Sam Phillips

  • Year:
  • Inducted by:
    Ahmet Ertegun
  • Category:
    Ahmet Ertegun Award


One of the most important figures in the history of rock.

Sam Phillips discovered Elvis Presley, pioneered rockabilly and founded Sun Records, where he quietly went about the business of building and recording the rock and roll canon.

Hall of Fame Essay


Michael Hill

The sound of Sun Records was the epit­ome of rock and roll’s origins.

Owner Sam Phillips not only recorded the varied streams of ethnic music throughout the South, from blues to country, but was con­vinced he could bring them together in one irresistible pop package. It was at his Mem­phis  Recording Service that he first succeeded in finding a white gospelized singer with “the Negro sound and the Negro feel” — Elvis Presley.

The Program Cover from the 1986 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
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1986 Inductee Sam Phillips
Rock and roll set a new standard for music
Sam Phillips