Experiences

A Short History of Mississippi Music

Regarded as the birthplace of the blues, Mississippi is rich in American music history. Mississippi also has put its stamp on a variety of other music genres, influencing jazz, country, rock and roll, and gospel. While here, visitors can immerse themselves in Mississippi’s music culture by visiting historical music sites, musical festivals, and museums celebrating music in Mississippi. Visit Mississippi briefly discusses our state’s place in music history and where you can enjoy the beautiful sounds of the Magnolia State.

Mississippi’s Influence on American Music History

As residents of the Mississippi Delta left their homes in search of a better life during the Great Migration, they carried with them the sweet sound of the blues. Before Elvis left to make a name for himself as an international superstar, he was a young man from Tupelo. The proclaimed queen of country music Tammy Wynette was born in the tiny northeastern Mississippi town of Tremont. These are just a couple examples of Mississippi legends that helped cement the state’s place in American music history. More examples can be found throughout the state. Other places in Mississippi to visit with musical roots include:

Greenwood

Located in the heart of the Delta, Greenwood has found itself on the pages of many different American history books. This small town has made a major impact on Mississippi’s music history. It was here that Robert Johnson made blues music that would eventually give prominence to rock and roll. It also is where the world first heard Howlin’ Wolf’s famous vocals and where he wrote “Smokestack Lightning.”

Travelers who want to learn more about Greenwood’s music culture can do so by visiting the Greenwood Blues Heritage Museum & Gallery. This museum is dedicated to the lives and legacies of the influential musicians who called this small town their home. Featured throughout the museum are exhibits, photographs, and memorabilia for guests to appreciate.

Indianola

Just a few minutes away from Greenwood is Indianola, the home of blues legend B.B. King. It also is home to the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center, a state-of-the-art-facility that tells the story of the blues legend’s life, career, and legacy. Connect with King’s music like never before as you also learn about the region’s complex history and culture, which helped mold the star into the iconic bluesman he became.

Tupelo

Guests can tour the childhood home of Elvis Presley, the undisputed King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, who is arguably Mississippi’s most famous son. Visitors can marvel at a statue of Presley as a boy outside the home and tour the humble two-room shotgun house built by Presley’s father. Guests also can see the actual building where Presley and his family attended church services, as the building has been moved from its original location to where it now resides at the Elvis Presley Birthplace museum.

Ways to Enjoy Mississippi Music

Besides historical sites, travelers visiting Mississippi also have numerous opportunities to enjoy the unique and iconic sounds made famous in this part of the country firsthand. Attractions in Mississippi include:

  • Live music: The best way to truly appreciate Mississippi music is to hear it for yourself. Mississippi is packed with live music venues and festivals that offer great opportunities to hear our famous sound in person.
  • Mississippi Blues Trail: Created by the Mississippi Blues Commission in 2006, this unique musical journey features interpretive markers located at the most notable historical sites related to the birth, growth, and influence of the blues throughout the state of Mississippi. Blues fans will love the Mississippi Blues Trail.
  • Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience: Where education meets entertainment, the Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience is a one-of-a-kind museum that highlights Mississippi artists and celebrates their contributions to music history.

Plan Your Next Trip to Experience the Famous Sounds of Mississippi

Guests looking to dive into Mississippi’s musical culture can do so in a variety of ways. Visit Mississippi is here to help you plan your next trip to Mississippi by offering suggestions on how you can experience Mississippi music. We also can recommend unique lodging options, wonderful places to eat, and other points of interest to enhance your visit. To learn more about the famous sound and soul of Mississippi music, please contact us today.