Saturday, September 5, 2009

Walkin' in the Sun shine

How hot was Sun Records in 1956? Smoking hot.

On Labor Day weekend that year Johnny Cash was enjoying his first No. 1 record, "I Walk the Line,'' which had replaced Elvis Presley's "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You'' atop the charts. And a week later Elvis would be back on top with "Don't Be Cruel.''

Earlier that year Sun stablemate Carl Perkins scored his first chart-topper with "Blue Suede Shoes.''

You could say there was a whole lot of shakin' going on at Sun. A look back at the country charts shows that eight of the 11 songs that made it to No. 1 in '56 were produced by the upstart studio in Memphis.

Why Baby Why
, Red Sovine & Webb Pierce, Decca
I Forgot to Remember to Forget, Elvis Presley, Sun
Heartbreak Hotel, Elvis Presley, Sun
I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby, Louvin Brothers, Capitol
Blue Suede Shoes, Carl Perkins, Sun
Crazy Arms, Ray Price, Columbia
I Want You, I Need You, I Love You, Elvis Presley, Sun
I Walk the Line, Johnny Cash, Sun
Don't Be Cruel, Elvis Presley, Sun
Hound Dog, Elvis Presley, Sun
Singing the Blues, Marty Robbins, Columbia

The following year Jerry Lee Lewis would bust through with, yes, "Whole Lot of Shakin' '' and Sun would become home of the "Million Dollar Quartet.'' But this day in 1956 belonged to 24-year-old Johnny Cash and his first boom-chicka-boom classic.

Lucky for us, there would be plenty more like it.

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