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Rock and Roll Road Trips: Where The Music Was Made

Legendary rock and roll studios, and where to find them


Sun Studios, Memphis, TN

Sun Studios, Memphis, TN

source: memphis.about.com


926 E. McLemore Ave, Memphis, TN Website

The epitome of Sixties soul, this studio -- carved out of the remains of an old movie theatre, which is why it had a marquee -- fell apart and was eventually torn down in 1989. However, this museum, built on the exact spot, replicates the original building perfectly, right down to the sloping theater floor.


706 Union Ave., Memphis, TN Map

The birthplace of rockabilly and, many say, rock and roll itself, with a roster of impressive artists from Jerry Lee to Elvis to Johnny Cash to the Big O getting their collective start here. Not only is the original studio perfectly maintained, it still functions as a place to record!


2648 West Grand Blvd. Detroit, MI Website

There are few landmarks as unimposing as the studios of Hitsville USA, a small photography studio that Berry Gordy and his wife slept above at night (at least in the early days). From 1959-1972, every major Motown hit was recorded here, and this studio was one of the first, in 1985, to open as a tourist attraction. The living quarters upstairs have even been refurbished with an authentic mid-Sixties look!


234 West 56th St., New York, NY Map

While this label's famous studios, which have bounced around various locations in Gotham for decades, are still in operation, the studio responsible for birthing R&B as we know it with songs like Ray Charles' "What'd I Say" and Big Joe Turner's "Shake Rattle and Roll" is located here, just above Patsy's Restaurant.


525 Governor Nicholls St., New Orleans, LA Map

Tragically (and rather amazingly), there is no museum or other kind of tribute to this unimposing French Quarter landmark -- although the original studios of producer Cosimo Matassa, located a few blocks away on N. Rampart, were where New Orleans rock was born, this location boasts an even more impressive resume: everything Fats and Little Richard cut from 1956 to 1960, not to mention Irma Thomas, Ernie K-Doe, and more...

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