May 24th “two of the three kings”

Three “Kings” in Memphis?.  Not really that much of a trick question and it would be remiss of me not to mention Martin Luther King Junior, BB King as well as the “king of Rock and Roll” Elvis Aaron Presley.

Martin Luther King junior was assassinated 4th April 68 in Memphis at the Lorrain Hotel which was my first port of call on Sunday.  I remember the news reports but at around 16 I had no idea of the significance of the event or the man. It is only later as I grew that I could appreciate the full impact of his work and his beliefs. Promoting nonviolent tactics which did not always make him popular with his own. He is an iconic figure and his “I have a dream” is a common phrase used my many to crystallize their views.

The hotel is still maintained as it was. The central building is now a “Civil rights Museum”. I choose not to go in. I have a problem with prejudice and intolerance and I know it will only upset me so I sit on the wall and just watch the people of which there is a constant stream (and so there should be). It all looks so ordinary and without the visitors it would just be another little street. However it is there and it is worth the trouble to find it as it is an important piece of “world” not just American history.

As I write another advocate of peaceful resistance Aung san Suu Kyi is on trial in Burma and you should all be aware of Nelson Mandela’s struggles in South Africa and I am certain there are many more unsung heroes out there. His position in history is set as is the belief that everyone is equal without conditions.

On to Beal Street a fairly short walk down Main St following the tram tracks. Next is BB King the legendary blues player who I think is still performing. King spent a lot of time here in Memphis and still owns property on the street which is the heart of the music / tourist area. The previous evening I wandered down the listening to the street musicians (check out a cool dude) and hanging out in a couple of the bars. Eric Clapton cites King as influencing his music. (Nice link two of my friends just saw Clapton in London). I am a bit of a blues fan and my Babe has had to endure my collection of various artists including “The Blind Boys of Alabama” who are a particular favorite of mine.

Ok Ok I will get to the last King in a moment, it’s my blog so in my own time thanks.

Next is Sun Studios. Need the car so back to the hotel (mandatory valet parking but at least it is parked, I will really miss valet parking when I leave the US). A couple of miles down the road and there it is. That huge electric guitar hanging on the corner of a three sided building. Inside the first room is of course a coffee and souvenir shop and one of the guys is sporting the Elvis sideboards (good for you) the tour only seeks to remind me how basic the process was.

You probably know Elvis came to make a record for his mother and was asked back. The session was not going well and during a break he picked up a guitar and started to sing “that’s all right, mama” and as they say the rest is history. I wonder how close a call it was right at the start. Personally I think a talent like that would have eventually found the right outlet. Anyway took a few shots but can’t get one without people in it but enough to satisfy the photo album.

Now I have filled a page I will have to create a new one just for Elvis, Graceland and Tupelo