Wherever you live in America, odds are that the musical Million Dollar Quartet has recently made a touring stop in your town. The popular musical tells the story of a night when Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins all ended up in Sun Studio at the same time, enjoying a jam session and posing for the famous photograph known as "The Million Dollar Quartet." If you're inspired by the show to learn more about these legends and others from the era, you'll love a visit to the actual Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee.
Still a working recording studio in the evenings, Sun offers guided tours at specific times during the day, so during busier times of year you will want to book ahead. Note that early January is one of these busy periods, due to the anniversaries of Elvis's birth and death. In less busy times, you can simply saunter in to the cafe and gift shop on the bottom floor and book your tour for that day.
The studio is rather small and the tour itself won't take more than an hour, but you will be amazed by the collection of memorabilia, including costumes, photographs, original session recordings, and instruments and recording equipment of the period. The clips of sessions help to flesh out the story of not only the night featured in the musical but also the history of the beginnings of rock and roll. You will find yourself understanding why contemporary musicians such as U2, Matchbox 20, and Chris Isaak have all recorded albums in this tiny Southern studio, hoping to catch a little of that original magic.