Sam Phillip’s Lesson

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Dick Davies

Saw Million Dollar Quartet at the Kennedy Center, a play about the one night Elvis, Jerry Lee, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins got together and played at Sun Records.
Sam Phillips was Sun Records. He made himself a new job. Not A&R like John Hammond. Not a dealmaker like Ahmet Ertegun or an empire builder like David Geffen. That all came later.
In the play he says, “I brought something out of those boys they didn’t know they had.”
Now I’ve heard that claimed by a lot of LTGs, most of the time it’s not true. With Coach Gibbs it was.
I think it was true with Sam, especially after another line, “Those deejays wouldn’t even play their records AFTER I paid ’em!”
Bringing someone along is not management, or leadership, heck, it’s not even usually rewarded, no matter how much we might wish to cash in.
Bringing along is just making a contribution to a relationship, an accident of time and opportunity. An honor for a human.
And that is Sam Phillip’s Lesson in Million Dollar Quartet.
Now, about Million Dollar Quartet – Listening to Carl Perkins play, I heard most every George Harrison lick, live! A joy to understand the connection.
A noted social critic wrote:
All Chuck’s children are out there playing his licks,
If you need a fix,
Well you can come back, baby, rock’n’roll never forgets!
Come back to Million Dollar Quartet.
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