The Roots of Memphis Music Bollard Project at FedExForum illustrates the history of the blues

While Memphis isn’t the birthplace of the blues, it is the genre’s home. W.C. Handy launched the blues into the mainstream when he published the first blues song, “Memphis Blues,” in 1912.  Ever since, Memphis has been a hub for the genre and its practitioners. 

Blues was born of the folk music heard on farms and fields across the delta of "Big Muddy" (the Mississippi River), which evolved into the genre's trance-like rhythm, its emotion-evoking "blues notes" and the call-and-response lyrics you can still hear in blues music today. After Handy published the first blues song, Beale Street became "The Home of the Blues," where legendary musicans, including B.B. King, Furry Lewis, Howlin' Wolf and so many more, came to cut their teeth and perform while also recording in Memphis. 


All points of interest below are mapped from the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, just steps from the bollards and FedExForum.

Walk 2 minutes

Beale Street
You’re standing just a few feet away from Beale Street, one of America’s most iconic streets, where the likes of B.B. King, Memphis Minnie, Memphis Jug Band, Furry Lewis and other talents emerged, helping to popularize the blues genre. 
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Walk 15 minutes

Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame
Discover the singers, songwriters and instrumentalists who made the genre an international sensation at the Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame.
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Walk 2 minutes

Backbeat Tours
Take Backbeat Tours’ Mojo Tour to learn the history of Memphis music, featuring the blues and its influence on other genres. 
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