Historic Markers Across Alabama

The Father of Rock 'N' Roll / Sam Phillips in Florence

Marker ID:  
Location: Hightower Pl., Florence, Alabama
County: Lauderdale
Coordinates: N 34° 48.567    W 087° 37.811
  34.80945    -87.63018333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: None


The Father of Rock 'N' Roll

Sam Phillips fell in love with the miracle of sound and the unifying power of music. Moving to Memphis, Tennessee, he embraced the beauty of the blues with his early recordings of Howlin Wolf, B.B. King and other delta artists. In 1951 the maverick producer cut the first"Rock 'N' Roll” record,"Rocket 88.” Three years later he revolutionized American music with his discovery of the dynamic Elvis Presley. His credo was passionate conviction, originality, and individuality in the extreme. His Sun Record label unleashed the earth shaking rule-breaking sounds of Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbinson and Charlie Rich."Rock 'N' Roll is the freedom of the rhythm of the soul.” He once said,"And I was looking for that little piece of soul magic.”

Above text by Terr Pace.

Sam Phillips in Florence

Sam Phillips had a vision. It sprang from the land. It sprang from the river. Long after he had achieved fame and worldwide recognition he always spoke of Florence as the birthplace of his inspiration. He pointed towards the people he had grown up with, the family upbringing he had enjoyed, the freedom he had learned to cherish in Alabama. His great heroes were from the place of his birth and often of the humblest origins. He loved, as he always said,"the soil, the water, the trees, and the beautiful Tennessee River.” He learned from his father how to plow behind a mule, but he told the world to always seek that unplowed row.

Above text by Peter Guralnick.

Erected by Florence Historical Board Florence Alabama.

End of The Father of Rock 'N' Roll / Sam Phillips in Florence