Memphis is known as the “Home of the Blues, Birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll.” One of the city’s most famous recording studios was Sam Phillips’s Sun Studio down on Union Avenue. Opened in 1950, the studio is probably most famous for discovering a teenage Elvis Presley, who has stopped in to record a song for his mother and was later brought back by Phillips. Later, the famous Million Dollar Quartet session with Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins was recorded there in 1956.
Sun Studio declined in the late 60’s and stopped recording until 1987. Since re-opening, Sun Studio has recorded many popular artists from U2 to John Mellencamp to Bonnie Raitt and has become a popular tourist destination.
Here are some books about Sun Studio artists:
The Blue Moon Boys: The Story of Elvis Presley’s Band
Chronicles the history of the Blue Moon Boys–the Memphis band that featured bassist Bill Black, guitarist Scotty Moore, drummer D.J. Fontana, and vocalist Elvis Presley, who joined in 1954 at Sam Phillips’s Sun studio. Uses first-person accounts to stress the group’s importance to Elvis’s success. Some strong language. 2006.
Cash: The Autobiography
The country-western star relates his life in rural Arkansas as a boy picking cotton, his early career, and his continual concert touring. Chronicles his ups and downs with amphetamine addiction and his various rehabilitation attempts and describes his homes in Tennessee, Florida, and Jamaica. Includes a discography. 1997.
Blues All Around Me: The Autobiography of B.B. King
Acclaimed Grammy Award-winning bluesman, born in 1925 to Mississippi Delta sharecroppers, reminisces about his youth and family life, his career in the music business, and his relationships with other performers. Some descriptions of sex and some strong language. 1996.
Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story
Biography of Lewis (born 1935), part of the inaugural Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class of 1986. Discusses his early childhood in Louisiana, where his parents encouraged his musical talent; his professional successes both in music and acting; and his tumultuous romantic relationships–including marriage to his cousin Myra. 2014