All Feature Articles

Jerry Phillips Shines a Little Light on Sun Records in 100th Birthday Celebration of His Father Sam

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Sam Phillips' 100th birthday was celebrated at the Musicians Hall of Fame Museum (MHOF) in Nashville, Tennessee on February 01, 2023. Many consider Mr. Phillips one of the originators of Rock 'n Roll as he recorded blues artists such as B.B. King in the days of segregation and their music would become the foundation of the genre. Sam also discovered and promoted a number of then unknowns going by the names of Cash, Elvis and Jerry Lee. The event at the MHOF featured an interview with Sam's son Jerry along with a quick Q&A session.

Jerry Phillips at the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville.

"All were welcomed," stated Phillips as he talked about his father's motivation behind the business that Jerry described as very hard. We learned that Sam had grown up picking cotton which exposed him to black music at an influential age. He opened the Memphis Recording Studios aka Sun Records in 1950 with the idea of taping blues artists in hopes of getting them more exposure which it did. All kinds of people casually came into the studio to make a record for special occasions and in other cases a whole album. One day, a young man walked through Sun's doors desiring to do something for his mother - that kid would become The King.

Jerry further explained that his father was always listening for something different. Phillips was not looking for another Roy Orbison once he found him - but the next thing. Sam was about breaking down barriers and digging down deep in support of artists. With success, Sam's stars would move to bigger labels who could do more for them. Phillips sold Presley's contract to RCA because Sun Records was broke. That influx of cash allowed him to record more newcomers. Sam was also the owner and operator of radio stations including an all-women's network which Jerry touched upon during the interview.

Jay McDowell conducted the informative interview with Jerry Phillps.

Jerry along with his brother Knox would stay in the family business. In fact, Jerry said he was currently working on a new album of music with his daughter Halley - who was also in the audience - producing. On her Linkedin page she states "I believe the Music Business and Radio are part of my DNA. I am currently the Vice President of Hi-Lo Music Inc., Knox Music Inc., Sam Phillips Recording and Big River Broadcasting. (WQLT-FM, WXFL-FM, WLVS-FM, WSBM-FM.)" After the discussion, attendees were invited to visit the Sun Records section of the museum to see a replica of the office and some vintage equipment.

One of the reasons this venue was chosen is that the MHOF has a display that pays tribute to Phillips. Sam's birthday was actually January 5th and that is when this event should have taken place but the MHOF had to undergo unplanned renovations after a pipe burst above them back in December. Thankfully, all of their artifacts were safe as most of the damage was to the floors. The MHOF re-opened on February 02, 2023.

The real Rek-O-Kut direct-to-disc recorder that cut Elvis Presley's first ever recording is on display at the MHOF in Nashville!

Each exhibit at the Musicians Hall of Fame Museum tells the story of an artist that you may have heard but may have never seen. The MHOF located in Nashville, Tennessee honors the labels, the musicians and more who created many of the greatest tracks of all time. Their collection includes instruments that were used on hundreds of iconic recordings - such as the Fender jazz bass that belonged to Joe Osborn who performed with The Carpenters, The Grass Roots, Simon & Garfunkel to name just a few. The MHOF also has a Grammy Gallery that explores the history of the awards and features interactive displays. The MHOF is also available for private events such as the interview with Jerry Phillips.

Jay McDowell - the Multimedia Archivist at Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum - served as host and conducted the interview. During the Q&A portion of the event Music City Nashville's Rockin' Rich Lynch was able to ask one question about Elvis and his post-Sun Records career choices. You can hear Jerry's reply beginning at the 41:33 mark in the video clip below.

Related Links: For more information on JERRY PHILLIPS and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Jerry Phillips | Halley Phillips | Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum


Check out the amazing acts in The Music Community featuring the Best Artists from Nashville and all around the world! Click here to add your music listing and please take a listen Community Playlist today!

Thankful for The Catio in Nashville, Tennessee

Meet Classic Rocker Norman Greenbaum - Nashville's Mr. AmericanaFest

Lee Roy Parnell Brings It Home For the Holidays

Zoolumination Shines and Lights Up the Night at the Nashville Zoo

CMT's Smashing Glass Raises the Bar with Empowering New Series Live From the Fisher Center in Nashville

The Jefferson Starship and Orchestra Fire Off a Stunning Performance at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center

The Nashville Sounds and Dinkville Propel Pickleball to New Heights in Music City

Lukas Nelson + POTR Keep Building On a Strong Foundation at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville

Petra at 50 - The Mission Continues in Brentwood

Jason Minton and An Art Crawl: What's Not to Love About the First Friday of the Month in Franklin?

Cody Jinks Declares His Independence with Intimate Listening Party at Star Rover Sound in Nashville

Nutrition Health Coach Simply Sherri Cooks Up a Kitchen's Worth of Pickleball Themed Recipes in Tasty Publishing Debut

Music City Animal Rescue Celebrates 10 Years of Caring in Nashville

Million Dollar Quartet - There's a Whole Lot of Music Goin' On at Studio Tenn in Franklin

Morrissey Casts a Spell at The Fisher Center in Nashville

Talking Townes with Jeanene Van Zandt

Sawyer Brown Get to the Stage On Time in Franklin

On Location with the 2023 Nashville Film Festival

Mojo Nixon's Music City Mayhem Once Again Lives Up To It's Name in Nashville

Rock Legend Ringo Starr Still Shines Bright at Raucous Ryman Return in Nashville

Nashville's AmericanaFest Is a Far-Reaching Feast For the Senses in 2023

Squeeze and The Psychedelic Furs Are Memorable in Music City

The Catio Is Cool For Cats in Nashville

The Nashville Sounds Prep For a Whole New Ballgame at First Horizon Park

Sunset Safari at the Nashville Zoo Is a Feast For the Senses and One Wild Party, Too!

Hard Redemption Plays a Hot One in Historic Watertown

Ukulele Extravaganza Plays For Maui Fire Relief in Franklin

© 2023
All Rights Reserved