Sun Studio is where it all began for Elvis Presley. Set in the heart of Memphis Tennessee, Sun Studio opened it's doors in January 1950 originally being called Memphis Recording Service and sharing space in the building with the Sun Record Label business. It was started by rock music pioneer Sam Phillips. Sun Studio's has seen the likes of everyone walk thru it's doors including Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, B.B. King and of course Elvis Presley.
In August 1953, Elvis walked into Sun Studio to record two songs on an acetate record. He told them it would be a gift for his mother's birthday. He paid for the record and left. In January 1954, Elvis came back to Sun and recorded two more songs. Nothing came of them and he left. Many historians say that Elvis was trying to get noticed by Sam and the record company. His parents didn't own a record player so I'm more inclined to believe he went there trying to get noticed by Sam.
Elvis was finally noticed and once they started to practice in the studio they came up with That's All Right. Three days later the song began getting air play in Memphis and it became so popular that they played the song over and over for 2 hours on the radio. Sam Phillips knew he had struck gold with Elvis.
Months after the success of his first record release and the songs that followed, Sam knew that Sun Studio was not large enough to carry Elvis across the United States. Sam had distributed his records throughout most of the south but wasn't able to drive everywhere. So in February of 1955, Sam met with the now infamous Col. Tom Parker. He persuaded Sam to believe that Presley needed a National record label to further his career. Many months passed but in November 1955, Sam sold Elvis' contract for $35,000.00 and Elvis signed with RCA Victor.
Recording in Sun
Elvis with Sam and his secretary
Sun Studio is still open in Memphis and artists can record on site.