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Sun Studio, Memphis

706 Union Avenue
Memphis , Tennessee
Tel: 901 521 0664's insider take:

"Consistently Better Records for Higher Profits" was the mantra turned understatement of the century on producer Sam Phillips's stationery at Sun Studio, now a national historic landmark. If you are in Memphis on a pilgrimage to music shrines, you are no doubt already aware of Sun Studio's reasonable claim to be the birthplace of rock 'n' roll. It started in 1951 with the recording of Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats' "Rocket '88," reputedly the first rock 'n' roll single. In 1954, Elvis Presley recorded "That's Alright Mama," a national radio show out of Memphis picked it up, and the legend of the King had begun (along with the globalization of rock). In those first heady years, these smoky walls recorded the mighty blues sounds of B.B. King, Little Milton, Junior Parker, and Howlin' Wolf, along with the world-changing country and rock sounds of Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Carl Perkins. Since the studio's heyday, the chance to record in the footsteps of musical gods has continued to draw such talents as Paul Simon, U2, Bonnie Raitt, and Matchbox 20. Forty-five-minute tours showcasing the studio and its historic collection depart every hour from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.