Mention Memphis and most of us immediately think of Elvis Presley. Whilst Elvis wasn’t born in Memphis, he hailed from Tupelo in Mississippi, he made Memphis his home. The Presley family moved from Mississippi in 1948. In 1953, Elvis graduated from high school and in 1955 signed his first record contract with RCA. In 1957, Elvis purchased Graceland for $102,500 and moved in with his parents.
Ten years later, Elvis married Priscilla and exactly nine months later Lisa Marie was born. Graceland was the backdrop for Elvis' life and ultimately his death in 1977. To this day, Elvis Presley and Memphis are intrinsically linked.
Memphis is also credited for being the home of the founders and pioneers of various American music genres, including Memphis soul, Memphis blues, gospel and rock n' roll. Musicians, among them Aretha Franklin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Al Green and B.B. King had their start in Memphis in the 1950s and 1960s.
Beale Street, the heart of downtown Memphis, is a national historical landmark. It runs two miles from the Mississippi River to East Street and its significance is immeasurable. From music to civil rights, the events that have taken place here have left an indelible mark of spirit, perseverance and creativity.
Sam Phillips' Sun Studio, the most seminal recording studio in American popular music, is open for tours to this day. Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison all made their first recordings here and were 'discovered' by Phillips. Meanwhile, Stax Records created a classic 1960s soul music sound, much grittier and horn-based than Motown.
The Civil Rights era was a turbulent time in American history. Just blocks away from the buzz on Beale, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed outside room 306 of the Lorraine Motel. The motel still stands today and is part of the National Civil Rights Museum.
Where you stay is the heart of your holiday. Location reigns supreme but do you prefer resort facilities or unique and boutique? Historic and old world or modern and shiny?
We aim to present choices across the spectrum but there are many hundreds of places to stay and not room to feature them all. Do speak to your Bon Voyage travel consultant and click the video for our take on this important topic.
We would rate the Bellagio as one of the best hotels we have ever stayed in. Fabulous, glitzy, exciting. We loved having breakfast at the poolside café... one of our best experiences ever. If it hadn't been for you we wouldn't have had the suite or cabana and we loved them. We both agreed that the hotel was the best for us and you had suggested that so well done!Leonore & Mike Rumford