The Sun Sessions is a compilation of Elvis Presley recordings at Sun Studios in 1954 and 1955. It was issued by RCA Records in 1976, and had been issued and charted as The Sun Collection in the UK the previous year. It features liner notes by Roy Carr of the New Musical Express.
Elvis Presley's Sun recordings
The album features most of the tracks recorded at Sun studio by Sam Phillips, the head of Sun Studios. Phillips signed Presley after hearing a song that he had recorded for his mother on his birthday. It includes "That's All Right" one of the few recordings regarded as "the first rock and roll record."
Phillips said that Presley was rehearsing with his band, Scotty Moore and Bill Black, when Presley started singing the song, a blues song written byArthur "Big Boy" Crudup. Phillips said that the version of the song was what he was looking for when he signed Presley, and turned the tape recorder on.
Elvis recorded more than 20 songs at the Sun studio, including some private recordings. Of these, 15 appear on this album.
- "Harbor Lights"
- "Tomorrow Night"
- "When It Rains It Really Pours"
- "I Got a Woman" (tape lost)
- "Satisfied" (tape lost)
- The earlier private recordings
The Sun Sessions was released in March 1976 and reached #76 on the pop and #2 on the country charts.
The single "Baby, Let's Play House" combined with "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" reached #5 on the country charts in 1955. Also, RCA Victor saw that Elvis was rapidly building a reputation for his live performances. They offered Sun Records $35,000 to buy out Presley's contract, and the rest is history.
The single "That's All Right" did not chart in the US when released in 1954, and it was never issued as a single in Great Britain during Presley's lifetime. In 2004, the song became the focus of attention when it was the subject of a great deal of publicity because of the 50-year anniversary. There was a special ceremony on July 6, 2004 featuring Isaac Hayes, Justin Timberlake, Moore which was beamed live to 1200 radio stations. The song went top five in the UK and Canada and also charted in Australia. The Sun Sessions was also re-released in 2004 (in Japan only) to celebrate the anniversary.
In 2003, the album was ranked #11 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2001, the TV channel VH1 named it the 21st greatest album of all time. Allmusic rates it as five stars, saying "it collects his first, and arguably most important, recordings into one convenient package. Who doesn't need this in their record collection?"
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll included two tracks from the album: "Mystery Train" and "That's All Right."
This album is the very first Elvis album to feature "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine", which was only previously issued as a single. After more than 20 years, The Sun Sessions marked the song's official debut on LP.
|1.||"That's All Right (Mama)" (from single, 1954)||Arthur Crudup||1:57|
|2.||"Blue Moon of Kentucky" (from single, 1954)||Bill Monroe||2:04|
|3.||"I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine" (from single, 1954)||Mack David||2:28|
|4.||"Good Rockin' Tonight" (from single, 1954)||Roy Brown||2:14|
|5.||"Milkcow Blues Boogie" (from single, 1955)||Kokomo Arnold||2:39|
|6.||"You're a Heartbreaker" (from single, 1955)||Jack Sallee||2:12|
|7.||"I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" (from single, 1955)||Stan Kesler, William Taylor||2:37|
|8.||"Baby Let's Play House" (from single, 1955)||Arthur Gunter||2:17|
|1.||"Mystery Train" (from single, 1955)||Junior Parker, Sam Phillips||2:26|
|2.||"I Forgot to Remember to Forget" (from single, 1955)||Stan Kesler, Charlie Feathers||2:30|
|3.||"I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')" (RCA 1956)||Jimmy Wakely||2:26|
|4.||"I Love You Because" (RCA 1956, 1st version)||Leon Payne||2:33|
|5.||"Tryin' to Get to You" (RCA 1956)||Rose Marie McCoy, Charles Singleton||2:33|
|6.||"Blue Moon" (RCA 1956)||Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart||2:41|
|7.||"Just Because" (RCA 1956)||Sydney Robin, Bob Shelton, Joe Shelton||2:34|
|8.||"I Love You Because" (RCA 1956; 2nd version)||Leon Payne||3:25|
Note: The last six tracks are original Sun recordings, but were not released until 1956 on Presley's first album by RCA. They were never released on Sun.
- Elvis Presley - vocals, acoustic guitar, piano on "Trying to Get to You"
- Scotty Moore - electric guitar
- Bill Black - double bass
- Jimmie Lott - drums on "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" (erroneously attributed to D.J. Fontana)
- Johnny Bernero - drums on "I Forgot to Remember to Forget" and "Trying to Get to You" (erroneously attributed to D.J. Fontana)
|Chart (1976)||Peak position|
|US Country Albums||2|
|UK Albums Chart||16|