Sun was a small indie label in the 50's famous for putting some of the best rockabilly and rock&roll acts ever. But it's most famous for being where Elvis Presley (with Scotty Moore on guitar and Bill Black on double bass) got his start. Sun was run by Sam Phillips who had a great eye for talent and also innovated recording techniques still used today, such as slapback echo.

Some people who recorded at Sun:
Elvis Presley
Carl Perkins
Jerry Lee Lewis
Johnny Cash
Billy Lee Riley

Here's an amusing story told be Lux Interior of the cramps. you can find it and more at

"Hey Bryan, was it Jim Dickinson or Knox Phillips who told us that story about how Elvis really got his first break at Sun Records?" enquires Lux.

"It was Knox", replies Bryan in the same unsettling serene tone that he was using when, before the interruption, he was calmly telling one of the party sequestered at this niterie how "you've just got to understand that 90 per cent of the people living in New York are completely crazy. I mean homicidally crazy!"

Ah, ha, Knox Phillips. This is paramount to pronouncing the up-coming tale as the acorn gospel because Knox Phillips is the son of Sam Phillips and everybody knows that Sam Phillips was the gent who owned Sun Records back there in the '50s and who hit pay dirt by discovering, so the official story goes, one Elvis Aaron Presley, truckdriver, while looking for a white boy with a negro sounding voice. The 'official' story is also very wishy-washy and too damn coincidental to really be swallowed whole.

The version Phillips' son told The Cramps one drunken night is rather more entertainingly believable. "Yeah, we were told that Elvis wasn't discovered as such at all! He was just some freaky looking kid always making a nuisance of himself around Sun Studios and nobody wanted to know him. Like, here's this guy who dyed his eyebrows and dressed in black pimp clothes - and this was the '50s in the South, you've got to remember - and Sam Phillips and all the session guys thought he was some disgusting little faggot!"However Elvis did have this one piece of luck. His mother, right, had a really bad weight problem and the doctor prescribed her this enormous supply of diet pills which just happened to be...these pills were just pure benzedrine, right, which is a very potent form of speed.

"And all those Sun guys just lived on speed, man. So, when Phillips found out that Elvis could get bottles of these things, he let him hang around. So, like, here was Elvis every week bringing huge bottles of these pills to the guys at Sun until, as he was the studio's main source of supply for speed, Phillips was more or less obliged to let him cut a record. "So like, rock'n'roll was born simply because Elvis Presley was Sun Records' number one speed dealer."

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