Beale Street began as a social center of Memphis where people could listen to music. Over the years, musicians like Muddy Waters, Memphis Minnie and B.B. King made their mark on the street. Today, you’ll find music spilling out of this neon-filled street.
Music fans from around the world make pilgrimages to Beale Street, which is a top-to-bottom sensation: neon lights, brass notes in the sidewalk honoring musical legends, and sounds streaming from every open door, beckoning visitors to “Come on in!”
This is the street where B.B. King made his name, and where teenagers Elvis and Stax studio guitarist Steve Cropper were inspired as teens. Local legends Johnny Cash, Otis Redding and W.C. Handy are honored in nearby Sun Studio, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, and the Memphis Rock ’n’ Soul Museum, and no visit to Memphis is complete without a visit to Elvis’ beloved Graceland. In May of 2015 you can add two new sites to your itinerary, with the openings of both the Blues Hall of Fame and the Memphis Blues Hall of Fame.
Today the beat goes on, and contemporary legends pack the Hi-Tone, Minglewood Hall, FedExForum, Orpheum Theatre, and the Mud Island Amphitheater, nestled next to the Mighty Mississippi. Musicians from around the world get the chance to play on Beale during the annual International Blues Challenge, and there’s few joys like experiencing your favorite musicians outdoors during the Beale Street Music Festival along the Mississippi or during free shows at the historic Levitt Shell in Overton Park, where Elvis played one of his first concerts.