About Backbeat Tours
Backbeat Tours is a small business formed in 2006 by author and historian Bill Patton. “We wanted to change the whole nature of sightseeing tours,” says Patton. “Our goal has always been to give visitors and locals alike not simply a traditional tour with stories, dates, and a lot of talk, but a unique and special interactive experience they’ll never forget, something that truly brings Memphis to life.”
Memphis has a compelling local history which has influenced and shaped popular culture to a degree far beyond other cities of comparable size. At Backbeat Tours, we believe that the best way to show that is through music, story, and fun.
Bill Patton is the author of The Guide to Historic Downtown Memphis and A History Lover’s Guide to Memphis & Shelby County, both for the History Press. He has always loved Memphis’ creative entrepreneurial spirit and dreamed of offering tours that would capture that spirit. The opportunity opened up for him in 2006 when he met three well-known Memphis entertainers who supported his vision for music tours led by real musicians. Papa Don McMinn (“The Pale Prince of Beale Street”), Eddie Harrison (former Stax musician and performer of the Billboard Top 100 Single “Your Eyes May Shine”), and Gary Hardy (former owner and chief engineer at Sun Studio) were the original entertainers for Backbeat Tours Memphis. Their combined knowledge of the Memphis music industry from the 1950s to today allowed us to craft truly unique and exceptional tours.
Backbeat Tours has grown quickly over the years and is now rated as one of Memphis’ top attractions. Growth hasn’t stopped us, though, from holding on to our personal touch. We’re a little family, and the satisfaction of our customers and our employees are our number one priority.