Memphis, named after the Egyptian city, became a great city on the back of the cotton industry cultivated on the vast plantations worked by imported slaves. At one point, before the Civil War, a quarter of the city population were enslaved. Memphis having become an important transportation hub for both cotton and hardwood was more or less destroyed in 1878 by yellow fever. It became the heart of the Civil Rights movement and where Martin Luther King was killed in 1968.
Memphis is the home of both gospel and rhythm and blues, the clubs on Beale Street having been the starting point for such luminaries as Elvis Presley. But music on Beale Street (or Avenue as it was called then) started back in the 1860s with black travelling musicians. Elvis lived in Memphis and over 600,000 people visit Memphis each year just to go to Graceland. But Memphis is much more than Graceland; it is a thriving music making city and music throbs through its veins.
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Top 3 Memphis Tailor Made Holidays
Atlanta to New Orleans | Follow the Music TrailSet the radio volume to high and prepare to sing along as you drive the musical highway as your Deep South fly-drive holiday takes you through the lands of country music and blues to jazz and beyond.&...
Southern Soul | Music ExperienceListen to the sounds of the south, Ray Charles’ Georgia on My Mind might just become your theme song for the journey through the Southern States of America. You will see the birthplace of Elvis, t...
Why should I visit Memphis?
TIP - Eat at Rendezvous; the locals do. It serves thousands every night yet surprisingly you do not feel rushed. The atmosphere is great and the ribs memorable even if they are served on plastic plates.
National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel. History was made here when Dr Martin Luther King Jr. was shot.
Elvis: Graceland is everything Elvis. A new “Past, Present, & Future Entertainment Complex” opens in 2017 around Elvis’ old home, presenting the life, career and legacy of one of the world’s greatest entertainers. The complex showcases interactive and immersive pop culture experiences that connect to Elvis’ personal interests and activities throughout his life, including his passion for cars and new technology.
Beale Street Historic District
1.8 miles of music, colour and fun. Its heyday was in the 1920s when it was booming with nightclubs, bars, pawnshops and music. One club, The Monarch, was known as The Castle of Missing Men due to the fact that gunshot victims were easily disposed of as their premises were shared with the local undertaking. Named by USA Today as the most iconic street in the US, also known as the home of the Blues, visit the home of WC Handy, Memphis Rock ‘n Soul Museum and walk the Brass Notes Hall of Fame.
Tour the birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll. As used today as it was in the days of Johnny Cash, Elvis and many other greats. Take the tour to see the studios and hear many of the stories.
Stax Museum of American Soul Music
First opened in a church from where the inspiration for soul music came; you can see the labels, dance to the music, see the original recording equipment and marvel at how such great music was made from very basic gear.
Slightly out of the centre is the Memphis Pyramid. Do go for the shopping, for the extraordinary atmosphere, the 28 storey free standing lift and plenty of restaurants.
Holiday Itineraries for Memphis
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