A Musical Tour of the U.S.A.
Hire a drop-trop Mustang, stick “Life Is a Highway” on the stereo and head off on a musical tour of the U.S.A., taking in everything from east coast hip hop to N’walins jazz along the way.
NYC Hip Hop Tour, New York
Offering a ‘hip hop look at New York’, Hush Tours hosts a variety of trips throughout New York City, including Brooklyn, Harlem and Manhattan. As well as visiting hip hop landmarks (Jay-Z’s childhood hangout the Marcy Projects, the Apollo Theatre) and learning about the rap culture which came from each area, you get a chance to rub shoulders with some hip hop legends who host the tours, including Grandmaster Caz and Kurtis Blow. BYO Kangol hat and fat chain.
Where to stay in Memphis: The St. Regis New York Hotel
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland
Based in Cleveland, Ohio, the name of the museum is a little misleading as it covers all genres of music, from big stadium rock to smoooove R‘n’B. The Hall of Fame boasts tons of permanent exhibits, including sections on The Beatles, One Hit Wonders and Cities and Sounds, which looks at the bands and music that emerged from different parts of world. Well worth the visit is the Inductee Gallery, which combines film footage, music and interviews with the 279 members (this year’s inductees include Donna Summer, Heart, Randy Newman and Public Enemy).
Where to stay in Memphis: Renaissance Cleveland Hotel
Motown Museum, Detroit
Detroit is not called ‘Hitsville U.S.A.’ for nothing: since it was established in 1959, Berry Gordy’s Motown Records has produced for such musical luminaries as The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, The Temptations, Four Tops, Marvin Gaye and… erm, Bruce Willis. The museum is situated in the original building where artists came to make recording history. One of the most popular exhibits is Studio A, where you can sing a few bars of your favourite song (no pressure). Also make a beeline for the Gallery, which has a ton of memorabilia including old album covers, photos and a certain singer’s sequinned glove.
Where to stay in Memphis: The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit
No musical tour of the States is complete without Graceland, the family home, museum and gravesite of the legendary Elvis Presley. Thousands make the trip to Memphis to see where ‘The King’ lived, dined and died, with the 14 acre estate now a U.S. Historic Landmark. As well as his grave, visitors can take an audio tour where they can see exhibits on his shiny wardrobe, numerous awards and gold records.
Where to stay in Memphis: Peabody Hotel Memphis
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, New Orleans
New Orleans is the spiritual home of jazz and every year it hosts the country’s biggest music festival, the Jazz and Heritage Festival. This year’s edition runs from April 26 to May 5 and features performances from a virtual who’s who of the genre and its influences, including B.B. King, Billy Joel, Frank Ocean, Willie Nelson and Jimmy Cliff. But don’t stress if you’re not in town for the fun. Jazz is a year-round pursuit in the Big Easy and the best places to hear all that jazz include Preservation Hall and French Quarter Bar.
Where to stay in Memphis: The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel