A cross section of artists, ranging from Kid Rock and Matchbox Twenty to Paul McCartney and Van Morrison, are paying homage to Sun Records — the label that launched the careers of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and others — with their contributions to Good Rockin’ Tonight (The Sun Records Tribute).
The 16-track compilation, scheduled for release October 2, features new versions of classic Sun cuts, according to a London-Sire spokesperson. Elton John covers fellow piano man Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On,” Live retrace Johnny Cash’s footsteps on “I Walk the Line” and McCartney performs Elvis’ famous first single, “That’s All Right.”
Fittingly, the tribute includes the last studio recording from original Sun Records artist Carl Perkins, who died in 1998 — the rockabilly pioneer duets with Van Morrison on Howlin’ Wolf’s “Sitting on Top of the World.” Meanwhile, Perkins’ signature tune, “Blue Suede Shoes,” is performed by Johnny Hallyday, known for covering American rock and roll in his native French throughout the early ’60s. “Blue Suede Shoes,” most famously covered by Elvis Presley, was the first Sun record to sell a million copies, and the first by anyone to top the pop, country and rhythm and blues charts.
Memphis disc jockey Sam Phillips founded Sun Records in 1952. Before that, he opened Sun Studios in 1950, where, a year later, teen-ager Jackie Brenston recorded “Rocket 88,” a song many consider to be the first rock record. Sun Records went on to score a string of hits, among them Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” and Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On,” the label’s two most successful songs.
Sam Phillips was an inaugural inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
A film, also called “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” which includes studio footage of the album being recorded and interviews with Sam Phillips, will air on PBS in November (see “Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow Join Project Celebrating Sun Records” ), two months after its originally scheduled date, the publicist said. The film was also intended for a theatrical release, but those plans have been scrapped.
The track list for Good Rockin’ Tonight, according to London-Sire:
- Paul McCartney – “That’s All Right”
- Bob Dylan – “Red Cadillac and a Black Moustache”
- Elton John – “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”
- Eric Clapton – “Walkin’ in the Rain”
- Johnny Hallyday – “Blue Suede Shoes”
- Sheryl Crow – “Who Will the Next Fool Be”
- Jeff Beck and Chrissie Hynde – “Mystery Train”
- Kid Rock – “Drinkin’ Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee”
- Jimmy Page and Robert Plant – “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It”
- Matchbox Twenty – “Lonely Weekends”
- Live – “I Walk the Line”
- Mark Knopfler – “Rock ’n’ Roll Ruby”
- Tom Petty – “Blue Moon of Kentucky”
- Third Eye Blind – “Cry Cry Cry”
- Van Morrison and Carl Perkins – “Sitting on Top of the World”
- Bryan Ferry – “Don’t Be Cruel”