Sun Studio

Sun Studio in Memphis (photo by David Jones)

Sun Studio in Memphis (photo by David Jones).

706 Union Ave., Memphis, TN.

Opened in 1950 by Sam Phillips, Sun Studio was originally called Memphis Recording Service while it shared the same building as Sun Records. Phillips made a name for himself recording Blues and R&B artists such as Rufas Thomas, Howlin’ Wolf, BB King and others. However, it wasn’t until Elvis Presley walked in one day in 1953 to record a song (“My Happiness”) for his mother that Phillips realized he had discovered the future of music. Phillips hooked the young Presley up with guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black and the trio developed a new sound that would be dubbed “rockabilly” and later “rock and roll.” The rest was history.

Phillips would go on to record some of the biggest hits in early rock and roll at Sun Studios including Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls Of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” and Carl Perkins’ “Blue Suede Shoes.” By the end of the 50’s, Phillips outgrew the studio and moved into a larger space at 639 Madison Avenue. In 1987, the 706 Union Avenue building was converted back into a recording studio and soon became a tourist attraction as well as a National Historic Landmark. Many well known acts have since recorded at the studio, including: U2, Def Leppard, John Mellencamp, Jacob Dylan and Chris Isaak.

Required Listening:

  1. My Happiness – Elvis Presley
  2. That’s Alright (Mama) – Elvis Presley
  3. Rocket 88 – Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats
  4. Great Balls Of Fire – Jerry Lee Lewis
  5. Blue Suede Shoes – Carl Perkins



Sun Studio in Memphis, TN.

Sun Studio in Memphis, TN.

 

Sun Studio in the 50's

Sun Studio in the 50’s.

 

The front office of the Sun Studio, where office manager Marion Keisker worked and greeted many artists on their first visit to the studio, including a young Elvis Presley.

The front office of the Sun Studio, where office manager Marion Keisker worked and greeted many artists on their first visit to the studio, including a young Elvis Presley.

 

Map of Sun Studio in Memphis

Map of Sun Studio in Memphis.