Sonny Burgess


Oral History Information

Interview Date
Birth Date
Deceased Date
Job Title
Musician, Guitarist

Sonny Burgess was known as the wild man of rock and roll who brought a driving guitar style to early Sun recordings (the label that launched Elvis Presley). Among those recordings were “We Wanna Boogie” and “Feelin’ Good.” Sonny’s early days with Sam Phillips, the founder of Sun Records, were at the dawn of rock, when country was being mixed with the blues. These “rockabilly” songs became the foundation of the Sun sound. Before Elvis left Sun to sign with RCA Records and change music history forever, he toured around the South promoting his Sun recordings. Sonny was just starting out in those days and often opened for Elvis and another promising artist Sam signed to Sun, Jerry Lee Lewis. Sonny opened his own music retail store, which he ran for 20 years.  He sold the store once his kids were grown and Sonny was once again able to go back out on the road.  He performed with his band, The Pacers, up until a month before he passed away in August 2017.