The Sun Sessions
|The Sun Sessions|
|Compilation album by|
|Released||March 21, 1976|
|Recorded||July 1954 – July 1955|
|Genre||Rockabilly, rock and roll|
|Elvis Presley chronology|
The Sun Sessions is a compilation album by American singer Elvis Presley, containing songs he recorded 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. The Sun Sessions features most of the tracks Elvis recorded at Sun studio and were produced by Sam Phillips, the head of Sun Studios. Elvis began his singing career with Sun Records label in Memphis. The album reached number two on the Billboard Country Albums and number 1 on the Cashbox Country Albums charts.
In 2002, The Sun Sessions were chosen by the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress to be included in its archives given their importance to the development of American popular music. In 2003 it was ranked number 11 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. 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."
The album features most of the tracks Elvis recorded at Sun studio and were produced by Sam Phillips, the head of Sun Studios. Elvis began his singing career with Sun Records label in Memphis. Phillips signed Presley after hearing a song that he had recorded for his mother on his birthday.
Phillips said that Presley was rehearsing with his band, Scotty Moore and Bill Black, when Presley started singing the song, a blues song written by Arthur "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 Sun, 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
In 1987, RCA released The Complete Sun Sessions including all tracks previously issued on Sun Sessions plus "Harbor Lights", "Tomorrow Night", "When It Rains, It Really Pours", plus 14 other outtakes. Despite the Complete title, the album was still missing "I Got a Woman", "Satisfied" and 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.
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 and Scotty 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.
Reception and legacy
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
After The Sun Sessions was released, Village Voice critic Robert Christgau hailed The Sun Sessions as "the rock reissue of the year", writing in that along with Chuck Berry's Golden Decade, its songs represented the wellspring of rock music. He later included it in his "basic record library" of essential albums from the 1950s and 1960s, published in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981).
In 2003, the albums 1999 extended 2CD reissue was ranked #11 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, maintaining the rating in a 2012 revised list, and dropping to number 78 in the 2020 reboot of the list. In 2001, the TV channel VH1 named it the 21st greatest album of all time. Music scholar Michael Campbell called it "quintessential rockabilly" with Presley's voice "the magical element" drawing on country and rhythm and blues but confined to neither, while AllMusic critic Cub Koda said "what we ultimately have here is a young Elvis Presley, mixing elements of blues, gospel and hillbilly music together and getting ready to unleash its end result – rock & roll – on an unsuspecting world."
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." In 2002, The Sun Sessions were chosen by the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress to be included in its archives given their importance to the development of American popular music. 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||July 5, 1954||1:57|
|2.||"Blue Moon of Kentucky" (from single, 1954)||Bill Monroe||July 7, 1954||2:04|
|3.||"I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine" (from single, 1954)||Mack David||September 10, 1954||2:28|
|4.||"Good Rockin' Tonight" (from single, 1954)||Roy Brown||September 10, 1954||2:14|
|5.||"Milk Cow Blues Boogie" (from single, 1955)||Kokomo Arnold||November–December, 1954||2:39|
|6.||"You're a Heartbreaker" (from single, 1955)||Jack Sallee||November–December, 1954||2:12|
|7.||"I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" (from single, 1955)||Stan Kesler, William Taylor||February–March 1955||2:37|
|8.||"Baby Let's Play House" (from single, 1955)||Arthur Gunter||February–March 1955||2:17|
|1.||"Mystery Train" (from single, 1955)||Junior Parker, Sam Phillips||July 21, 1955||2:26|
|2.||"I Forgot to Remember to Forget" (from single, 1955)||Stan Kesler, Charlie Feathers||July 21, 1955||2:30|
|3.||"I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')" (RCA 1956)||Jimmy Wakely||September, 1954||2:26|
|4.||"I Love You Because" (RCA 1956, 1st version)||Leon Payne||July 5, 1954||2:33|
|5.||"Tryin' to Get to You" (RCA 1956)||Rose Marie McCoy, Charles Singleton||July 21, 1955||2:33|
|6.||"Blue Moon" (RCA 1956)||Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart||August 19, 1954||2:41|
|7.||"Just Because" (RCA 1956)||Sydney Robin, Bob Shelton, Joe Shelton||September, 1954||2:34|
|8.||"I Love You Because" (RCA 1974; 2nd version)||Leon Payne||July 5, 1954||3:25|
- The last six tracks are original Sun recordings, but were not issued until 1956 on Presley's first album for RCA Victor. They were never released on the Sun label.
- 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 Billboard 200||76|
|US Country Albums||2|
|UK Albums Chart||16|
- "Elvis began his singing at the honorable Sun Records label in Memphis". Graceland. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- Larkin, Colin (2006). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 630. ISBN 0195313739.
- Marsh, Dave; Swenson, John, eds. (1983). The New Rolling Stone Record Guide. Random House/Rolling Stone Press. p. 395. ISBN 0394721071.
- Sputnikmusic review
- Christgau, Robert (April 26, 1976). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
- Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: P". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 10, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
- "500 Greatest Albums: The Sun Sessions – Elvis Presley". Rolling Stone. Jann S. Wenner. 31 May 2009. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
- "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
- "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". 22 September 2020.
- Hoye, Jacob, ed. (2007). 100 Greatest Albums. Pocket Books. pp. 56–59. ISBN 978-1-59530-162-8.
- Campbell, Michael (2012). Popular Music in America: The Beat Goes On (4th ed.). Cengage Learning. p. 176. ISBN 978-0840029768.
- "Elvis Presley: Charts & Awards – Billboard Albums". Allmusic. United States: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
- "Chart Archive: Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive – 17th September 1977". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 22, 2011.