This is an up-tempo R&B record from 1951, produced in Memphis, TN by Sam Phillips, the man who would three years later produce and release, on his own Sun label, the first records of Elvis Presley.

Ike Turner and his band traveled by car from Clarksdale, MS to Memphis for the record date with Phillips. The electric guitar player’s amplifier was damaged during the trip. The cone speaker, and possibly a tube, was jarred loose/damaged. At Phillips’ studio in Memphis, the guitarist stuffed newspaper behind the speaker cone in an effort to keep it from vibrating around inside of the amplifier. The band was dissatisfied with the fuzzy, distorted sound, but Phillips liked the sound and used it, or so the story goes. Band member Jackie Brenston sings and plays one of the two saxophones heard on the record. Ike Turner plays the piano. Little Richard copied Ike’s piano intro a few years later when he recorded Good Golly Miss Molly in New Orleans. Phillips leased the record to the Chess record label in Chicago. Chess released it in 1951. Sam Phillips persuaded white Memphis radio D.J Dewey Phillips to play the record. Both white and black listeners liked it and bought it. Sam Phillips immediately began searching for a white man who could sing black R&B in his own distinctive style. He found him three years later.

Sam Phillips was one of the first to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the year 1986. He was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1987. He received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1991. Phillips was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1998; the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001; and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

Ike and Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

Sam Phillips died in Memphis on July 30, 2003, one day before his Sun Studio was designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Rock on!

Rocket 88 – Jackie Brenston & His Delta Kats (Ike Turner & Band) – Chess 78 rpm No. 1458 (1951)

Leave a Reply