The Sun Studio is located in Memphis, Tennessee and known as “The Birthplace of Rock and Roll.” Visitors to the Sun Studio will enjoy getting to tour the place that the likes of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash recorded their albums. The Sun Studio was opened in January of 1950 by Sam Phillips, a pioneer in rock-and-roll.
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Originally it was named the Memphis Recording Service and shared a facility with Sun Records Label Business. The first single recorded at the studio was the rock and roll hit, “Rocket 88” by Jacking Brenston and the Delta Cats in 1951. The single featured Ike Turner on the keyboard. This single gave the studio the title of “The Birthplace of Rock-and-Roll."
The Sun Studio has seen recording artists of all types. Blues artists and R&B singers that recorded there in the early 1950s include Junior Parker, BB King, and Rosco Gordon. Rock-and-Roll, rockabilly, and country artists that recorded there in the late 1950s include Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Ray Harris, Warren Smith, and Jerry Lee Lewis.
The original location of the Sun Studio on Union Avenue soon became too small and a larger studio was opened in 1959 called the Sam C. Phillips Recording Studio or Phillips Recording. Because Phillips had made investments in the Holiday Inn Hotel chain, he started recording artists in 1963 under the label Holiday Inn Records for Kemmons Wilson.
The original building where Sun Records label and Memphis Recording Service were located was reopened in 1987 by Gary Hardy and renamed Sun Studio. The studio is a tourist attraction and recording label. It has attracted many well-known artists such as Def Leppard, Ringo Starr, Bonnie Raitt, and U2.
Visitors to the Sun Studio can tour the studio for an hour and half and learn why it is known as “The Birthplace of Rock and Roll.” The million-dollar quartet recorded here: Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash.
Other attractions that visitors to the Sun Studio may enjoy include Graceland and The Rock N Soul Museum.
· Graceland- Graceland is the ultimate destination for Rock’n’Roll lovers. Visitors will get the opportunity to explore the home of Elvis Presley the Graceland Mansion. It is a fully immersive experience where visitors learn about the rock’n’roll singer’s life and career. Learn about his roots, artistry, and those that influenced his career. The largest collection of merchandise from Elvis in the world is found here. Several different tour options are available.
· The Ultimate VIP Tour- This tour includes a tour of the mansion with an expert guide, a self-guided tour of Elvis’s planes, a meal voucher, and access to the private lounge, and access to the Elvis Presley Memphis Entertainment Complex.
· VIP Tour- This tour includes the Mansion Audio-guided tour and full access to the Elvis Presley Memphis Entertainment Complex. VIP Tour tickets also allow holders to skip to the front of the line for the Mansion tour and get a backstage pass keepsake.
· Elvis Experience Tour- This tour includes the Mansion tour and allows visitors to explore the exhibits that showcase Elvis’ career, automobiles, wardrobe, gold records and more from the Graceland archives. Visitors can choose to add Elvis’ Airplanes to this tour for an additional fee.
· Mansion Only Tour- This tour allows visitors to tour the Graceland Mansion and includes the opportunity to view artifacts from the archives. Elvis’ Airplanes may be added for additional fee.
· Rock N Soul Museum- Visitors to the Rock N Soul Museum will explore the birth of rock and soul music. Learn how the pioneers of these genres overcame socio-economic and racial barriers for their love of music and created the music that influenced the entire world. The Rock N Soul Museum contains several galleries that explore the history and culture of rock and soul music.
· Rural Culture- This gallery explores the lives of musical legends before they became icons.
· Rural Music- This gallery explores the history or music in the south.
· Coming to Memphis- This gallery explores the migration of sharecroppers to the city and how music crossed color lines in Memphis.
· Sun Records & Youth Culture- This gallery explores the dress, language, and music of the youth during the 1950s in Memphis.
· Soul Music- This gallery explores the African-American soul music genre and how it - influenced the city dynamics of Memphis and world culture.
· Bravo Gallery- This gallery explores how the music influenced the civil rights movement and inspired the leading musicians throughout the world in every genre. That influence continues today.
While visiting Sun Studios and the surrounding attractions visitors should stop in at the Rock Shop. It sells merchandise such as albums, clothing articles, books, concert posters, and other merchandise with the Sun Studio logo.
706 Union Ave., Downtown Memphis, Phone: 800-441-6249