Sam Phillips and the Memphis Recording Service


I’m almost finished, after almost two years of picking up and putting down, Peter Guralnick’s fantastic and expansive biography of Sam Phillips. Towards the end of his life, he received a lot of accolades, and was given a lot of bio / retrospective treatments. Guralnick had a lot of praise for the one above, the Kitchen Sister’s Lost & Found Sound episode that deals with his early recording career, as opposed to his record company career. See also 2 episodes on Sam’s all woman radio station WHER. He was a fascinating dude.

5 Replies to “Sam Phillips and the Memphis Recording Service”

    1. And then for lunch on Wednesday, he had pumpernickel, because the rye upset his stomach a bit, and he thought dammit, I just want pumpernickel, and I don’t have to answer to anyone else. It went back to the days of pitching records on the road, packing sandwiches for three days or only finding stale wheat bread at the roadside diners. Thursday rye, but toasted. Knox would often say……

      The detail is staggering. No stage of his life goes unglossed. Lot of cool Memphis history. I wish PG would live long enough to write about 10 more of these detailed bios. I loved the Elvis and Sam Cooke books.

  1. I would say Sweet Soul Music. The Elvis books are great if you’re really into Elvis and are up for a loooong read.

  2. I’ve read only the Elvis books. Been wondering about the Sam Philips one, so thanks for the recommendation. Guralnick is a wee bit too detailed for my highly distractible brain, but I enjoyed those books anyway. Can’t help but admire his super-human patience as a researcher. Any book of his will pretty much be the last word on how things went down.

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