Redcliffe Pier

Thursday, December 18, 2014

MEMPHIS AND MUSIC

Back in 1909  Beale Street was the hub of the black community and Blues music. Every night club, dance hall, gambling den had a stage and live music. Every street corner had a jug band collecting pennies. Beale St to musicians was like Broadway to actors.
In the 50's Sam Phillips started recording the music at Sun Studios and he was instrumental in the birth of Rock 'n Roll. Beale Street was alive with music again. Even though there is still music coming from the bars and the street is blocked off at night for entertainers, Beale Street is looking tired and grotty. It is like a living museum of earlier dynamic times.
However, we enjoyed strolling up and down the famous street.

 Bill chats to some buskers.

 It was hard to decide which bar/restaurant to go in for lunch.

 One of the few buildings looking clean and tidy. More were like this, boarded up and run down.

 We found a place to eat with a stage and live band. It was fun being part of the history. (But my sand which was awful)

In the evening we found a Hop on Hop off bus stop but after waiting a long time none came at the time displayed. So we walked a few blocks and caught a regular bus back to the hotel for $1.

Bill was keen to visit Sun Studios while we were in Memphis, not that he was a Rock'n Roll fan but he is very interested in the history of recording music. This building is no longer a recording studio but a museum. The new studios are built behind. 
 We went on an interesting guided tour of the studio as it was back in the 50's. It is where Elvis as a teenager paid $4:00 dollars for Sam Phillips to record a song, with hopes of being asked back. It took a year before he was invited to play with the studio band. Sam still wasn't happy with Elvis until he heard him messing around in a break.  He recorded "That's All Right" it was blues like he had never heard before. Rock'n Roll was born.

The museum rescued this WDIA radio studio from a building being gutted. It was where the famous DJ Dewey Phillips played many blues songs and became a teenage idol. He was the first DJ to play a song recorded by an unknown teenager named Elvis Presley.

The Sun recording studio is just as it was back in the 50's. They still have the mike that Elvis used and visitors are allowed to touch it, which is unusual for a museum. But Bill enjoyed having a go.

There is a history of the recording artists in pictures around the walls of the studio. Sun Studio was responsible for making Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins famous. They were all poor kids when that started. One day the four of them turned up at the studio together and had a jam session. The photo is called "The Million Dollar Quartet". It was an interesting trip down memory lane.

15 comments:

  1. I have never been to Nashville so I enjoyed seeing it through your photos, Diane. The recording museum was interesting...everything looked so simple back then.

    So sorry about that horrible siege event in Sydney! I visited that store during my trip to Sydney and I had chills thinking about all the innocent people who were held hostage. I wish there was a better outcome --so sad for those who died.

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  2. What a musical history trip. How to describe Elvis in the rather good photo? Is pretty the right word?

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  3. How exciting to take a walk through history. Shame about it being so run down but at least one or two places have become museums and will hopefully preserve items for future generations.

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  4. Diane, thank for sharing your visit to Memphis. The history of Memphis, music and Elvis is well known. I enjoyed the photos, I especially like the shot of your Bill in front of the microphone.. Have a happy day!

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  5. That is so nice you visited the studio, it is a historic place for sure. To see that picture of the 4 famous boys is amazing.

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  6. We used to listen to all that music of course, but we didn't visit during our travels through this area.

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  7. lovely place and great to visit it

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  8. That's where he recorded "That's all right Mamma" his very first song. I have to say I didn't like Elvis physically he was not my type, but I was a fan of his songs ! I bought my first Elvis record when I was 13 !! I think I have all his songs and all books about him, so when we were in Memphis I behaved like a Teenager according to my aunt. Did you visit his birth place in Tupelo ?

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  9. definitely some great music roots and history. you made me hungry for memphis barbecue, but sorry your sandwich was terrible!

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  10. you now know more about recorded music than I do, i have driven through Memphis and Nashville on the interstate only.. i like the old streets with the old buildings...

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  11. Touristy Elvis. That's neat. It's great to see these things.

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  12. Thanks for the great tour, I have never been to Memphis. It's great to see where Elvis recorded his first song. I was never a big rock n roll fan either but I enjoyed the history. Enjoyed the photos too, thanks Diane.

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  13. I had to go to Memphis fairly often for business, but I never made it to Beale Street. I think I would enjoy visiting Sun Studios, however. Did Bill cut a record while he was there?

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  14. It's an interesting story about how Elvis got his first break in the music industry.

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  15. Oh how I liked this post, I was a big Elvis fan

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