Memphis, Tennessee: Touring the Musical Hot Spots
By Vange Tapia
The birthplace of blues, tons of succulent BBQ restaurants and American history icons are just some of the reasons to visit Memphis, Tennessee. From Beale Street with the best live blues to B.B. King's and many more restaurants and bars – you simply can’t miss it. Memphis offers great attractions, especially for all things musical!
Memphis’ Musical Attractions and Tours
The heart of Memphis’ musical scene is on Beale Street, where any day of the week you will enjoy almost any kind of live entertainment you can imagine. Here is where you’ll want to start your musical tour of the city.
Beale Street is also where you’ll find the Gibson Guitar Factory. During the guided tours, you can learn about its history and witness the fascinating process of making guitars. You will learn that Johnny Hallyday is one of the famous musicians who had a guitar made here, and you can see all the collectors’ items signed by the biggest names of the music industry.
Tourist minibuses take people on a tour of major attractions, starting with the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, a small but interesting place that educated me on the history of these two musical genres. I marvelled at the memorabilia, including a pair of Elton John´s signature funky glasses.
Icons of Rock and Soul
Just a quick, 20-minute bus ride away is Graceland, the home of the King of Rock n’ Roll. I’ve always liked Elvis Presley but to visit his home and see how he lived, his trophies, his collection of cars, plane and even grave, increased my admiration. Elvis Presley lived here for more than 20 years, and everything is furnished like it was when the King resided here. Directly adjacent to the house is the trophy building, where we marvel at the many gold records that Elvis has won, as well as his famous jump suits.
From Graceland, we drive to the equally legendary Sun Studio and visit the place where Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash recorded their first records in the ’50s. Our tour guide tells us that Bob Dylan once visited and kissed the spot where Elvis stood and recorded his first song. At the end of our tour we take a picture with the original microphone that Elvis used.
You also cannot miss the STAX Museum of American Soul. Representing one of the most important production companies for soul music, the STAX record label developed artists like Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes.
Honestly, the only thing I did NOT like about my visit to Memphis was the shortness of my trip. I was left with a burning desire to return!