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Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n'…
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Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll (original: 2015; edição: 2015)

de Peter Guralnick (Autor)

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1753124,108 (4.03)5
The author of Last Train to Memphis brings us the life of Sam Phillips, the visionary genius who singlehandedly steered the revolutionary path of Sun Records. The music that Phillips shaped in his tiny Memphis studio, with artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ike Turner, and Johnny Cash, introduced a sound that had never been heard before. He brought forth a singular mix of black and white voices unabashedly proclaiming the primacy of the American vernacular tradition while at the same time declaring, once and for all, a new, integrated musical world. With extensive interviews and firsthand personal observations extending over the author's 25-year acquaintance with Phillips, along with wide-ranging interviews with nearly all the legendary Sun Records artists, this book gives us an ardent, intimate, and unrestrained portrait of an American original as compelling in his own right as Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, and Thomas Edison.--Adapted from book jacket.… (mais)
Membro:Scrappy0720
Título:Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll
Autores:Peter Guralnick (Autor)
Informação:Little, Brown and Company (2015), Edition: Illustrated, 784 pages
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Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll de Peter Guralnick (2015)

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Peter Guralnick tells an epic tale on an epic scale. One might ask whether the life of a man who owned the studio an eighteen-year-old happened to walk into to record a song for his mother is worth covering in over 700 pages. The answer is an unequivocal yes.
The music Sam Phillips captured is enough reason for this. Phillips is so famous for being the first to record Elvis, followed in quick succession by Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and then, a little later, Jerry Lee Lewis, that one forgets how much great, path-breaking music he had recorded before that. There was “Rocket 88” with Ike Turner’s group, with Jackie Brenston on vocals—often called the first rock & roll record—but also the first sessions with Howlin’ Wolf, B. B. King, and others.
Fortuitously, Phillips was a meticulous sound engineer. Many timeless monuments of early rock and blues were cut in less-than-ideal circumstances, but Phillips captured these seminal tracks in a self-designed state-of-the-art room. Yet Guralnick makes it clear that for Sam, it was always about more than music. From childhood in rural Alabama, close to Muscle Shoals, he heard in the music of those around him, black and white, a shared human spirituality. Racial segregation made no sense to him, and for him, the cross-over appeal of his tracks was a weapon in overcoming it.
For years, he was reticent about articulating his agenda, but both the teens who bought his records and disapproving adults understood. When the pushback came, in the late fifties, the hot-button issues were the payola scandal (the revelation that chronically underpaid disc jockeys raised themselves to a living wage through the largesse of promoters) and the irregular private life of the enormously talented and arrogant Jerry Lee Lewis. The underlying worry, however, was desegregation. Also, the major record companies, slow to catch on (and cash in) on the new trend were jealous of every dollar that went to Sun Records and other independent labels such as Chess and Atlantic rather than to them.
Guralnick tells the tale well, casting it as one of dazzling success and back-breaking setbacks. There is a bit of irony, as well. After Phillips reluctantly sold his contract with Elvis to RCA, knowing that he had no chance to keep him in the long run anyway, he still had a stable full of talent. But Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Roy Orbison all felt neglected because of the attention Sam lavished on the one he felt most talented of all, Jerry Lee Lewis. They deserted him just before Jerry Lee’s personal life became public and his record sales dropped to nothing. It’s not always the prospectors who first find gold who get rich in the ensuing rush.
In a lengthy final chapter, the author details how he came to play Boswell to Sam’s Johnson. It’s an unusual feature, but I felt it worked. There are a few other idiosyncrasies in Guralnick’s style, however, such as the choice of the preposition “on” as in “to cut a record on [Artist’s Name].” Perhaps he picked that up from Phillips himself, but it was new to me. Another quirk is to write a sentence with a qualifier and then in parentheses take back the qualifier. Example: “almost painful (forget almost).” Even in a book of this length, one such sentence would have been enough. He also uses the verb “individuate” more than any other writer I’ve come across.
These are minor quibbles, though. My friends consider me very knowledgeable about this music, but there was much in the book new to me, such as the in-studio argument during the sessions to record “Great Balls of Fire” between Sam and Jerry Lee about whether God would send the singer to hell for blasphemy. Jerry Lee argued the affirmative, which may account for some of the anguished urgency in his vocal.
I give this book the full five stars because I believe it is worth reading not only by those for whom this music matters but for anyone interested in the social upheavals in America in the second half of the 20th century. ( )
  HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
Wow. Peter Guralnick's biography of Sam Phillips (1923-2003), the visionary and founder of Sun Records, is a long, meticulously researched, rollicking read. One gets a great portrait of the very perfectly imperfect man behind the legendary discoverer of such blues, country and rock icons as Howlin' Wolf (aka Chester Burnett, 1910-76); Johnny Cash (1930-2003); Elvis Presley (1935-77); Carl Perkins; Jerry Lee Lewis and Charlie Pride; a man unstintingly devoted to family and friends but who took no dung from anyone. One of a kind. ( )
  Jimbookbuff1963 | Jun 5, 2021 |
Excellent biography that makes a good case for Phillips as being "the man who invented rock'N'roll." As the man who discovered Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Ike Turner and Howlin' Wolf (among others), this is also the story of a man with the genius to recognize and appreciate new sounds. Since the author knew Phillips pretty well, it cannot be said to be that objective, but he tries and indicates when he isn't. This man is a musical hero for our time and this book serves as a fitting tribute. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 29, 2016 |
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The author of Last Train to Memphis brings us the life of Sam Phillips, the visionary genius who singlehandedly steered the revolutionary path of Sun Records. The music that Phillips shaped in his tiny Memphis studio, with artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ike Turner, and Johnny Cash, introduced a sound that had never been heard before. He brought forth a singular mix of black and white voices unabashedly proclaiming the primacy of the American vernacular tradition while at the same time declaring, once and for all, a new, integrated musical world. With extensive interviews and firsthand personal observations extending over the author's 25-year acquaintance with Phillips, along with wide-ranging interviews with nearly all the legendary Sun Records artists, this book gives us an ardent, intimate, and unrestrained portrait of an American original as compelling in his own right as Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, and Thomas Edison.--Adapted from book jacket.

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