Memphis Music Hall of Fame
The Memphis Music Hall of Fame is located just around the corner from the Peabody Hotel. It features antebellum artifacts from Memphis's days as a slave-trading center as well as vintage records from the 1920s and 1930s by Memphis blues musicians. The Hall of Fame traces the development of Memphis music and includes exhibits on rock and roll and soul music.
Beale Street has seen thousands of blues artists since the art form developed. W.C. Handy once operated a music publishing business on Beale and hired out a band from Pee Wee's Saloon. Most Memphis blues musicians have performed on Beale Street at some point in their career, whether in a theater or busking on the street.
As historian David Cohn wrote in 1935, "The Mississippi Delta begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel." This downtown Memphis institution, designed by architect Walter Ahlschlager, opened at its present location on Union Avenue in 1925. The Peabody has been host to recording efforts by the Memphis Jug Band, Tommy Johnson, Frank Stokes, Furry Lewis, and many others through its long and colorful history.
The Orpheum Theater is a restored 1920s vaudeville and movie palace near the top of Beale Street. Its extravagant interior has featured concerts by Memphis blues legends such as Albert King and Alberta Hunter, and continues to show live events and shows to this day.
706 Union Avenue is the birthplace of groundbreaking music label Sun Records. Although famous as the studio where Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins waxed early rockabilly classics, Sun was also used by great bluesmen including B.B. King, Sleepy John Estes, and Howlin' Wolf.
This small shotgun house at 352 Beale Street was once the residence of Blues legend W.C. Handy. Originally located at 659 Jennette Place, this house was Handy's home when he wrote such classics as "Yellow Dog Blues" and "Beale Street Blues." Now a museum, the house may be visited year round.
119 S. Main Street, Memphis TennesseeThe Center for Southern Folklore is a nonprofit institution that documents southern culture, including blues, through film, oral histories, and recorded sources. The center features rotating exhibits and performances by local blues artists.
W.C. Handy Park
W.C. Handy Park, located on Beale Street and dedicated to W.C. Handy in 1931, has a long tradition of hosting blues acts. Since its creation, Handy Park has been a meeting ground for musicians, and to this day the park features both street artists and regular events.
Last updated: November 6, 2017