Great River Road 27 - Beale Street, Memphis, TN

Beale Street. If I have to explain it, you probably won’t understand it.

When I was walking in Memphis

I was walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale.Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn

Roll Call

Carl Perkins.

Jerry Lee Louis.

Johnny Cash.

BB King.

WC Handy.

Al Green.


Roy Orbison.

Ike Turner.

Do you have some of these names on your playlist? Then you have an inkling of what Beale Street is about.

Like the Alamo

If you’ve been to the Alamo you know the reaction when legend meets reality; you expect it to be bigger.

Beale Street in Memphis comprises roughly 2.5 blocks of mostly restaurants, music clubs and stores. 

You can walk it in 10 minutes - but if you set out to listen to the music it’s launched into our modern culture you’d probably need a year.

A Sunday Noon

We walked to Beale Street from the Peabody on a late Sunday morning. The streets weren’t busy but most places were open.

We found a place to both sit outside in the warm sun and get some BBQ. While we were waiting for our food a blues band struck up in the bandshell across the street. I’ll take blues and BBQ for church any day.

Frenchman not Bourbon

My gut feeling is that on a weekend night Beale Street isn’t the drunken tawdriness of Bourbon Street in New Orleans, but more like nearby Frenchman Street.

Yes, alcohol and some rowdiness, but mostly people there to enjoy the music.

WC Handy

WC Handy

Club Handy

Club Handy

Elvis's Note on the Walk of Fame

Elvis's Note on the Walk of Fame

Sign on Beale Street

Sign on Beale Street

The King

The King

Sticker-tagging was everywhere.

Sticker-tagging was everywhere.

Walking in Memphis

Walking in Memphis

Put in My Place

I consider myself a pretty knowledgeable Blues fan.

At least, I did.

Walking along Beale Street and reading the names of the people and bands featured there, I knew very few of them.

Apparently, I have some more listening to do.

Have You Been?

Have you been to Beale Street? Hear any good music?

2 Comments Great River Road 27 - Beale Street, Memphis, TN

  1. Picture of Anne Anne November 12, 2015

    My husband and I were in Memphis at the end of last May. “Memphis in May” was going on and we hit the last weekend, so Beale was packed with people at night, crowds so thick it was difficult to move around, but so much fun. We didn’t have to pay to see live music, either, thanks to street performers. we also caught an air show and a great fireworks display.

  2. Picture of Michael Boyink Michael Boyink November 13, 2015

    Sounds like a great time! I’m bummed we didn’t get to hear much live music during our time in Memphis - we’ll definitely be back!

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