The Next Elvis: Searching For Stardom At Sun Records – Barbara Barnes Sims (Book)


Out of stock


Publication Date: 2014

Publisher: Louisiana State University Press

Hardcover and Autographed

An American institution, Sun Records has a history with many chapters—its Memphis origins with visionary Sam Phillips, the breakthrough recordings of Elvis Presley, and the studio’s immense influence on the sound of popular music. But behind the company’s chart toppers and legendary musicians there exists another story, told by Barbara Barnes Sims. In the male-dominated workforce of the 1950s, 24-year-old Sims found herself thriving in the demanding roles of publicist and sales promotion coordinator at Sun Records. Sims’s job placed her in the studio with Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich, Carl Perkins, and other Sun entertainers, as well as the unforgettable Phillips, whose work made the music that defined an era.
The Next Elvis: Searching for Stardom at Sun Records chronicles Sims’s career at the studio, a pivotal time at this recording mecca, as she darted from disc jockeys to distributors. Sims not only entertains with personal stories of big personalities, she brings humor to the challenges of a young woman working in a fast and tough industry.
Her disarming narrative ranges from descriptions of a disgraced Jerry Lee Lewis to the remarkable impact and tragic fall of DJ Daddy-O Dewey to the frenzied Memphis homecoming of Elvis after his military service. Collectively, these vignettes offer a rare and intimate look at the people, the city, and the studio that permanently shifted the trajectory of rock ’n’ roll.
LSU Press

Reviewed In OffBeat

David Kunian (April 2015 Issue)

The music business is a continual hustle. Label owners must always be looking for the next charting artists and next hit song. Barbara Barnes Sims saw this first hand when in her mid-20s she took a job as the publicist and radio promoter in 1957 for Sun Records in Memphis – The same Sun Records that is the main instigator and inventor of what we now know as rock ‘n’ roll. Her book details the three years that she worked after Elvis had left the label when they were continually searching for someone to replace him, whether it was Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, or many others. Barnes writes great portrayals of those characters and more, including many insights into the man who recruited, recorded, and produced these artists, the great Sam Phillips. She also shows with great details the rough and tumble world of the male-run radio and record business. Sims was right in the middle of the early days of rock ‘n’ roll, and after she sees the grit behind the glitz, she has no qualms about calling it as she sees it. The story is a great mix of the down home and the sophisticated with very little gossip in her fly-on-the-wall stories about these great musicians and the people who worked with them from Dewey Phillips to Cowboy Jack Clement. Now, if someone would only write a New Orleans version of this.

Additional information

Weight 15 oz
Dimensions 8 × 4 × 1 in
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