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The piano that started rock ‘n’ roll is up for auction


Naturally, it’s fairly arbitrary for any instrument to claim to be the vehicle that got the rock ‘n’ roll race underway, but when it comes to the Sun Records Wurlitzer spinet used by Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash, it has more of a claim to the throne than most. 

As the auction lot reads: “Offered here for the first time ever, is the iconic ‘Million Dollar Quartet Piano’ – the Sun Records’ studio piano – a vintage 1949 Wurlitzer spinet with serial number 387912 that was played by a stellar rock and roll list of ‘who’s who’ including Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ike Turner, Phineas Newborn, Jr., Charlie Rich and many more.”

Now, seeing as though even the Million Dollar Quartet were simply seeing further because of the likes of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, whose shoulders they were standing atop of, there is no doubting the significance of this humble spinet in pop culture history.

As the listing continues: “The piano has a rock and roll jukebox list of credits and is featured on many of Memphis’ 1950’s Sun Records classics.”

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What’s more, it isn’t just a piano that created rock ‘n’ roll history, it even has its own backstory too. As. The auction posting explains: “The late, great Sam Phillips, owner of the Memphis Recording Service, (the Sun Studio), and Sun Records purchased the piano in 1950 at the O.K. Houck piano store, located at 121 Union Avenue – the same street as his Memphis Recording Service and Sun Records.”

Adding: “O.K. Houck is the same store where Elvis Presley and his family bought their first piano, his first Martin guitar. Scotty Moore bought his Gibson ES-295 played on the Elvis Sun Sessions, as well as Bill Black, B.B. King, Johnny Cash, and many others who bought their instruments at the famed store.”

The starting bid for the auction currently sits at $700,000 but by the time it goes to sale later this week, it is expected to fetch over $1,000,000. Sadly, that might be out of most of our Christmas budgets, but it would certainly make a nice present for someone.