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Sun Studio

Birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll

Sun Studio today
Sun Studio today
Click to enlarge. Copyright 2006

The Million Dollar Quartet
The Million Dollar Quartet
Lewis, Perkins, Presley, and Cash hold an impromptu jam session in 1956.

706 Union Avenue
Memphis, Tennessee 38103
United States
(901) 521-0664 or
1-800-441 6249

On This Very Spot on January 3, 1950, in a former radiator shop, Sam Phillips opened the Memphis Recording Service and launched Sun Records. He would remain in this facility until 1959, when the success of his label necessitated moving to a larger facility.

On This Very Spot in 1951, Phillips recorded what is now acknowledged to be the first rock and roll record, "Rocket 88," written by a 19-year-old Ike Turner and performed by his band.

On This Very Spot in 1953, Elvis Presley came in to record a song for his mother, paying $3.98 to record an acetate.

On This Very Spot on July 5, 1954, Elvis recorded "That's All Right (Mama)" with Bill Black and Scotty Moore. Two days later the song debuted on Memphis radio, and Elvis Presley's career began.

On This Very Spot were recorded the first records of Johnny Cash (including "Folsom Prison Blues" and "I Walk the Line"), Jerry Lee Lewis (including "Great Balls of Fire (song)" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"), Carl Perkins (including "Blue Suede Shoes"), Roy Orbison, B. B. King, and Howlin' Wolf.

On This Very Spot in the afternoon of December 4, 1956, Presley, Cash, Lewis, and Perkins all happened to be at the studio at the same time, and an impromptu jam session took place. A local newspaper photographer, called by Phillips, took the now-famous photo of the event (above). The photo was published the next day under the heading "The Million Dollar Quartet." In the 1980s, some of the tracks from this session were released under the same name.

On This Very Spot were also recorded the early hits of Rufus Thomas (including "Bear Cat"), Bobby Blue Bland, Charlie Rich (who also wrote songs for Cash and Lewis), Conway Twitty, and many others.

On This Very Spot in 1987, the building was reopened as Sun Studio, a combination recording studio and tourist attraction.

On This Very Spot in 1988, Irish rock band U2 recorded many of the tracks for their double album Rattle and Hum, including a duet with B. B. King on "When Love Comes to Town."

On This Very Spot on July 23, 2003, Sun Studio was added to the list of National Historic Landmarks (USA).

Submitted by: Dustin Quince

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This spot is operated as a rock and roll museum and is open to the public. For hours of operation, admission fees, driving directions, and contact information, visit the official website at

Location: Memphis is in the southwest corner of Tennessee at the intersection of I-40 and I-55. Sun Studio is located west of downtown Memphis on the north side of Union Avenue.

Nearest Major Airport: Memphis International

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