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© Walter Bibikow/JAI/Corbis
Claimed by many as the birthplace of rock 'n' roll, the first Sun studio opened in January 1950 as Memphis Recording Service, the dream of rock pioneer Sam Phillips.
In the following years, rock, R&B and blues legends including Ike Turner, Howlin' Wolf, Junior Parker, Little Milton, BB King, James Cotton plus one-time radio DJ Rufus Thomas recorded there.
There is disagreement about whether a young Elvis Presley walked in to record a demo for himself on his mother's birthday, but the fact remains that Presley developed his unique rocking performing style and early recording techniques at Sun studios, some apparently by clowning around between takes.
Throughout the decade other rock ‘n’ roll, country and rockabilly artists like Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich, and Jerry Lee Lewis signed to Sun Records and recorded there.
By 1959 recording demands of equipment had outgrown the building, and a bigger place was acquired nearby. However, it is the original place that is now very firmly established as an iconic stopover on American musical and cultural history tours, just a short drive away from Graceland.