Ike Turner’s “Rocket 88” is widely considered to be the first rock 'n' roll record, and it was recorded right here in Memphis.
Credited to Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats, “Rocket 88” — a song about cruising in a cool car and looking for a cute date — was recorded at Memphis' Sun Studio in 1951 by Turner and his Kings of Rhythm.
In addition to the subject matter and driving beat of the song, one major element that qualifies its rock 'n' roll classification is the use of the first distorted guitar, which was the result of a blown-out amplifier cone.
WHERE TO GO NEXT
All points of interest below are mapped from the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, just steps from the bollards and FedExForum.
Drive 3 minutes
Walk 10 feet
Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum
You’re standing just a few feet away from one of Memphis’ most comprehensive music history museums. Discover the stories behind the artists and songs that changed music forever, including Ike Turner’s “Rocket 88,” at the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum.
WALK 4 minutes
Ghost River Brewing Beale Street Tap Room
What better way to end a day of exploring Memphis music history than cracking the tab of a seasonal Rocket 88 Oatmeal Stout at the Ghost River tap room?
Explore the people, stories and places behind the bollard art outside FedExForum. Use this slider to sneak a peek at everything rock 'n' roll-related, from the art itself to local points of interest.