Posted by: Sara Jean | August 8, 2010

Wordy Destinations in the South, Part II: “Shining Like a National Guitar”

The second leg of our Southern swing brought us to Memphis, Tennessee, and more specifically to Sun Studio, the place where Johnny Cash and Elvis got their start. In a previous visit, we hit up Graceland (highly recommended, by the way), so on this trip we decided to visit Sun. It’s a pretty tiny place, but don’t be fooled by its size. Momentous things have occurred there.

Sun Studio

Small, but mighty

I’ve included Sun Studios in this blog because I’m a fan of music and its power to change the world. Furthermore, I believe things spoken or sung carry a lot of power. No one captures this idea better than Johnny Cash. Who else can get away with the lyric, “I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die”? What I love about Johnny is his ability to sing from so many perspectives. He becomes a different character for each song. And yet, there’s always the tiniest hint of himself left over.

When I think of early rock-and-roll, I have to admit I don’t really think of the lyrics too much. The beat was the thing. But the Sun Studio blog has a list of the top ten lyrics recorded at the studio by various artists, including Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, and Carl Perkins. Among my favorites:

“Some honey fell from a tree, they dressed it up and called it me.” –Carl Perkins

“It’s gonna be funkier than nine yards of chitlins with onions and sardines on the side!”–Rufus Thomas

“Big legged woman, keep your dresses down, you got something under there honey, that’ll make a bulldog hug a hound”–Jerry Lee Lewis




  1. I’ve always wanted to catch a glimpse of Sun Studio..

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