The album was recorded live on stage on April 23, 1981, in
Stuttgart, West Germany, when all three singers, who had been labelmates at
Sun Records at the beginning of their careers, were touring Europe. The show had initially been meant to feature only Cash, but Lewis and Perkins joined him onstage on a night when they did not have a concert scheduled themselves. Without rehearsal, the three performed a number of songs they were known for - including Cash's "
Get Rhythm" and Perkins' "
Blue Suede Shoes" - as well as slightly more obscure compositions. Perkins, Cash and Lewis had previously collaborated with each other, and with
Elvis Presley (who had died in 1977), during the
Million Dollar Quartet session, and would later collaborate for the album Class of '55 with
Roy Orbison in 1985. For the last song on the album, "I Saw the Light", Cash, Perkins and Lewis were joined by Cash's son
John Carter and his daughter