The 1991 hit tune "Walking in Memphis" initially by singer and songwriter Marc Cohn poetically recalls his very first visit come Memphis—the taproot for few of histreasured, prominent musicians like Al Green, Elvis Presley, and Isaac Hayes.

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The tune embodies a many the spirit and also character the the city. If you"re passing v or spending leisure time in town, lines from the song point out great things around Memphis and some potential sightseeing spots.

The motivation for the tune

The story goes that Cohn was having actually a dry spell coming up v his signature music and also lyrics. The was influenced by masterful singer and also songwriter James Taylor who had said that he broke his writer"s block by going what he"d never been and then obtained inspiration from that experience. Memphis was just the ar for Cohn.

As you discover from the song, Cohn walk touristy things like visited Graceland but also asked friends for an ext obscure, off-the-beaten-path suggestions, which led to a visit come the complete Gospel Tabernacle Church and also the Hollywood cafe in Robinsonville, Mississippi.


"Blue Suede Shoes," stated in the song, was tape-recorded at sun Studio.Raymond Boyd/Getty Images 

referrals to Elvis and Sightseeing clues

Cohn makes fairly a few references in the lyrics around Elvis. Cohn says he regrets this in hindsight because the tune was not expected as one homage to Elvis. He composed the song as an embodiment the his experience in the city together a whole. Take it a look at the Elvis mentions and also some areas you could want to examine out throughout a visit come Memphis.

Union Avenue:The referral to the "Ghost the Elvis top top Union Avenue" to be timely as soon as Cohn composed the song. Once Cohn saw Memphis in 1986, Elvis had been dead ripe years. At the time, there had been numerous conspiracy theories swirling about Elvis, consisting of that he or his ghost has actually been sighted about the world. Union avenue is a significant thoroughfare for car traffic in Memphis that leads to Graceland.There is a misconception the the street is named after the Union Army. It to be actually called in recommendation to the unification of different areas of the city early in Memphis" formation.Graceland: Cohn mentions the "gates the Graceland" and also Elvis" "tomb." Graceland to be the mansion that was Elvis Presley"s home and today isopen because that visitorsfrom about the world. That is likewise whereElvis is buried. The gates of the property have a distinctive metal architecture with music notes and guitar players. One of the much more famous rooms in Graceland, the Hawaiian-styled "Jungle Room" is well-known for the deep environment-friendly shag carpet and tropical decor including carved wooden furniture. Also, this room offered as one of Elvis" last audio record rooms.

The song refers to Beale Street, "Home that the Blues" in Memphis, Tennessee. Douglas Sacha/Getty photos

recommendations to Blues Music and also Sightseeing spots

Memphis is described in the track as the "land that the Delta Blues." Delta blues is a format of blues music that originated in the Mississippi Delta in the beforehand 1900s. Memphis is generally thought about the northern boundary of this geographic area. You can visit the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi, about 75 miles south of Memphis.

recommendations to Gospel Music and Sightseeing spots

The Reverend Al eco-friendly is called in Cohn"s song, too. Green is a Memphis-based soul singer and songwriter who later on recorded gospel music and became one ordained minister. This Rock and also Roll room of Famer to be a major influence for Cohn.

Full Gospel Tabernacle Church: Cohn to be told if he wanted to get the full gospel experience in Memphis he need to visit the full Gospel Tabernacle Church led by among his favourite rhythm and also blues singers, the Reverend Al Green. The church is still run by Green, and also he sometimes will lead a service. Don’t bother calling to watch if eco-friendly is going come be current for any specific service—the church i will not ~ tell you, often because they’re not sure themselves. Sunday morning services start late, at 11:30 a.m. Visitors are welcome.The Hollywood Cafe: "Muriel at the Hollywood" is a reference to a tiny southern food greasy spoon in Robinsonville, Mississippi, about 30 miles southern of Memphis, where a gospel singer called Muriel performed frequently. There"s much more to this story, however the an easy rundown is a friend recommended that he examine out this retired institution teacher. That did, got on stage, and played along also though the 2 didn"t re-superstructure a typical songbook.

In "Walking in Memphis," the songculminates v theiconic lyric, ""Tell me are you a Christian, child?" and I said, "Ma"am, ns am tonight!"" the night Cohn, who was born Jewish, did not become a Christian or born again but implies he had actually a "come come Jesus" moment when the performed v Muriel on stage at the Hollywood Cafe.

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full Lyrics for "Walking in Memphis"

"Walking in Memphis" through Cohn got to No. 13 in 1991 ~ above theBillboardHot 100chart. That is the just top 40 hit for Cohn. "Walking in Memphis" has due to the fact that been remade number of times, notably in 1995 byCher, and also in 2003 byLonestar.

Put on my blue suede shoesAnd i boarded the planeTouched down in the floor of the Delta BluesIn the center of the pouring rainW.C. Handy, won"t friend look under over meYeah, I gained a an initial class ticketBut I"m as blue as a boy deserve to be

Then I"m wade in MemphisWalking with my feet ten feet off of BealeWalking in MemphisBut perform I really feel the way I feel?

Saw the ghost that ElvisOn Union AvenueFollowed him approximately the gates of GracelandThen i watched him walk best throughNow protection they walk not see himThey simply hovered "round his tombBut there"s a pretty little thingWaiting because that the KingDown in the jungle Room

When i was walking in MemphisI to be walking through my feet ten feet turn off of BealeWalking in MemphisBut execute I really feel the means I feel?

They"ve got catfish top top the tableThey"ve obtained gospel in the airAnd Reverend eco-friendly be happy to check out youWhen girlfriend haven"t gained a prayerBut, boy, you"ve acquired a prayer in Memphis

Now Muriel dram pianoEvery Friday at the HollywoodAnd they brought me down to watch herAnd castle asked me if i wouldDo a small numberAnd ns sang with all my mightShe said"Tell me room you a Christian child?"And I claimed "Ma"am, i am tonight"

Walking in Memphis(Walking in Memphis)Was walking with my feet ten feet turn off of BealeWalking in Memphis(Walking in Memphis)But perform I really feeling the way I feel?

Walking in Memphis(Walking in Memphis)I was walking through my feet ten feet turn off of BealeWalking in Memphis(Walking in Memphis)But perform I really feel the means I feel?

Put on my blue suede shoesAnd i boarded the planeTouched under in the soil of the Delta BluesIn the middle of the putting rainTouched down in the land of the Delta BluesIn the middle of the putting rain