Class of '55

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Class of '55
Studio album by Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins
Released 26 May 1986[1]
Recorded September 1985
Genre Rockabilly, country, rock and roll, gospel
Length 37:14
Label America/Smash (422 830 002-1)
Producer Chips Moman
Roy Orbison chronology
Laminar Flow
Class of '55
In Dreams: The Greatest Hits
Johnny Cash chronology
Believe in Him
Class of '55
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[2]

Class of '55 is a 1986 album by rock and roll pioneers Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins.

While the album was in part a tribute to Elvis Presley, it was mainly a commemoration of those young performing hopefuls, the four album participants, as had Presley, all began their careers with Sun Records in the 1950s. Recorded at Sam Phillips' Sun Studios and completed at American Sound Studios, the album was documented by Dick Clark Productions, which filmed it from start to finish; by The Commercial Appeal, the Mid-South's largest circulation newspaper; and by Nine-O-One Network Magazine, the first edition of which was sold with the album in a telemarketing package.[3]

The final song of the session, "Big Train (from Memphis)", written by John Fogerty, includes the blended voices of John Fogerty, The Judds, Dave Edmunds, Ricky Nelson, Sam Phillips, and June Carter Cash. Fogerty told a reporter that he was thinking about the old Sun Records sound when he wrote the song.[4]

The recorded "Interviews from the Class of '55 Recording Sessions" earned the 1987 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for the four performers plus for producer Chips Moman, Sam Phillips and Ricky Nelson. For Nelson, it was his last recording session and only Grammy Award of his career.

Cash, Lewis and Perkins had previously collaborated in 1956 with the Million Dollar Quartet and in 1982 with The Survivors Live.

A TV special with footage of the studio sessions aired in 1989.[5]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
  1. Carl Perkins – "Birth of Rock and Roll" (Carl Perkins/Greg Perkins) – 4:21
  2. Jerry Lee Lewis – "Sixteen Candles" (Luther Dixon/Allyson Khent) – 3:48
  3. Carl Perkins – "Class of '55" (Chips Moman/Bobby Emmons) – 2:56
  4. Perkins, Lewis, Orbison & Cash – "Waymore's Blues" (Waylon Jennings/Curtis Buck) – 2:25
  5. Johnny Cash – "We Remember the King"' (Paul Kennerly) – 2:58
Side two
  1. Roy Orbison – "Coming Home" (Orbison/Will Jennings/J.D. Souther) – 3:59
  2. Perkins, Lewis, Orbison & Cash – "Rock and Roll (Fais-Do-Do)" (Michael Smotherman) – 3:17
  3. Jerry Lee Lewis – "Keep My Motor Running" (Randy Bachman) – 2:52
  4. Johnny Cash – "I Will Rock and Roll with You" (Cash) – 2:01
  5. Perkins, Lewis, Orbison & Cash – "Big Train (from Memphis)" (John Fogerty) – 7:56


  • Johnny Cash — vocals, guitar
  • Carl Perkins — vocals, guitar
  • Jerry Lee Lewis — vocals, piano
  • Roy Orbison — vocals
  • Jack Clement, Marty Stuart — background vocals, guitar
  • Reggie Young, Bob Wootton, Kenneth Lovelace, J.R. Cobb — guitar
  • Memphis Strings — strings
  • Ace Cannon, Wayne Jackson, Jack Hale Jr., Bob Lewin — horns
  • Bobby Emmons — keyboards, Synclavier
  • Mike Leech, Bob Moore — bass
  • Gene Chrisman, WS Holland, Buddy Harmon — drums
  • Toni Wine, Paul Davis, Dan Penn, June Carter Cash, Rebecca Evans, Chips Moman, Reba Russell, Sam Philips, John Fogerty, Dave Edmunds, The Judds, Rick Nelson — background vocals

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1986) Peak
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums 15


  1. ^ Hurst, Jack. "'Class of '55' Reunion to Revive 'Smash' Label". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 30 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ Dickerson, James L.(1996) “Goin’ Back to Memphis: A Century of Blues, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Glorious Soul,” Schirmer/Simon & Schuster ISBN 0-02-864506-5
  4. ^ Dickerson, Jim (1986) "The Sun Session: Together Again in Memphis," Nine-O-One Network Magazine
  5. ^