Sun Record Company, Memphis Recording Service

Also known as: Sun Records, Sun Studio
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee


Photo taken by John Christeson in June 2017




Sam Phillips established his Sun Record Company here in 1952. He discovered and recorded many of rock'n' roll's greatest artists, including among others, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Ike Turner, Rufus Thomas, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Charlie Rich, and Roy Orbison. Post World War II America was a land in transition, a time when music became a significant cultural force. New attitudes toward race relations accompanied the new form of music, rock 'n' roll, that burst forth in the mid 1950s. Some changes had already been noted by performers and followers of rhythm and blues music, but racial barriers really began to fall in the wake of rock 'n' roll. Younger people, particularly in the South, understood that the new music had roots in both black and white musical traditions. The new generation embraced the new music not only because it moved them and they loved it, but also because it symbolized freedom and defiance of the status quo. The impact of Sam Philliips on that generation was profound. -- National Historic Landmark statement of significance, July 31, 2003

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on July 31, 2003
Reference number
Areas of significance
Performing Arts; Social History
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; B - Person
Property type
Historic function
Current functions
Museum; Music facility
Periods of significance
1925-1949; 1900-1924
Significant years
1950; 1954; 1956

Update Log 

  • November 10, 2017: New photos from John Christeson