4 Dec:
Elvis, Jerry Lee, Johnny & Carl

Today we discover the iconic jamming session that birthed ‘The Million Dollar Quartet’ – Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ Perkins – who spent the day making music together at Sun Studios, Memphis on 4th December, 1956.

Although the event began as an impromptu get-together, Sun’s Sam Phillips was quick to call a press photographer to document the troupe, which also included Elvis’s then-girlfriend, Marilyn Evans. Luckily, a savvy recording engineer also switched on the mics.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider why this rock n’ roll quartet quickly reverted to gospel, bluegrass, blues, and country; unpick Johnny Cash’s claim that he can’t be heard on-mic because he was matching Presley’s higher register; and marvel at Elvis’s impression of Jackie Wilson…

Further Reading:

• ‘Million Dollar Quartet – Dec. 4 1956’ (Sun Records, 2008): https://sunrecords.com/million-dollar-quartet-dec-4-1956/

• ‘Johnny Cash Elvis Presley: The story behind their epic recording session’ (Daily Express, 2021): https://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/music/1424775/Johnny-Cash-Elvis-Presley-story-behind-recording-session-the-million-dollar-quartet-evg

• ‘The Million Dollar Quartet’ (Sun Records, 1956): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOorJPVc6_M

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