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Memphis Celebrates Rock 'N' Roll's 50th

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  • Richard Kaplan
    Memphis Celebrates Rock N Roll s 50th By Barry A. Jeckell NEW YORK (Billboard) - Pegging the day Elvis Presley recorded a version of Arthur Big Boy
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 5, 2003
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      Memphis Celebrates Rock 'N' Roll's 50th

      By Barry A. Jeckell

      NEW YORK (Billboard) - Pegging the day Elvis Presley recorded a
      version of Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's "That's All Right" -- July 5,
      1954 -- at as the date "rock" and "roll" were married, Memphis will
      celebrate 2004 as the 50th anniversary.

      A year of events in the Tennessee city will mark the occasion that
      sparked a revolution from Sam Phillips' tiny Memphis Recording
      Service studio and his Sun Records label.

      Helping to spearhead the effort will be a group of "musical
      ambassadors" appointed by Memphis Mayor Willie W. Herenton. The
      group consists of Memphis native Justin Timberlake, blues legend
      B.B. King, soul great Isaac Hayes and former Presley sideman Scotty
      Moore.

      "Having played lead guitar for Elvis' 1954 recording of 'That's All
      Right,' it's a thrill for me to be a part of this historic
      celebration," Moore said in a statement.

      "The blues and rock 'n' roll have always been closely connected,
      feeding off one another," says King, who has performed on the city's
      storied Beale Street for decades. "It's that mixing of styles that
      has made Memphis such a fertile ground for musicians."

      "The many sounds of Memphis shaped my early musical career and
      continue to be an inspiration to this day," adds Timberlake.

      For Hayes, the occasion will return him to the place where he began
      his career, writing and performing songs such as Sam and
      Dave's "Soul Man" at the city's legendary Stax Records
      label. "Rock 'n' roll began in Memphis," he said. "And the city
      continues to be a focal point of enormous musical creativity today."

      The celebration will kick off with "Countdown on Beale" on New
      Year's Eve, followed by the annual events surrounding Presley's Jan.
      8 birthdate. Appropriately, the yearly late summer "Elvis Week"
      activities, set for Aug. 7-16, will be incorporated into the 50th
      anniversary theme.

      Along with events still in the planning stages, Memphis hopes to
      lead a "global moment in time" where radio stations around the world
      will be encouraged to play "That's All Right" simultaneously on July
      5.

      A Web site (http://www.50yearsrocknroll.com/) has been created as an
      information center for the anniversary events.
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