Skip and Flip (Gary Paxton & Clyde Batten) (R) recorded several songs that charted on the Billboard Nationally such as "IT WAS I" & "CHERRY PIE."  Paxton went on to a brilliant career as a songwriter and producer and Batten ended up joining the rock group The Byrds in the sixties.  

A master blues guitar player originally from Texas, Ray Sharpe recorded with Lee Hazlewood in the Phoenix studios. One of his best songs was "LINDA LUI" later covered by the Rolling Stones. 

The Book

(A thumbnail sketch of The Phoenix Sound.)

The mid to late 50's was a creative and explosive era in music as Rock n' Roll was introduced to the masses. Rockabilly, a hybrid of Rock and Country music, was able to find its niche and hold its own as Rock n' Roll swept the nation.

   Many grass roots recording studios popped up around the country then such as SUN RECORDS in Memphis that saw artists like Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley rise to stardom to the tiny NORMAN PETTY Studio in Clovis, New Mexico that recorded most of Buddy Holly's music and a place for early recordings of people like Buddy Knox, Waylon Jennings, Roy Orbison and Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs.

        Meanwhile in Phoenix, Arizona a former DJ turned record producer named Lee Hazlewood recruited a young Sanford Clark, fresh out of the military, to record a song he'd written called "The Fool." Local session guitarist Al Casey added some creative guitar licks and before long the single exploded into the Top 10 on the Billboard music charts nationwide selling nearly 800,000 copies. People like Elvis and even Paul McCartney have performed or recorded their version of the song. 

   This success put Phoenix on the musical map because next up Hazlewood, along with brilliant audio engineer Jack Miller, would record Duane Eddy with his twangy guitar instrumental "Rebel Rouser" by rigging up a primitive echo chamber by using an empty water tank with a speaker on one end and a microphone on the other to achieve the deep echo effects ringing true from Eddy's Gretsch guitar. "Rebel Rouser" would go on to sell over a million copies worldwide recorded in Phoenix.

     A steady stream of singers, songwriters and groups began recording at RAMSEY'S AUDIO RECORDERS OF ARIZONA and charted many other songs on the Billboard charts. The Phoenix Sound was born as a hybrid of Rock and Roll, Rockabilly, Southwestern Country sounds and touches of R & B and Soul in the mix. 

   In addition many other singers would get their musical start in Phoenix and the state of Arizona and go on to achieve nationwide stardom such as, Marty Robbins, Waylon Jennings, Buck Owens, Linda Ronstadt, Tanya Tucker, Stevie Nicks, Alice Cooper, Jessi Colter, Dierks Bentley and others. 

The Phoenix Sound was a rich historic musical tapestry of styles that appealed to the masses and was a very special and creative era.  

Radio DJ turned record producer Lee Hazlewood produced acts like Sanford Clark & the song "The Fool" and "Rebel Rouser" with Duane Eddy.  In the sixties he produced Nancy Sinatra, wrote the song "These boots are made for walking"  and would eventually move to Sweden and produce other acts and create his own avant garde style of music with his own "cult" following. He influenced people like Phil Specter in the recording studio.

Some of the early music venues that featured local and national singers and musicians include the Riverside Park Ballroom, Sarge's Cowtown (left) JD's in Tempe (below) and Madison Square Garden near downtown Phoenix featured bands, singers, wrestling matches & church revivals. 

Duane Eddy created his "twangy guitar" styie recording in Ramsey's Audio Recorders in Phoenix, Arizona.  He would sell over 100 million records and is in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. He is still performing today.  

Brilliant studio engineer Jack Miller began his career at the Ramsey-Audio Recorders Phoenix studio and engineered the first sessions on Duane Eddy and hundreds of other acts that charted songs on the National Billboard Music charts, most recorded in Phoenix.  He would go on to engineer at RCA studios in Los Angeles before returning to Arizona to open his own studio.   

Sanford Clark recorded "THE FOOL" which became the first BIG hit to emerge from Phoenix and the Ramsey studio. It hit the Top 10 on the Billboard Music charts nationally in 1957. The music industry then kept an eye on the budding Phoenix music scene

A young Duane Eddy samples a guitar at Ziggie's Music Store in Phoenix 1958

The AMPEX tape deck that recorded many hits at Ramsey's-Audio Recorders in the fifties


The former Audio-Video Recorders studio stands empty on 7th street just south of Indian School road in Phoenix. Hundreds of recordings were produced in this studio that helped define THE PHOENIX SOUND. 

Guitar wizard Al Casey was a huge part of the Phoenix Sound who played on many sessions in Phoenix and was part of the "Wrecking Crew" in Los Angeles recording studios playing guitar on many hit records. 

Buck Owens was one of several musical artists that began their career in Arizona. Buck played gigs all over central Arizona, had his own short early radio show in the forties and eventually moved on to Bakersfield, California and major stardom on Capitol Records in the sixties based on the west coast instead of Nashville.  

A native of Glendale, Arizona Marty Robbins played in Phoenix area clubs, had his own radio and tv show locally and signed with Columbia Records and joined the Grand Ole Opry in the early fifties. Marty charted some 18 number one records. He loved his Arizona roots.

Jessi Colter and Waylon Jennings (below) both loved Phoenix and would eventually move back to Arizona from Nashville. 


After the death of his friend Buddy Holly in 1959 Waylon Jennings started his career in earnest playing nightclubs in the Phoenix area including JD's club in Tempe where he played before packed houses


The Phoenix Sound wasn't just Rockabilly and Country music. In 1966 Dyke and the Blazers released  the R & B tune "FUNKY BROADWAY" that became a hit record and was later covered by Wilson Pickett