Aging Expectations

Sun Studios; Memphis

sun studiosAfter Graceland, we jumped in our car and drove to downtown Memphis to Sun Studios. It’s not a far ride, maybe 10 minutes.

Sun Studios is the place where Elvis recorded his first song! Can you believe the place still exists?

Now honestly, I thought this place might be a bit boring.

I mean, really, how exciting could it be to see an old-time recording studio that’s over 50 years old.

Especially, with my daughter. Who was 5, at the time. Who had already spent the morning at a train museum, in the car, and visiting a 1970s rock-star’s mansion.

Nope, I wasn’t expecting much.

It was easy to find and we pulled into the small parking lot and found a spot. We entered the building into a small coffee/ice cream/gift type shop. The next tour wasn’t leaving for about 10-15 minutes and we went to wait in a smaller room with 45 records everywhere.

sun studios

You could buy the records for about $45-$100 a piece. Wow!

We stood and waited. We could have bought an ice cream, I guess but for some reason we weren’t into that. Leah started to get antsy, waiting there. Then luckily I thought of a game to see if all the records hanging up were the same.

She spent the next 10 minutes trying to read the records instead of complaining. Win!

Finally, the tour started. We walked upstairs to a big room with tons of memorabilia and a glass-enclosed replica of the DJ booth where Elvis’ first recording was played.

sun studios

The girl conducting the tour was uber-hip (tattoos, funky hair, retro dress, cool shoes) and SUPER informative. She gave so many cool details about not only Elvis but Sam Phillips the owner of Sun Records.

Did you know he started out just letting any ole’ person come in and record whatever that wanted for a flat fee. He loved working with amateur musicians though.

Elvis came in for the first time when Sam wasn’t even there. The secretary made the recording of him singing. They played THAT actual recording. Amazing.

Anyway, the secretary liked his voice and played the recording for Sam who didn’t think much of it. Fortunately, the secretary kept on bringing his name up to Sam and finally when he was in a bind and needed a fill-in musician, he gave Elvis a chance.

The rest is history. Well, I guess that part is history too but you know what I mean.

We went downstairs to the actual recording studio. It still looks exactly the same! (so they say, but I believe it).

sun studios

Then they played us a recording of Elvis. In the old days, they couldn’t stop and start the recording so it just kept going, which is totally awesome for us. We could hear Elvis start laughing with the guys he was recording with and then Sam yelling at them to get it together.

It was such a cool moment preserved in time that we got to share.

I’m not sure if you can tell but I LOVED this place.

Leah liked it too. They also played many snippets of recordings which we would dance to, mainly me spinning her around and around. She loved that and so was good during the other parts waiting for music.

Sun Studios is fantastic. I completely recommend a visit!

After, we were off to South of Beale for a great dinner and even better dessert!

sun studios

sun studios


Although all opinions are my own, The Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau gave me the opportunity to visit and present this experience to you. For more information, visit or call 1.901-543-5300.


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