"Walking In Memphis" as written by and Marc Cohn....
Put on my blue suede shoes
And I boarded the plane
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain
W.C. Handy, won't you look down over me
Yeah I got a first class ticket
But I'm as blue as a boy can be

Then I'm walking in Memphis
Walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale
Walking in Memphis
But do I really feel the way I feel

Saw the ghost of Elvis
On Union Avenue
Followed him up to the gates of Graceland
Then I watched him walk right through
Now security they did not see him
They just hovered 'round his tomb
But there's a pretty little thing
Waiting for the King
Down in the Jungle Room

Then I'm walking in Memphis
Walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale
Walking in Memphis
But do I really feel the way I feel

They've got catfish on the table
They've got gospel in the air
And Reverend Green be glad to see you
When you haven't got a prayer
But boy you've got a prayer in Memphis

Now Muriel plays piano
Every Friday at the Hollywood
And they brought me down to see her
And they asked me if I would
Do a little number
And I sang with all my might
And she said
"Tell me are you a Christian child?"
And I said "Ma'am I am tonight"

Then I'm walking in Memphis
Walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale
Walking in Memphis
But do I really feel the way I feel

Put on my blue suede shoes
And I boarded the plane
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

"Walking in Memphis" as written by Marc Cohn

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Walking In Memphis song meanings
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30 Comments

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  • +7
    General CommentThe song is "Memphis". :) It is exactly what the city and the people are like. The massive river with the name to match and yes Miss Muriel I am a Christian. :) I love this song for nostalgic reasons.
    redshiftdazzleron July 15, 2012   Link
  • +5
    General CommentBeing from Mississippi, I like to think of this song as just showing the beauty of Memphis. Being from the South I honestly have never heard of catfish being genitalia. Catfish is one of the foods of the South. You go anywhere in the South and catfish is everywhere. And as for the gospel part, I agree it was a religious awakening. We are the Bible belt, of course. Memphis is a spectacular place and this song just captures its history. I love Memphis, TN.
    nothingpersonalkayleeon December 15, 2010   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThis song is about a spiritual awakening (according to Marc Cohn)
    The reference to "Blue Suede Shoes" is not about Elvis Presley, but about Carl Perkins who recorded the song in Memphis for Sam Phillips at Sun Records. Perkins' ill-luck in a car wreck stopped him touring to promote the record, allowing Elvis' cover version to become a massive hit. Presley's copy was done at RCA studios in Nashville.
    The narrator tells of seeing "The ghost of Elvis up on Union Avenue and followed him up to gates of Graceland". Sam Phillips' studios were called "Memphis Recording Service" and were at 706 Union Avenue.
    "Security didn't see him" is probably a comment on the story that Bruce Springsteen once successfully scaled the wall at Graceland, trying to deliver a song he wrote. Apparently Elvis wasn't there.
    "There's catfish on table and gospel in the air" marks the dichotomy between secular and sacred. Catfish is the standard blues metaphor for sexual intercourse. (The word is also interchangeable with the slang expression for the female sex zones). "Catfish" thus would appeal to the bodily instincts, whereas "gospel" would be to the intellect. The metaphor gains more credence since Al Green supposedly renounced secular music after being scalded with grits by a jealous girlfriend.
    MelissaOKon March 20, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General Commentyoutube.com/…

    in this youtube video he explains exactly how he came to write this song.

    btw am i the only one that sometimes get chills during the last verse?
    oofuson November 05, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMy boy friend and I were in Memphis and just got back. The whole time I was there this song was stuck in my head. We drove by the Airport and saw a plane land but it wasn't raining. Memphis is a pretty poor city as a whole. The streets are ripped up and everyone asks for money on the streets and lock your cars type of thing-- But driving long the river there are many beautiful shops and homes with that huge bridge over the Mississippi River with all the lights on it off in the distance. Beale street where they have all the blues bars is the coolest. Beale street also has a lot of BBQ joints and Southern Soul food places. Like it would of looked 50 years ago. You can walk up and down for hours listening to the music coming out from all the different places. The restaurants all try and get you come and eat at theirs but its all part of the culture of the area. Then there is the Mississippi River with the river boats. There is indeed a soulful feel to the city and of course everyone loves Elvis. There are even pink taxi's! Graceland is WELL worth the visit although you have to remember when Elvis bought it in 1957 it was 12 miles from downtown Memphis and a very rural area. Once Elvis made it home and they named the street in front after him the area really grew up and is actually pretty ghetto. But even if you look at video of Graceland from 1970 the street out in front was already pretty busy and then it keeps on growing up with stuff like "The Elvis Presley Motel" because people would come and congregate from all over and even they needed to eat and sleep. Graceland use to have a lot more acres to it which were sold off at some point. But Graceland the Mansion itself and the grounds and Garden where Vernon, Elvis, his mother and Grandmother are buried has all been left as it was in the 1970's. The last time it was even decorated was like in 1972 or something. It's actually an amazing place to visit and well worth the 30 bucks plus 10 bucks parking. Key is to take your time going through. Go on an early morning week day. They open the Graves to the public for free from 7:30 -8:30 in the morning for the people who can't afford the tours. There are audio tours and many things to see and hear about. I really enjoyed the culture of Beale street and it really did bring me back in time!! It was also neat seeing the Delta ( flood lands of the Mississippi River) outside the city where everyone worked in the fields and I guess that is where the "Delta Blues" originated from everyone coming into the city at night to go listen to or play the blues or ragtime.. I went in December and they had Graceland how Elvis use to like it at Christmas. But it was cold. I would rather be in Memphis in that hot southern heat to get the full effect of old Memphis. Especially if you are a northern girl like me. But I have traveled all over and I would reccommend making a 10 day trip spending 4 days in New Orleans, 2 days driving up through Birmingham and Montgomery for the history and then 2 days in Memphis to do Graceland, Beale street and the Delta one day for plan travel or car.
    Erika111on December 31, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAs someone who's spent the past three years of his life in the shadow of the Bluff City (Memphis), I can say that this song captures the kitschy, slightly grimy feel of the city.
    ButtOfMalmseyon May 02, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI grew up with my dad playing this song constantly. But I hadn't heard it for years until I rediscovered it this week. And now I find myself playing it constantly....PS- I t makes me want to go to Memphis so bad, even though I haven't a clue what Memphis is really like.
    BoutinXC810on May 04, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGod i love this song.
    Matttx1_02on October 07, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is definitely one of my favorite songs ever. i've never been to memphis, but part of me wants to go, just because of this song. i love marc cohn's voice, especially on the line "She said, 'Are you a Christian child?', and I said, 'Ma'am I am tonight!' "

    this song really has no special meaning to me other then the fact i just love it to complete death. i love the piano and the lyrics and just the sound. it is a flat out great song
    Desaparecidaon November 06, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBut do I really feel the way I feel??? yes, I do feel asthough this is opne of the best classics i have heard ever... I'm sure of it
    crazy_jojo186on June 26, 2005   Link

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