Friday, January 19, 2007

Memphis Celebrates 50 Years of Soul

Long a cultural and economic nexus, Memphis has an intriguing history as a crossroads for American musical genres. Blues, gospel, country, jazz, R&B and rock 'n' roll have all played a part in creating its compelling legacy. However, in 2007 it is the sweet sounds of soul music that will officially take center stage as "Memphis Celebrates 50 Years of Soul." For an entire year, the city that helped put soul on the map will engage visitors with sights, sounds, attractions and events inspired by one of the world's most universally beloved styles of music.

Turning back the clock to 1957 we can see the beginnings of soul music in the recordings of artists such as Ray Charles, Sam Cooke and others. At the same time in Memphis, seminal soul label Stax Records was just beginning. Eventually occupying an old movie theatre on the corner of McLemore Ave. and College St., the studio tapped into a wellspring of talent in this racially diverse area to create music that broke through stylistic and cultural barriers.

The talent showcased through Stax and other local labels, such as Willie Mitchell's Hi Records, includes some of the most revered artists in American music. Otis Redding, Al Green, Booker T. & The MG's, Sam & Dave, Rufus and Carla Thomas, The Staple Singers, Wilson Pickett and Isaac Hayes are a just a sampling of the artists who contributed to the city's soul heritage.

Honoring the 50th anniversary of legendary Stax Records and Royal Studio, the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau is once again highlighting Memphis's unique and rich musical heritage with a comprehensive marketing and public relations campaign for 2007: Memphis Celebrates 50 Years of Soul.

The campaign will combine national and international public relations events; television, print and interactive advertising; and collaborative efforts among the Memphis business community to generate tourism events, impact the local economy and enhance the image of Memphis as one of the premiere music destinations in the world.

For more information on all that's happening in the Year of Soul, go to www.MemphisSoul50.com.

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