Friday, August 26, 2011

The Memphis Beat

Above: Just one block off Beale Street in Memphis, the Rock 'n' Soul Museum is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate. Admission is $11 and includes a movie.

According to the Smithsonian Institution: "In the quest to identify the roots of America's music, all roads lead to Memphis."

I spent Thursday afternoon at the Rock 'n' Soul Museum. The list of artists who recorded in Memphis is long. Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis are some of the white artists. They were signed by and recorded at Sun Records.

The list of African-Americans is even longer. Stax Records (originally called Satellite Records) signed or recorded: Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Wilson Picket, and Carla and Rufus Thomas. Booker T and the MGs, B.B King, Isaac Hayes (think the movie Shaft), Al Green, The Staple Singers, the Bar-Kays and many, many more were Stax products. The company strongly competed against Motown Records.

Did you know:
Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, but never recorded at Stax.

You can read what Wikipedia says about Stax, if you click here.

Above: Visitors enjoy the exhibits at the Rock 'n' Soul Museum.

Above: Mark James wrote "Suspicious Minds" on this organ. He recorded it in 1968, then gave Elvis Presley a copy in 1969. It went on to be one of Presley's biggest hits.

Above: Showy costumes were part of the act and Stax performers liked to do it in style.

Images by MOJO and taken with my P&S.

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