Sonny Burgess, Rockabilly Pioneer, Dies at 88

Sonny Burgess
Charles Paul Harris/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Sonny Burgess photographed in 1986.

The former Sun Records artist passed away in his native Arkansas.

Albert “Sonny” Burgess, who was an early pioneer of what became known as rockabilly music, has died in his native Arkansas.

The Dillinger Funeral Home in Newport says Burgess died Friday (Aug. 18) in Little Rock. He was 88.

Burgess was among a group of singers in the mid-1950s who mixed rhythm and blues with country and western music. The sound became known as rockabilly and included Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Burgess eventually signed with Sun Records in Memphis, where Presley, Cash and Lewis were among the artists under contract.

Burgess also is a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Funeral arrangements are pending. His cause of death was not released.

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