Rock and Blues
When Sam Phillips recorded Rocket 88 at the Sun Studios in 1951, he opened the door to a music culture that would thrive for generations. Performed by Ike Turner's band and written by Turner while in digs at the Riverside Hotel, Clarksdale, Mississippi, the single reached. the top spot on the Billboard R & B chart and is credited as being the first rock and roll record.
Many rock and rockabilly artists recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis, including Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and of course, Elvis Presley.
Rockabilly soon merged into areas of rock and roll, which in turn, evolved into modern rock, with its many variations.
The King of the Blues, BB King placed Memphis firmly on the blues map, but for over a century, the blues has been a part of Tennessee. The queen of blues, Bessie Smith, was born in Chattanooga and died near Clarksdale, Mississippi, not far from the crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil.
Highway 61 became the Blues Highway, along the stretch from New Orleans to St Louis with Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Robert Nighthawk and many other famous bluesmen migrating north, stopping off at Memphis, where many decided to stay.
Memphis blues evolved in the first part of the 20th century as a poor man's music, with street artists creating imaginative sounds from household items and low cost instruments.
Visit Beale Street today and your ears will be bombarded with a multitude of blues-fusions, incorporating rock, soul, folk, jazz, country and plain and simple, twelve bar blues.