Sun Studio was opened by rock pioneer Sam Phillips at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee, on January 3, 1950. It was originally called Memphis Recording Service, sharing the same building with the Sun Records label business. Reputedly the first rock-and-roll single, Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats' "Rocket 88" was recorded there in 1951 with song composer Ike Turner on keyboards, leading the studio to claim status as the birthplace of rock & roll. Blues and R&B artists like Howlin' Wolf, Junior Parker, Little Milton, B.B. King, James Cotton, Rufus Thomas, and Rosco Gordon recorded there in the early 1950s.
Rock-and-roll, country music, and rockabilly artists, including unknowns recording demos and others like Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Charlie Feathers, Ray Harris, Warren Smith, Charlie Rich, and Jerry Lee Lewis, signed to the Sun Records label recorded there throughout the latter 1950s until the studio outgrew its Union Avenue location. Sam Phillips opened the larger Sam C. Phillips Recording Studio, better known as Phillips Recording, in 1959 to take the place of the older facility. In 1969, Sam Phillips sold the label to Shelby Singleton, and there was no recording-related or label-related activity again in the building until the September 1985 Class of '55 recording sessions with Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, produced by Chips Moman.
In 1987, the original building housing the Sun Records label and Memphis Recording Service was reopened as "Sun Studio", a recording business and tourism attraction that has attracted many notable artists including U2, who recorded tracks for Rattle and Hum there on newer equipment Sun had purchased from producer Terry Manning.