So, Margaret Ann waltzed herself into Sun and met with
one of the producers, Bill Justis. His advice for Charlie was to write,
for that was where the money was. Later, Sam Phillips also recommended
that he begin by writing. But Bill told him something else. He remembers
that "the only problem was that he was an exceptional musician and
wasnt entirely commercial. I recall taking him into the stockroom at
Sun Records and giving him a whole bunch of records that had been
returned. I told him to take them home and come back when hed got
Charlie did indeed come back. Only he hadnt gotten
"bad." He joined up as staff writer and session musician. Yes, his
first attempts at songwriting fell far short of the mark, but in a
remarkably short time he was writing songs for Johnny Cash ("Ways Of A
Woman In Love," cowritten with Bill Justis), Ray Smith ("Right
Behind You Baby," and "Why Why Why"), and Jerry Lee Lewis ("Break
Up" and "Ill Make It All Up To You"). At the same time, he was
adding his unique piano skills to recordings by Sun stablemates Carl
Mann, Barbara Pittman and a host of others.
Charlie was boppin with the big boys now. And he was
beginning to seriously consider the prospects of cutting his own
In what would be a 5-year tenure at Sun Records as a
star behind the mike, Charlie cut one fine Rich classic after another.
While only "Lonely Weekends" would achieve hit status, his work at
Sun would include "Sittin and Thinkin," "Gonna Be Waiting,"
"Who Will The Next Fool Be," "Goodbye Mary Ann," "Break Up,"
"Easy Money," and "Finally Found Out."
Circumstances dictated that by 1963 Charlie would, in
his turn, leave Sun for RCA, making Charlie the last in a line of
legendary rockers to come from Sun Records: Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins,
Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis ... and now Charlie Rich.
Sometimes, the best really is saved for last.