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Sonny Burgess

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Biography

Sonny Burgess was one of the wildest rockers to record for the legendary Sun label in Memphis. He and his band the Pacers came out of Newport, Arkansas with a hard-rocking style that, unlike that of most rockabillies, owed little to nothing in the way of a stylistic debt to country music. With his red-dyed hair, matching stage suit and guitar, and wild stage performances, Burgess made mincemeat of the competition on many of the early-'50s rock & roll package tours. Though his Sun releases never brought him much in the way of commercial success, his recordings nonetheless remain landmarks of the early rockabilly style. Burgess later toured and recorded with other Memphis alumni in the Sun Rhythm Section, and during the new millennium hit the road and the studio under the moniker of Sonny Burgess & the Legendary Pacers (celebrating the Pacers' 50th anniversary in 2005). Burgess & the Legendary Pacers issued the Gijon Stomp! album, a collection of new recordings, on the El Toro label in 2009. Burgess fell in his home in July 2017, and died in a Little Rock, Arkansas hospital the following month; he was 88 years old. ~ Cub Koda
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