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Good Rockin' Tonight: Sun Records and the Birth of Rock 'N' Roll
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Good Rockin' Tonight: Sun Records and the Birth of Rock 'N' Roll

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  166 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Memphis, Tennessee. The early 1950s. The Mississippi rolls by, and there's a train in the night. Down on Beale Street there's hard-edged blues, on the outskirts of town they're pickin' hillbilly boogie.

At Sam Phillips' Sun Records studio on Union Avenue, there's something different going on. "Shake it, baby, shake it!" "Go, cat, go!" "We're gonna rock..."

This is where rock
...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 15th 1992 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1991)
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Kathryn
May 22, 2011 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: music lovers
When I received the galley for the revised edition of Good Rockin' Tonight, my knowledge of Sun Records was minimal - I knew basically that it existed. I had known some of the legends of early rock and roll cut records with the label - Elvis, Jerry Lee, Roy - but I hadn't realized the richness of the label's history before now. While reading this book, what grabbed me the most was the sheer amount of minor record labels active in the 50's and 60's, and the preference of cutting singles as ...more
Dave Schwensen
Sep 13, 2016 Dave Schwensen rated it really liked it
Everything and more that you’ve ever wanted to know about Sun Records is covered in this book. If this were a film it would be classified under “documentary.” It appears no sound screen, tape machine or desk drawer was left untapped, un-listened to or unopened to give this account of the legendary recording studio that deserves its reputation as one of the birth places of rock and roll.
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Owner Sam Phillips didn’t start out with that goal in mind. Sun Records was originally founded on the idea of
...more
Patrick
Dec 21, 2015 Patrick rated it liked it
Shelves: music
the revelation that a guy named Sam Phillips once upon a time had a label called Sun Records has spawned multiple books in the past year or two ... this one is mostly about the stable of unknown musicians (many soon to be famous), who quite literally walked in off the streets and into Sam's humble recording studio (a term that should be used loosely), Elvis, Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Cash, Carl Perkins, etc. ... their nothing-to-something journeys can be interesting, but the overall takeaway is ...more
S.D.
Sep 10, 2009 S.D. rated it it was amazing
Have you heard the news? Sun was the first powerhouse independent record label of Rock & Roll music. It’s catalogue, performed by rough-edged musicians who turned out consistently innovative material (even a Top Ten hit here and there), has been exhaustively reissued, much to the delight of Sun connoisseurs. Sadly, the same can’t be said of material written about Sun: most of the books (several also written by Escott and Hawkins, who have contributed impeccably researched liner notes to many ...more
Tosh
Oct 25, 2007 Tosh rated it it was amazing
Fascinating history of Sun Records. It goes beyond Elvis, and into the psyche of Sam Philips, the owner, the brains, and soul of Sun Records. It seems like everyone involved with Sun was either brilliant, crazy, insane, or just had that genius 'it' quality.

As I mentioned before, I see record labels being very similar to Publishing houses. In fact I don't see the difference whatsoever. But what I do know if there was no Sun Records, we would be living in a totally different culture. So thank you
...more
Michael Smith
Sep 25, 2014 Michael Smith rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
Truly a fun and exciting journey into the past. The birth of rock and roll was a major point in history, and Sam Phillips and his SUN Records was a huge part of that birth, with the recording of early sides by Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and more. It's a remarkable story of a man who had the vision and wouldn't let anything, or anyone, sway him from his path to destiny.
Garrett Cash
Aug 11, 2014 Garrett Cash rated it it was amazing
An excellent overview of the most influential record label of all time. It recounted the same things I had heard before in a fresh way, but I was mostly happy about the fact that I got to learn a lot more about the minor players than I knew before. The blues artists who came before Elvis, and all the Elvis wannabes who came in his wake. Fascinating material.
Anthony Glass
Jun 22, 2016 Anthony Glass rated it really liked it
I actually bought it at Sun studios on vacation a couple years back and hadn't gotten around to reading it until last summer. Pretty quick read and a very good overview of, not only the operation and the hazards of the business, but the music scene in Memphis in general.
Monty
May 01, 2014 Monty rated it liked it
Lots of good information here. Tells the story of Sun and Sam Phillips, mostly through extensive profiles of some of the more important musicians he recorded. Very interesting, if slightly repetitive.
R.Friend
Aug 16, 2007 R.Friend rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, music
An excellent little overview of the legendary Sun Records studio that also sheds light on some of its more obscure, earlier artists.
John
Apr 20, 2012 John rated it liked it
Good book on the studio that brought us many singers that are now household names. Should be read by those interested in Rock N Roll history
Karen
Jun 16, 2015 Karen rated it liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
This was a great history of Sun Records. Lots of great stories not generally well known about the artists and the songs.
Jermajesty
Jul 02, 2014 Jermajesty rated it really liked it
A deep dive into the practical philosophy of the great music producer. Some dry spots, but overall a special book.
Jerry
Nov 29, 2015 Jerry rated it it was amazing
Every new book that comes out about Sun Records seems to top the last one as more and more sources appear and we really understand how it revolutionized early Rock 'n' Roll.
Luke
Jan 06, 2012 Luke rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, music
Lots of info for the Sun novice. At times a little overboard. I recommend tracking down the song lists at the end of each chapter to hear the progression of the Sun sound.
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Colin Escott is the foremost authority on Sun Records. He first wrote the company’s history in 1975 and has revised and expanded it several times since. He has published several other volumes on the early days of country music, including a biography of Hank Williams and The Grand Ole Opry: The Making of an American Icon. He won a Grammy for his work on Mercury Records’ The Complete Hank Williams, ...more
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“In general, those from outside the southern culture built a style around exaggerations of southern music, and missed the lonesome hillbilly and blues feel that was its core. In the quest for abandon, they also failed to understand that southern music is lazy music—at any tempo.” 0 likes
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