Sam Phillips

Any comments regarding his passing ?

Thank you.
Sam Phillips will always be remembered as the man who signed Elvis to Sun Records and the man who sold his contract to RCA. He had quite a roster for awhile, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbision, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and many more. He had a ear for music and was never afraid to take credit for his many accomplishments. I used to live in Memphis and have been by his studio many times. I think we all owe a great deal to Sam Phillips and his wonderful insight to bring what was then new music to the scene. Without Sam Phillips the current music we have today would have been vastly different. A job well done, Rest In Peace Sam.
What an excellent response ! Thank you.
Can't believe this thread has only one poster - audiophiles have no idea, or no taste, I don't know which (likely both). Ironically, just 3 weeks ago I traveled to Sun Studios in Memphis for the second time in my life. Sam hadn't had anything to do with it for decades, of course, but being there in the place, you're just so grateful it's been allowed to survive and is still here with us for all to experience as a pilgrimage of sorts.

While there I picked up the 8-CD box set "Sun Records: The Blues Years 1950 - 1958" on Charly. (Anyone out there not know about Phillips' huge legacy before and beyond rockabilly?) Back at home the night before the day we learned of his death, I had sat up reading the 60-page included booklet about the history of this man and 'his' music, transported back to a day when it all meant something real. It felt quite eerie the next day when I heard the news. (On our road trip, two weeks after we spent three days camping at Mesa Verde, the place began burning yet again. Then this. Just pray we didn't come to your town...)

Just like the pioneers he recorded for posterity, there cannot and never will be another Sam Phillips. Thanks, Sam.
I was also surprised that this thread got only one poster. Seems that most people - including audiophiles - do not know much about Sam Phillips - a true pioneer - and his importance in popular American music history, which is pretty sad.
The 8-CD box set "Sun Records: The Blues Years 1950-1958" on Charly (from England) is an excellent choice. There's also several wonderful box-sets of Sun recordings on the one and only Bear Family (Germany) label. Please check-it out if you can, it is really worthwhile.
Thanks for your great response.
Hard to explain, isn't it?! (I mean, the dearth of posts). I think many listeners just never realized the influence of this man and instead are wrapped up in what's "new," or passed off as new. We have short attention spans. I'll bet more people know the name of the man (Bob Johnson) who brought Dylan to prominence, but not the man who did the same for Elvis and a host of others mentioned above by Rec. I don't mean to "diss" Johnson in any way.

Otherwise, perhaps the lack of response has something to do with celebrities passing away almost daily these last few months. It's like, "oh no, not another one!"
OK Chris, I give - who the heck is Bob Johnson? Are you maybe referring to John Hammond?
Alex, I should have mentioned Hammond, too! Bob Johnson was the producer of:

Highway 61 Revisited
Blonde On Blonde
John Wesley Harding
Nashville Skyline
Self Portrait
and co-producer of New Morning.

These are arguably some of the greatest recordings in Dylan's canon, and in the minds of some, in rock history. So, I attribute their success, in part (maybe in large part) to Bob Johnson. I think if Highway 61 had been a flop, Dylan would have been a footnote in rock history.
Chris, I just went and checked, and on "61" the name is actually listed as Bob Johnston, though it still only vaguely rang a bell with me. But the hit single "Like a Rolling Stone" was produced by Tom Wilson, with who's name and work I am much more familiar (I guess I always assumed that Wilson was *the* mid-60's Dylan producer). Was Johnston a staff producer at Columbia? Do you know some of his work with other artists? (Sorry Hervel to take off on a tangent...learn something new every day...)
Since you asked, here's some of his work! There's a link to an interview with him at the end of this post.

Simon & Garfunkel:
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme
Sounds of Silence

Leonard Cohen:
Songs From a Room
Songs of Love and Hate

Johnny Cash:
At Folsom Prison
At San Quentin

The Byrds
Marty Robbins
Patti Page
Willie Nelson
Dan Hicks
New Riders of the Purple Sage
Of course, it's ironic that you list Johnny Cash - brings us right back to Sam Phillips. Listening to Cash talk about Phillips on radio's Fresh Air, it was clear just how much Cash really was *produced* by Phillips. Maybe he would have become a star anyway without the start he got at Sun, but maybe not.

Not to pick too many nits, but of the S&G LP's listed, as far as I can tell only P,S,R,&T listed Johnston as producer(this based on quick web research - my LP copies are in my storage unit as I write - also ironically, Wednesday 3AM, S&G's less-successful all-acoustic first LP, was produced by Tom Wilson). The popular Byrds stuff was produced for the most part by Terry Melcher, Gary Usher, or Jim Dickson. Of course, none of that means he wasn't involved on one level or another with everything or everybody you've listed - I'll go read the interview, thanks for the link.

However, I would not agree that any of above-mentioned producers have anywhere near the overall importance of Sam Phillips. Phillips was a visionary who not only basically created the characteristic slap-echo sound of rockabilly, he recorded Jackie Brenston's (really Ike Turner's) seminal #1 R&B hit "Rocket 88", often cited as the arbitrary 'first' rock & roll record, which launched Chess Records into the big time independents. He can only be discussed in the same league as such producer/engineer/label owner pioneers like the Chess brothers or the Ertegun brothers. In his operation, he was like a rock & roll Alfred Lion and Rudy Van Gelder rolled into one. If he had done nothing beyond just recording Howlin' Wolf's first sessions, his place would still be secure, but he also recorded Rosco Gordon, Rufus Thomas, BB King, Walter Horton, Bobby Bland, Little Milton, Honeyboy Edwards, Junior Parker, James Cotton, Sleepy John Estes, Ma Rainey, Earl Hooker, Johnny Ace, Pinetop Perkins, and many other lesser-known blues and R&B lights, many of who's Phillips sides were released on other independent labels before he created Sun and discovered Elvis, et. al.
They do all come around to each other, don't they?! What you wrote, Alex, just shows the extent of Phillips' influence. Pull on almost any string (S&G, Cash, Dylan, Johnston...) and it all comes back to Sam. Great post.