Memphis & Muscle Shoals
A New #1 Hit
5 Days | Year Round
Starting At $Flexible Pricing
This sightseeing tour is about listening & learning. It’s about Music & Recording. It’s about the 50’s in Memphis (already Home of the Blues), and Sun Studios giving birth to Rock n’ Roll. It’s about the 1960’s and music studios in Muscle Shoals, AL turning Albums into Gold. Come visit these Studios, cut a group record and learn about producing music.
- Customizable Comps
- Net Rates
- Luxury or First Class Hotels & Meals
- Motorcoach Transportation & Professional Tour Managers are available
Tour Tennessee will be happy to structure tour prices to match your needs. Just let us know!
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrive Memphis – B.B. Kings
This tour begins with arrival in Memphis where you discover the world of making records. You learn about Rock n’ Roll, The Blues and more. This is not sightseeing. This is listening and learning – this is the ultimate Audio Tour!
Tonight’s feature is dinner and Live Music at B.B. Kings on Beale Street. This dinner club presents some of the best Live music in the south. Relax an enjoy yourself in a club built by “The King of the Blues.” (D)
Day 2 – Memphis – MoJo Tour & Sun Studios – Beale Street
Memphis comes alive today starting with the MoJo Tour. A professional Beale Street musician/tour guide will sing of the city’s music history, entertaining you with tunes and behind-the-scenes stories of Memphis celebrities. Along the way, you will see the City’s famous sights including The Lorraine Motel and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, plus you have photo stops at Graceland and the Johnny Cash home.
During this tour you will also visit Sun Studios – The Birthplace of Rock N’ Roll (1950) and home to the ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ – Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Did you know Studio owner Sam Phillips, a music legend in his own right, discovered BB King and recorded Howlin’ Wolf while working for another label?
And, did you know that Sun Studios is still rockin’ today? You never know who may walk in that door as you’re walking out.
After lunch you visit Stax Records (1959). They launched the careers of Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, the Staple Singers, Wilson Pickett, Booker T & the MG’s and dozens of others whose influence remains vital to R & B today. This museum preserves the legacy of American soul music with records, video and memorabilia.
Next, we tie the Memphis Scene all together at the Rock n’ Soul Museum; come hear the story of the greats who for the love of music, overcame racial and socio-economic barriers to create sounds that shook the world. Created by the Smithsonian Institution, Rock n‘Soul explains how Memphis is both “The Home of the Blues” and “The Birthplace of Rock ‘ Roll” – you will leave with the idea that this town was one exciting place in the 1950’s!
After this music history lesson you relax with a nice southern meal at the Blues City Café, listen to more music, and if you wish explore the other clubs on Beale Street. (B,D)
Day 3 – Memphis Music Hall of Fame – Fame Records – Swampers Dinner
In search of The Blues, you tour the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, a gem for both serious blues fans and casual visitors. Filled with robust exhibits and in-depth history, it educates and entertains with all that what is The Blues Culture. This is your introduction to some of the greatest musicians of all time – each responsible for shaping modern music and changing the world forever right here in Memphis!
Leaving Memphis where that great music started in the 50’s you travel to Alabama to learn about the Muscle Shoals Sound, and how this unlikely small town gave birth to much of that creative and defiant music of the 1960’s.
We think Muscle Shoals is the best kept secret in American Music. They have recorded #1 Hits in almost every genre. This afternoon on tour you hear about the legends, the superstars of R & B, Pop, Soul, Rock, and Country – they all recorded here.
Your first stop is the place it began – Fame Studios. Here in 1961 Rick Hall brought black and white together in Alabama’s cauldron of racial hostility to create the “Muscle Shoals Sound.” He produced hit records for Aretha Franklin, Little Richard, Wilson Pickett, Etta James, Otis Redding, the Osmonds, Jerry Reed, Alabama, Mac Davis, the Gatlin Brothers and Bono.
That list also includes: Tina Turner, Percy Sledge, the Beatles, Jet, Elton John, Sara Evans, Ronnie Milsap, BB King, Tim McGraw, the Dixie Chicks, Earl Thomas Conley, Leann Rimes, Huey Lewis, and Travis Tritt, and dozens of others. They all came looking for that ‘Muscle Shoals Sound.’
Important to this story is the word “Swampers.” It’s an affectionate nickname for the house band that played background for these superstars. Originally known as the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, these four small town musicians played with everyone in the 60’s. We believe it was Aretha who said, “if people knew the band behind this record was four white boys they would never believe it.”
Your hotel for the next two nights is Muscle Shoals Marriott, a beautiful luxury hotel (that often accommodates musicians). This hotel overlooks the Tennessee River (The River that Sings), and has two beautiful restaurants. This evening you have another great night of live music and southern food. At a restaurant known as Swampers your meal is accompanied by Muscle Shoal musicians . . . and the special appearance of a “Swamper.” (B,D)
Day 4 – Blues Breakfast – Muscle Shoals Sound Studio – Cypress Moon Studios – Revolving Restaurant
This morning starts with a Blues Breakfast at The Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Strong coffee and music gets your blood pumping as you enjoy Southern Music History. Here you will find exhibits to a pair of Local Legends, W.C. Handy and Sam Phillips. Plus other famed Alabama Musical Artists such as Nat “King” Cole, Hank Williams, and the group Alabama.
Next is the historic Muscle Shoals Sound Studio at 3614 Jackson Hwy. In 1969 the Swampers broke away from Fame Studios and opened this studio (note: Cher’s produced an album titled “3614 Jackson Hwy” here) Fame Studios survived without the Swampers and continued producing hit after hit. The Swampers were also successful and recorded Rod Stewart, Duane Allman, Boz Scaggs, Paul Simon, Lynard Skynard, Glenn Frey, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt, Bob Seger, Art Garfunkel, Sawyer Brown and The Oak Ridge Boys. It seems that everyone recorded in these two Studio’s. From 1961 thru today the World’s Greatest Musicians have been trying to capture that Muscle Shoals Sound.
Following lunch (on own) your group can tour either the W C Handy Museum & Birthplace or Ivy Green, the Helen Keller Birthplace.
Cypress Moon Studio, sitting on the bank of the Tennessee River is your last stop of the day. This studio provides you a very unique activity, as you actually sit in on a recording session. In the Studio Sound room with musicians at work, producers shouting orders, technicians working their magic. You get a chance to see how this process works. You even get a chance to record together, you will be able to harmonize and search for that special Muscle Shoals Sound, the sound that turns ‘Albums into Gold.’
Ending the day back at The Marriott, you enjoy a great dinner at the 360 Grille. This is a revolving restaurant atop the Rennaissance Tower that provides a stunning view of the city and the river, as well as a wonderful and modestly expensive dinner. There will be a moment with your meal where you actually reflect on how it’s possible that so much music came from this the small river town in Alabama. (B,D)
Day 5 – Departure.
This morning your group is on the road for home. If you wish we are happy to expand this itinerary and include Nashville. (B)
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OPTION – Nashville Add-on
Day 5 – Nashville – Troubadours Tour – Country Music Hal of Fame – Grand Ole Opry
Troubadour Music Sightseeing is an “Only in Nashville” kind of experience and brings new meaning to the phrase “Entertaining Narrative” this is sightseeing with another singer/songwriter guide. Your afternoon will include Downtown Nashville’s colorful history with drive-bys of the historic Ryman Auditorium, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Honky Tonk Row, Ernest Tubb’s Record Shop and The Bluebird Cafe. Plus, you will hear what it’s like trying to break into Nashville’s music scene, both the struggles and the victories. As an added bonus your Troubadour will perform some of his or her original songs!
Then it’s off to the Country Music Hall of Fame, the keeper of priceless Country Music Treasures. Your self-guided tour is a walk through history, one that leads you from the earliest folk traditions to the music that thrills millions of fans today. Every tour ends in the Hall of Fame Rotunda, the never-ending circle, and storied home of the inductees.
For dinner you’ll find that the most famous show in country music is now making its mark on Southern cuisine, in a new Nashville restaurant as uniquely entertaining as the Grand Ole Opry itself. Your dinner this evening is at the Backstage Grill, where country cooking and music define the menu.
Then ending the day you enjoy the Grand Ole Opry where the brightest stars are within reach. Unforgettable moments happen at the Opry every week… Moments like the night Opry legend Little Jimmy Dickens scaled a kitchen ladder to invite Trace Adkins to become an Opry member. Or the night Carrie Underwood brought down the house with her rendition of the Tammy Wynette classic, “Stand By Your Man”, or the evening Vince Gill invited jazz vocalist Diana Krall to the stage for an impromptu duet. What might happen during your show? (B,D)
Day 6 – Departure – This morning your tour ends and you depart for home. (B)
If you want even more music added to your package please take a look at our 9 Day tour, titled American Recording Studios.