Jud Phillips

Born: 1921  Florence, AL

Died: July 20, 1992

Country, Rock Promoter Sun Records

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

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Sam and Jud Phillips

J.W. (Jud) Phillips


(1 September 1920 - 20 July 1992)

Jud Phillips (recognized by many as the "father of record promotion"), the older brother of Sam and the sixth of seven children, was born in Florence, Alabama. Although the siblings were very close, there was a special bond throughout their lives between Sam, Jud and Tom, primarily due to their commonality of deep interest in music.

After returning to Florence as a decorated Marine Corp Master Sergeant veteran of WW II in the South Pacific theatre, Jud returned to his interests in radio and music that had started with his association with The John Daniels Quartet of WSM Grand Ole Opry in 1939. He was appointed assistant manager of WJOI-AM & FM in Florence. Jud and Dean Hensley were married in 1945. They toured together with Dean as the pianist and Jud the emcee and promoter of the then Daniels Quartet. Later they formed the Jollyboys Quarter and were one of the first quartets to have a regular live broadcast on WREC-AM in Memphis in 1946.

Jud's very special "never met a stranger" personality and his importance in the SUN Records story is best told in part by others, beginning with Sam C. himself.

Sam Phillips described Jud as one of the great men in the music business and unequaled on the promotion end in dealing with radio disc jockeys, record distributors and operators, and television personalities. Sam added, "I am sure that Jerry Lee Lewis will testify that without him (Jud), it is possible that none of us would have ever been heard from."

Merchandisers (NARM) Annual Convention in Los Angeles, "Jud Phillips wrote the book on promotion because he invented the role." He went on to say that there were no promoters when Moss had started in the stock room at an L.A. record distributorship, just people who made the rounds to take orders.

"The salesmen just taking orders would come in and go straight to the bosses, and it was like we were non-existent. Jud would go straight to the back where we were pulling orders. He knew we could not order records from him, we had no power but that didn't matter. He wanted to tell us about the product he was representing. He made us feel special and we remembered him and his label. He felt that we 'order pullers' would probably be the buyer or manager some day and that we were several steps closer to the buying public than the front office."

Dr. Robert Gamble, who delivered the eulogy at Jud's funeral said: "He spent most of his life making other people famous. He liked to see things in people, and maybe see things in people that they didn't see in themselves. You can tell a lot about a person by the people who loved them. I know that he loved to be around people and people loved to be around him."

Charlie Rich commented, "I don't know if Jud ever knew how much he influenced me, but he had a profound influence on me. He was the most likeable person I ever met."

Jerry Lee Lewis: "If Jud Phillips told you something was going to happen you could bank it. When I first signed with SUN, Jud told me that a year from then I'd be making $10,000 a night. He didn't miss it by a week. Lewis continued, We were just like family. We're going to miss this man; he was one of a kind."

New York Times: "Sam Phillips said that such songs as 'Blue Suede Shoes', 'Get Rhythm' and 'Breathless' would have never reached a mass audience without his brothers ingenuity as a promoter."

My father, Jud, would have been so proud to see and be a part of this celebration of his brother, Sam C. Phillips. He was that kind of man.

Judson William (Jud) Phillips

A Proud Son & Nephew

Source: Tribute to J.W. (Jud) Phillips by Panther Burns on Myspace


Judd Records was started by Jud Phillips, brother of Sun Records co-founder Sam Phillips. Early releases were mostly recorded in Nashville or Memphis, but carried an address of Memphis, New York and Florence (Phillips' hometown). Judd Records was named for its founder but the name was misspelled in the artwork of the label having two "D's." From Judd 1016 on, the label was pressed and distributed by National Recording Corporation, and the label sported the NRC logo and/or the words "National Recording Corporation - Atlanta, GA". According to Jud Phillips' son, NRC acquired the Judd label originally on a handshake deal.

Judd's biggest single was "Rockin' Little Angel" by Ray Smith, which topped out at #22 on the Billboard charts. Another Judd artist who went on to score on other labels was Tommy Roe. Roe's initial recordings on Judd were originally released on Mark Four, a label produced by Roe's manager, Cleve Warnock, but recorded at the NRC Studios in Atlanta. Arthur Alexander also released his first single on Judd "Sally Sue Brown/The Girl That Radiates That Charm" under his high-school nickname June Alexander. The only Judd album, Ray Smith's "Rockin' Little Angel", has been released on CD by NRC. Other Ray Smith single cuts have been released on CD by London-based Ace Records. NRC, Judd, and affiliated labels are owned and administered by Johnny Carter[disambiguation needed], president of National Recording Corporation.

Source: Judd Records - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia




Jud Phillips, 71, Dies; Early Rock Promoter

Published: July 25, 1992

John William (Jud) Phillips, a music promoter and a record company executive who ran Sun Records in Memphis with his brother Sam, died on Monday at his home in Memphis. He was 71 years old.

He died of throat cancer, his brother said.

From their tiny recording studio at 706 Union Avenue, the Phillips brothers participated in the birth of rock-and-roll, recording such future rock and country superstars as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins.

Mr. Lewis, for example, first worked with the Phillips brothers at Sun, where he recorded a string of rockabilly hits, including "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" and "Great Balls of Fire." After Mr. Lewis left Sun in 1963 and switched to the larger Mercury label, Jud Phillips became his manager for more than a decade.

Jud Phillips spent most of his tenure at Sun dealing with the outside forces that helped determine a record's fate. Sam Phillips said that such songs as "Blue Suede Shoes," "Get Rhythm" and "Breathless" would never have reached a mass audience without his brother's ingenuity as a promoter.

In addition to his brother Sam, Mr. Phillips is survived by his wife, Dean, and a son, Judson William, both of Memphis; another brother, Horace, of Sheffield, Ala.; two sisters, Mary Haddock and Irene Womble, both of Florence; and a grandson, Judson Bryant Phillips of Short Hills, N.J.

Source: Jud Phillips, 71, Dies; Early Rock Promoter - New York Times


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