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 »»»