A veritable icon of music and a Memphis landmark, Sun Studio is known as the Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll. In fact, the very first rock single, “Rocket 88,” was recorded here in 1951, when it was called the Memphis Recording Service. The former recording studio’s musical heritage—made famous thanks to the superstardom of artists such as Elvis and Johnny Cash—and collection of one-of-a-kind memorabilia makes for an unforgettable stop in Memphis.
Die-hard music lover or not, it’s fascinating to take a guided tour of the famous recording studio’s headquarters and see where legendary performers like B.B. King and Roy Orbison laid down their first hit singles. Sun Studios is especially famous for the “Million-Dollar Quartet” recording of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins performing together. You can tour the studios with an advance-purchase ticket, with guided transportation, or in conjunction with other Memphis music-themed sights on a city sightseeing tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Music fans and those interested in Memphis music history will enjoy this spot most.
- Plan on spending one to two hours here for a tour and visit to the exhibition.
- Check out the 1950s-style Sun Studio Soda Shop and Record Store for additional nostalgia or a souvenir to take home.
- Kids ages 5 to 11 years old can visit (with accompanying adult) free of charge. Kids under 5 are not allowed.
- Entrance for guests with limited mobility is free given that half of the tour is not wheelchair-accessible.
- The site’s first-floor cafe and record stare are wheelchair-accessible.
How to Get There
Located right in downtown Memphis, Sun Studio is easily accessible from anywhere in the city. There is a free shuttle that runs between Sun Studio and Graceland, as well as the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, allowing you to visit some of Memphis’s key music-themed sights with ease. Parking is free.
When to Get There
Sun Studio is open daily from 10am to 6pm with guided tours offered every hour on the half hour. Crowds are lightest first thing in the morning.
Music Sites of Memphis
Sun Studio has been called one of the most significant musical history sites in the country, along with nearby Graceland—the former home of Elvis Presley. The Elvis-themed tours of the city are a must for hard-core fans, but for those seeking a more general tour of Memphis music, don’t miss Beale Street, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, and the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum.