Memphis Blues

Developed in the early 20th century, the Memphis blues syncopated style was often played on homemade instruments and made famous by names like Frank Stokes and Sleepy John Estes.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Memphis
Peabody ducks
For over 90 years, twice a day several ducks march through the Peabody Hotel lobby to visit its' fountain. The Peabody duck march is a Memphis institution.
The Orpheum, Memphis
Located on Beale Street, the Orpheum was once the Grand Opera House and considered the finest theater outside the Big Apple. Today, it remains an active venue.
Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley came from very humble beginnings and grew up to become one of the biggest names in rock 'n' roll. Born in Tupelo, he moved to Memphis as a teenager, and as his fame grew he purchased Graceland in March 1957, where he finally died at the age of 42.
Malco Theater
Elvis worked at The Malco for some time after getting fired from Loew's State Theatre.
Memphis Barbecue
Tangier, sweeter, and wetter than other American barbecue styles, Memphis barbecue is a must-try for every traveler.
Rock n' Soul Museum
Music museum tells the critical story of the musical pioneers who overcame racial and socio-economic obstacles to create the music that changed the cultural complexion of the world.

Related Tours

Memphis History & Heritage: Private Half-Day Walking Tour

Delve into the history and heritage of Memphis, a city founded in 1819 and known worldwide as the "Home of the Blues & Birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll", with an iconic music scene and a rich past shaped by the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement.

On your private half-day walking tour, you will:

  • See the Elvis Statue, a tribute to the popular rock star, and snap a photo under the famous Beale Street gate arch;
  • Stroll down Beale Street - an iconic street and one of the historic centres of African-American culture for nearly two centuries;
  • Spot the Main Street Trolley, a heritage streetcar transit system still operating down the streets of Memphis;
  • Learn about the heritage of the historic Orpheum Theatre, listed on the National Register of Historic Places;
  • Enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the Mississippi River from the Skyway Roof of the Peabody hotel;
  • Learn about the hidden General Washburn's Escape Alley used in 1864 in an attempt to run away from Nathan Bedford Forrest sympathizers;
  • Discover the WDIA-WHRK Radio Building, home to the first radio station in the US programmed entirely for the black community since 1947;
  • See the Cotton Museum at the Memphis Cotton Exchange in the centre of the historic Cotton Row;
  • Walk past the Memphis Music Hall of Fame;
  • Catch the trolley to reach the National Center for Civil Rights for a self-guided tour.

Like cities, the world over, the history of Memphis is one best understood by knowing the lay of the land, and the geography which shaped it. As you walk through the city, your guide will explain how the city’s features have defined and shaped the institutions and culture of Memphis. 

Visit historic Beale Street - where nightclubs, pawnshops, restaurants, and theatres have been playing the blues for over a century.

Learn about the street’s history dating back to the mid-19th century, where Black commerce thrived in spite of the odds. Hear tales of Ida B Wells, 'Beale Street Blues', B.B. King, and Dr King.

Then, enter into the heart of the American story at the National Center for Civil Rights Museum, where your guide will take you on an hour tour.

Learn about the legacy of Memphis in the struggle for Civil Rights, and see the Lorraine Motel - now part of the museum - where Dr King was assassinated in 1968. Hear how the centre continues to play a central role in moving forward the push for civil rights nationwide.

Should you wish to stay beyond the hour to experience the rest of the museum, please do at your own leisure. 

Beale Street & Sun Studio: Private Half-Day Walking Tour

Memphis is one of America's great music cities - famous for its blues, soul, and rock 'n' roll influence which originated there. Immerse yourself in the worlds of Elvis Presley, B.B. King, and Johnny Cash, and enjoy a visit to the streets they walked and the legendary Sun Studio, where they each recorded albums.

On your private walking tour of Beale Street, you will:

  •  Explore W.C. Handy Park, which commemorates William Christopher Handy, a composer and musician who saw himself Father of the Blues and whose music paved the way for America's Rock n’ Roll;
  • Visit the legendary Peabody Hotel, where history was made with the signing of Elvis' first contract with RCA and where Sam Phillips started his musical journey with the likes of Glen Miller;
  • See WDIA Radio Station, which has been continuously open since 1947, programmed entirely for African Americans. B.B. King and Rufus Thomas started their work at WDIA, and it had a huge impact on Elvis;
  • Stroll down Beale Street - a must-see attraction during your tour of Memphis as it's one of the most famous streets in America;
  • Spot iconic venues such as the Domino Lounge, Pee Wee’s Saloon and BB King's nightclub;
  • Lastly, enjoy an easy walk to Sun Studio, where your guide will part with you, and you'll join a Sun Studio guide for a small group tour.

On your Private Tour of Beale Street and Sun Studios, you'll learn the musical history of Memphis, the stars of the show and their stories. You'll find out who W.C. Handy was and the influence that Sam Phillips had on the journey of rock'n'roll, the blues and the many famous musicians associated with these influential strains that have made Memphis famous for its music.

Beale Street is in Downtown Memphis and runs from the Mississippi River to East Street, a distance of nearly 2 miles. It is just as important in the city's history, as it is in the history of blues music.

Your expert local guide will lead you on the guided tour and will buy your tickets for you at Sun Studio. You will enjoy your guided tour of Sun Studio led by an expert Sun Studio guide. Sam Phillips was the founder of Sun Records and Sun Studio which opened on January 3rd, 1950, where he produced recordings by Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and many others.

Get beyond Graceland and dive into the many stories of Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and BB King, artists that put Memphis on the musical map. Whether you are a music lover or simply a curious traveller, this musical history tour of Memphis is a great place to start.



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