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Carl Perkins with David McGee: Go, Cat, Go! – The Life and Times of Carl Perkins, The King of Rockabilly

Tom Graves, The Washington Post, 23 June 1996

RECORD PRODUCER Sam Phillips, who owned the tiny Sun record label in Memphis, has been hounded for years by journalists and biographers about his decision to sell Elvis Presley’s contract to media giant RCA for a mere $35,000. Today that figure seems absurdly low. In 1956, however, it was the largest sum ever paid for a recording artist’s contract. Elvis was an unproven commodity at that time. He had never had a national hit and few in the business believed he had staying power. Another reason Sam Phillips was willing to let Elvis go was he desperately needed the money. Sun Records was on the brink of bankruptcy. The wily Phillips also had an ace up his sleeve with a new artist he believed would surpass Elvis – Carl Perkins.

Total word count of piece: 843


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