Sun All Stars: These four musicians all made records in the Sun Studios in Memphis: (clockwise from upper left): Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins Photo: Jim Read
Our search for authentic music -- music not
mass-produced nor homogenized -- has led us to embrace the
blues, jazz, gospel and rock and roll that was born in Memphis
in the middle of the 20th century. Larry Nager, in his book
Memphis Beat, asserts: "Memphis is arguably the most
musical city on the planet; again and again, revolutionary
sounds have emerged from the streets to change the way the
world sang, danced, played guitar, and lived."
Memphis music has its roots in the music of the
slaves, and this accounts for its regional identity, distinct from
and independent of the centers of today's music industry on the
West and East coasts. It is the unmistakable musical blend of black
and white, rural and urban, which gave rise to Memphis' reputation,
starting in the days of W.C. Handy almost one hundred years ago, as
a major music center. Its diversity is mirrored in the blues of
Memphis Minnie, the jazz of Phineas Newborn, and the rockabilly of
Elvis Presley. Today in Memphis, this lively musical tradition
continues to flourish.
Documentation includes the introduction from Nage's
book; a photobook,
Fond Memories of Elvis; a video
recording of the ABC News presentation,
Elvis; and two CDs: "The Music that Made Memphis," and "Elvis
Presley, The Million Dollar Quartet."
Originally submitted by: Fred Thompson, Senator & William Frist, Senator.
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.