Sam Phillips' Legacy to Be Honored by the Country Music Hall of Fame & Music City Roots

A tribute concert to the great Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records, is being organized by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Music City Roots.

The show, which is set for February 3 at The Factory in Franklin, TN, will feature Billy Burnette, Shawn Camp, Sleepy LaBeef, Colin Linden, and Bobby Rush along with biographer Peter Guralnick and Phillips' son Jerry who will discuss Sam's legacy between sets.

The show will stream live at

Phillips began his professional career at Muscle Shoals radio station WLAY in 1940. The station played both black and white artists, a rarity at the time, and the exposure to such a wide variety of music would be reflected in Phillips later music endeavors.

Phillips opened the Sun Recording Studio in Memphis on January 3, 1950, drawing such blues artists as B.B. King and Howlin' Wolf. Phillips would record the singers and, later, sell the recordings to record labels.

In 1951, Phillips recorded Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats, a record that many consider to be the starting point of Rock and Roll.

Between 1951 and 1954, Sun Studios was the center of the Memphis recording world, bringing in the likes of Bobby Blue Bland, Little Milton, James Cotton and Rufus Thomas. Phillips also began releasing the music on his own Sun label which, during its decade-and-a-half existence, would put out 226 singles including some of the most important of the early rock era.

As the rock ear dawned, Phillips would use his music instincts to sign such major artists as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich and B.B. King.

Sam Phillips was among the members of the first class to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

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