge, Larry Stark Press, was devoted to stories and poems Mona Dickson, writing in MIT s The Tech May 13, 1964 gave Almost Grown a favorable review.After Guralnick graduated from Boston University in 1971 with a master s degree in creative writing, he began writing books chronicling the history of blues, country, rock and roll and soul.His two volume biography of Elvis Presley, Last Train to Memphis in 1994, followed by Careless Love in 1999, placed the story of Presley s career into a rise and fall arc Encompassing than 1,300 pages including 1,150 pages of text , the work countered earlier biographies such as Albert Goldman s Elvis from 1981 with an in depth, scholarly examination of Presley s life and music Guralnick had previously written on Presley in the The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock Roll, starting with the first edition in 1976, said article having been reprinted for each subsequent edition.Larry Stark Press published Peter Guralnick s second book in 1967 A first edition is currently valued at 200.In contrast to contemporaries such as Lester Bangs, Ian Penman and Nick Tosches, whose music writings are marked by idiosyncratic, self referential and highly personal styles, Guralnick s writing is characterized by a colloquial approach that is clean and understated by comparison In his best passages, he has an ability to simultaneously empathize and remain objective Writing as a music fan, his enthusiasm powers his writing but doesn t overpower it.Guralnick wrote the script for AE s documentary, Sam Phillips The Man Who Invented Rock n Roll, narrated by Billy Bob Thornton, and he also scripted Sam Cooke Legend, narrated by Jeffrey Wright.


    1. Sam Phillips may not actually have been the man who invented rock 'n' roll, and it's hard to imagine that any one person might actually be singled out for that honor, but certainly Phillips was present close to the creation and was very instrumental in bringing rock 'n' roll to the world at large. Born in 1923 to a relatively poor family in a tiny town in Alabama, Phillips always had big dreams and very early on, he fell in love with the music he heard as a child, much of it coming from black pe [...]

    2. I'm a mega-fan of Peter Guralnick's two volume biographies on Elvis Presley. For sure I thought a biography on Sam Phillips, the brains and sound maker for Sun Records, would be equally fascinating. But the truth is no. For one, this biography is way too long. Without a doubt, Guralnick feels very close to his subject matter, and clearly he loves the music that came out of Sun. Still, I had a hard time keeping my attention to this book. One also gets the feeling that Phillips was right behind Gu [...]

    3. Everything you ever wanted to know about Sam Phillips, and then some. Peter Guralnick's biography of the man who "invented" rock and roll is an exhaustive tale of Sam Phillips' wild ride of highs and lows and going off the rails. It is apparent that he was a gifted man with many talents but he couldn't maintain his focus. Time and again Sam brings a project to profitability and then loses interest. Even his pride and joy Sun Records couldn't keep him interested long enough to really make it the [...]

    4. I received a free copy of this book through a First Reads Giveaway.This review is going to seem negative/harsh, but it is what it is. First, the positive. You already know the book is about Sam Phillips and his life and career. The book is incredibly detailed and thoroughly researched. Peter Guralnick was a close friend to Sam Phillips and his son Knox Phillips so had unprecedented access. That shows. If someone were looking for source material for a biopic or television series, this would be a [...]

    5. Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n Roll is a compelling dive into the life of a colorful music industry pioneer.Sam Phillips tells the story of the founder of Sun Records. It follows Phillips from his small town roots, through his early days as a Memphis radio announcer/DJ, engineer and promoter. Phillips, a staunch believer in racial equality, founded a Memphis recording studio to provide a platform for marginalized voices. He helped launch the careers of legends like Howlin’ Wolf, [...]

    6. A new Peter Guralnick book is something to be celebrated! My husband doesn't read nearly as often as I do, but this is one author he loves and can't put down.

    7. I was really enjoying the Sun Records TV series on CMT -- before it was cancelled -- which was one of the reasons I decided to read this. Needless to say the show changed quite a few things around - especially the character of Marion, who was the first assistant at Sun who was integral to keeping the label running. However, the life of Sam Phillips is indeed an epic story which begins in rural Alabama during the 1920's and 1930's and ends in 2003 with what I consider to be the beginning of the e [...]

    8. Another great bio by Peter Guralnick! Written with the same attention to detail that he used in telling Elvis Presley's story, Guralnick has now turned his attention to "The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll"--Sam Phillips.I loved the story of the Million Dollar Quartet--the day that Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis all got together at Sam Phillip's Sun Studios for a jam session. (Rockabilly has always been my absolute favorite style of music--fun to play, fun to sing, and fun [...]

    9. Peter Guralnick tells an epic tale on an epic scale. One might ask whether the life of a man who owned the studio an eighteen-year-old happened to walk into to record a song for his mother is worth covering in over 700 pages. The answer is an unequivocal yes.The music Sam Phillips captured is enough reason for this. Phillips is so famous for being the first to record Elvis, followed in quick succession by Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and then, a little later, Jerry Lee Lewis, that one forgets how [...]

    10. There is no better biographer of fifties and sixties music figures than Guralnick, and he does an incredible job of conveying the background and the skills involved in not actually inventing rock 'n' roll, but of allowing it to spring into being in his presence. Phillips ran Sun Records, and the music he produced, by Howlin' Wolf, by Junior Parker, by Elvis Presley, by Jerry Lee Lewis, by Johnny Cash, by Charlie Rich, by many, many others, was uniformly honest, direct, inspired, and true. Beset [...]

    11. I've bounced in and out of this incredibly thorough biography of Sam Phillips for six months, finally grinding out the last 200 pages over the past several days. Music has always been a big deal for me, and I've read a considerable amount about the early days of country music, blues, and rock and roll, in which Sam Phillips played such a huge and vital role as the founder and operator of Sun Records in Memphis. Nothing I've read, however, comes close to this book in terms of conveying vivid, thr [...]

    12. I have the same problem with all biographies. I want to read the early part -- the youth, the dreams, the world they grew up in, the world they created. I don't really want to read the part where they fall into addiction, or disillusionment. I don't always read biographies all the way through.I did read this one all the way through. I did like the first part best, but the whole story was compelling enough. Guralnick knows his stuff, and what story could possibly be more interesting than the stor [...]

    13. Like many reviewers, having spent time in Memphis and having lived through the late 50's and early 60's I wanted to like this book. For the first 150 pages or so, as the story of Sam Phillips and his recording studio in the early days unfolded, it was interesting, entertaining and historical. Then I could sense things starting to go haywire. I couldn't reconcile Sam Phillips actions with Peter Guralnick's apologist approach. I started wincing around page 69 when Guralnick is describing the begin [...]

    14. Critics and music-lovers are raving, but for meo long, exhaustively researched but exhausting to read. He got way too close to Phillips to write about him objectively, which could be okay in other circumstances but the circular quotes from Sam demonstrate the nature of the problem. A great, larger than life figure as a producer and discoverer of talent, and the Million Dollar Quartet, Elvis, Jerry Lee and Ike Turner stories are fun, but the details of his business and personal life problems less [...]

    15. As usual, the commitment to research and detail that Guralnick brings to his work is well on display here with his latest bookThe background and history of the music industry in 1950's Memphis with all its colorful characters is definitely worth the price of admissionHowever, the microscopic details of Phillip's personal life are far less interesting than anticipated, and make the book somewhat of a drudgeIn short, the book should have been edited down another 200 pagesUnlike Guralnick masterpie [...]

    16. I should give it two more stars for the amazing research & time it took to construct such an accurate history, but because it took so long to trudge through the details, I have to stay with three. This is not a book to win fans, or become a bestseller, but to enlighten & highlight a time that made music history wheels turn & evolve, given the accuracy of a precision storytelling tool. Add this your music reference library. You'll be coming back.

    17. Move on over Allen Freed. You may have coined the word, but according to Peter Guralnick, Sam Phillips was darn close to it's birth. Read this tome then reach your own conclusion.

    18. I was very impressed by Sam Phillips and his early commitment to find musicians to record who would bridge the gap between music for whites and blacks and bring the communities together. He grew up in Florence, Alabama, near Muscle Shoals, where he grew up exposed to the music of black churches. This was partly due to the fact that his family treated a black man, "Uncle Silas," as a member of the family. He had a vision early on of realizing the dream of recording and airing on radio a type of m [...]

    19. Having read Guralnick's long 2-volume bio of Presley I was prepared for way too much info and got it. Sam Phillips was an amazing man with a vision to propel him into legendary status. His first 10 years are fascinating but his own interest in pursuing recording dimmed and with it my own interest in his extended business affairs. So 75% of the book is great and relevant but then it fizzles.

    20. Rich anecdotes form a basis for universal themes clearly invoked throughout the narrative. Though the chronological structure of the book produced substantial research uncovering the private thoughts and actions of key players, it's somewhat unsurprising that this would be an imposing factor.

    21. The incredible story of the man who discovered Elvis, Howlin' Wolf, Jerry Lee Louis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and so many more. A seminal figure in the history of American music.

    22. Overall, a terrific book which was meticulously researched. My only criticism is that the book is a little long-winded, which I guess is appropriate considering the subject.

    23. A GREAT history of rock and roll and of the man behind it all! A true ‘warts and all’ biography. What I found particularly interesting was to learn about Phillips commitment to women DJs and his ‘generally’ egalitarian business views. I have to qualify that because he was also a philanderer and a cad to his first wife and his several different lovers but he also wanted to create real opportunities for women as radio personalities. Phillips warts continue to show as author Peter Guralnick [...]

    24. Peter Guralnick, the author of an excellent two-volume Elvis Presley biography, now gives us an exhaustive biography of Sam Phillips, the founder of Sun Records who sought to capture the authentic souls of rural and small-town black and white musicians in the 1950s. When Phillips worked with musicians, he sought to capture the power of the individual. He didn't care about technical imperfection as long as the recorded result captured truth and conveyed fun. Using this approach, he was the first [...]

    25. This gigantic book breaks into two parts, which earn different ratings. The exciting first part gets four and a half stars for its discussion of musical styles and influences as well as Sam Phillips through his formative then successful years, roughly 1945-59. The second part, after stars leave Sun Records, gets two stars for going on and on about his ego and personal problems. Sam Phillips was born 1923 near Muscles Shoals, Ala, into a family surrounded by music. In the sixth grade, he took his [...]

    26. One of the musicals that most surprised me was Million Dollar Quartet, a story about how Sam Phillips influenced the rise of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Cal Perkins. I wanted to learn more about Sam Phillips and his recording label, and was thrilled to receive a copy of this from . This is a biography that would certainly make Sam's family proud. It was clear from the energized wording that the author was excited to tell Sam's story, and that made this fun to read. Sam was portrayed [...]

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