Samuel Cornelius Phillips (1923-2003) was a record producer who played an important role in the emergence of rock and roll as the major form of popular music in the 1950s. He is most notably attributed with the discovery of Elvis Presley, and is associated with several other noteworthy rhythm and blues and rock and roll stars of the period. On January 3, 1950, Phillips opened the “Memphis Recording Service” Memphis, Tennessee, which also served as the studios for Sun Records through the 1950s.
Phillips recorded what some consider the first rock and roll record: “Rocket 88” by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats. From 1950 to 1954 he recorded the music of black rhythm and blues artists such as James Cotton, Rufus Thomas, Rosco Gordon, and others. Blues legends B.B. King made his first recordings at his studio. Singers such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and Carl Perkins recorded for Sun.
In 1986 Phillips was part of the first group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and his pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. In 1987, he was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. He received a Grammy Trustees Award for his lifetime achievements in 1991. In 1998, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, and in October 2001 he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.