Category Archives: Memphis

Sun Studio Guided Tour

Next time you’re in Memphis, TN, visit the site many credit as being the birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Sun Studio. Stand amid the legacy of revolutionary music recorded within these walls and even get your photo with the actual microphone used by Elvis Presley, when he recorded “Thats All Right” in 1954.

Sun Studio was where Elvis got his start in the recording industry, as well as a number of other legendary artists, including Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis, who had an impromptu jam session there one evening with Elvis. Can you imagine? The historic significance of Sun Studio is evidenced by the later artists who choose to record at the famous site. Artists like Def Leppard, U2, Matchbox 20, Tom Petty and many others come to Sun to record, for the heritage imparted by the only recording studio to be named a National Historic Landmark.

Sun StudioYou can experience the legendary heritage of Sun Studio on a guided tour of the facility, where you will hear stories about a number of artists and admire exhibitions of rare memorabilia and original historic recording cuts. In addition to the microphone used by Elvis, there are a number of pieces of Elvis artifacts on loan from the Presley Estate.

After your Guided Sun Studio Tour, drop into the ’50s-style Sun Studio Soda Shop and Record Store for some refreshments and an authentic ’50s atmosphere.

Memphis Mojo

Get your mojo rising on the most fun tour in Memphis.  Riding on the most unique vintage bus with modern convenience, this musical, entertainment tour brings music to life and invites you to play along.

Unlike some tours which offer stories and dates, The Memphis Mojo Tour is an interactive experience, complete with live music, and tambourines, shakers and bongos for you to join in the jam session.

All of the guides are professional Beale Street musicians who play and sing selection from the city’s musical heritage, and keep you entertained with comedy, history and behind the scenes stories of famous Memphis personalities.

Along the route you will see Sun Studio, Beale Street, The Lorraine Motel, early homes of superstars like Elvis, B. B. King, and Johnny Cash and other musically and historically significant sites.  This is a one-of-a-kind, action packed tour that is fun for all ages.

Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul

According to the Smithsonian Institution, “In the quest to identify the roots of America’s music, all roads led to Memphis.”  And that revelation led to the collaboration by the National Museum of American History, and the Smithsonian to develop the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum.

More than just an exhibit of costumes and guitars, the museum chronicles the story of social change, of breaking barriers of segregation and racial and social prejudice that once permeated our society.  It tells the story of how music changed, but more importantly the story of how the music changed our world.

The museum provides a comprehensive view of Memphis music beginning with the rural field holler and porch music in the 1930s, through the impact of the civil rights movement, and the influence that continues today.  Exhibits tell of musical pioneers and legends from all racial and economic backgrounds who shared a love of music and overcame obstacles to bring their music to the world.

The Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum is located at the corner of Historic Beale Street and “The Blues Highway,” Highway 61.

 

Elvis Week in Memphis

There’s a whole lot of Elvis in Memphis Tennessee.  But for one week in August, in recognition of his passing at age 42, in 1977, everything is in honor of ‘The King of Rock & Roll.’

August 9-17 is Elvis week, when fans from around the globe gather in an Elvis-pilgrimage to Memphis to celebrate the life and legacy of Elvis Presley.  The events include a Candlelight Vigil on August 15th, beginning at the Front Gates of Graceland thousands of fans walk to Elvis music along the driveway to Presley’s resting place at Meditation Garden to pay respects.  The procession continues through the entire night.

Elvis Presley’s Graceland ExperienceA first ever auction at Graceland will take place on August 14th.  Personal mementos, and artifacts to be sold include Elvis’ personal copy of the “Love Me Tender” script, and a gold and diamond lion pendant.

Other events during Elvis week include; ‘Conversations with Elvis’ – Friends, colleagues, and co-stars take the stage and share their memories and stories of Elvis; Tribute competitions, a 5k run, and Elvis Gospel.

Book your Memphis Vacation during Elvis week, and be a part of pop-culture phenomena!

Civil Rights History in Memphis Tennessee

Memphis is famous for its deep roots in musical history.  Celebrated as the birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and the Blues the city’s culture is steeped in Elvis Presley, B.B. King and Jerry Lee Lewis.

But Memphis has a rich history apart from the glamorous music industry, and equally important to the American culture.  You can experience some of the darker side of Memphis history with a tour of the National Civil Rights Museum, housed at the very site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.  The Lorraine Motel, where MLK was shot while standing on the balcony is now dedicated to exhibits representing the fight for civil rights from 1916 to the present.  Included in the museum you’ll find displays about Little Rock, Montgomery Bus Boycott, Booker T. Washington, and many other significant events related to the Civil Rights Movement.

1140334vmeAnother historic must-see stop in Memphis is the Slavehaven Underground Railroad Museum.  Tour the home of Jacob Burkle, and be transported to a day when human trafficking was the norm, and helping these men and women to freedom was at great risk.  As you enter a world of trap doors and hidden passages, imagine what it must have been like for the escapees who were breaking the chains of slavery.

How thankful we are that times have changed.  But it is a lesson in history that you should experience for yourself.  So while you visit Memphis, enjoy the barbeque, marvel at the massive luxury of Graceland, and remember all the people who fought hard battles for the freedoms we enjoy.

A Quick Trip to the King’s Place

If you’ve always dreamed of seeing Graceland but haven’t had the time, the Quick Elvis Experience Package – which includes the Graceland Platinum Tour, Sun Studio Guided Tour, and two nights lodging in Memphis – is just for you!

Of course, the highlight of your Elvis experience will be walking the halls of Graceland, the beloved home of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll! The Graceland Platinum Tour includes a guided tour of the mansion, as well as admission to two related museums: the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum and the Sincerely Elvis Memorabilia Museum. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the Lisa Marie and the Hound Dog II, Elvis’ two custom airplanes. After Graceland Memorial Parkexploring the life of Elvis through these attractions, you can also make your way back to the Meditation Garden to pay your respects at the King’s final resting place.

You’ll also have time to head downtown to Sun Studio, the very place where Elvis fused together the sounds of blues, gospel, country, and other genres to create rock ‘n’ roll music. Sun Studio features a large collection of artifacts on loan from the Graceland estate, and you’ll be able to see the microphone Elvis used to record his first track.

The package also includes two nights lodging in your choice of more than 70 hotels, to make sure your Elvis getaway is convenient, comfortable, and everything you have dreamed it would be!

Tour the Gibson Guitar Factory in Memphis

If you love guitars (and who doesn’t?) You probably really love Gibson Guitars.  And if you really love Gibson Guitars, you should see them being made.

The Gibson Guitar Factory in Memphis will walk you through the process as they create their laminate semi-hollow bodied guitars.  Don’t let the glamorous lobby fool you, behind the glitz you’ll find old-fashioned, hands-on craftsmanship, and a deep pride and respect for the historical significance of these iconic guitars.  See crafters using some of the same tools that were in use 50 years ago.  And there’s a bit of high-tech thrown in for good measuGibson Guitar Factoryre.  Really good measure.  The Plek machine ensures precision of tension, fret placement and string spacing.

Gibson has been the preferred guitar of numerous music legends, from Elvis Presley to Jimi Hendrix, to the current up-and-comers.  After touring the factory, you’ll find a deeper love and appreciation for Gibson Guitars.  And if you don’t
have one waiting at home for you, perhaps you’ll find one to make your own!Gibson Guitar Factory

Vacations Made Easy offers a Memphis Gibson Guitar Vacation Getaway, which includes admission to the factory, and three nights lodging.  You’ll have time to visit a few other Memphis hot spots while you’re there.

Memphis Vacation Ideas


Memphis
is the birthplace of the blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll. Elvis, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash all recorded at the historic Sun Records, now a museum. The home of “the King,” Graceland, is the second most visited home in the US. If you need more reasons to visit Memphis, there’s also great dining, art galleries, museums, and more sunny days per year than Miami. Tennessee’s largest city offers so much more, and its surprisingly affordable to bring the whole family for an unforgettable experience.

Vacations Made Easy hasBeale_Street great packages for lodging and all the must see attractions in Memphis, but while you’re in Memphis plan to take advantage of these awesome freebies.

J
uneteenth Urban Music Festival – June 13-15
For over 20 years this free three-day festival has brought great music to Church Park on Beale Street in Downtown Memphis. Entertainment will include regional artists performing gospel, pop, hip-hop and more. Did we mention “free?”Shelby Farms

Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg offers free tours to observe every step of the sour mash whiskey making. An icon for sure, Jack Daniel is the nation’s oldest registered distillery.

Memphis Pink Palace Museum is one of the largest museums in the Mid-South. Free admission on Tuesdays from 1pm – 5pm.

Shelby Farms is the largest park of its kind in an urban setting. The park offers picnic areas, sporting activities, nature trails, and wildlife including free-roaming bison. Every Saturday and Sunday in June and July, the park is home to the Splash and Splatter Water Festival, featuring 50 ft. slippery slides, sand volleyball, music, and sand castle sculpting. Big fun for the whole family.

Sun Studio Shuttle is a complimentary shuttle service, providing transportation from Graceland, Sun Studio and Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum. The attractions do have admission fees.Sun Studio

 

Memphis City Parks for a Change of Pace in the Home of the Blues

If you’re a nature or history lover heading to Memphis, make sure to stop by one of the many city parks while you’re there – you’ll be surprised by the amazing qualities that these little bursts of nature hold! Enjoy the historical aspects of Desoto Park, play in one of the largest parks in the U.S. in Shelby Farms Park, and pay your respects to the King himself at the Graceland Memorial Park!

Audubon Park

This park has a wide assortment of entertainment options for visitors of Memphis, including a golf course, play area, tennis courts, soccer field, and jogging/walking trails. This is the perfect place to take your family while you are in the city, and it is conveniently located near the University of Memphis and the Oak Court Mall.

Desoto Park

Originally built by the Native American inhabitants of early sixteenth-century Memphis, the Desoto Mounds are named after Hernando De Soto, the famous Spanish explorer who stormed through Memphis in his search for gold in 1541. Today, visitors can still view the somber relics, the Mounds which stand tall on the banks of the Mississippi River and allow a unique insight into one of Memphis’ first towns, dubbed Quiz-Quiz by Hernando De Soto. Although De Soto may have moved on in his quest for gold, the park still attracts thousands of visitors every year, who throng here to cherish the little-known aspect of Memphis’ legacy of tradition and culture.

Graceland Memorial Park

Located on the grounds of the Graceland Mansion Estates, this park offers a sentimental time of remembrance for fans of the legendary singer Elvis Presley and an intimate look into his personal life. The beautiful garden setting offers solace to fans, and it also serves as the resting place for the Presleys. At the heart of the park, visitors will find a column structure wrapping a sort of semi-circle around a flowing fountain with the graves of the Presleys surrounding the other half of the fountain’s diameter. If you plan on visiting Memphis soon, be sure to pay your respects to the King.

Shelby Farms Park

As one of the biggest urban parks in the United States, this park, with its 4.500 acres, is nearly five times larger than New York’s Central Park! Formerly home to a working farm, the park is now a recreational haven for Memphis and the surrounding communities. Visitors can enjoy a trail system ideal for walking, jogging, and mountain biking, and anglers and kayakers can enjoy Patriot Lake. Enjoy the 1,000-acre hardwood forests and hiking trails of Lucius Burch Natural Area, which offers plenty of opportunities for wildlife watching, and the area provides homes to hundreds of species of animals, including more than 200 species of birds.

Tom Lee Park

The perfect way to enjoy the natural beauty of Memphis, this park offers visitors a mile and a half stretch along the banks of the Mississippi River, and there are few places to go for a better view of this historical river. Throughout the year, the park also hosts a number of large-scale events, like barbecue contests and jazz festivals, perfect for a family atmosphere. The park is named after resident Tom Lee, who supposedly rowed a small boat through the currents of the Mississippi to save victims of a sinking steamboat, despite his inability to swim.

Rock ‘n’ Roll with the Memphis Mojo Tour

If you’re visiting Memphis soon, there are plenty of fantastic ways to tour the area. From Elvis tours to studio tours, Memphis is known for its musical influences, but if you’re looking for a unique way to experience all that this wonderful Southern city has to offer, make sure to catch the Memphis Mojo Tour on a vintage buss and with a local musician as a guide! You’ll laugh and groove with the music as you are guided past the many sights. Here are just a few places you’ll visit on the tour:

Beale Street

From the headquarters of Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War to the proclaimed birthplace of rock and roll, Beale Street has a history that steadily runs through the veins of Americana. With more than two dozen different clubs and shops in the area, the area offers visitors a distinct style of partying, shopping, and sightseeing in the area. Have a meal at the Blues City Café, shop for one-of-a-kind items, and more!

Stax Records

The story of Stax Records is one of a cultural phenomenon that changed the culture of music forever, locally as well as nationally and even internationally. What began as a tiny record store in an old movie theater grew to become one of the most important recording studios in the world. Starting in 1959, the studio began launching the careers of unknowns who would become icons, including artists like Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, the Staple Singers, and even comedy legends like Bill Cosby, Moms Mabley, and Richard Pryor! The studio is now the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.

Lorraine Hotel

Before Martin Luther King, Jr., stayed there, the Lorraine Hotel was a typical Southern-style hotel. Although it was only accessible to whites in the beginning, after World War II, it had become a black establishment serving jazz musicians and other celebrities of the time. But everything changed in 1968, when on April 4 Martin Luther King was assassinated at the hotel. Since then, the hotel has been converted into the National Civil Rights Museum in 1991.

Sun Studio (available on the Extended Mojo Tour)

When you visit the Sun Studio, you can stand among the greatness of rock and roll artists like Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis, as those artists and others began their careers in this very studio. Opened in 1950, the owners could never have known the impact that their business venture would produce or that the studio would be considered the birthplace of rock and roll! This is the only recording studio to be named a National Historic Landmark.

With the Memphis Mojo Tour, you’ll get to see the hot spots in the city and enjoy the music on the tour. Learn all about the rich history of music in the city, and join in with the music-making! Tambourines, shakers, and bongos located throughout the bus let you take the fun into your own hands!