Continuing on our musication (music education to those not in the know) we headed to Memphis, the birthplace of American Blues.
Our first port of call was Sun Studio. Sun Studio is considered the birthplace of Rock n Roll and is the location where Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash all recorded music. Originally owned by Sam Phillips, the tour of the studios allowed us to see an insight into music history and even stand in the original studio where so many greats had before.
The studio tour also included a free shuttle to Graceland, Elvis Presley’s home. The property tour was an iPad guided tour, the first of it’s kind, of the ground floor of the mansion as well as the grounds, various outbuildings and his and his family’s final resting place in the Meditation Garden. We learnt about Elvis’ amazing career as well as his humanitarian work. We also saw the automobile museum and the archives.
Once we had completed the tour, we jumped back on the free shuttle and headed to the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum site is actually spread around a number of different buildings with the former Lorraine Motel at it’s centre. Unfortunately we arrived too late to be able to go into the museum but we were able to walk around the Lorraine Motel and the memorial.
We decided to go to the Rock n Soul Museum on our way back into the city centre. The museum charts the birth of rock and soul from it’s beginnings in the rural field hollers and sharecroppers to Memphis’ heyday in the 70s. The museum crams in so much information into such a short space of time that it was a little overwhelming. It was great to learn more about Dewey Phillips after seeing his relocated radio studio at Sun Studios earlier in the day and after seeing Memphis the musical, which is loosely based on Dewey’s career, in London before we left for the Big Trip.
The following day we were due to drive to New Orleans but before we left we popped down to the Peabody Hotel to see their ducks. The ducks are brought down from the Royal Duck Palace, a $200,000 marble and glass structure on the hotel roof, in one of the hotel elevators. They are then walked through the lobby on red carpet to the fountain where they spend their day. They are marched back to their penthouse suite at 5pm. The ducks are wild animals and are sent to the hotel from a local farm and they are sent back to the farm after three months of living at the hotel. Given the nightly rates of even the most basic room are quite high, these ducks must be quackers to stay for three months!
If you’ve not yet seen our Memphis video, be sure to check it out here.
Finally, here are a few of our favourite photos from our time in Memphis.