The Paul McCartney Project

Memphis, Tennessee

Written by Chuck Berry

Album This song officially appears on the Live At The BBC Official live.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1994

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions

The Decca Audition

Jan 01, 1962

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Memphis, Tennessee” is a song by Chuck Berry. It is sometimes shortened to “Memphis“. In the UK, the song charted at #6 in 1963, at the same time Decca Records issued a cover version in the UK by Dave Berry and the Cruisers, which also became a UK Top 20 hit single. “Memphis, Tennessee” was most successfully covered by Johnny Rivers whose version of the song was a #2 US hit in 1964.

In the song the narrator is speaking to a long-distance operator, trying to find out the number of a girl named Marie, who lives in Memphis, Tennesseeon the southside, high upon a ridge, just a half a mile from the Mississippi bridge.” The narrator offers little information to the operator at first, only that he misses Marie and that they were separated by Marie’s mother. The final verse reveals that Marie is, in fact, the narrator’s six-year-old daughter; her mother, presumably the narrator’s ex-wife, left their home and took Marie with her.

Chuck Berry later composed a sequel, “Little Marie“, which appeared in 1964 as a single and on the album St. Louis to Liverpool.

The Beatles versions

The Beatles recorded five versions of “Memphis, Tennessee” for BBC radio. One version that was recorded on 30 July 1963 for the Pop Go The Beatles radio show was included on Live at the BBC in 1994. Another version that was recorded a few months later on 5 October 1963 for the Saturday Club radio show was included on On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2 in 2013.

The group first performed it for their failed Decca audition on 1 January 1962, with Pete Best on drums. […]

Paul McCartney, in “The Beatles Anthology“:

Chuck Berry was another massive influence… We’d go up to John’s bedroom with his little record player and listen to Chuck Berry records, trying to learn them. I remember learning Memphis, Tennessee up there.

Last updated on December 3, 2016


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
'Cause my uncle took the message and he wrote it on the wall

Help me, information, get in touch with my Marie
She's the only one who'd phone me here from Memphis Tennessee
Her home is on the south side, high up on 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
And tore apart our happy home in Memphis Tennessee

Last time I saw Marie she's waving me good-bye
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

Officially appears on

Live At The BBC

Official live • Released in 1994

2:13 • Radio showL1 • Five BBC versions of the song were recorded, including one for their first broadcast on March 1962.

Paul McCartney :
Ringo Starr :
John Lennon :
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison :
Lead guitar
Terry Henebery :

Concert From "Pop Go The Beatles" in London, United Kingdom on Jul 30, 1963

On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2

Official live • Released in 2013

2:16 • Radio showL2 • First released on the flip-side of Chuck Berry’s "Back In The USA" in the summer of 1959, ‹Memphis, Tennessee› reached number six in the British charts four years later. Paul remembers learning ‹Memphis, Tennessee› in John's bedroom when the two lads decided it had "the greatest riff ever!".

Bernie Andrews :

Concert From "Saturday Club" in London, United Kingdom on Oct 05, 1963

Live performances

“Memphis, Tennessee” has been played in 6 concerts.

Latest concerts where Memphis, Tennessee has been played

Saturday Club

Oct 05, 1963 • Part of BBC Sessions

Pop Go The Beatles

Jul 30, 1963 • Part of BBC Sessions

Saturday Club

Jun 29, 1963 • Part of BBC Sessions

Pop Go The Beatles

Jun 18, 1963 • Part of BBC Sessions

Teenager's Turn - Here We Go

Mar 08, 1962 • Part of BBC Sessions


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