The Newport, Louisiana, native worked with legendary artists such as Elvis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Conway Twitty, among many others. While Burgess' career spans 50 years, playing for millions of fans with hundreds of musicians and bands, one artist stands out the most.
The nightclub in Jackson County was filled with anticipation. Even a seasoned musician like Sonny Burgess knew the vibe in the club was different that night.
"Elvis Presley stepped onto the stage. The band started to play. His hips began to move. He sang 'Good Rockin' Tonight' and before he was done, the crowd was whirled into a frenzy. Boy, Elvis was different, as soon as he walked into the building you could feel his energy. He had the looks, the songs and the charisma. Whatever a star has, he had it - more than anyone else."
Burgess and his bandmates formed the Moonlighters, and they opened for Elvis at least four times. The band expanded and became The Pacers in 1955. At the behest of Elvis, the group went to Memphis and recorded several songs, including "Red Headed Woman," for famed producer Sam Phillips.
Through the years Burgess has been inducted into numerous musical hall of fames and played in venues all over the world. The Pacers re-formed and play together often.
Burgess still plays to large crowds to this day. He recently returned from a gig in Las Vegas and will play at a number of festivals and events this summer, he said.
In the fall he’ll return to Europe, he said. "I love to play," he said. "I’m going to do it until I can’t."
source: Washington Times