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Rockabilly singer Burgess dies at 88

Monday, August 21, 2017 – Rockabilly singer Sonny Burgess, who recorded for Sun Records, died on Friday at 88.

Burgess reportedly fell at his Arkansas home last month. He had continued playing until very recently.

"I always heard my dad say that Sonny was one of the outstanding guys he worked with," said Jerry Phillips, son of Sun Records founder Sam Phillips in an article published in the Knoxville News-Sentinel. "Sonny had his own unique sound - which was the highest compliment Sam could give you. Sonny had a little bit of Howlin' Wolf in his singing, and of course my dad really liked that. But Sonny was one of those guys who traveled the world, had a great long life, and had people who loved him all over the place. He's going to be missed."

Burgess was born on a farm near Newport, Ark. to Albert and Esta Burgess. on May 28, 1929. In the early 1950s, Burgess played boogie woogie music in dance halls and bars in the Newport area. Burgess formed a boogie-woogie band, the Rocky Road Ramblers, which took a break when Burgess went into the Army. The group caught the attention of Sun Records' Sam Phillips with the band releasing "We Wanna Boogie" in 1956 for Sun Records. The group broke up in 1971, but Burgess continued his career. He released a self-titled disc for Rounder Records in 1996. He later formed a band, The Legendary Pacers, which was inducted in 2002 into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. His last record was "Live at Sun Studios" in 2012.

CD reviews for Sonny Burgess (rockabilly)

Sonny Burgess
Rockabilly pioneer Sonny Burgess barely sounds like a week has gone by since he stepped into Sun Records in 1956 and recorded such rockabilly classics as "Red-Headed Woman" and "We Wanna Boogie." And he certainly doesn't sound like it was 40 (!) years ago. This is a terrific album and one of the very finest new albums you'll hear by an original fifties rockabilly artist in 1996. It's so good, in fact, that it seems unfair to just pick out a few songs as highlights. Bruce Springsteen contributes a »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: The Lil Smokies provide the perfect antidote – On a night when the world to be falling further apart thanks to coronavirus (this would be the night the NBA postponed the season), there stood The Lil Smokies to at least in some small measure save the day. The quintet is part of a generation of musicians with bluegrass as the basis, but not totally the sum of the music either.... »»»
Concert Review: White makes the case for himself, no matter how dark the music – John Paul White opined with a glint in his eyes that his songs were not of the uplifting variety. In fact, they were downright dark. How else to explain "The Long Way" with the line "long way home back to you." Or "James," a song inspired by his grandfather who suffered from dementia. But lest you think that the Alabama... »»»
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