Memphis, the biggest city in Tennessee, epitomises the old and new South of the United States.
Once a major slave trading centre, in the 1960s it was the focus of civil rights action. Dr Martin Luther King was assassinated there, and the National Civil Rights Museum in the city is his memorial.
It has always been, and still is, a major musical centre for blues, country, jazz and rock and roll. Elvis Presley began his career here and he wasn’t the only one.
Memphis’s Sun Studios recorded Elvis but can also count Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins among its stars. Later, Stax Records, a label devoted entirely to recording black musicians, had Otis Redding, the Bar-Kays, and Booker T and the MGs creating a special soul sound. View PDF