WHAT'S common between 'Father of The Blues' W C Handy, rock 'n' roll king Elvis Presley and current heartthrob Justin Timberlake? Any guesses - other that the fact that they are all musicians?
Well, they all belong to Memphis, the cultural hub in Tennessee state of south-eastern US. And Memphis was much more than just the home town of these three musicians. It was also the place where an entire style of The Blues was started.
The Memphis Blues has been around a hundred years. Initial players included Handy, Frank Stokes, Memphis Minnie and Sleepy John Estes. Later, a whole lot of Blues musicians played in and around Memphis. BB King, Howlin' Wolf, Memphis Slim and Albert King were among them.
It wasn't only The Blues. Country star Johnny Cash, rock 'n' roll musicians Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, soul band Booker T & the MGs, and singers Otis Redding, Ike Turner, Isaac Hayes and Roy Orbison, all got their big breaksFor out of Memphis.
The Blues, Memphis was Capital City, and Beale Street the happening area. The style was initially popular in variety entertainment shows (called vaudeville) and juke joints. After World War II, many musicians came from impoverished areas and settled in Memphis where they developed a new sound. Howlin' Wolf and BB King recorded for the famous Sun Records.
The sub-genre also inspired pop singer Cyndi Lauper to release an album called 'Memphis Blues' in 2010. Shocked? The truth is that it actually features blues artistes like BB King, Charlie Musselwhite and Jonny Lang on some blues standards. In fact, the album can act as a perfect guide to the genre.