Can you imagine what it was like back in the 50's when a young machine shop worker came to this studio to satisfy his passion for singing and performing . You might think he - Elvis Presley - was an overnight sensation and that Colonel Parker loved him the first time he heard him sing. You might think that but you would be wrong..........at least according to our tour guide at Sun Studio. Matter of fact Elvis spent a year recording and singing for Colonel Parker until he finally released his first record...1954....."That's All Right/Blue Moon of Kentucky". It wasn't until two years later that he had his first number one hit "Heartbreak Hotel".
The story of this recording studio continues even today. It is still an active studio recording at night with many many stars of today coming to this humble place of the beginning of rock and roll.
The tour is a simple tour. Not flashy but rich in detail as you walk through the musical journey. It includes a short but interesting clandestine recording of Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis - who at the time was just a studio piano player working on a piece during a Christmas vacation when Elvis had returned from Hollywood. He was under contract with RCA at the time and had they learned about this session.......Sun wouldn't be here today.
When in Memphis....this place is a must for those who have enjoyed and whose lives have been enriched with rock and roll music.
The microphone pictured is the last of three that were used during the 50's and may well have been the one Elvis used at one time or another.
The picture of Elvis, Jerry Lee, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash has been called "The Million Dollar Quartet". This was taken when Jerry Lee was the studio piano player and when Colonel Parker secretly recorded the session.
The drum set was used by U2 when they recorded part of the Rattle and Hum album. They donated it to the studio - and it is still used today.
Finally - x marks the spot. This was where Elvis started his career. It marks the spot where he would have stood during the recordings. It is considered the Birthplace of Rock and Roll.
What made this tour special was not only did you get to listen to history you could stand in it and - you could touch it too! It was simply ......"fun".
As of April 4th of this year it will be 50 since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was 39 years old. The story didn't end there this quest for equality and equal opportunity. Nor did it begin when he moved forward with the non-violent protesting of racial injustice. This story started with the slave trade and the museum chronicles the journey.
The National Civil Rights Museum takes you through this story. It is masterfully done. It tells the compelling story of not just what happened in this journey but as importantly when, why and how these events transpired. This museum is like “re-living" the history of the struggle for equality.
It has been 50 years and many questions still remain. Take the time to take in what the museum has to offer.
BK Travel Tip: It isn't necessarily a place to bring young children since there is so much to read as you walk through the exhibits. Be aware that many schools visit on field trips so try to stay flexible with your time. I Googled National Civil Rights Museum on the day I was going to visit only to find out that using their Popular Times tracker the museum was packed that day...."Live: Busier than usual". I decided to go the next morning and arrived when the doors opened at 9:00 - at a time before the buses of tourists, field trips or organized groups would arrive. I had the first hour almost to myself.......but soon afterwards there were crowds....big crowds but by then I had seen most of the museum.
I do hope you visit - it is disturbing as to how difficult our society has made life for so many others but on the other hand....I left with a feeling of hope that although it is a struggle progress has been made even with still so much left to do.
The church San Francisco de Asis in Rancho de Taos New Mexico. This is a magnificent structure that has been the subject of artists in all types of medium including Ansel Adams as well as Georgia O'Keefe. BK Travel Tip: Get there at sunrise before the people arrive. The light is better and you don't have to think about someone spoiling your shot.
BK Travel Tips
To enjoy travel and see the world and often yourself as if for the first time and with with the eyes of a young child.