500 Greatest Albums
Here’s our list of seminal international albums including The Beatles, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones among others
11. The Sun Sessions – Elvis Presley
Many believe Rock & Roll was born on July 5th, 1954, at Sun Studios in Memphis. Elvis Presley, guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black were horsing around with “That’s All Right,” a tune by bluesman Arthur Crudup, when producer Sam Phillips stopped them and asked, “What are you doing?” “We don’t know,” they said. Phillips told them to “back up and do it again.” The A side of Presley’s first single (backed with a version of Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky”), “That’s All Right” was issued by Sun, on July 19th. It may or may not be the first rock & roll record. But the man who would be King was officially on wax. Bridging black and white, country and blues, his sound was playful and revolutionary. As Presley biographer Peter Guralnick observed, “This is the most improbable story of all: In a tiny Memphis studio, in 1954 and 1955, Sam Phillips and Elvis Presley created rock & roll.” Presley released four more singles on Sun ”” including definitive reinventions of Wynonie Harris’ “Good Rockin’ Tonight” and Junior Parker’s “Mystery Train” ”” before moving on to immortality at RCA. It took more than twenty years for Presley’s Sun output to be properly collected on this ’76 LP ”” which has since been superseded by Sunrise, a double-CD chronicle of the King’s beginnings at Sun, released in 1999.