LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (CelebrityAccess) — Albert "Sonny" Burgess, one of the progenitors of the sound that became Rockabilly, has died. He was 88.
The Dillinger Funeral Home in Newport said Burgess died Friday in Little Rock after suffering a fall in his home.
A native of Newport, Arkansas, Burgess learned to play at an early age, and as a teenager, he led the boogie-woogie group the Rocky Road Ramblers as they performed in dance halls and bars in the region.
After a stint in the army, he re-formed the group as the Moonlighters and landed a recording deal with Sun Records, in Memphis in 1956.
While the group never scored a major chart hit, their raucous and energetic live performances and fusion of country and rhythm and blues helped to create the rockabilly sound and later rock n' roll.
In the 1960s, Burgess toured with a reconfigured Moonlighters, now called the Pacers, and as a member of Conway Twitty's road band but was forced to take up a sideline as a traveling salesman.
Despite the mid-life career change, he continued to perform on occasion as a studio musician with the Sun Rhythm Section and tour, finding success abroad with the rockabilly revival in Europe.
Burgess also continued to record, through the remainder of his life, with his final album Live at Sun Studios, released in 2012.
In 2002, Burgess and the Legendary Pacers were inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame
He married Joann Adams in 1956 and they had two sons, Peyton and John.