Darius Rucker to Guest Star on ‘Sun Records’ [WATCH]
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Readers can press play on the video above to get a sneak peek of Rucker’s appearance on Sun Records. In the short clip, Bragg and his four Prisonaires bandmates are led, in their handcuffs and prison clothes, off the back of a truck and onto the grounds of Sun Studio in Memphis, Tenn. They’re headed into the recording studio to track “Just Walkin’ in the Rain,” a single that was released via Sun Records in 1953 and became a hit for the quintet; it sold 50,000 copies upon its release.
The Prisonaires formed in the Tennessee State Penitentiary when Bragg — incarcerated at the age of 17, in 1943, after being convicted of six rape charges — joined up with fellow inmates Ed Thurman, William Stewart, John Drue Jr. and Marcell Sanders. Thurman and Stewart were each serving 99-year sentences for murder; Drue Jr. was in jail on a three-year sentence for larceny; and Sanders had a 1-5-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter.
Radio producer Joe Calloway heard the Prisonaires singing while working on a news broadcast from the Penitentiary and arranged for the group to perform on the radio. After Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records, heard the Prisonaires’ radio performance, he arranged for them to come record at Sun Studio. The group’s five members were occasionally let out of jail for the day to perform around Tennessee, at the request of then-Tennessee Gov. Frank G. Clement.
Sun Records, which debuted on CMT in late February, is an eight-part series chronicling the events surrounding the date of Dec. 4, 1956, when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins met by chance at Sun Studio, and stumbled into an impromptu jam session. Those recordings — aptly titled The Million Dollar Quartet — have been released in various forms, and ultimately became an unforgettable contribution to the birth of rock ‘n’ roll.
Sun Records stars Kevin Fonteyne as Cash; Drake Milligan as Presley; Christian Lees as Lewis; and Dustin Ingram as Perkins. Chad Michael Murray portrays Phillips. The show airs on CMT on Thursdays at 10PM ET.