Sun Studio probably produced more hits in the early years of rock and roll than any other place. This is where 18-year old Elvis was asked who he sounded like. He responded: “I don’t sound like nobody.” This is where Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash all recorded. Sun Studio was first called “Memphis Recording Service” by Sam Phillips, who started it in 1950. In that era, the studio was one of the few places in the South where black and white artists openly recorded at the same time. The studio is a remarkably small place, just two rooms, an office right off the street, and then the studio itself. An old reel-to-reel tape player plays excerpts from various tracks that were recorded at the studio. Sam Phillips closed Sun Studio in 1960, but the studio is still a Mecca for musicians, where artists such as Ringo Starr and group U-2 come by to record. There is also a cafe on the corner that serves as a memorabilia shop, with seven exhibit cases upstairs with displays on the history of rock and roll.
The National Civil Rights Museum would be worth visiting just to see the building in which it is located: the former Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968. But the museum also presents a comprehensive review of America’s long struggle for racial justice, from slavery through the Civil War and emancipation, to segregation and the black migration to the north, and finally the twentieth-century civil rights movement. The museum houses over 10,000 square feet of permanent exhibits, which naturally highlight the life and career of Dr. King. Visitors can look into the room that Dr. King occupied at the motel, which has been restored to its condition on April 4, 1968, and see place on the motel balcony where he was assassinated.
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Links: National Civil Rights Museum