I’m standing in the Memphis sunshine looking at the final resting place of the King of Rock ’n’ Roll. A glass-encased flame sits at the head of the long, flat gravestone, which is flanked by flower arrangements. I’m not the world’s biggest Elvis fan, but you don’t have to be to pay tribute to the best-selling solo recording artist of all time—the man who inspired everyone from John Lennon to Justin Timberlake.
The city has more to offer than just The King, however. Memphis is where soul caught fire in the ’60s, as everyone from Otis Redding to Isaac Hayes recorded at Stax Records. Of course, the blues reign here, too, on venerable Beale Street, where music spills out of clubs nightly.
B.B. King’s Blues Club All-Star Band is the place for music pilgrims to begin their tour of Memphis.
Lafayette’s Music Room is good, too, with live music nightly and a menu that includes soul food, such as sweet corn and jalapeño hush puppies. Also check out smaller places, such as Club Love at Winchester and Riverdale.
Elvis Presley Memphis is a $45-million, 200,000-square-foot entertainment complex filled with everything from The King’s car collection, memorabilia from his movies, and even an Elvis fashion exhibit. 800-238-2000; graceland.com.
The Rev. Al Green, now an ordained pastor but better known as the crooner of “Let’s Stay Together,” leads a crackerjack choir on Sundays at the Full Gospel Tabernacle.
Nothing beats the dry rub ribs at Charlie Vergos’ Rendevous, even better when slathered in the restaurant’s house-made zesty sauce. 901-523-2746; hogsfly.com.
The Guest House at Graceland, a sleek and sharp inn designed with help from Priscilla Presley, has 430 rooms, 20 suites, and a dose of Southern style. 800-238-2000; guesthousegraceland.com.