See rock & roll history at Sun Studio in Memphis

Sun Studio in Memphis is often referred to as the “birthplace of rock & roll.”

It’s rare that I’m ever in awe of anything, but standing in the actual spot where Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins recorded together in 1956 was pretty amazing.

Sun Studio exterior

Sun Studio history and artist appearances

The studio was in its heyday in the ’50s and ’60s, but eventually closed down. It was re-opened in 1987, and rock bands like U2 and Def Leppard began recording there. Who wouldn’t want to record in a place with all that history?

Because of Sun Studio’s history, musicians stop by all the time when they’re visiting Memphis, so you may even get a celebrity sighting during your visit. The last time I visited, Elvis Costello happened to be there with blues legend Hubert Sumlin, as evidenced by this awesomely blurry photo:

Elvis Costello Sun Studio

Visiting Sun Studio in Memphis

The Sun Studio tour begins upstairs, where you are treated to the sights and sounds. Historic memorabilia is on display, and audio clips are played as the guide provides information about the beginnings of rock ‘n roll history. Then, you move downstairs into the very studio where the “Million Dollar Quartet” recorded.

You can even pose with a microphone used by Elvis and the rest of the legendary figures.

elvis microphone sun studio

There’s also a crowded gift shop that sells t-shirts, hats, and tons of other Sun Studio items.

Sun Studio Tour – Hours & ticket prices

Unlike some other stuffy recording sites (Motown Museum, I’m looking at you), Sun Studio allows you to take pictures during the tour. Score!

You can take the tour daily from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm, every half hour. The adult price is only $12, and kids from 5-11 can visit for free. Leave your babies at home – kids under 5 are not permitted.

Anyone who is interested in music or pop culture history should make it a point to stop by Sun Studio while in Memphis.

For more info on Sun Studio, check out the official site.

Sun Studio gift shop

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About Scott Shetler

Scott is a Chicago-based journalist and blogger who seeks out quirky sights and awesome destinations throughout North America and beyond.

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