Description: Record label, USA

Known For: Known for musicians such as Elvis Presley

Music Styles: Rock

Location: Memphis, Tennessee, United States of America

Representative: Sun records
Contact Address: 3106 Belmont Blvd. Nashville, Tennessee 37212

Web Site:  Sun Record Company | Where Rock & Roll Was Born

Other Links: See below:


Sun Records

A record label founded in Memphis, Tennessee, starting operations on March 27, 1952.

Sun Records, a division of Sun Entertainment Corp, is an American independent record label founded in Memphis, Tennessee, which began operations on March 27, 1952

Founded by Sam Phillips, Sun Records was known for giving notable musicians such as Elvis Presley (whose recording contract was sold to RCA Victor Records for $35,000 in 1955 to relieve financial difficulties they were going through).


Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Cash their first recording contracts and helping to launch their careers.

Founded in 1952 by Sam Phillips, who also founded the recording studio Sun Studio, Sun Records discovered, and first recorded, such influential musicians as Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash. (Presley’s recording contract was sold to RCA Victor Records for $35,000 in 1955 to relieve financial difficulties which Sun was going through.) Prior to those records, Sun Records had concentrated on recording African-American musicians, because Phillips loved rhythm and blues and wanted to bring black music to a white audience. It was Sun record producer and engineer, Jack Clement, who discovered and recorded Jerry Lee Lewis, while owner Sam Phillips was away on a trip to Florida. The original Sun Records logo was designed by John Gale Parker, Jr., a resident of Memphis and high school classmate of Phillips.

Sun was founded with the financial aid of Jim Bulliet, one of many record executives for whom label founder Sam Phillips had scouted artists before 1952.

Some of the recording artists at Sun were Johnny Cash, Roscoe Gordon, Rufus Thomas, who recorded solo and with his daughter Carla Thomas, Little Milton, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Tex Weiss, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich, Bill Justis, and Conway Twitty (who at that time recorded under his real name of Harold Jenkins). In the Lovin’ Spoonful song “Nashville Cats”, John Sebastian erroneously referred to “Yellow Sun Records from Nashville”.

There were also only sixteen female recording artists that had records released on the Sun and Phillips international label. These include Barbara Pittman and The Miller Sisters.

In 1969, Mercury Records label producer Shelby Singleton purchased the Sun label from Phillips. Singleton merged his operations into Sun International Corporation, which re-released and re-packaged compilations of Sun’s early artists in the early 1970s. It would later introduce rockabilly tribute singer Jimmy “Orion” Ellis in 1980 as Orion taking on the persona of Elvis Presley.

Five icons of the Sun Record Lable.

The company remains in business as Sun Entertainment Corporation, are currently licenses its brand and classic hit recordings (many of which have appeared in CD boxed sets and other compilations) to independent reissue labels. Sun Entertainment also includes SSS International Records, Plantation Records, Amazon Records, Red Bird Records, Blue Cat Records among other labels the company acquired over the years.[4] Its website sells collectible items as well as compact discs bearing the original 1950s Sun logo.

Sun Records is located in Nashville, Tennessee. It has been mainly a re-issue label since the 1970s but signed country musician Julie Roberts to a recording contract in 2013.

The music of many Sun Records musicians helped lay part of the foundation of late 20th century rock and roll and influenced many younger musicians including the Beatles. In 2001, Paul McCartney appeared on a tribute compilation album titled Good Rockin’ Tonight: The Legacy Of Sun Records. The 2010 tribute Million Dollar Quartet is based on the famous photograph of Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis grouped round Elvis Presley at the piano, the night when the four joined in an impromptu jam at Sun Record’s one-room sound studio, the “Million Dollar Quartet” of 4 December 1956.

Above: Sam Phillips on the left.

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 1957, Bill Justis recorded his Grammy Hall of Fame song “Raunchy” for Sam Phillips and worked as a musical director at Sun Records. In 1987, the original building housing the Sun Records label and Memphis Recording Service was reopened as “Sun Studio”, a recording business and tourist 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. John Mellencamp plans to record a portion of his upcoming album No Better than This at the studio.