Legendary recording artist Elvis Presley recorded in Memphis' Sun Studios.

Liaison/Getty Images

In 1953, a skinny 18-year-old with slicked-back hair walked into Memphis Recording Service. He wanted to make a personal recording and was looking for owner Sam Phillips. Since Phillips wasn't in, the teen talked to secretary Marion Kiesker. When she asked what style of music he played, he responded, "I don't sound like nobody."

Although few people ever heard that first $4 recording, Elvis Presley turned his personal style into worldwide fame with the help of Sam Phillips and that recording studio, which became the legendary Sun Studio. The studio was also home to Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and B.B. King [source: Rockabilly Hall of Fame].

Sun Studio may be what comes to mind when you think of recording studios, or the Beatles' Abbey Road in London -- or maybe even Chess Records in Chicago where artists such as Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Buddy Guy, Bo Diddley and Aretha Franklin produced recordings that introduced the blues, jazz and gospel to listeners far from the Mississippi Delta [source: Save America's Treasures].

While recording artists still need some type of music studio for cutting and mixing music, the digital era has simplified the process. Plenty of large studios still exist to provide sophisticated, high-end services, but many musicians have turned to smaller studios using computers and digital sound equipment.

How did recording studios start? And, what's involved with putting together a recording studio? Check out the next page to find out.