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Flyin’ Saucers Rock & Roll: The Cosmic Genius of Sam Phillips
Enter to win a “cosmic” music experience! Win tickets to see Flyin’ Saucers Rock & Roll: The Cosmic Genius of Sam Phillips at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum before it closes on June 12, official exhibit merchandise and music that Sam Phillips impacted, including music by Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and more! You’ll also win tickets to tour Historic RCA Studio B and Hatch Show Print.
One of the most innovative and inspiring figures in the history of American music, Sun Records founder Sam Phillips introduced the world to Johnny Cash, Howlin’ Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Charlie Rich, and many more. The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will explore Phillips’s life and career with the exhibition Flyin’ Saucers Rock & Roll: The Cosmic Genius of Sam Phillips, which opens August 28, 2015.
Co-curated by Presley biographer Peter Guralnick, author of the forthcoming biography Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock and Roll, the exhibition will take an in-depth look at Phillips and the social and cultural impact of the music he captured on such revolutionary recordings as Jackie Brenston’s “Rocket 88,” Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right,” and Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line.”
More than merely creating a sound, Phillips initiated a sensibility. Working in Memphis in the 1950s, he preached the value of self-belief and “individualism in the extreme” to both country and blues performers, encouraging artists not to polish their sound. “I have one real gift,” he told David Halberstam, “and that gift is to look another person in the eye and be able to tell if he has anything to contribute, and if he does, I have the additional gift to free him from whatever is restraining him.”
With Sun Records and the recording studios he owned, Phillips created a progressive oasis in heavily segregated Memphis. He worked to challenge the cultural assumptions of the day, blur color lines, and instigate needed social change. The result was a straightforward and soulful sound that helped develop rock & roll out of a country-blues mix. Musical integration eventually undermined barriers of racial segregation and discrimination as the Civil Rights movement gathered force.
The exhibit will be accompanied by an exhibit catalog, also titled Flyin’ Saucers Rock & Roll: The Cosmic Genius of Sam Phillips. Published by the museum’s Country Music Foundation Press, the volume will include dozens of archival photographs and beautiful color images of many of the artifacts in the exhibit. The book will be available in the Museum Store. #CosmicSamPhillips
Flyin’ Saucers Rock & Roll: The Cosmic Genius of Sam Phillips is funded in part by a grant from Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.