Tag Archives: Otis Redding

Happy Birthday, Isaac Hayes

photo by zonia di fotographia
photo by zonia di fotographia, Flickr

One of the key figures at Stax on stage and off, Isaac Hayes, was born today, August 20, 1942 in Covington, TN. Raised by his grandparents, Hayes began singing in church at age five and eventually taught himself to play several instruments–piano, organ, and saxophone–before later moving to Memphis for club gigs. That versatitlity and a talent for songwriting and producing helped him become one of  the architects of the Memphis soul sound at Stax. After working in the house band for artists like Otis Redding, he began writing hits with his partner Dave Porter. The two became a creative powerhouse, crafting over 200 songs, many of them becoming classics for Sam & Dave (“Soul Man,”), Carla Thomas (“B-A-B-Y”), and Johnnie Taylor (“I Had a Dream”).

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Hayes launched a solo career in 1967 with “Presenting Isaac Hayes,” but it was his distinctive wah-wah guitar-fueled “Theme From Shaft” that made him a household name across America and all over the world. Can ya dig it?

The title track from the 1971 blaxploitation film “Shaft” soundtrack went on to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Not only was it a memorable hit but Isaac Hayes was the first African-American to win an Oscar in that category.

When his music career waned, Hayes shifted to acting and was a regular on “The Rockford Files,” and had roles in movies such as “Truck Turner,” “Hustle & Flow,” and “Escape From New York.” In 1997, Hayes became popular to a new generation of fans when he provided the voice of Jerome “Chef” McElroy, one of the characters on the cartoon TV series “South Park.” Chef was an immediate hit and even though he was a school cafeteria worker, he often broke into song like this raunchy track from Chef Aid:

In 2002, Isaac Hayes was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was in ill health on August 10, 2008, when he collapsed at his home in Memphis and died from a stroke ten days before his 66th birthday.

Stax Museum of American Soul Music
926 East McLemore Avenue
Memphis, TN 38106
Phone: (901) 942-7685
http://www.staxmuseum.com/

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What to Do

The National Civil Rights Museum

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Located at the historic Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, this fabulous museum follows the history of the Civil Rights Movement. Not to be missed.

The National Civil Rights Museum
450 Mulberry Street, Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 521-9699
www.civilrightsmuseum.org/

Sun Studio

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The birthplace of rock n’ roll. See where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded their first hits.

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The guides love to show you around and talk all about music history. The first rock n’ roll record, “Rocket 88” by Jackie Brenston, was recorded here in March, 1951.
Sun Studio
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN, 38103
Phone: 800-441-6249
http://www.sunstudio.com/

Soulsville USA: The Stax Museum
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Welcome to the birthplace of soul music. This completely cool museum walks you through the history of Stax Records and their roster of stars like Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Sam & Dave, and many more.

Don’t miss the wall of hit records and Isaac Hayes’ gold-trimmed
1972 Cadillac Eldorado.
Soulsville USA: The Stax Museum
926 E. McLemore Avenue, Memphis, TN 38106
Phone: (901) 942-7685
http://www.staxmuseum.com/

Graceland
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Sure it’s tacky and overpriced but you have to go to see how Elvis lived.  This is his Jungle Room with its Polynesian influence and green shag carpet on the floor and the ceiling. A hunka hunka!

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Pay the extra fee to see The King’s extensive car and airplane collection. He used to give away Cadillacs like this.
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Graceland
3734 Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, TN 38116
Phone: +1 901-332-3322
http://www.elvis.com/

Main Street Trolley

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At a dollar per ride, it’s a fun way to get around downtown and it passes by the Mississippi River for superb views. They rattle and clatter, and aren’t very fast–but everybody loves them. See trolley highlights by Paul Donovan:

Memphis Area Transit Authority
Route and Schedule Information: (901) 274-6282
Trolley: (901) 577-2640
http://www.matatransit.com/services/trolleys/

If you are totally into trains, check out the Memphis Railroad and Trolley Museum, a volunteer-run group dedicated to rail in Memphis.

photo by Katherine of Chicago, Flickr
photo by Katherine of Chicago, Flickr

Memphis Railroad and Trolley Museum
Central Station, 545 South Main Street, Suite 121, Memphis, TN
http://mrtm.org/

Gibson Guitar Factory

photo by Patrick from Parka Avenue, Flickr
photo by Patrick from Parka Avenue, Flickr

Even if you’re not a guitar geek, take an informative tour of the factory as they turn out hand-crafted Gibson guitars, from Les Pauls to the Firebird X. Security is high so don’t try to snap pictures like this without permission.

photo by Bones77sm, Flickr
photo by Bones77sm, Flickr

This short video from zZounds.com shows how they are made:

Gibson Guitar Factory
145 Lt. George W. Lee Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 544-7998
http://www2.gibson.com/Products.aspx

Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum
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Located at the modest home of the Burkle family who helped slaves escape to freedom to the northern states and Canada. Even though the small museum is often full of school kids on field trips, the guides have inspiring stories for everyone.  The place has hidden trap doors and secret tunnels used to shelter the escapees.

photo by tennesseevacation, Flickr
photo by tennesseevacation, Flickr

Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum
826 North Second Street, Memphis, TN 38173
Phone: (901) 527-3227
http://www.slavehavenundergroundrailroadmuseum.org/slavehaven.html

The Cotton Museum
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Founded in 2006, this museum relates the history of cotton and its important role in the economy of the Mid-South. Films and displays show you how the commodity became “King Cotton.” The main exhibit is located on the trading floor of the old Memphis Cotton Exchange building.
The Cotton Museum
65 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 531-7826
http://www.memphiscottonmuseum.org/

The Memphis Riverboat Tour
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An entertaining steamship ride along the Mississippi, taking you back to a time when riverboats ruled the waterways. The guides have humorous stories that make local history come alive. Plus, you get some impressive views of the city along the way.
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Memphis Riverboat Tour
251 South Riverside Drive, Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 527-2628
http://www.memphisriverboats.net/

The Withers Collection Museum Gallery

photo by Redfern Photo Archive, Flickr
photo by Redfern Photo Archive, Flickr

Located right on Beale Street, the photo museum features a display of African-American photographer Ernest C. Withers who documented the history and culture of Memphis.

Rosalind Withers is the trustee of her father’s life work and she has a wealth of stories about her dad covering segregation issues, Negro League baseball, and the local blues scene.

photo by Pan African News Wire File Photos
photo by Pan African News Wire File Photos

The Withers Collection Museum Gallery
333 Beale Street, Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 523-2344
http://thewitherscollection.com/

Memphis Rock ‘n Soul Museum

photo by Eridony, Flickr
photo by Eridony, Flickr

Near FedEx Forum, this museum covers the highlights of blues, soul, and rock ‘n roll–all forms of music with roots in Memphis. In addition to traditional museum displays, you can now grab an MP3 audio guide and a map to take the Historic Walking Tour of Beale Street.

photo by otacon4130, Flickr
photo by otacon4130, Flickr

Memphis Rock ‘n Soul Museum
191 Beale Street, Suite 100, Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 205-2533
http://memphisrocknsoul.org/

The Center for Southern Folklore
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This non-profit organization showcases unique gifts, music, and works of art from Southern artists. When you’re done shopping,  stay for coffee and Miss Ella’s peach cobbler. Located downtown at the Peabody Place trolley stop.
The Center for Southern Folklore
123 South Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 525-3655
http://www.southernfolklore.com/

Background and Resources

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Memphis Travel
http://www.memphistravel.com/

Memphis Travel – Mobile Apps
http://www.memphistravel.com/interactive-map#mobileapp

Memphis Magazine
http://www.memphismagazine.com/

ILoveMemphis Blog
http://ilovememphisblog.com/

Memphis History
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memphis,_TN

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National Civil Rights Museum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Civil_Rights_Museum

Unpublished MLK Assassination Photos
http://life.time.com/history/mlk-assassination-photos-from-memphis-tennessee-april-4-1968/#1

Graceland
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graceland

Memphis Trolley
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MATA_Trolley

Memphis Railroad and Trolley Museum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memphis_Railroad_%26_Trolley_Museum

Memphis Central Station
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Station_(Memphis)

Gibson Guitars
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibson_Guitars

Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burkle_Estate#Slave_Haven_Underground_Railroad_Museum

The Cotton Museum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotton_museum

Steamboats of the Mississippi
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steamboats_of_the_Mississippi

Ernest C. Withers
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Withers

Memphis Rock ‘n Soul Museum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memphis_Rock_N%27_Soul_Museum

The Orpheum Theatre
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orpheum_Theatre_(Memphis)

Center for Southern Folklore
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Center_for_Southern_Folklore

Memphis & Shelby County Music Commission
http://www.memphismusic.org/Programs.aspx

Little Kids Rock
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Kids_Rock

photo by micro43, Flickr
photo by micro43, Flickr

All-Music Guide – Blues
http://www.allmusic.com/genre/blues-ma0000002467

Memphis Blues
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memphis_blues

The Blues Foundation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blues_Foundation

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Woman With Guitar: Memphis Minnie’s Blues
http://www.amazon.com/Woman-Guitar-Memphis-Minnies-Blues/dp/0872866211/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402586730&sr=1-1&keywords=Memphis+Minnie

B.B. King
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/bb-king-mn0000059156/biography

Al Green
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/al-green-mn0000607448/biography

Elvis51Elvis Presley
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/elvis-presley-mn0000180228/biography

Sun Studio
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Studio

Levitt Shell (Overton Park Shell)
http://scottymoore.net/overton.html

Rocket 88
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocket_88

WDIA Radio
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WDIA

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Wheelin’ on Beale: How WDIA-Memphis Became the Nation’s First All-Black Radio Station and Created the Sound that Changed America
http://www.amazon.com/Wheelin-Beale-Wdia

The Stax Museum
photo by Kim, Flickr

Stax Records
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stax_Records

Stax Records (Concord Music Group)
http://www2.concordmusicgroup.com/labels/Stax/

Stax at 50: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
http://www.allmusic.com/album/stax-50-a-50th-anniversary-celebration-mw0000452604

Wattstax
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wattstax

photo by AOK Library and Gallery, UMBC
photo by AOK Library and Gallery, UMBC

Otis Redding
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/otis-redding-mn0000414251/biography

Booker T. & the M.G.’s
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/booker-t-the-mgs-mn0000772733/biography

Staple Singers
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-staple-singers-mn0000577235/biography

Sam & Dave
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/sam-dave-mn0000282709/biography

Isaac Hayes
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/isaac-hayes-mn0000101946/biography

John Németh
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/john-n%C3%A9meth-mn0000484219/biography

The Bo-Keys
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bo-Keys

photo by sarah james, Flickr
photo by sarah james, Flickr

Hi Records (Official)
http://www.hirecords.com/

Hi Records
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hi_Records

Hi Times: The Hi Records R & B Years
http://www.allmusic.com/album/hi-times-the-hi-records-r-b-years-box-mw0000125619

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Big Star
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/big-star-mn0000051992/biography

Ardent Studios
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ardent_Studios

A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, From Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man
http://www.amazon.com/Man-Called-Destruction

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FedEx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FedEx_Express

Changing How the World Does Business: FedEx’s Incredible Journey to Success – The Inside Story
http://www.amazon.com/Changing-How-World-Does-Business

FedEx Delivers: How the World’s Leading Shipping Company Keeps Innovating and Outperforming the Competition
http://www.amazon.com/FedEx-Delivers-Innovating-Outperforming-Competition

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photo by Jack Delano, Wikimedia Commons

Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brotherhood_of_Sleeping_Car_Porters

Jim Crow Stories: The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/stories_org_brother.html

Miles of Smiles, Years of Struggles
http://www.paulwagnerfilms.com/miles-of-smiles-trailer/

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photo by Joseph, Flickr

Amtrak
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amtrak

National Train Day
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Train_Day

Content Creation for Train Simulator 2014
http://www.engine-driver.com/article/show/3465/interview-content-creation-for-train-simulator-part-1

Chuggington
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuggington

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Mississippi Blues Trail
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mississippi_Blues_Trail

Delta Blues Museum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_Blues_Museum

Ground Zero Club
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_Zero_(blues_club)

photo by Amy and Turgay, Flickr
photo by Amy and Turgay, Flickr