Today marks what would have been the 94th birthday of legendary music producer Sam Phillips. In celebration, we’re taking a look at his life and some interesting facts you may not have known about the man behind the Million Dollar Quartet recording.
- Sam Phillips was born on 5 January 1923 on a farm in Florence, Alabama, the youngest of eight children.
- His interest in music began when he heard workers singing in the fields of his parent’s farm whilst helping to pick cotton as a child.
- At High School, Phillips was the conductor of the school band.
- In the 1940’s he worked as a radio engineer and a DJ for the local radio station WLAY (AM) and later worked for WREC as an announcer and sound engineer.
- In January 1950, Phillips opened the Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, allowing amateur musicians to perform before selling the performances to larger record labels.
- During its 16 years in production, Sun Records produced 226 singles, and produced more Rock and Roll records than any other label at the time.
- With his profits from the record label, Phillips invested in many companies including Holiday Inn, and opened Sun Studios Café in Memphis.
- Sam Phillips was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and has also been included in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, the Blues Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame.
- In 1991 he received a Grammy Trustees Award for lifetime achievement.
- Phillips passed away in 2003, the day before the original Sun Studio was designated a National Historic Landmark.