Memphis in Shelby County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
Elvis Presley and Sun Records / Sun Records
In July 1954 Sun Records released Elvis Presley's first recording. That record, and Elvis' four that followed on the Sun label, changed popular music. Elvis developed an innovative and different sound combining blues, gospel, and country. That quality made Elvis a worldwide celebrity within two years. He went on to become one of the most famous and beloved entertainers in history. Sun Records introduced many well known people in all fields of music. Generations of musicians have been affected by those who recorded here and especially by the music Elvis Presley first sang at Sun Records.
In the early 1950's Sun Records was a small recording studio located here at 706 Union. Owned and operated by Sam C. Phillips, Sun Records became nationally known for giving many local area artists, both black and white, their start in the recording industry. These included Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Charlie Rich, B.B. King, Rufus Thomas, Howlin' Wolf and others.
Erected 1985 by Shelby County Historical Commission and the Elvis Presley
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment. In addition, it is included in the National Historic Landmarks series list.
Location. 35° 8.35′ N, 90° 2.276′ W. Marker is in Memphis, Tennessee, in Shelby County. Marker is at the intersection of Union Avenue (U.S. 51/64) and Marshall Avenue, on the left when traveling east on Union Avenue. Situated in front of Sun Studios also known in its prime as the Memphis Recording Service. The building is identified by both names. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 706 Union Avenue, Memphis TN 38103, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Benjamin Franklin Booth (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The First Railroad in West Tennessee (approx. 0.2 miles away); N. B. Forrest Camp 215 Sons of Confederate Veterans (approx. 0.2 miles away); Nathan Bedford Forrest III, Airman (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Commercial Appeal / Publishing Locations (approx. 0.2 miles away); Memphis City Hospital (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lowenstein Mansion (approx. 0.3 miles away); Luke Edward Wright (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Memphis.
Also see . . .
1. Sun Studio website (Submitted on April 2, 2009, by Mary Ellen Coghlan of Warwick, New York.)
2. Sun Studio Offical Website. (Submitted on September 1, 2013, by Trevor Morris of Fond du lac, Wisconsin.)
3. Wikipedia entry for Sun Records. “Sun Records discovered and first recorded such influential musicians as Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash. Presley’s recording contract was eventually sold to RCA Victor Records for $35,000 in 1955 to relieve Sun's financial difficulties. Before those records, Sun had concentrated mainly on African-American musicians because Phillips loved rhythm and blues and wanted to bring it to a white audience.” (Submitted on December 3, 2016.)
4. Wikipedia entry for The Million Dollar Quartet. “ ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ is a recording of an impromptu jam session involving Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash made on December 4, 1956, at the Sun Record Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. An article about the session was published in the Memphis Press-Scimitar under the title ‘Million Dollar Quartet.’ The recording was first released in Europe in 1981 as The Million Dollar Quartet with 17 tracks. A few years later more tracks were discovered and released as The Complete Million Dollar Session. In 1990, the recordings (Submitted on December 3, 2016.)
Additional keywords. Sun Studios
Credits. This page was last revised on May 14, 2018. It was originally submitted on April 1, 2009, by Mary Ellen Coghlan of Warwick, New York. This page has been viewed 1,638 times since then and 57 times this year. Last updated on October 26, 2010, by Lee Hattabaugh of Capshaw, Alabama. It was the Marker of the Week December 4, 2016. Photos: 1. submitted on May 20, 2012, by Ken Smith of Milan, Tennessee. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on April 1, 2009, by Mary Ellen Coghlan of Warwick, New York. 8. submitted on August 2, 2009, by Mary Ellen Coghlan of Warwick, New York. 9. submitted on November 2, 2010, by Christopher Light of Valparaiso, Indiana. 10. submitted on May 20, 2012, by Ken Smith of Milan, Tennessee. 11. submitted on July 24, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.