RIP Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: The Lorraine Motel’s Connection to Soul

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King was born on January 15, 1929 and assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968.

In the mid-1960s the Lorraine Motel was a popular hangout for a variety of soul musicians and artists.
The Lorraine’s proprietor Walter Bailey welcomed musicians like Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Mable John and numerous songwriters and singers from Stax Records at the motel.

According to Rob Bowman’s Soulsville U.S.A., the musicians at Stax would regularly leave the studio and drink at The Lorraine, because the Stax studios did not have air conditioning.


The Lorraine Motel
The Lorraine Motel

The motel was one of the few establishments in the racially charged climate of Memphis in the early 1960’s that catered to both black and whites.

In fact Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper co-wrote songs like “Things Get Better” and “Knock On Wood” at the Lorraine Motel.

A sniper’s bullet cut Dr. King down as he stood on the balcony in front of room 306.

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