Here Comes the Sun

Sun logo

If you don't know about Sun Studio and its significance to modern music, try this explanation:

Sun and Elvis historical marker

In other words:

stupid music

We took a tour of the place and had some fun with the old equipment. This microphone, for example, is the actual microphone you see in the picture behind Ken:

Ken hates this picture

The historical marker that mentions Elvis leaves out plenty of other musicians who were introduced to the world through Sun Records. Johnny Cash ("I Walk the Line"), Carl Perkins ("Blue Suede Shoes"), Jerry Lee Lewis ("Great Balls o' Fire"), Roy Orbison ("Only the Lonely") and plenty of others got their start here. Also a little-known Californian named Ken Spreitzer.

Sun exterior

This is the whole studio. (Next door on the right is a restaurant and gift shop.) There's a tiny office in front. The recording room is in the rear. And in between is the room where musical history was made, again and again.

no photos from street

The studio "tour" takes place in that one room. They tell you about who played there, and they play outtakes from recording sessions, and they tell you who stood where and said what. It's a famous room. In between those days and these days, the building was used for a variety of things, including a shop that sold scuba gear, but it's always been a low-rent area, so nobody ever redid the interior. When they reopened the studio some years ago, all the original soundproofing tiles were still in place. 

mixer board

The second time we went by Sun, the back door was open and we got a peek at the control room, which (unlike the rest of the studio) has been outfitted with modern equipment. In recent years, all kinds of people have been making the pilgrimage to play here, now that it's open again. Brian Setzer came through here, and U2 used the studio to record a few cuts for their tour album Rattle and Hum. Apparently it's in use for recording just about all the time there's not a tour in there.

Doug reflected in Sun studio window

mixer board--another angle

The place was easy to find--we were delighted to run across it serendipitously, on Union Ave., on our way to Graceland. We immediately knew we were going to come back here.
Click on the picture above for a detail of the stuff on the mixing board.

Ken and Doug in Sun restaurant

Ken and Doug having a bite before we hit the road. That's Doug on the right, having an Elvis Special: Fried peanut butter and banana.

Memphis: Graceland . . . Lorraine Motel . . . Stax Records . . . Sun Records . . . Highway 61

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