Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Million Dollar Quartet at Sun Studios - Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis December 4, 1956

Oh, I am well aware that this offering can be had on a number of blogs but I felt compelled to include it here anyway. I love this one and just recently revisited it a little while back. There must have been a full moon or a unique alignment in the heavens on this particular winter evening in Memphis (hmmmmm....celestial alignment...Memphis...Egypt?...I must consult further..) to put these incredible young men together in the cramped confines of Sam Phillips' rinky-dinky hillbilly studio. Whatever caused them to combine for an evening of song and laughter, we all can be grateful that it happened and the ever-sharp business acumen of Phillips for calling the local paper's entertainment editor to capture the moment. Although there is so many fragments of songs and not much complete, I believe it can still be listened to and enjoyed for it's ability to crystalize a moment in American history, as so few of it's like have been properly captured for us to appreciate. Thank you wikipedia for the below descrition...

"The jam session seems to have happened by pure chance. Perkins, who by this time had already met success with "Blue Suede Shoes", had come into the studios that day, accompanied by his brothers Clayton and Jay and by drummer W.S. Holland, their aim being to cut some new material, including a revamped version of an old blues song, "Matchbox". Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records, who wished to try to fatten this sparse rockabilly instrumentation, had brought in his latest acquisition, singer and piano man extraordinaire, Jerry Lee Lewis, still unknown outside Memphis, to play the piano on the Perkins session.
Sometime in the early afternoon, Elvis Presley, a former SUN artist himself, but now at RCA, dropped in to pay a casual visit accompanied by a girlfriend, Marilyn Evans. He was, at the time, the biggest name in show business, having hit the top of the singles charts five times, and topping the album charts twice in the preceding 12 month period. Less than four months earlier, he had appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, pulling an unheard-of 83% of the television audience, which was estimated at 55 million, the largest in history, up to that time. After chatting with Philips in the control room, Presley listened to the playback of the Perkins’ session, which he pronounced to be good. Then he went into the studio and some time later the jam session began. Phillips left the tapes running in order to "capture the moment" as a souvenir and for posterity. At some point during the session, SUN artist Johnny Cash, who had also enjoyed a few hits on the country charts, popped in. (Cash noted in his autobiography Cash that it was he who was the first to arrive at Sun Studio that day.)
As the session continued, Phillips spotted an opportunity for some publicity and called a local newspaper, the Memphis Press-Scimitar. Bob Johnson, the newspaper’s entertainment editor came over to the studios accompanied by a UPI representative named Leo Soroca, and a photographer.
The following day, an article, written by Johnson about the session, was published in the Memphis Press-Scimitar under the title, "Million Dollar Quartet". The article contained the now well known photograph of Elvis Presley seated at the piano surrounded by Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash."

01 You Belong To My Heart (Ray Gilbert/Agustín Lara) Elvis Presley 0:45
02 When God Dips His Love In My Heart (trad.) Elvis Presley & Jerry Lee Lewis 0:18
03 Just A Little Talk With Jesus (Clevant Derricks) Elvis Presley & Jerry Lee Lewis 3:52
04 Jesus Walked That Lonesome Valley (trad.) Elvis Presley & Jerry Lee Lewis 2:52
05 I Shall Not Be Moved (Ray Gilbert/Agustín Lara Elvis Presley & Jerry Lee Lewis 3:01
06 Peace In The Valley (Thomas A. Dorsey) Elvis Presley 1:20
07 Down By The Riverside (trad.) Elvis Presley & Jerry Lee Lewis 2:11
08 I'm With A Crowd But So Alone (Ernest Tubb/Carl Story) Elvis Presley 1:17
09 Farther Along (trad.) All 1:38
10 Blessed Jesus (Hold My Hand) (trad.) Elvis Presley & Jerry Lee Lewis 1:24
11 As We Travel Along On The Jericho Road (trad.) Elvis Presley & Jerry Lee Lewis 0:42
12 I Just Can't Make It By Myself (Clara Ward) Elvis Presley & Jerry Lee Lewis 0:59
13 Little Cabin Home On The Hill (Bill Monroe/Lester Flatt) Elvis Presley 0:38
14 Summertime Is Past And Gone (Bill Monroe) Elvis Presley & Carl Perkins 0:06
15 I Hear A Sweet Voice Calling (Bill Monroe) All 0:27
16 Sweetheart You Done Me Wrong (Bill Monroe/Lester Flatt) All 0:26
17 Keeper Of The Key (B.Stewart/H.Howard/K.Devine/L.Guynes) Carl Perkins 0:45
18 Crazy Arms (Ralph Mooney/Charles Seals) Jerry Lee Lewis 0:18
19 Don't Forbid Me (Charles Singleton) Elvis Presley 0:56
20 Too Much Monkey Business (Chuck Berry) Jerry Lee Lewis 0:05
21 Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Chuck Berry) Elvis Presley & Jerry Lee Lewis 1:00
22 Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind (Ivory Joe Hunter/Clyde Otis) Elvis Presley 0:45
23 Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Chuck Berry) Elvis Presley & Jerry Lee Lewis 1:42
24 Don't Be Cruel (Elvis Presley/Otis Blackwell) Elvis Presley 1:41
25 Don't Be Cruel (Elvis Presley/Otis Blackwell) Elvis Presley 0:37
26 Paralyzed (Elvis Presley/Otis Blackwell) Elvis Presley 2:36
27 Don't Be Cruel (Elvis Presley/Otis Blackwell) Elvis Presley 0:24
28 There's No Place Like Home (trad.) Elvis Presley 3:18
29 When The Saints Go Marchin' In (trad.) Elvis Presley & Jerry Lee Lewis 2:14
30 Softly And Tenderly (trad.) Elvis Presley & Jerry Lee Lewis 2:27
31 Is It So Strange (Faron Young) Elvis Presley 1:09
32 That's When Your Heartaches Begin (W.Hill/F.Fisher/W.Raskin) Elvis Presley 4:37
33 Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Chuck Berry) Elvis Presley 0:20
34 Rip It Up (Robert Blackwell/J.Marascalco) Elvis Presley 0:03
35 I'm Gonna Bid My Blues Goodbye (Hank Snow) Elvis Presley 0:31
36 Crazy Arms (Ralph Mooney/Charles Seals) Jerry Lee Lewis 3:13
37 That's My Desire (Helmy Kresa/Carroll Loveday) Jerry Lee Lewis 1:17
38 End Of The Road (Jerry Lee Lewis) Jerry Lee Lewis 1:35
39 Black Bottom Stomp (Ferdinand Morton) Jerry Lee Lewis (instr.) 0:54
40 You're The Only Star In My Blue Heaven (Gene Autry) Jerry Lee Lewis 1:13
41 Elvis chatter 0:39

Link in comments


Daddy Rich said...


Anonymous said...

Very cool stuff. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

yup ! thanks a lot - timo

Silence7 said...

I thought you had gone away? Now you're back and I'm very happy about it. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

This is a fantastic. The rockab illy Wilburys of thier day even.



Anonymous said...

thank you many times over
fantastic site
very generous & appreciated