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Memphis Tennessee

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Rating: 4.3 Stars4.3 Stars4.3 Stars4.3 Stars4.3 Stars
Words & Music: Chuck Berry
Long distance information give me Memphis, Tennessee
Help me find the party trying to get in touch with me
She could not leave her number but I know who placed the call
My uncle took the message and he wrote it on the wall

Help me information to get in touch with my Marie
She's the only one who'd phone me here from Memphis, Tennessee
Her home is on the southside, high upon a ridge
Just a half a mile from the Mississippi bridge

Help me information more than that I cannot add
Only that I miss her and all the fun we had
But we were pulled apart because her mom did not agree
Tore apart our happy home in Memphis, Tennessee

The last time I saw Marie she was waving me goodbye
With hurry home drops on her cheek that trickled from her eye
Marie is only six years old, Information please
Try to put me through to her in Memphis, Tennessee
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Recorded: 1964/01/12, first released on Elvis for Everyone

Reactions

ElvisSacramento (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 20, 2013report abuse
I've always loved the renditions of this classic song by Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Johnny Rivers equally. Elvis should have sung this song at all of his Memphis concerts. Elvis sang this song at just a few of his 1970's concerts, but not at any of his Memphis concerts.
lsp2231 (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 19, 2013report abuse
I like the dynamic instrumentation and fast tempo on Elvis '64 master, but I prefer his singing on the '63 version. As for Chuck Berry, I think he was a dreadful singer. So, yeah, I still prefer Elvis' versions to the original. He did actually perform Memphis Tennessee live in 1973 - I think.
kink56 (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 19, 2013report abuse
I love this version. And I really like the Elvis For Everyone album. I marveled at how much Elvis' voice differed from song to song.
cookingfat (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 19, 2013report abuse
From a favourite album even though it was a hotchpotch of left overs.Seems that only fans are aware how good this track is now as it rarely gets a play on the radio.
sugartummy (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 12, 2013report abuse
If Elvis would've recorded this after his divorce, it would've regarded a highly personal song. Even the name and age of his daughter would've fit. I always liked this one. Great guitar too.
Gorse (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 1, 2012report abuse
I always liked the earthy Chuck Berry version, and Elvis did the song proud in both the 1963 and 1964 sessions.Yes it should have been issued as a single in 1963/64 and would have definitely sold a few million copies. Take 1 in the '63 sessions is the one most close to Chuck's recording.
Great Dane (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 24, 2012report abuse
Love it. Love the bass, the guitar, his voice. 5 stars.
Deke Rivers 6 (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 24, 2012report abuse
Another good track that has gone mostly unplayed over the years. Every time I tune to gold station's they are playing "Devil In Disguise" ?
Dan08 (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 24, 2012report abuse
Love it! ;)
OtisBlue22 (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 13, 2011report abuse
The movie Jailhouse Rock proved to be prophetic in a number of ways. Just as Mickey Alba stole Vince's version of 'Don't Leave Me Now', so Johnny River stole Elvis' arrangement of 'Memphis'. There's a line in that movie, something along these lines: "in prison they'll steal from ya, but they have too much honour to pretend that they made it themselves."
Deano1 (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 14, 2010report abuse
I just don't care for this song whether it is Chuck Berry or Elvis singing it (I can't stand the sound of Johnny Rivers' voice and I don't like any song sung by him). Elvis' version has odd instrumentation and an uneven tempo and Elvis for one of the few times fails to bring it together. I like most of the movie soundtracks songs better than this one and I would put it in the bottom 50 of Elvis' tracks. The LP on which this song appeared ("Elvis For Everyone") was an odd album, that was originally supposed to be a 10th Anniversary Album to celebrate Elvis' time with RCA. The album took unreleased songs from different years and kind of gave a retrospective of his career to that point. The problem is that they tried to pawn it off as a new album and they should have made it a two record set, added some B-sides, maybe a couple of hits, included the "Elvis Sails" interview and maybe even a post Army interview and made it a gatefold cover. This would have been a real anniversary LP. A missed opportunity.
tornado (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 14, 2010report abuse
I discovered Memphis Tennessee on the Album Elvis For Everyone in 1965 and it was such a wonderful shock.Wow, what's that! I couldn't believe my ears. Funny how people judge things from a remote period afterward. You see, this great studio version was done in 1963 and for the time it was very creative. So it's a 60's pre-Beatles sound. Let's not compared decades here: it's unfair. Johnny B.Goode was 1969: a live and in a totally different context, same with Promised Land in 1973. It took me a while to really to understand the context of the lyrics: a divorcee father who tries to reach his 6 years old daughter on a long distance call in Memphis, Elvis's rendition makes it believable he's almost begging not demanding here and Elvis could carry that kind of nuances in emotion. And the drum beat à la Sing Sing Sing; superb. I like especially take 5 because the running bass of Bob Moore is so strong. Certainly one of the underated songs from the 60's, that could remind everybody that Elvis From Harum Scarum to Clambake could still rock.
dgirl (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 14, 2010report abuse
Decent but not great. Both the Berry & Rivers version have better arrangements. Rivers version rocks the way the song should rock. The tempo in the Elvis version is too fast and the whole thing sounds kind of subdued and not really genuine. It should have been much better, but still could have been a hit had it come out before Rivers. As for the LP, it was the first thrown together LP just to get a product out. Some great tracks, some really medicore ones and all recorded at different times. As early as 1965 (a very banner year for music & LPs) , the label was already treating him with no respect.
JLpResLey (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 14, 2010report abuse
A good song obviously. I think Elvis covered Chuck Berry better with both Johnny B Goode and Promised Land. This version is decent but I don´t think it´s something special. Yes, I agree it would have been interesting to hear him sing this in the seventies. One time would have been better than any other - The Memphis show in 1974! I´m sure we would have a pretty spectacular live version if he had done that
Jim Hoff (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 19, 2008report abuse
Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley should be a dynamite combination - and looking back at songs like Johnny B. Good and Promised Land it really was. The Memphis song - in my opinion - should have been recorded away from the usual A-Team in Nashville - in fact it should have been recorded in Memphis with some of the rock/blues-guys from Beale Street!
Steve Morse (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 19, 2008report abuse
An unusual arrangement, particularly the drums, make this recording stand out from the crowd. I like Elvis's 'strained' voice approach and I prefer the original 1964 master to the 1963 version. For me, too, it still has echoes of Elvis For Everyone, the latter being something of an oasis in a desert of routine soundtrack albums in the mid-60's. I love it and it would have made a great single at the time or in the early years after Elvis's death.
bajo (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 10, 2008report abuse
I think that the released version of Memphis, which is the '64 version, could have feared very well in those days. Many of the May '63 and January '64 recordings ended up as B-sides to movie singles. I can't see why Memphis wouldn't have done well as at least a B-side on one of those singles.
I've always figured Memphis cw It Hurts Me as a smash!
Ruthie (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 10, 2008report abuse
Certainly not the best song but far from being one of the worst in my humble opinion. I think the guitar work is sloppy which affected the song but, otherwise, it really gets the old body moving! It gets my vote. Besides, I also think of it everytime I visit Memphis. Usually, most songs have certain meanings to different people. That doesn't make a song good or bad.
Monster (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 10, 2008report abuse
Yeah, I could never quite get into this song. The 'feel' isn't right on it, even the 1964 version. It just doesn't rock enough I think. Would have been a great one to hear in the early seventies though but Elvis sounds just a little bit to whiny on this one and I don't think the song worked for him unfortunately.
marty (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 10, 2008report abuse
Elvis was obviously was struggling to get the right 'feel' on the song. That's why he decided to re-record it in '64. Remember that Elvis almost never re-recorded any of his songs (exceptions being 'When It Rain's It Really Pours', 'Blue Suede Shoes', 'Love Letters' and a couple others). Still Elvis version is better than Johnny Rivers's who reportedly somehow heard Elvis version and actually copied it (Johnny's version made it to no1). To my opinion 'Memphis, Tennessee' is a much better song and performance than what he typically recorded for the movies during that period. But he could have done even better!
JerryNodak (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 10, 2008report abuse
Elvis had his '63 and '64 versions in the can before Johnny Rivers ever recorded his. If Elvis had INSISTED that it be released as a single NOW it would have been. He was indecisive. Big hit? My ears have never been convinced. There's something that I've never quite liked about it. Perhaps as Steve V points out it's the too fast tempo. Good song. Professional performance. But nothing special to my ears.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 10, 2008report abuse
Elvis recorded this in 1963. Should have been a follow-up to Devil In Disguise but we had to sell another movie. Too bad, would have been a hit before Johhny River's version in 1964 came along. I like Chuck Berry's arrangement on this a bit more. Elvis's is a bit too fast but still a great track.
Natha (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 10, 2008report abuse
The Elvis For Everyone album was also my first LP. It took quite some saving, but it was worth it! Memphis Tennessee is such a great song on this. It would have been great if Elvis has sung this once in a while live in the seventies. One of those few songs of which the original competes with the Elvis version.
Ton Bruins (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 10, 2008report abuse
Like this song ! Long distance information , give me Memphis Tennessee...special meaning for me this song. Everytime I am in Memphis I have this song on my I-pod...!!
My boy, my boy (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 10, 2008report abuse
Nice song, but nothing to write home about....in Memphis Tennessee...(That was too easy !) :p
old shep (profilecontact) wrote on May 7, 2008report abuse
I much prefer Chuck Berry's original Memphis, but the Elvis For Everyone album I first bought in 1965 brings back some good memories particularly this track.So I'll give it "five"

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