'Sun Records' Chronicles What Happens After Rock 'N' Roll Greats Jam Together in 1950s Memphis

A. Bottinick

It took five men to put an undeniably history-making stamp on rock ’n’ roll—producer Sam Phillips (Chad Michael Murray) and musicians Johnny Cash (Kevin Fonteyne), Elvis Presley (Drake Milligan), Carl Perkins (Dustin Ingram) and Jerry Lee Lewis (Christian Lees)—all of whom huddled for an impromptu jam session at Memphis’s famed Sun Records in 1956.

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Based on the hit musical Million Dollar Quartet, CMT’s new drama series re-creates the day the perfect storm of talent (emphasis on storm) began mixing hillbilly country with the R&B beats of Muddy Waters, Fats Domino and B.B. King to create a whole new sound. The story then trails Phillips, Cash, Presley, Perkins and Lewis through all the good and bad, both personally and professionally, that followed. But the most stunning thing, even to the actors, was that initial moment. “Learning that one man found the talents of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and more really blew my mind,” Murray says about Phillips, “and then they altered the course of music with rock ’n’ roll!”

Sun Records, Series Premiere, Thursday, Feb. 23, 10/9c, CMT