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50 Greatest City, State, And Town Songs – #41: “Walking In Memphis” by Lonestar

April 9, 2008

Greatest Hits50 Greatest City, State, And Town Songs: #41

“Walking In Memphis” by Lonestar

Album: “From There To Here: Greatest Hits”

Chart Peak: #8

City, State, or Town: Memphis, Tennessee

What became the definitive hit for Mark Cohn and a huge cover hit for Cher would also become a top 10 hit for Lonestar in 2003. Probably one of the most memorable and well written songs that a person could think of these days, “Walking In Memphis” surrounds the significance of the Tennessee city as an aspiring singer wanders through different aspects of the area. Written through the personal experiences of Mark Cohn, “Walking In Memphis” has become a popular tribute to the aspiring musical artist.

The story behind this wonderful song describes the life changing experience that Mark Cohn had in the city of Memphis as a young artist. It begins by referring to Elvis and “Blue Suede Shoes” to set the mood as a man board a plane and lands in Memphis. W.C. Handy was considered an icon in the world of the blues and thus the character in the song asks him to watch over him as he follows in the footsteps of Elvis in an attempt to make his big break. In the second verse the man visits Graceland where he and he alone sees Elvis in his legendary home. Finally the story concludes when the singer gets his big break singing for Muriel who plays piano at the Hollywood in Mississippi. Although Cohn was in fact Jewish, when asked if he was a Christian he explained “Ma’m I Am Tonight” in the joy of getting an opportunity on stage.

The bridge is meant to explain the intellectual and bodily instincts through blues metaphors and to set the basic scene of peace and opportunity in Memphis. The reference to Reverend Green is meant to refer to Al Green whom played a huge part in inspiring Cohn. The final aspect of the song is the chorus which shows the singers basic desire to make it and his hopes that being in such a musical city will help him achieve that greatness. This song put Memphis, Tennessee on the map and lifted music to a whole new level of symbolism and artistic relevance to the artist. To this day it remains one of the most well know city songs in modern music with one of the most well know storylines and a very popular phrase, “Ma’m I am tonight”, to go along with it. Not only was it Cohn’s definative hit, but it put Lonestar on the map for those who had yet to understand their greatness.


Location in Shelby County and the state of Tennessee

2 Comments leave one →
  1. bobby permalink
    April 9, 2008 6:39 pm

    i’ve always liked their version of this song better. one of my favorites by them

  2. April 10, 2008 4:36 am

    If you love Memphis check out

    Great station!

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