Sun Studio, where Sam Phillips first recorded Elvis Presley and other rock and roll pioneers, will become the first recording studio in America to be designated a historic landmark. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton is scheduled to sign the designation Wednesday in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. The Beale Street Historic District and the Chucalissa Indian mound complex at T. O. Fuller State Park are the only other historic landmarks in Memphis. The recognition is reserved for businesses or structures with a significant place in American history. There are 25 in Tennessee and 2,347 in the nation, compared to more than 47,000 on the National Register of Historic Places. But the landmark designation is "more for Phillips than some of the stars who recorded there," said Park Service historian Patty Henry.
"Even if Elvis had never recorded there, (Phillips) was very influential in pioneering the rock and roll sound." The new designation will make Sun eligible for some federal grants and tax incentives.