Most people do not really realize what a huge impact that music from Memphis has had on the sounds that are heard on the radio today. Although many people have heard of Jay Z, Bruce Springsteen and various rhythm and blues artists, few know that without people like W.C. Handy, B.B. King and Memphis Minnie the modern music we know today would not be nearly the same. In fact, music from Memphis has arguably had more of an impact on popular music than any other genre.
This is because the soulful sounds that define music from Memphis were created by the founding fathers of the sound. Without W.C. Handy, it is possible that the syncopated rhythms that his music was comprised of would have never been created. Out of all of the music from Memphis that was created during the early to mid 20th century, W.C. Handy probably created the most important. This is probably why Bruce Springsteen mentioned him in the song Walking in Memphis, asking him to watch out over him as he walked along Beale Street. The fact that Springsteen wrote the song nearly 30 years after his music from Memphis giant died just goes to show how influential the artist really was.
Beale Street was where most of the music from Memphis was created. The musicians of the time used to sit along Beale Street, blowing into their jugs to make a sound similar to that of a bass guitar, strumming washboards to add a unique tone to the music from Memphis. People would walk by, sometimes throwing money into the open guitar cases (when the musicians could afford one).
It was not until Sun Records took notice of the music from Memphis that it really took off and became popular throughout the United States. Instead of being confined to Beale Street and the Memphis region, music from Memphis was being played at school dances and in the kitchens of housewives as they made dinner nationwide. Soon, everyone was familiar with music from Memphis and the musicians that made the music. Today, B.B. King is still alive and touring, just as popular as he has ever been. Pop artists fight to work with him in the studio; many want him as a mentor. New music from Memphis was highly sought after by the people at Sun Records, and many of the artists began to cut albums with Sun.