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© 2018 Million Dollar Quartet Live.

 
A ONCE IN A LIFETIME RECORDING
 

On December 4, 1956, a twist of fate brought together Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley. 

They were brought together in Memphis, Tennessee at the Sun Records’ storefront studio. Sam Phillips, also known as the “Father of Rock n’ Roll”, is who discovered them.

Million Dollar Quartet captures the contagious spirit, freewheeling excitement, and thrilling sounds of the once-in-a-life-time event where four of music’s best talents came together.

THE STORY

Around Christmas time in 1956, Carl Perkins was in a post-“Blue Suede Shoes” funk. He booked a recording session on Dec. 4th with producer Sam Phillips. Aalong with Jerry Lee Lewis, Perkins and his band recorded a number of songs including one of Perkins’ best-known records, “Matchbox.”. (The single was only a minor hit when Perkins recorded it, but later on when released by The Beatles in 1964, it reached the top 20 of the Billboard charts.)

Details from the rest of that day are still questioned, but this is what is known: Perkins and Lewis were later joined by Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, and the foursome held an impromptu jam session.

A newspaper wrote, “This quartet could sell a million.” Shortly after they were known as “The Million Dollar Quartet.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The session was a reunion for Cash, Perkins, and Presley, who had toured the South together in 1955. Lewis was still a star on the rise, but quickly bonded with Presley over their shared knowledge of spirituals. Cash’s presence is still debated by historians; some say that he was only there for a short time and quickly left. This seemed to be confirmed on season recordings, in which you can’t hear The Man in Black at all. However, in Cash’s autobiography, the country music legend attributes his relative absence on the recordings to the fact that he was singing in a higher register than usual to help blend better with Presley.

The recording session retains its historical significance as a landmark event in the age of Rock n’ Roll, and a  milestone for the genre in the ever-changing world of the 20th century popular culture and mass media. In the decades that ensued, The Million Dollar Quartet in 1956 has often been referred to as the “Mount Rushmore of Rock n’ Roll.”

 

Million Dollar Quartet captures the contagious spirit, freewheeling excitement, and thrilling sounds of the once-in-a-life-time event where four of music’s best talents came together.

 
 
THE KING OF ROCK n' ROLL
 
THE MAN IN BLACK
 
THE KILLER
 
THE KING OF ROCKABILLY
 
 
 

A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Floyd Mutrux (Original Concept, Director, and Co-Author of Million Dollar Quartet) apprenticed at the Alley Theatre in Houston and worked at Second City in Chicago; he attended Columbia University. He has conceived, written, directed, or produced 50 films, including Dusty and Sweets McGee; Freebie and the Bean; Aloha, Bobby and Rose; The Hollywood Knights; American Hot Wax; Dick Tracy; American Me; Blood In, Blood Out; There Goes My Baby; and Mulholland Falls. With his wife Birgitte, he is preparing a new film Moon Over Memphis (a rock-and-roll Field of Dreams.) He also co-wrote the musical Baby It’s You! with Colin Escott and helped adapt Sun Records, the new TV series based on Million Dollar Quartet. Million Dollar Quartet received three Tony Award nominations in 2010, including best book and best musical.

Colin Escott (Co-Author) Born in England, Colin Escott lives near Nashville, Tennessee. He is the author of Good Rockin’ Tonight: Sun Records and the Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll, the first in-depth account of the Sun Records story. His book Hank Williams – The Biography has been adapted into the movie I Saw the Light, starring Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen. His multi-CD box set, The Complete Hank Williams, won a Grammy, and another of his productions, B.B. King – King of the Blues, was nominated for a Grammy.

Million Dollar Quartet received three Tony nominations, including Best Book and Best Musical. Escott was part of the writing/producing team adapting the show for CMT/Viacom. The first season aired in 2016.