706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee- the home of Sun Studio- considered by many to be the birthplace of Rock “N” Roll.
Sam Phillips-[pictured above} founded Sun Studio and Sun Records in the early 1950’s. At first he recorded the blues artists such as B.B. King and Howlin’ Wolf got their start at Sun- but then as the mid-50’s approached a fella named Elvis Presley came along and the rest is history. Among those who got their start with Sam Phillips at Sun- Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich and Carl Perkins. During their 16 run Sun produced more singles than any other label-226 singles.
For more on the great Sam Phillips- the 2015 biography of him by Peter Guralnick – Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll is one of my favorite music biographies. I’ve already read it twice.
Starting a new feature for October- a great Sun Records single a day.
What many consider to be the first Rock and Roll record- a song called “Rocket 88” which was credited to Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats. It was actually a song by a young man named Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm back up band. The song was produced by Sam Phillips in March 1951 and licensed to Chess Records for release. “Rocket 88” was supposed to be credit as Ike Turner and Kings of Rhythm featuring Jackie Brenston but Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats was printed instead. Ike Turner was not happy. The sound on the record has an interesting back ground story-out on Highway 61 on the way to Memphis they had a flat tire and the amplifier fell off the car. When they got to the studio they saw the woofer had burst so Phillips stuck some newspaper and sack paper in it and that is how they got the sound. The single reached #1 in the R&B singles chart- and is considered by some the first rock and roll song.