Last Train to Memphis
I’m not an Elvis Presley fan. So, I didn’t come into this adventure with great admiration of the King. Actually, I’m not even a great fan of any particular kind of music. I’m just a fan of reading about places I’m going. So, when we were going to Memphis I asked my husband - who knows everything about music - if I should read about Elvis. He said - Can you even get around Elvis if you’re going to Memphis? Yea, I said. No. So, I picked out Last Train to Memphis. It’s a story about Elvis but it’s also a story about the forces in play on the Mississippi Delta, in Memphis, on Beale Street and at Sun Records that formed and polished and spun out what Peter Guralnick calls a "remarkable American original." The story, his story, illuminates Memphis through the lens of the role the city played in the birth of rock and roll.
Last Train to Memphis rolls you around the Mississippi Delta with the specific goal of tracking the life of a young Elvis Presley. You'll start in Tupelo, Mississippi at the spot where he was born and then you'll visit the hardware store where he bought his first guitar where it's said Rock 'n Roll was born. You'll move on to Memphis, as he did, in his teens and check out the perfectly preserved apartment where he lived with his family. You'll stroll Beale Street and peer into the windows of Lansky Brother's clothier where it's said he developed his style. You'll see the record shop where he hung out, the recording studio he insistently dropped in on each week in his quest to find a gig as a singer and you'll visit the stage on which he created the moves that would make him the sensation. Finally - you'll tour Graceland, not only the home but the museum that traces the path he took to become King.
Peter Guralnick is a music critic who writes about the blues, country and rock and roll and soul. It seems to me he's best known for Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love - the two-part biography about Elvis Presley. I saw those books everywhere I went in Memphis and when I didn't see them people were quoting them.
It doesn't take a lot of work to find the locations laid out in Last Train to Memphis. Elvis fans have been traipsing through them for decades. But that doesn't make them any less interesting. Click on the photo below to get this party started.
Here's the thing, all but one restaurant mentioned in Last Train to Memphis has closed except for the last of chain Elvis used to frequent.
There's only one place to stay when it comes to Last Train to Memphis - and it puts you right in the center of everything.