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The Rock-itt : September 2011
Memphis is a city in the U.S. state of Tennessee, in the mid south of the country, on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River. W ith a population of 650,000 it is the 20th largest city in the United States. Many songs have been written about Memphis. It’s name might be in the title (Walking in Memphis by Mark Cohn or Memphis Tennessee by Chuck Berry) or references are m ade to Mem phis in the lyrics of songs by Paul Simon (Graceland), Creedence Clearwater Revival (Proud Mary), The Rolling Stones (Honky Tonk Women) & U2 (Pride, in the name of Love) to name a few. When you realise how much great music has been made in Memphis, by so many legendary musicians, it’s no wonder songs have been written about it and the very m ention of its name brings delight to many and even a reverenc e to others because so much of the history of rock music can be traced back to Memphis. Many renowned musicians grew up in and around Memphis including Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Muddy Waters, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Robert Johnson, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. Jones and the Rev. Al Green. In addition to these, other greats such as Roy Orbison, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes and Sam & Dave all got their start in Memphis in the 1950s/60s. All of these performers at one tim e or another performed in the bars and juke joints of Beale Street. Beale Street used to be the centre of the Black community but as the popularity of the music and musicians it spawned spread throughout the USA and the world, it has become a national historical landmark. Every night of the week, into the wee sm all hours of the morning blues, rock, soul and boogie music can be heard in the many venues lining the famous street. Not far from Beale Street on Union Avenue stands the world famous Sun Studio, the most seminal recording studio in American popular music. Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Roy Orbison all made their first recordings there and were "discovered" by Sun Studio owner and record producer Sam Phillips. Many great blues artists recorded there prior to that as well. Sun Studio now contains a museum but its still-functioning and operating studio has seen others such as BB King, Def Leppard, U2, Maroon 5, Matchbox 20, Tom Petty, Ringo Starr, Henry Rollins and Paul Simon record at the famous studio. With John McGee Beale Street, Memphis, so many shops, bars and places to eat A great place for blues, beer and gumbo A paddle steamer on the Mississippi