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Museum Celebrates New Sam Phillips Exhibit With Two Weekends Of Programs

August 06, 2015
Exterior of Country Music Hall of Fame taken from a drone.

Historian Peter Guralnick to Host Panel Discussion, Followed by Tribute Concert to Sam Phillips Featuring Sonny Burgess, Luther Dickinson, Chuck Mead, Jerry Phillips, the Secret Sisters and More on August 29

Former Sun Recording Artist Dickey Lee will be Honored in the Museum’s Poets and Prophets Songwriting Series on September 5

NASHVILLE, Tenn., – August 6, 2015 – The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will unveil Flyin’ Saucers Rock & Roll: The Cosmic Genius of Sam Phillips on Friday, August 28, 2015. The exhibition, which will run through June 2016, is co-curated by the museum’s curatorial team and guest curator Peter Guralnick, author of the forthcoming biography SAM PHILLIPS: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll. The opening will be celebrated with two weekends of special programing.

On Saturday, August 29, at 11 a.m., Guralnick will host the panel Go, Cat, Go: Sam Phillips in the Studio featuring four musicians who worked closely with Phillips including Sonny Burgess, J. M. Van Eaton, W. S. “Fluke” Holland, and Phillips’ son Jerry. At 2 p.m. the museum will host the concert Get Rhythm: A Tribute to Sam Phillips. Paying homage to Phillips and the Sun record label will be musicians who recorded for him and artists who have been influenced by his work including: Sonny Burgess, Mark Collie, Luther Dickinson, Eric Heatherly, W.S. “Fluke” Holland, Chuck Mead, Jerry Phillips, Charlie Rich Jr., the Secret Sisters, Billy Swan, Marvell Thomas, the Valentines and J.M. Van Eaton. The house band will include Colin Linden (guitar, bandleader), Dave Roe (bass), Kevin McKendree (piano) and Gary Graig (drums). The concert will be emceed by The Kitchen Sisters, Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva, who have produced stories on Phillips for NPR. Following the concert, participants will sign a commemorative Hatch Show Print poster, available for purchase in the Museum Store.

On Saturday, September 5, at 1:30 p.m., Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Dickey Lee will be featured in the museum’s songwriter series, Poets and Prophets. A Memphis native, Lee released some of his earliest singles on Sam Phillips’s Sun label. Lee later moved to Beaumont, Texas, to work with Sun alumnus “Cowboy” Jack Clement, who published Lee’s first hit as a songwriter, “She Thinks I Still Care.” As recorded by George Jones, the song became an instant classic. The program will feature a brief performance and an extended interview illustrated with vintage photos, film clips, and recordings. Following the program, Lee will sign a commemorative Hatch Show Print poster, available for purchase in the Museum Store.

“Jack Clement once said ‘Elvis Presley was a star, but Sam Phillips was a superstar,’” shares Senior VP of Museum Services Carolyn Tate. “Unquestionably one of popular music’s most fascinating and significant figures, Phillips possessed ‘cosmic genius’ that created shockwaves still felt today. We are so excited to celebrate him and our new exhibition with a special tribute concert and two weekends of incredible programming.”

Throughout its 10-month run, The Cosmic Genius of Sam Phillips will be accompanied by related public programs, including live performances, guest lectures, family activities in the Taylor Swift Education Center, film screenings, panel discussions, and more.  The schedule will be updated regularly at

With the purchase of a museum membership ($45/individual; $100/friends and family), visitors can attend most public programs free for one year, including programming related to The Cosmic Genius of Sam Phillips. Attendees must have a program pass to guarantee admission to this event. Program Passes are free with museum admission or membership. Museum members may reserve their program passes in advance by phone (615-416-2050) or via

One of the most innovative and inspiring figures in the history of American music, Sun Records founder Sam Phillips introduced the world to Johnny Cash, Howlin’ Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Charlie Rich, Rufus Thomas, Ike Turner and many more. Blurring class and color lines, Phillips set out to undermine barriers of racial segregation and discrimination, just as the Civil Rights movement gathered force. The exhibition will take an in-depth look at Phillips and the social and cultural impact of the music he created in heavily segregated Memphis.

For more information about the exhibit, click here. Follow @countrymusichof on Twitter and join the conversation using #CosmicSamPhillips.


Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization chartered by the state of Tennessee in 1964. The museum’s mission is the preservation of the history of country and related vernacular music rooted in southern culture.  With the same educational mission, the foundation also operates Historic RCA Studio B, Hatch Show PrintTM, CMF Records, the museum’s Frist Library and Archive and CMF Press. Museum programs are made possible, in part, by the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and under agreements with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Flyin’ Saucers Rock & Roll: The Cosmic Genius of Sam Phillips is funded in part by a grant from Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is available at or by calling (615) 416-2001.


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