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Birthplace of rock 'n' roll? Memphis has plenty of evidence to exhibit fertile musical roots

By Marjie Lambert

McClatchy Newspapers

Published: Saturday, Aug. 25 2012 3:00 p.m. MDT

Tours of Graceland are self-guided, so visitors proceed at their own pace, but most stop longest at the Jungle Room, with its waterfall, shag-carpeted walls and jungle motif; the billiard room, in which the walls and ceiling are covered with elaborately pleated print fabric; the displays of gold records and glitzy jumpsuits; and the Meditation Garden, where Elvis, his parents and other family members are buried.

If you go…

Where to eat:

Blues City Cafe, 138 Beale St., 901-526-3637, www.bluescitycafe.com. Eat while listening to live performances. Serves barbecue ribs, steaks and tamales; from $4.75 for three tamales to porterhouse steak at $15.25 a pound, minimum 2½ pounds.

Charles Vergos' Rendezvous, in the alley behind 52 S. Second St.; 901-523-2746; www.hogsfly.com. The late Charles Vergos started grilling in 1948, now his kids run the place known for its ribs. Entrees $8.95 to $19.75.

The Pig on Beale, 167 Beale St.; 901-529-1544; pigonbeale.com. "Pig with an attitude," hickory-smoked on the premises. Entrees $9-$35.

Cockadoos, 85 S. Second St.; 901-590-0610; www.cockadoos.com. Some people say Cockadoos has the best breakfast in town: catfish and grits ($8.99), French toast with peanut butter and bananas ($7.99), and an omelet made with pulled pork ($7.99); lunch served as well.

What to do:

Graceland, 3765 Elvis Presley Blvd.; 901-332-3322 or 800-238-2000; www.elvis.com/graceland. Open daily; basic tour $32; tour plus access to Presley's airplanes and auto museum $36. A highlight this year is three new exhibits with some artifacts that have never been publicly displayed: "Icon: The Influence of Elvis Presley," which celebrates his status as a musical pioneer; "Elvis Through His Daughter's Eyes," which explores Lisa Marie's childhood at Graceland and her relationship with her father; and "Elvis on Tour," featuring the documentary of the same name about his tour in April 1972.

Stax Museum of American Soul Music, 926 E. McClemore Ave.; 888-942-7685; www.staxmuseum.com. Open daily. Admission: $12 for adults; $8 for children 9-12; under 9 with adult, free.

Sun Studio, 706 Union Ave.; 901-521-0664 or 800-441-6249; www.sunstudio.com. Open daily; studio tour is $12.

Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, 191 Beale St.; 901-205-2533; memphisrocknsoul.org/. Admission: adults $11; youth 5-17 $8.

Gibson Guitar Factory, 145 Lt. George Lee Ave.; 901-544-7998, ext. 4075; www.gibson.com. Tours daily; $10.

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