Sam Phillips - The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll
Rock 'n' roll was born in rural Alabama, 1923, in the form of Sam Phillips, the youngest son of a large family living in a remote colony called the Lovelace Community. His father had a gift for farming, which was brought to an end by the Depression. His mother picked guitar and showed the kind of forbearance that allowed her to name her son after the doctor who delivered him drunk and then had to be put to bed himself. And yet from these unprepossessing origins, in 1951 Phillips made what is widely considered to be the first rock 'n' roll record, Ike Turner and Jackie Brenston's 'Rocket 88'.
Just two years later a shy eighteen-year-old kid with sideburns, fresh out of high school, wandered into his recording studio to make a record 'for his mother', secretly hoping that it might somehow get him noticed. His name was Elvis Presley. Elvis's success, and the subsequent triumph of rock 'n' roll, was initially propelled to an almost astonishing degree by a limited number of releases by Carl 'Blue Suede Shoes' Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis - all from this tiny, one-man label.
An engaging mix of biography and anecdote, Peter Guralnick's book brilliantly recreates one shining moment in the history of popular culture. And Sam Phillips was the man who brought it all about.
Author Peter Guralnick has no equals when it comes to researching the characters around Fifties and Sixties rock music, and this biography has been many years in the writing. ...(a) valuable and fascinating book. -- Ray Connolly DAILY MAIL - Book of the Week Getting to know Sam, Mr. Guralnick explains, opened up "a world in which I had clearly not grown up but to which I so desperately sought admittance, as historian, as writer, as fan." So began the quest that has produced the gold-standard Presley bio and now a complete portrait of his inspiration. Mr. Guralnick has captured what was different, real and raw about a great artist. His Sam Phillips comes out perfectly imperfect. -- PRESTON LAUTERBACH WALL STREET JOURNAL