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

Behind the beloved artists and songs that made Memphis a music capital are legendary recording studios including Stax, Royal, Sun and Ardent. 

Deeply rooted in the recording industry, Memphis is known worldwide for the influence its recording studios have had on pop culture around the world. From Sun Studio's recordings of Howlin Wolf and B.B. King, to Stax's soul explosion from Studio A; from the Hi Rhythm section backing Al Green's hits at Willie Mitchell's Royal Studios to Issac Hayes cutting "Hot Buttered Soul" at Ardent — Memphis developed a reputation for cutting pioneering, gritty and irresistable tunes. Today, Black-owned studios, recording engineers and producers, including David Porter, Boo Mitchell and James Dukes, continue to be cornerstones of the Memphis recording scene.


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

Drive 3 minutes

Sun Studio
Tour Sun Studio, where Memphis music icons including Rufus Thomas and B.B. King cut some of their first records, and where Ike Turner laid down the first rock ‘n’ roll record. 
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Drive 9 minutes

From this Memphis neighborhood, the global soul music explosion was launched. Learn about the impact of Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, Isaac Hayes and others at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Then drive past Royal Studios, where Al Green, Ann Peebles and others, under the careful direction of producer Willie Mitchell, curated the “sophisticated funk” side of soul. 
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Drive 11 minutes

Ardent Studios
Snap a photo in front of famed Ardent Studios. In addition to cutting records for Stax when the label’s production reached capacity, the studio recorded a genre-bending blend of Memphis greats, from Phineas Newborn, Jr. to Sam & Dave and the Staple Singers. Bonus: It’s still a working studio today. 
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