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July 13

Marc Cohn Shares His Autobiography in “Walking in Memphis”

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About the Song

Recorded in 1990, “Walking in Memphis” is an original folk rock composed and first performed by American singer-songwriter Marc Cohn. It has been notably remade a number of times with the Goddess of Pop Cher popularizing it in 1995, and American country music group Lonestar in 2003. It was officially released in March 1991 and was reissued after three months on Jun 24. Aside from writing the song, Cohn co-produced it with good friend Ben Wisch for Atlantic Records.

Moreover, this four-minute song was a chart-topper in 1991 – 1992. To note, it entered four Billboard charts in the U.S. It reached its highest at no. 7 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks. In addition, it peaked at no. 12 on the Adult Contemporary chart, no. 13 on the Hot 100, and no. 74 on the Hot Country Songs. Furthermore, “Walking in Memphis” also penetrated music charts in seven other countries.

Marc Cohn Shares His Autobiography in "Walking in Memphis" 1
Marc Cohn |Photo Credits: kingcenter.com

Cohn’s Inspiration

Considered as his signature song to date, “Walking in Memphis” is actually Marc Cohn’s autobiography in a song. In fact, Cohn admitted that the song is “100% autobiographical.” Cohn wrote the song after his travel to the city of Memphis in Tennessee. He checked out Graceland, a famous tourist destination where Elvis Presley‘s mansion is located. Initially, his plan was only to witness Al Green preach the gospel. However, it was his trip out of Memphis along Highway 61 where his story mainly focused.

Additionally, Cohn described himself in the song as “a Jewish gospel-music-lover.” He further said:

“a pretty literal transcription of a visit I made … in 1986. I went to Graceland, I heard Al Green preach the gospel, I saw W. C. Handy’s statue. But the song is about more than just a place, it’s about a kind of spiritual awakening, one of those trips where you’re different when you leave.”

WATCH and listen to Marc Cohn’s signature song, “Walking in Memphis”.

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