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March 2015
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Listen to the ‘sound of Memphis’ in the city’s legendary studios

Listen to the ‘sound of Memphis’ in the city’s legendary studios. Studio Music © Ludovic Bischoff

Aside from Beale Street, Memphis plays host to several of the most renowned music studios in America. The most iconic is, hands down, Sun Records. It is here, in the summer of 1953, that Elvis Presley came to record two songs on a vinyl record for his adoring mother. The owner of this studio, who records songs by the biggest blues musicians in the country, is one San Phillips; and he would be captivated by the voice of this boy who sang nothing like other white crooners of his time. He was doing a sound-check, which was proving fruitless until the moment when Elvis improvised a rendition of “That’s All Right Mama”, a gospel-blues that transformed into a rock’n’roll tune. The record would be created, broadcast on the local radio, becoming a national reference for black music. And so the career of the King began! And you can still visit Sun Studios, which are still very much active. They have maintained the ‘juice’ of the era. The recording studio, which borders the main street, exudes a disarming simplicity and yet the biggest names still return to record here, making the most of the positive waves of the place…And check out the historic photo, which reunites the four ‘millions boys’ who made the Sun Studio reputation: Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. It doesn’t get better than this! But Memphis was such a music hub that another iconic studio came into being: Stax Records. Famous for producing soul music in the 60s, Star signed and produced, amongst other names, none other than Isaac Hayes, one of the biggest African-American stars of the 70s. Today, an impressive museum allows visitors to immerse themselves in the abundant history of ‘made in Stax’ soul music and to admire, amidst other curious treasures, Isaac Haye’s own impressive gold Cadillac! Finally, you can’t leave Memphis without visiting St Blues Guitar, one of the most sought-after guitar makers in the world. Based in Memphis since 2011, this guitar shop highlights the crazy challenge of making instruments in the USA, which rhymes with the famous Memphis blues. You can order a personalised guitar and visit the underground workshop of his boutique, which is situated – not by coincidence – on the Elvis Presley Boulevard!

www.sunrecords.com
www.staxrecords.com
www.saintblues.com

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