Elvis, the "King of Rock and Roll". Has there been a better story in all the annals of popular music?
Guy walks in off the street to cut a track for his mother. Becomes a regional celebrity, national phenomenon, international superstar. Makes a bunch of movies and records a bunch of albums. Puts his career on pause to serve in the Army. Returns to marry a beautiful woman and move to the suburbs.
Fast forward a few years, and like too many before and too many after, he dies young.
Elvis' story is just one the many reasons Memphis has a unique place in music history.
Memphis claims the title "Home of the Blues, Birthplace of Rock and Roll." The city is filled with attractions that make a convincing argument.
Sun Studio. The Stax Museum of American Soul Music at Soulsville USA. Graceland. The Gibson Guitar Factory. The strip of clubs on Beale Street. And the first Smithsonian museum outside Washington D.C. and New York City, the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum.
There is no actual "Memphis Music Heritage Trail", so I decided to make my own. This summer, I visited all the notable spots, including a couple side trips, on my trusty steed, el Bandido. My notes and photos from each are linked below.
- Last Train to Soulsville: Stax Museum of American Soul Music—June 3, 2010
- Here Comes the Sun!: Sun Studio—July 5, 2010
- Memphis Music Under Glass: Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum—July 5, 2010
- Gibson Guitar Factory
- Elvis' Birthplace (Tupelo MS)