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Sam Phillips, born Samuel Cornelius Phillips (January 5, 1923 â€“ July 30, 2003), was a record producer who played an important role in the emergence of rock and roll as the major form of popular music in the 1950s. He is most notably attributed with the discovery of Elvis Presley, and is associated with several other noteworthy rhythm and blues and rock and roll stars of the period.
Phillips was a native of Florence, Alabama and a graduate of Coffee High School.
On January 3, 1950, Phillips opened the "Memphis Recording Service" at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee, which also served as the studios for Sun Records through the 1950s. In addition to musical performances, he recorded events such as weddings and funerals, selling the recordings.
Phillips recorded what some - notably music historian Peter Guralnick - consider the first rock and roll record: "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, a band led by 19-year-old Ike Turner, who also wrote the song. The recording was released on the Chess/Checker record label in Chicago, in 1951. From 1950 to 1954 Phillips recorded the music of black rhythm and...