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 wasn’t 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 he’d got that bad."

Charlie did indeed come back. Only he hadn’t 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 "I’ll 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 records.

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.

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