It’s December 1956, and we’re in the now-legendary Sun Records studio in Memphis. Three good ol’ boys are hanging around, making jokes and singing. Their names? Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins… and Elvis Presley. Johnny Cash sat in for a while — hence the idea, in circulation ever since, of a ”Million Dollar Quartet” — but evidently he left before the tapes were turned on. The Million Dollar Quartet is really a trio.
Elvis and the guys sing 35 songs, or fragments of them, most of them gospel. Some they sing more than once. It’s all very casual: Elvis can’t even remember in what key he recorded ”Don’t Be Cruel.” But still he dominates; we don’t call him the King for nothing.
But of course these aren’t finished performances. So The Million Dollar Quartet will appeal mainly to devotees — who’ll be glad to know that this long-awaited official release has more songs than any of the bootleg versions available for years. B