Top 7 indispensable hits from Sun Studio

Art and article from Garden & Gun

Garden & Gun asked Nina Jones, manager at Sun Studio in Memphis about the Top 7 hits from the legendary recording studio

“The Wolf Is at Your Door (Howlin’ for My Baby)”
Howlin’ Wolf: “Sam Phillips claimed that the Wolf was his all-time favorite artist to record. He had a raw, gruff sound that was exactly what Sam was looking for. When Sam heard him sing, he said, ‘This is for me. This is where the soul of a man never dies.’”

“Blue Suede Shoes”
Carl Perkins: “When most people hear this song, they think of Elvis. Perkins wrote it, performed it, and saw it top the charts before Elvis ever touched it. My favorite behind-the-scenes fact: Sam promised that whoever gave him the first gold record would get a brand-new Cadillac. Sure enough, he bought Perkins a Cadillac for this one—using Perkins’s own royalty money.”

“That’s All Right”
Elvis Presley: “This was the first release from a young kid named Elvis Presley. Fusing blues and country, the song was energy, speed, spirit. It was rock and roll.”

“Great Balls of Fire”
Jerry Lee Lewis: “Wild man Jerry Lee Lewis gave Sun the two biggest hits the label ever had: ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On’ and this one. This song was everything your parents would’ve hated at the time.”

“When Love Comes to Town”
U2 and B. B. King: “After Sun Studio resurfaced in 1985, U2’s Rattle and Humalbum showed other artists that we were back on the map.”

“Rocket 88”
Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats: “This song features some of the earliest distorted electric guitar, and because of that, it is considered by many music historians to be the first rock-and-roll song in history.”

“Cry Cry Cry”
Johnny Cash: “Cash came here with gospel songs. ‘Go home and sin,’ Sam Phillips allegedly told him, ‘and then come back.’ Cash then wrote ‘Hey Porter’ matched with the B-side ‘Cry Cry Cry.’ He became Sun’s most consistent hit maker.”


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