You guessed it – another early start. We Skyped Mom in between packing and getting ready, but didn’t have time for a proper breakfast. Boo! I grabbed an apple cinnamon roll to go instead. This ended up being the longest drive yet. Roughly eight hours, including a McDonalds stop. I personally found it quite enjoyable though. We listened to more of the same comedian (learnt his name is Pat Oswalt, I think?) and I got a decent chunk of writing done. Derek also plays locational music in the van, depending on where we’re going to or passing through. So obviously I was excited to get a good dose of Elvis!
When we got to Memphis we quickly checked into the hotel then headed straight over to Sun Studios, where a lot of musical legends recorded. I got a little yellow guitar pick from the gift shop. In the bar there were a couple of glass tables with photos inside. I totally fell in love with one of a young Elvis wearing a blue turtleneck jumper, yum!
We then had our tour around the studios. Inside the first room were displays based around the history of Sun Studios and the connected artists. They have the exact record of ‘Rocket 88’, which was actually pegged as the first rock ‘n’ roll song in history! They played us a little clip and I loved it! Gonna have to download it when I get home! There was obviously a sizable Elvis display in this room – they even had his social security card and high school diploma!
We learnt a little more about his first recording too. Back in the day anyone could go into Sun Studios off the street, pay four dollars and record a song. Eighteen-year-old Elvis did the same and a recorded a song called ‘My Happiness’ as a gift for his Mom. They played us a clip of the actual recording of this too. It totally gave me goosebumps – it was so weird thinking that this was where the King first started out.
We then went downstairs into the actual recording studio. Nothing in there was replicated, besides them adding a few newer instruments. The studio wasn’t inhabited for twenty-five years after Sun moved out, so it was well-preserved. The floor tiles, soundproofing and even the light fixtures were all the exact same ones as when it had first been founded. I also got to stand in the exact spot Elvis stood when he recorded his first official song to be released. We were even allowed to pose with one of the genuine microphones that he used too, providing we were careful with it. They also showed us a clip of the Million Dollar Quartet’s jamming session – comprising of Elvis of course, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. My mind was officially blown after all of this.
We went for tea on Beale Street, which is like the central hub of Memphis. I had some awesome fried chicken and a sex on the beach. The night was then totally perked up by Preston Shannon, the live act. He was great and really funny. He did some awesome covers of Ben E. King and Purple Rain too. We headed back to the hotel after that (me, Kel and Tanya) whilst the others had a wander around, as we still needed to shower and the like. We captured an Elvis impersonator for a picture on the way. Now just eager for Graceland!