“Man, that record came out and was real big in Memphis.

They started playing it, and it got real big.

Don’t know why-the lyrics had no meaning.”

Elvis Presley

Sun Studio

Memphis was another city we knew we wanted to visit while on our See the USA road trip, but really had no idea of what we’d find.  Turns out, it was a pretty cool place to be.   Thanks to TripAdvisor we discovered a funky little place known as Sun Studio.  What an awesome walk back through time.  If the walls of Sun Studio could only talk, they have a lot of stories to share.

Sun Studio
Sun Studio – the birthplace of Rock & Roll
Back to 1956

Stepping through the front door we felt as if we’d walked through a time warp – right back to 1956 – and we were just hanging out with the cool guys.  You know, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis; they were all there, jammin in the studio.

Jerry, Carl, Elvis & Johnny
Jerry, Carl, Elvis & Johnny – The Million Dollar Quartet – Tuesday, December 4, 1956
Memphis Recording Studio

Originally known as the Memphis Recording Studio, the building is a Memphis icon and although there was a period in time (1969 – 1987) when the building housed a plumbing company and an auto parts store, the building’s history is deeply planted in rock and roll.

Sun Studio reopened in 1987 and in 2003 it was recognized as a national historical landmark.  What’s crazy, is that you’d never know it was ever anything but a music studio; although the front room now looks like a 1950’s diner offering every souvenir imaginable.

Group Tour

We paid the obligatory $12 tour fee and although we were a bit late, we quickly caught up with the group.  We had a great time on the tour.  If I was going to offer one critique it would be that they take too many people in one group.  The place is small, so squeezing everyone in to each room was a bit tight, but it worked.  I will say the tour guide seemed to know her stuff and even though it was a bit rehearsed, she clearly had a passion for the music.

Sun Studio
Equipment, recordings and memorabilia.
Original Sound Recordings

What really made the tour was listening to the original sound recordings of the million dollar quartet, as well as others.  At various stops along the tour, the guide would play snippets of recordings, while highlighting the story behind the music. It brought the stars right into the room.  It was pretty great!  And you know me, I love walking the path of those who came before us – moments in history.  And while Sun Studio is all about the music, boy, if those walls could talk.  Think about the history!

“My aim was to try and record the Blues and other music I liked.

I knew this music wasn’t going to be available, in a pure sense, forever.”

Sam Phillips

Sun Studio
The recording studio – they still record here.
The studio, where it all happened.
The studio, where it all happened.
Music Legends

You don’t have to be a fan of the music, to enjoy a tour of Sun Studio, but I’d wager you’d have a hard time resisting the urge to tap your toes in time with the beat.  It’s a page right out of the American music scene.

If you find yourself in Memphis, don’t hesitate to visit Sun Studio and definitely take the tour.  It’s well-worth your time to walk in the path of music legends.

That's All Right by Elvis Presley.
“That’s All Right” by Elvis Presley
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