Sam Phillips (musician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Sam Phillips (singer))
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people named Sam Phillips, see Sam Phillips (disambiguation).
Sam Phillips
Leslie Ann Phillips cropped.jpg
Phillips on stage in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Background information
Birth name Leslie Ann Phillips
Born (1962-01-28) January 28, 1962 (age 54)
Glendale, California, U.S.
Genres Alternative rock
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, actor
Years active 1980–present
Labels Myrrh, Virgin, Nonesuch

Sam Phillips (born Leslie Ann Phillips January 28, 1962) is an American singer, songwriter, composer and actress. She began her career in the contemporary Christian music industry but, uncomfortable with that image and industry, she re-branded herself as "Sam"—transitioning into the mainstream market after meeting producer T-Bone Burnett. She has released eight albums including the critically acclaimed Martinis and Bikinis in 1994. She has also composed scores for the television shows Gilmore Girls and Bunheads.

Early life[edit]

Phillips was born in Glendale, California.[1]


She began her musical career in the early 1980s, singing background vocals for Christian artists Mark Heard and Randy Stonehill. Phillips was signed to a solo contract with Myrrh Records – under her given name – and recorded four Christian pop albums, Beyond Saturday Night, Dancing with Danger, Black and White in a Grey World and, finally, The Turning, which teamed her with producer and future husband, T-Bone Burnett. Several became Top 10 singles on Christian radio[2] and Myrrh records promoted her as "the Christian Cyndi Lauper". Phillips was never comfortable with this image, and it was a bone of contention between her and her label. She began using the name "Sam" professionally in 1988 when she left Myrrh Records and signed with Virgin Records in order to distance herself from her prior persona.[3]

With The Indescribable Wow Philips moved into mainstream music. The album featured the orchestrations of Van Dyke Parks. Cruel Inventions was released in 1991, and included a guest performance by Elvis Costello. 1994's Martinis and Bikinis was widely praised by music critics and was nominated for a Grammy Award;[4] her second nomination (the first was as Leslie Phillips).

In 1995, Phillips made her film acting debut in the Bruce Willis blockbuster Die Hard with a Vengeance, in the role of a terrorist, Katya. In 1996, Phillips released Omnipop (It's Only a Flesh Wound Lambchop), which featured a song co-written by R.E.M.. Phillips made a cameo appearance in the 1997 Wim Wenders film The End of Violence, singing part of the song "Animals on Wheels" from Omnipop. After releasing a contractually obligated "best of" album in 1999, Virgin Records dropped Phillips from its roster.

In 2001, Phillips signed with Nonesuch Records and released a stripped-down acoustic album called Fan Dance, which featured some of her most critically acclaimed songwriting. Phillips also began writing music for and scoring the television series Gilmore Girls, and appeared in the final episode of season six, performing "Taking Pictures" from her Fan Dance album. In 2004, she released A Boot and a Shoe, another collection of acoustic cabaret songs.

After the release of A Boot and a Shoe, Phillips and husband/producer T-Bone Burnett divorced, although they continued to work together to finish her album.[5][6][7] Her album, Don't Do Anything, was self produced and released in 2008.

In October 2009, Phillips launched The Long Play, a music subscription service offering digital releases without a record label.[8] The first subscription only EP, Hypnotists in Paris, was recorded with the Section Quartet and a Christmas collection Cold Dark Night, Magic for Everyone, Old Tin Pan, and Days of the One Night Stands followed, with the full-length album Cameras in the Sky being released in early 2010. In Spring of 2011 she issued Solid State, a public CD release comprising 13 of the best songs from her subscription service.

Phillips described her next album, Pretty Time Bomb (later renamed Push Any Button), as being "a nostalgic sort of dream of being a pop star in the 60s and early 70s. It's a sweet kind of album and I don't know where it came from. I don't know what compelled me to make it. It's probably a bad idea, but every time I listen to what I've done, it makes me really happy. So I figure, that must mean something and I should go ahead and put it out there."[9]

In 2012, it was announced that she would be reunited with Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino by scoring music for the American TV show Bunheads.[10]

Phillips released Push Any Button on August 13, 2013.[11]



As Leslie Phillips[edit]

As Sam Phillips[edit]

Digital EPs[edit]

  • Hypnotists in Paris (2009, Eden Bridge Music) Produced by Sam Phillips. Download-only EP, the first release from the Long Play digital subscription program introduced by Sam Phillips in 2009.
  • Cold Dark Night (2009) Produced by Sam Phillips. Download-only EP. The second Long Play release.
  • Magic for Everybody (2010) Download-only EP. The third Long Play release and first to be available from other download services.
  • Old Tin Pan (2010) Download-only EP. The fourth Long Play release.
  • Days of the One Night Stands (2010) Download-only EP. The fifth and last Long Play EP.


  • Zero Zero Zero (1998, Virgin Records) A "best of" album, covering music from the Virgin period. Includes several alternate mixes and new recordings.
  • The Disappearing Act 1987–1998 (2008)

Compilation appearances[edit]

  • Back to the Rock (1981) - "Bring Me Through" (this marks Phillips' first solo appearance on an album)
  • Love Songs for Christian Couples – Vol. 1 (1985) - "Enough For Me"
  • A Midnight Clear – soundtrack (1992) - "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"
  • Ready to Wear (Pret-a-porter) Soundtrack (1994) - "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'"
  • Melrose Place: The Music (1994) - "Baby, I Can't Please You"
  • Maranatha! Anthology: The Artists, 1971–2001 - "Bring Me Through"
  • Gilmore Girls: Our Little Corner of the World (2002) - "Tell Her What She Wants to Know"
  • Hear Music Volume 7: Waking (2002, Hear Music) - "Is That Your Zebra?"
  • Crossing Jordan – soundtrack (2003) - "I Wanna Be Your Man"
  • Crazy Heart – Soundtrack (2009) - "Reflecting Light"

Appearances on other artist's albums[edit]


Year Title Chart positions Album
US Hot 100 US Modern Rock US Mainstream Rock UK
1989 "Holding on to the Earth" - 22[12] - - The Indescribable Wow
1994 "Baby I Can't Please You" - - - - Martinis & Bikinis

Composer of television music[edit]


  1. ^ Artist Biography by Jason Ankeny (January 28, 1962). "Sam Phillips | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  2. ^ Alfonso, Barry (2002). The Billboard guide to contemporary Christian music. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 226. ISBN 0-8230-7718-7. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  3. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Sam Phillips Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  4. ^ Brown, Helen (July 15, 2004). "Spotlight on a broken heart". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  5. ^ Adams, Sam (October 14–20, 2004). "Musicpicks: Sam Phillips". Philadelphia City Paper. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Sam Phillips – A Boot and a Shoe". Arts and Faith. May 20, 2004. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Sam Phillips". Archived from the original on June 7, 2010. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  8. ^ Lewis, Randy (May 9, 2010). "For musicians, economy is the mother of invention". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  9. ^ Adams, Sam (November 16, 2011). "Sam Phillips". American Songwriter. Retrieved July 31, 2012. 
  10. ^ Adams, Sam (June 13, 2012). "Sam Phillips". Sam Phillips. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Release "Push Any Button" by Sam Phillips – MusicBrainz". Retrieved December 5, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Holding on to the Earth – Sam Phillips". Billboard (magazine). Retrieved November 9, 2011. 

External links[edit]