Elvis Presley Walking Tour, Memphis

Elvis Presley Walking Tour (Self Guided), Memphis

Above all other celebrities, Memphis, Tennessee, is primarily associated with Elvis Aaron Presley (known to the majority worldwide simply as Elvis). Thus, it is not at all surprising that Memphis serves as a sort of shrine to the man and his music. Even though Presley passed away in 1977, his fans keep flocking into the city to this day to pay their respects to the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

Here's a quick rundown of some of the key locations in Elvis Presley's Memphis worth checking out.

Lauderdale Courts: This is where Elvis lived with his family in the early 1950s before he became a superstar – a glimpse into the King's humble beginnings.

Peabody Hotel: Apart from being famous for its ducks marching daily through the lobby, this historic landmark is also related to Elvis's life as the place where he went for his senior prom and more.

Memphis Music Hall of Fame: This museum honors the city's rich musical heritage, including Elvis's contributions.

Known as the "Home of the Blues," Beale Street is a historic entertainment district with live music, great food, and vibrant nightlife. It's a place where Elvis performed early in his career. A bronze statue of Elvis on Beale Street pays tribute to the iconic performer and is a popular spot for photos.

Memphis Music Records Tapes is a record store where you can discover Elvis's music and browse through a vast collection of vinyl records, CDs, and tapes.

Finally, Sun Studio, often referred to as the "Birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll," is where Elvis recorded his first songs and took the first steps towards stardom. This legendary recording studio indeed shaped the course of music history.

Every now and then, there is still someone who claims to have spotted Elvis here or there. While the chance of your seeing his apparition is slim (after all, the man didn't even show up when his daughter Lisa Marie married Michael Jackson), if you wish to spot the King yourself, there is no better place to do it than Memphis. The city offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of Elvis Presley. Plan your visit today and get ready to rock and roll in the footsteps of Elvis!
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Elvis Presley Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Elvis Presley Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Memphis (See other walking tours in Memphis)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles
Author: val
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Lauderdale Courts
  • Peabody Hotel
  • Memphis Music Hall of Fame
  • Statue of Elvis
  • Memphis Music Records Tapes
  • Beale Street
  • Sun Studio
Lauderdale Courts

1) Lauderdale Courts

In the year of 1948 Elvis and his parents moved to Memphis from Tupelo, Mississippi. The Presleys didn't have much money back then, so they had to live in a series of boarding houses and apartments. This apartment in Lauderdale Courts was their third home in Memphis which they rented for $35.00 a month. Elvis stayed in Lauderdale Courts until 1952, when his parents' income increased and the family could afford a better living.

Today, Lauderdale Courts has been transformed into Uptown Square, a community of classy condos and upscale apartments. The place is now open for tours and even rent to anyone willing to spend a night in Elvis' old digs – apartment 328 – decorated as it was back in the day when the Presleys were still in residence. While it can feel a bit eerie staying here overnight, it should definitely be on any hardcore fan's bucket list. If you're one such, go ahead and do it, if only for one night!
Peabody Hotel

2) Peabody Hotel (must see)

The Peabody Hotel is a four star hotel best known for its most famous residents, the Peabody Ducks. Each day at 11 am, the ducks march into the hotel lobby for a swim in the fountain. They are accompanied by the duck master and the King Cotton March by John Phillip Sousa. The ducks are a popular attraction and hundreds of people line up to see them every day. In addition, many celebrities have acted as an honorary duck master throughout the years.

The duck tradition began in 1932 when the general manager and his friend placed live decoy ducks in the hotel lobby fountain as a joke. The public liked it and the tradition continued with five mallard ducks, one male and four female. The ducks work an average of three months before they are retired.

The original Peabody Hotel was built by Robert Campbell Brinkley in 1869 and was located on the corner of Main and Monroe Streets. Its most famous resident was Jefferson Davis, the former President of the Confederacy.

The current hotel was designed by Walter W. Ahlschlager and opened in 1925. In 1965, the hotel went bankrupt and was sold to the Sheraton Hotels, renamed the Sheraton–Peabody Hotel. After the Sheraton closed in 1973, Isadore Edwin Hanover bought the hotel and sold it to his son-in-law, Jack A. Belz. After years of restoration work, the building reopened in 1981.

The Peabody Skyway, a top floor that contains a lounge, bar, and ballroom, was a popular hangout during the 1940s. The hotel Plantation Roof offers great views of the Memphis skyline and is the site of the famous Thursday night "Rooftop Parties.”

Bernard Lansky's store, located in the hotel's lobby, is legendary. Elvis used to called him "Mr. Lansky," while faithful customers call him "Mr. B.", and the world knows him as "Clothier to the Stars". Elvis collaborated with Mr Lansky throughout the course of his career. When he first bought a shirt from Lansky it the 1950s, it cost just $3.95. As Elvis became more famous, Lansky was named his PR man all over the world. Frank Sinatra, Carl Perkins, and B.B. King have also shopped at Lansky at the Peabody.

***Elvis Presley Walk***
This hotel is where Elvis went for his senior prom. He is rumored to have told his date that he didn’t dance and was incredibly nervous the whole night – a hard to believe line from a man who swayed his hips and made the girls swoon.

In the Hotel's Memorabilia Room one can still see the contract signed by Elvis Presley in the hotel lobby when he left the Sun Records for RCA.
Memphis Music Hall of Fame

3) Memphis Music Hall of Fame

The Memphis Music Hall of Fame pays tribute to the lifetime achievements of musicians from the city who have made significant contributions to various music genres such as blues, gospel, jazz, R&B, country, rockabilly, and hip-hop. Established on November 29, 2012, this institution has recognized nearly 60 individuals or musical groups. On August 1, 2015, it inaugurated its physical museum and exhibition space, showcasing previously unseen memorabilia, rare video performances, interviews with the inductees, along with other historical materials and interactive exhibits.

The annual induction ceremony takes place in Memphis, where each inductee into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame is honored with the Mike Curb Award, named after the renowned songwriter, producer, and record company owner, Mike Curb.

You can find the Memphis Music Hall of Fame situated at the intersection of Second and Beale Streets, nestled between the recently opened Hard Rock Cafe and the iconic Lansky's clothing store, famous for outfitting notable figures like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Rufus Thomas, and others.

In addition to the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, Elvis has earned induction into a total of four different music halls of fame. Given his extensive list of hit songs, successful records, and iconic movies, it's difficult to envision a time when Elvis was not a prominent figure in the music scene.
Statue of Elvis

4) Statue of Elvis

The statue of Elvis Presley on Beale Street is a fitting tribute to the King of Rock 'n Roll who used to live in Memphis, walked its streets, and, of course, started crafting his signature style here. The current sculpture, as it stands, is actually the second take of the larger than life bronze idol. The first one, unveiled in 1980, created by artist Eric Parks, was unfortunately too fragile to withstand the elements and the intensity of souvenir-crazed fans who stripped the guitar strings and plucked tassels from Elvis's suit.

To prevent further damage, in 1994, a decision was taken to remove the heavily worn down “Elvis” from the street and place it indoors in the downtown Memphis Tennessee Welcome Center.

For three years, Elvis Presley Plaza remained a big, empty spot, until in 1997 it was finally filled with a new 9.5-foot bronze statue of Elvis sculpted by Andrea Lugar. Unlike the original, the replacement depicted “pre-tassels” Elvis with a curled lip, a wave of hair, and a guitar poised to make fans of all ages swoon – just as Elvis would have looked like back in 1955, wearing a stage gear bought, most likely, at Lansky Bros. down the block.

Although designed to be more sturdy than the previous statue, it is also kept at a secure distance from the public behind an encircling fence.
Memphis Music Records Tapes

5) Memphis Music Records Tapes

Located on Beale Street, in the very heart of the city's shopping life, Memphis Music Records Tapes store boasts a unique collection of vintage recordings of Memphis music, fit to impress even the most discerning melomanes! For all those blues lovers, gospel admirers, rock n’ roll fans and jazz devotees, Memphis Music Records Tapes is there for you, waiting to assuage your music fever!

Here you can find an incredible assortment of Memphis recordings from Albert King, BB King, Memphis Minnie, Howlin' Wolf, Stax Recordings and so many more. On top of that, there are tonnes posters, music memorablia, and Memphis souvenirs to choose from, not to mention some of the nicest shop assistants in town!

So, if you need a cool little something to bring home from Memphis, the answer is definitely to browse the wares at Memphis Music Records Tapes. No matter which genre DVD, tape or whatever else you might be looking for, this store has something for everyone!
Beale Street

6) Beale Street (must see)

Beale Street, often referred to as the "Home of the Blues," holds a prominent place in Memphis as one of America's most renowned streets, particularly in the realm of entertainment. In 1909, a notable event took place on this very street when W. C. Handy composed a campaign song called "Mr. Crump" for E. H. Crump, a prominent figure in the political machine. This song was later renamed "The Memphis Blues." Additionally, in 1916, Handy penned another influential piece entitled "Beale Street Blues," which played a pivotal role in the decision to change the street's name from Beale Avenue to Beale Street.

From the 1920s to the 1940s, Beale Street witnessed the performances of legendary musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters, Albert King, Memphis Minnie, B. B. King, Rufus Thomas, Rosco Gordon, and others. Their contributions significantly shaped the musical style known as Memphis Blues. Notably, B. B. King was introduced as "the Beale Street Blues Boy" during his early career.

Beale Street holds great historical significance for the city and the blues music genre. In recognition of its importance, the stretch of the street spanning from Main to 4th Street was designated as a National Historic Landmark on May 23, 1966. In the present day, the blues clubs and restaurants along Beale Street are major attractions for tourists visiting Memphis. The street frequently hosts festivals and outdoor concerts, drawing substantial crowds to the area. Moreover, more than 25 clubs and shops selling Memphis-themed souvenirs can be found in this vibrant locale.

Why You Should Visit:
To enjoy authentic Memphis soul food, listen to live music, or party!

***Elvis Presley Walk***

The young Elvis used to spend a lot of time with the musicians gathered on Beale street. The music and the vibe of the street had a great influence on him. Today, his name can be spotted on one of the brass notes on the Beale Street Brass Notes Walk of Fame.
Sun Studio

7) Sun Studio (must see)

No trip to Memphis would be complete without a stop at the famous Sun Studio. Originally, it was called the Memphis Recording Service. The studio was opened by Sam Phillips in 1950 and was located in the same building as the Sun Records record label. Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Ike Turner, and B.B. King are just a few of the greats who either recorded here or were signed at the label.

The studio was nicknamed the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll” when Ike and Tina Turner recorded here their Rocket 88 song, considered by many to be the first Rock ‘n’ Roll track. In 1960, the studio was moved to Madison Avenue and renamed Phillips Recording.

Twenty-five years later, Phillips returned to the Sun with Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis to record the Class of '55 album. In 1987, the studio was restored to its former glory and became a tourist attraction while still remaining a fully-operational recording facility.

During the day, the building is open for tours. In the evening, artists can rent the studio to make records. Among the "must-see's" here are the video interviews with people who either recorded themselves or worked with those who had recorded at the studio.

Walking Tours in Memphis, Tennessee

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