In its show on the birth of rock music and soul, founded by the Smithsonian Institution, the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum tells the story of musical pioneers who, in love with music, have conquered ethnic and socio-economic obstacles to the music that shook the whole world. The city considered to have been raised with rock & roll and soul music has been characterized by being included in the lyrics of more popular songs!
- Rural Culture – Daily life was a blend of hard work, economic exploitation, segregation, deep religious faith and music in the rural communities of the Mississippi delta. Music echoed and led work rhythms, comfort and dreams embodied. The centuries old seeding, plowing, cuts and picking cycle of a whole class has been destroyed by mechanization, agriculture chemicals and government policies. The rural refugees in Memphis have sown seeds of a musical and cultural revolution by the middle of the century.
- Rural Music – Blues, country and gospel, the Delta ‘s thriving music, formed the unique range of musical genres that came together unexpectedly to begin a musical revolution. These rural heritage, including the songs of work, the ballads and the hymns of the Church, took from one generation to the next the history of southern culture. Most people developed their own music; methods, lyrics and melodies were exchanged between races and groups. Music recorded also had a rural presence. In programs like Grand Ole Opry, some people bought Victrolas and kept records, and others battery-powered radios to coax.
- Coming To Memphis – Each musical item that was required began to unite between the streets and juke lines of the City of the river. Memphis promised construction jobs on the river bank and in the mills and warehouses of King Cotton for some displaced shareholders. Although it was separated through the 1950s by Black Memphians, it was the same road that was alive in the night with music that found the service of doctors, bankers and merchants along Beale Street. Memphis music crossed the line of color. While socially separated, Memphis brought the black and white music to its people on airwaves, recordings and live performances.
- Sun Records and Youth Culture – Musicians who were without money, influence and agents were given opportunities in small record companies like Sun Records. Blues, rhythm and blues produced by Sam Phillips, the founder of Sun, and B.B’s unheard of rock ‘ n ‘ roll. King to Roy Orbison. King to Roy Orbison. Elvis Presley was recorded by Phillips in July 1954. The sound of Memphis redefined national and international scenes. Rock ‘ n ‘ roll had become a global movement by 1955. Youth, fine times and individuality enjoyed Rock ‘n’ Roll. Young people claimed it all as a culture, and their dress and language reflected their energy.
- Soul Music – Labels such as STAX, HI and Satellite hired black musical artists and literally some of their stars walked on the road. The music of Memphis was the result of cooperation between black and white artists, and often of conflict. Music from the Souls was embodied in the volatile sixties as well as in African and American cultural identity and aspirations and became a key voice of black pride and political change. Just as white teenagers sang, dressed, and rock ‘n’ rolled, soul became part of a greater African-American culture. Soul music has changed from popular entertainment to a vehicle for social and political expression.
- Social Changes – The 1950s and the 1960s were tumultuous years in Memphis as they were in many cities around the country. Ideas and music are now the foundations of institutions, once revolutionary. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. leads a nation through a revolution in civil rights, the music that erupts in the streets and studios of Memphis led a revolution in cultural , social and civil rights. The music of Memphis blends with and represents the dynamic of the city and imprints the popular culture indelibly.
- Bravo Gallery – Several artists, recorders and pioneers in production made more than Memphis achievements on a musical stage, placing the city on the river. Their substantial contribution led to a harmonious civil rights movement that embraced the music industry, inspired many of today’s leading global musicians, influenced nearly every known musical genre, and changed forever the world’s cultural complexion. The Gallery Bravo greets the influence and the people who shook the world!
This amazing museum is located in beautiful Memphis, Tennessee, along with these other must-see museums you shouldn’t miss:
- Beale Street
- National Civil Rights Museum
- Stax Museum of American Soul Music
- Memphis Zoo
- Mud Island
- Shelby Farms Park
- Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum
These amazing museums are located just down the street from our location at South Third Street across from The Southgate Shopping Center. Stop by for a visit anytime!