On our first day in Memphis - our first proper day after sleeping a few hours for the first time in 26 hours - we went to Sun Studio. We walked there from our hotel near Beale Street. If you've ever been to Memphis in the summer, you can understand it was silly. But we didn't have a car, there is no public transportation and we couldn't afford a taxi. So we walked. Like everywhere else. It didn't look too far on the map - and it wasn't that far - but when it's sunny and 35 degrees, everything seems further. It gave us also our first look at empty Memphis. I loved Memphis, there is such a strange atmosphere, and feeling coming from it for me. I felt stuck in time, it seems that the city has been forgotten in the 70's and now everything is slowly falling apart from lack of attention. It can also make you feel a little uneasy when you are walking in the middle of nowhere, alone, surrounded by abandoned buildings. I found the architecture very interesting there, a lot of old buildings with Art Deco feeling to them and I'd love to know more about them. But that's not the point here, so Sun Studio.
Tom is a big Elvis fan, I'm a big Johnny Cash fan. It was quite cool to see where they started recording on their spare time for a few dollars. We did the tour, it starts above what is the shop now - it used to be a restaurant not linked to Sun Studio back then - where you can see old recording equipments and learn more about the whole story. It's quite small, only a few people at the time and quite interactive since you also listen to recordings, including Elvis' first recording ever for his mum's birthday. Then, back downstairs, in the actual recording studio that is still in use. You can see the "reception" and the recording booth. If you've seen Walk the Line, that's where Johnny Cash records for the first time, his gospel song and then sings what would be Folsom Prison. In there you have an old microphone that supposedly Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and the likes recorded with. And you can play with it and take a picture.
We bought a few souvenirs, for us and friends: guitar picks, matches, cards to send... The records there are originals and cost a small fortune. And then we had to face the heat again and walk all the way back.