Soul music, barbeque and Elvis Presley. World Cafe is spending this week getting the vibe of Memphis, Tenn., a city that — like New Orleans — has had an undeniable influence on all of American culture. Our "Sense of Place: Memphis" radio journey takes us to the five major studios where much of the music that came out of radios from the '50s to the '70s was made.
Sun, Stax, Ardent, Royal and American all pumped out hits with top-notch studio bands. Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, Al Green, Big Star, The Box Tops — they all rose out of Memphis.
We start at Stax. Robert Gordon, author of It Came From Memphis, the authoritative musical history of the city, gives us an overview here. And the curator of The Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Levon Williams, guides our journey.
Listen to World Cafe's Stax Records playlist on Spotify.