Sun Studio is a recording studio opened by rock pioneer Sam Phillips at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee on January 3, 1950. It was originally called Memphis Recording Service, sharing the same building with the Sun Records label business. Reputedly the first rock and roll single, Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats' "Rocket 88" was recorded there in 1951 with song composer Ike Turner on keyboards, leading the studio to claim status as the birthplace of rock & roll. Blues and R&B artists like Howlin' Wolf, Junior Parker, Little Milton, B.B. King, James Cotton, Rufus Thomas, and Rosco Gordon recorded there in the early 1950s.
Rock and roll, country music, and rockabilly artists, including Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Charlie Feathers, Ray Harris, Warren Smith, Charlie Rich, and Jerry Lee Lewis, recorded there throughout the mid to late 1950s until the studio outgrew its Union Avenue location. Sam Phillips opened the larger Sam C. Phillips Recording Studio, better known as Phillips Recording, in 1959 to take the place of the older facility. Since Sam had invested in the Holiday Inn Hotel chain earlier, he also recorded artists starting in 1963 on the label Holiday Inn Records for Kemmons Wilson. In 1957, Bill Justis recorded his Grammy Hall of Fame song "Raunchy" for Sam Phillips and worked as a musical director at Sun Records.
In 1969, Sam Phillips sold the label to Shelby Singleton, and there was no recording-related or label-related activity again in the building until the September 1985 Class of '55 recording sessions with Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, produced by Chips Moman.
In 1987, the original building housing the Sun Records label and Memphis Recording Service was reopened by Gary Hardy as "Sun Studio," a recording label and tourist attraction that has attracted many notable artists, such as U2, Def Leppard, Bonnie Raitt, and Ringo Starr.
In 2005, Brian Setzer (of Stray Cats fame) released his "Rockabilly Riot Vol. 1: A Tribute To Sun Records" album, recorded at Sun and featuring various Sun Records songs, some hits and some obscure. In 2007, Canadian rockabilly band the Kingmakers recorded a selection of originals and classics such as Elvis Presley's "That's All Right" at Sun Studio, released as their first CD "Live at SUN Studio". In May 2009, Canadian blues artist JW-Jones recorded with blues legend Hubert Sumlin, Larry Taylor and Richard Innes for his 2010 release at the studio. In July 2009, John Mellencamp recorded nine songs for his album No Better than This at the studio. Wes Paul and his group the Wes Paul Band are recording their album at Sun this forthcoming May. In 2011, Chris Isaak released "Beyond the Sun", a collection of songs recorded at Sun Studio, most of which are cover versions of songs originally released on Sun Records.