The studio where Elvis Presley recorded his first song

Place of Interest in Memphis, Tennessee

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The studio where Elvis Presley recorded his first song

This is the studio where Elvis Presley recorded his first record.

It is located at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee.

At the time, it was called the Memphis Recording Service. These days, it is Sun Studio.

The studio was owned by a former WREC radio engineer named Sam Phillips, who also ran his newly-established record label "Sun Studio" from the same building.

In August 1953, 18-year-old Elvis Presley walked into this premises with his guitar and paid for his first recording session.

During the session, he performed the songs "My Happiness" and "That’s When Your Heartaches Begin".

Presley made the record as a gift for his mother. He also wanted to hear what his voice sounded like.

Four months later, he returned to the Memphis Recording Service to make another record. On that occasion, he sang "It Wouldn't Be the Same Without You" and "I'll Never Stand In Your Way".

By the summer of 1954, Phillips had started looking for a White man who could replicate the sound of Black music and push it to a wider audience. Although R&B was steadily growing in popularity, sales were mostly limited to the African American community.

Impressed by what he had heard from Presley, he decided to put the teenager in the booth with two local musicians named Bill Black and Winfield Moore.

The trio performed for Phillips on the evening of July 5th, 1954.

Initially, it seemed as though the session was going to be a failure, as they failed to create anything noteworthy. However, just as they were about to call it a night, Presley grabbed his guitar and performed an energetic rendition of "That's All Right" by Arthur Crudup.

Realizing that he had something special on his hands, Phillips recorded the song onto an acetate disc and gave it to a popular DJ named Dewey Phillips (no relation), who played it on his radio show.

The response to the song was so overwhelmingly positive that he felt compelled to play it more than a dozen times before the show ended. The radio station also received roughly 40 phone calls from people who wanted to know the singer's name.

Although the song was a hit and it was clearly evident that Presley had talent, nobody in their wildest dreams could imagine that they had just witnessed the emergence of one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century.

Memphis Recording Service location

The address and the GPS coordinates for this location are as follows:


706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, TN 38103, USA


To view directions on how to get there, you can use the Google Maps shortcut below:

Google Maps

GPS coordinates

The latitude and longitude coordinates for the studio are:

35.139236, -90.037717


The studio sits on the northeastern corner of Union Avenue and Marshall Avenue. It is about 0.4 miles east of the intersection between Danny Thompson Boulevard and Union Avenue.

Details about the general area

Sun Studio is situated in the Medical District, which lies to the east of Downtown Memphis.


Photos of the studio and other related images.

706 Union Avenue

706 Union Avenue

Image source: Google Maps

This Google Street View image of 706 Union Avenue was taken in February 2022.

The Memphis Recording Service was opened on January 3rd, 1950, by Sam Phillips, a WREC radio engineer who had always dreamed of starting his own recording studio.

Two years later, he founded the record label Sun Studio, which was headquartered in the same building.

"Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats" recorded their song "Rocket 88" here in March 1951. Music historians consider it to be one of the most influential records in the development of rock and roll—a genre that dominated jukeboxes throughout the mid-to-late 1950s.

Some even regard "Rocket 88" as the first rock and roll record ever made.

Memphis Recording Service

Memphis Recording Service

This angle shows the front entrance and the walkway on the eastern side of the building, which is aptly named Sam Philips Avenue.

It is worth pointing out that Presley wasn't the only big-name artist to visit this location.

Iconic musicians such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and Carl Perkins also recorded records at the Memphis Recording Service.

On December 4th, 1956, it became the scene of the "Million Dollar Quartet", which was an impromptu session involving Presley, Cash, Perkins, and Lewis.

The four artists met by chance after arriving at Sun Studio separately throughout the day.

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