Sun Record Company, Memphis Recording Service

Status: Preserved

Address: 706 Union Avenue, Memphis

Built: 1908

Architectural Style: Local vernacular (brick row building)

Original Function/Purpose: Commerce

The Sun Record Company was placed on the National Register on July 31, 2003.

History: The building at 706 Union Avenue originally housed the Magic Throttle Company, an automobile-related business in a neighborhood that historically contained a number of auto-related businesses. In 1949 the interior was renovated and in January 1950 Sam Phillips opened the Memphis Recording Service. Phillips wanted to have a facility where black people could come and play their own music in a relaxed and comfortable environment. He wanted to connect the blues to a wider audience, saying his goal was “to try and record the blues and other music I liked and to prove…that there was a bigger audience for blues than just black.” In 1952 Phillips started his own record company, named Sun Records. He eventually moved his recording company to 639 Madison Avenue, and the Union Avenue building housed a number of different businesses in the 1960s and 1970s, including a barbershop and scuba shop. In 1987 the building was reopened as the Sun Studio, and now runs during the day as a small museum with tours, and at night as a recording studio still. Sun Record Company was also designated a National Historic Landmark on its NR listing date of July 31, 2003. In 2018 the City of Memphis designated this property as a site on the Memphis Heritage Trail.

City Council District: 6

Super District: 8

County Commission District: 8

DON NEWMAN