“One Night in Memphis” is a rocking concert tribute to legendary Sun Records recording artists Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley. The show spans 90 minutes of rockabilly, country, gospel and pure 1950’s rock and roll music backed by an authentic and energetic rockabilly backup band that will transport you back in time to a rock and roll royalty jam session. Along the way, you’ll get a behind the scenes look at this epic recording session while experiencing true American music featuring the hits “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Whole Lotta Shaking Going On,” “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Hound Dog,” and many, many more, all performed live without tracks and guaranteed to get Thrasher-Horne Center rocking and rolling!
On December 4th, 1956, music history was made. This date found Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley together at Sun Record’s studio in Memphis, TN. A jam session ensued which seems to have happened by pure chance. Perkins, who by this time had already met success with “Blue Suede Shoes“, had come into the studio that day, accompanied by his brothers Clayton and Jay and by drummer W.S. Holland, to cut some new material, including a revamped version of an old blues song, “Matchbox“. Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records, brought in his latest acquisition, singer and piano man extraordinaire Jerry Lee Lewis, to play piano on the Perkins session and fatten the sparse rockabilly instrumentation.
Sometime in the early afternoon, Elvis Presley, a former Sun artist himself but now at RCA, dropped in to pay a casual visit. At the time, he was the biggest name in show business, having hit the top of the singles charts five times and topping the album charts twice in the preceding 12-month period. Less than four months earlier, he had appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, pulling an unheard of 55 million viewers and 83% of the television audience, the largest in history up to that time.
After chatting with Philips in the control room, Presley listened to the playback of Perkins’ session, which he pronounced to be good. Then he went out into the studio and some time later the jam session began. At some point during the session, Sun artist Johnny Cash, who had recently enjoyed a few hits on the country charts, popped in. Cowboy Jack Clement was engineering that day and remembers saying to himself “I think I’d be remiss not to record this.” He did, and the night became rock and roll music history.
“One Night in Memphis,” will be appearing live at the Thrasher-Horne on October 22nd, 2016. Tickets will be available at THcenter.org or by phone at (904)276-6815.