The Memphis Convention & Visitors
Bureau launched a campaign to mark the 50th anniversary of the
founding of Stax Records and Royal Studio,
which made music history with a roster of soul music artists that
included Booker T. and the
MGs, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, the Staple Singers,
Al Green, Isaac Hayes and Rufus and Carla Thomas.
The CVB unveiled
"Memphis Celebrates 50 Years of Soul," a year-long campaign at a
press conference in New York City. The bureau put together a
calendar of "Soul50" events and is releasing brochures to promote
local attractions in connection with the anniversary, both musical
landmarks and others, including the National Civil Rights Museum,
The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, the Memphis Zoo and the
Children's Museum of Memphis.
heyday, major artists like Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and
Dusty Springfield traveled to Memphis to record in the Stax studio
to get that inimitable and in-demand sound.
Located on the
Mississippi River about a third of the way between New Orleans and
Chicago, Memphis was a key point in the Great Migration between
1915 and 1920 when more than a million Afro Americans moved from
the south to the industrial centers of the north, and the jazz and
blues of New Orleans moved with them, evolving into various styles
along the way.
In the early
1900s, Memphis was known as a center of the blues of W.C. Handy and
Bessie Smith, and was central to the rise of rock and roll with Sun
Records in the 1940s and 1950s, which spawned the music careers of
Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl
Perkins and Charlie Rich.
The CVB said it
will use the occasion to promote Memphis landmarks of the city's
rich musical history legacy, including the Rock 'n' Soul Museum, which
tells the story of Memphis music from the 1930s through the 1970s,
and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, which is located on the
site of the original Stax Records headquarters and features more
than 2,000 interactive exhibits, films, artifacts and pieces of
The city also
will use the occasion to promote other music sites not directly
connected with the Stax anniversary, including Sun Studios,
Graceland, Ardent Studios and the Gibson Guitar Factory.
on Memphis, visit www.memphistravel.com; for more on the "Memphis
Celebrates 50 Years of Soul" campaign, see www.memphissoul50.com.
To contact reporter David Cogswell, send e-mail to [email protected].