8. Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Memphis is virtually synonymous with rock ‘n’ roll.
The city, which sits in the south-western corner of Tennessee, has played a major role in rock history, with some music historians labelling it as the outright birthplace.
Though larger cities such as New York and Los Angeles have become big contributors to the music since, there is little doubt then that the ‘Bluff City’ is comfortably one of the most important cities in rock ‘n’ roll.
Memphis’s celebrated Sun Studios and its record label were largely responsible for bringing the sounds of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis to the world in the 1950s and 1960s.
Elvis would go on to be perhaps the biggest star in rock ‘n’ roll history, before his sudden, tragic death on that famous day in August 1977.
In the 1960s, Stax Records promoted the music of soul legends Al Green and Otis Redding on its label, while the 1970s saw the influential power-pop band Big Star emerge to great acclaim but little airplay or sales. Alex Chilton and his band would prove to be an influential cult favourite for years to come though, inspiring the likes of Teenage Fanclub and The Replacements.
In recent years, the late Jay Reatard and his aggressive punk rock bands, The Reatards and Lost Sounds, burst out of Memphis; proving that there is a home for much more than just rockability and country here.
Numerous must-see landmarks in Memphis include Elvis Presley’s Graceland home, the legendary Sun Studios, and the many bars and music clubs of Beale Street- where the Memphis in May Festival takes place annually.
Associated acts: B.B. King, Ike Turner, Carl Perkins, Otis Redding, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Big Star, Jay Reatard
Landmarks: Graceland, Sun Studio, Beale Street, Arcade restaurant