They are the two greatest cities in the history of rock'n'roll. And now Liverpool and Memphis, Tennessee, are twinning for 2004. The American city - known as the birthplace of rock 'n' roll - will team up with the capital of pop for a year of celebrations. Next year marks half a century since Elvis Presley cut his first record, That's All Right, at the legendary Sun Studio on July 5,1954.
His influence on two Liverpool schoolboys, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, is well documented with the band playing a secret gig in Presley's Bel Air home in 1965. Lennon said that The King was the only person in the US he really wanted to meet. Highlights of the year will be the Summer Pops season and the Mathew Street Festival.
Jerry Goldman, director of the Fingerprints of Elvis museum in Liverpool's Albert Dock, said: "I heard that Memphis was celebrating 50 years of rock'n' roll next year so I contacted the tourism leader over there and said "there was more than one city so affected with rock'n'roll". "We are now planning a whole host of celebrations for the partnership."
Kevin Kane, president of the Memphis Convention and Visitor Centre, said: "Memphis and Liverpool had more impact on the development of rock'n'roll than just about any other community in the world and are obvious choices to lead in this celebration." The council is looking at ways to celebrate, including sending children to America to learn about its culture.
Sue Woodward, creative director of Liverpool's Capital of Culture programme, said: "Music is a major part of Liverpool's culture. Twinning with Memphis will further raise the city's profile and provides an opportunity for the people of Liverpool to find out more about America."
Like Liverpool with John Lennon Day they have days dedicated to musical heroes. Elvis Presley Day is January.