Hey, music fans! Get ready to explore the best songs about Memphis.
From Elvis Presley’s iconic “Heartbreak Hotel” to Justin Timberlake’s “Take Back The Night”, Memphis has produced some of the greatest songs of all time.
We’ll take you on a journey of 14 of the most iconic and beloved Memphis songs.
From Johnny Cash’s classic “Folsom Prison Blues” to Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’) On The Dock of The Bay”, these tunes will transport you to the city’s vibrant culture and musical history.
You’ll also hear the legendary Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”, Isaac Hayes’ “Theme from Shaft”, and Big Star’s “In the Street”.
So, buckle in and get ready for a musical experience like no other!
Enjoy our list of the best songs about Memphis!
1. “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis Presley
You can’t talk about the best songs about Memphis without mentioning Elvis Presley’s timeless classic, “Heartbreak Hotel”!
A song of loneliness and heartache, it was Elvis’ first big hit, reaching the top of the Billboard charts in 1956.
It perfectly captures the city’s unique blend of blues and country music, with its signature sound of twangy guitars and plaintive lyrics.
Its influence can still be heard in the music coming out of Memphis today.
2. “Take Back The Night” by Justin Timberlake
Dive into the energy of Justin Timberlake’s “Take Back The Night”, an anthem of resilience and determination that captures the spirit of Memphis.
With its catchy chorus and soulful instrumentation, the song celebrates the city’s legacy of music and culture.
It’s infectious energy and passionate lyrics make it an inspiring ode to the city, encouraging listeners to never give up and to take back the night.
Justin Timberlake’s tribute to Memphis is an uplifting, anthemic homage to the city and its people.
3. “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash’s iconic hit, “Folsom Prison Blues”, is a classic country tune that captures the struggles of life in the prison system.
Cash’s lyrics tell the story of a man who has been wrongfully incarcerated and convey the desperation of inmates who are stuck in an unending cycle of crime and punishment.
The instrumentation includes a driving rhythm guitar and a plaintive harmonica melody that adds a sense of longing and sadness to the song.
The chorus is incredibly catchy and memorable, and it reflects Cash’s own struggles with incarceration and redemption.
“Folsom Prison Blues” is an enduring reminder of the power of music to evoke emotion and tell stories.
4. “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of The Bay” by Otis Redding
Enjoy the timeless soulful melodies of Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’) on The Dock of The Bay”, the perfect song for a peaceful day lounging by the water.
Redding’s distinct, soulful voice captures the laid-back vibe of the city of Memphis, with a lazy melody, accompanied by a simple acoustic guitar.
The lyrics are simple yet powerful, depicting the joys and sorrows of life in a beautiful way.
The soulful vocals truly make this song an easy classic, one that you won’t forget anytime soon.
5. “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green
Al Green’s timeless classic, “Let’s Stay Together”, is the perfect song for a romantic night in.
Released in 1971, the song quickly became an instant classic, with its soulful lyrics and catchy melody.
It’s the quintessential Memphis song, capturing the city’s laid-back, soulful vibe.
It’s a song of commitment, a declaration of unending love, and a promise to stay together forever.
Its timelessness is why it’s been covered by artists from various genres, from pop to blues.
Few songs can capture the feeling of togetherness like “Let’s Stay Together”.
6. “Respect” by Aretha Franklin
You can’t talk about soul music without mentioning Aretha Franklin’s iconic hit, “Respect”.
It’s a powerful ode to self-worth and a rallying cry for equality, making it a timeless classic.
Franklin’s passionate vocals capture the spirit of Memphis, making it one of the city’s anthems.
With its unforgettable chorus and soul-stirring lyrics, “Respect” is a classic that will live on for generations.
7. “Green Onions” by Booker T & The M.G.’s
Feel the soulful grooves of Booker T & The M.G.’s classic instrumental hit, “Green Onions”, as it transports you to the vibrant streets of Memphis.
The song’s iconic organ riff and bluesy guitar licks have become an anthem for the city, embodying the spirit of the South.
It’s a timeless piece of music that captures a piece of Memphis’ musical history and continues to inspire generations of music lovers.
Whether you’re a fan of soul, blues, or rock, “Green Onions” is sure to get your feet tapping.
8. “The Thrill Is Gone” by B.B. King ft. Tracy Chapman
Experience the bluesy elegance of B.B. King’s classic “The Thrill Is Gone”.
Listen to his raspy voice express the pain of a lost love, as he croons of aching loneliness.
Feel the hypnotic rhythm of his guitar, a mournful melody that lingers long after the song is over.
This Memphis classic is an emotional journey that speaks to the heartache of love gone wrong.
9. “Blue Suede Shoes” by Carl Perkins
Moving on from the blues of B.B. King’s “The Thrill Is Gone”, let’s delve into a classic rock ‘n’ roll tune from the King of Rockabilly himself – Carl Perkins’ “Blue Suede Shoes”.
The song is an energetic ode to a young man’s love for his prized pair of shoes, and the catchy chorus is sure to get your toes tapping.
Perkins’ signature guitar licks set the stage for a carefree, yet slightly reckless, call to grab life by the horns and live it to the fullest.
10. “Oh, Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison And The Candymen
Roy Orbison’s 1964 classic, “Oh, Pretty Woman”, is a timeless romantic ballad that captures the heart and soul of the listener with its sweeping melodies and heartfelt lyrics.
It’s a heartfelt tribute to the city of Memphis, with Orbison’s smooth vocal delivery and passionate lyrics letting listeners feel the love and beauty of the city.
The song’s simple yet striking guitar riff makes it an enduring classic, and it’s a perfect example of Memphis music at its best.
11. “Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis
Now, let’s hear the one and only Jerry Lee Lewis, with his classic rock ‘n’ roll song, “Great Balls of Fire”.
This song has been covered by many artists, but no one does it quite like Jerry Lee, with his signature high-energy style.
With his blazing piano and heartfelt lyrics, it’s a song about the burning passion of love.
A must-listen for all music fans!
12. “Theme from Shaft” by Isaac Hayes
Jump right into the iconic sound of Isaac Hayes’ “Theme from Shaft” and feel the groovy beat and soulful lyrics that will make you move!
This classic song from 1971 is an ode to the city of Memphis, celebrating its unique culture and style.
Hayes’ soulful vocals, combined with the funky rhythm section, create an incredibly catchy tune that is sure to remain a classic for years to come.
The lyrics are full of references to the city, making “Theme from Shaft” a great way to experience the heart and soul of Memphis.
13. “In the Street” by Big Star
Feel the energy and emotion of Big Star’s “In the Street” and let the classic sound of Memphis rock take you away!
Big Star’s 1972 single is an ode to the simple joys of life in the city, with its simple, catchy guitar riff and earnest lyrics.
Alex Chilton’s heartfelt vocals and the song’s upbeat tempo create an infectious vibe that captures the spirit of the city and its people.
It’s an anthem for those living in Memphis and a timeless classic for those who love the city’s unique sound.
14. “I’ll Take You There” by The Staple Singers
Experience the soulful sounds of the Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There” and let the uplifting and hopeful vibes of this classic take you away!
The music contains a relaxed, gospel-style rhythm, and the band’s soulful vocals that are sure to bring a smile to your face.
“I’ll Take You There” is a perfect tribute to the city of Memphis and its people, as it captures the essence of the city and its culture.
Songs About Memphis – Final Thoughts
At the end of the day, Memphis is a city that will always be known for its iconic music.
From Elvis Presley to Justin Timberlake, this city has produced some of the most legendary artists in music history.
Whether you’re looking for heartbreak or a celebration, these 14 songs will take you through the highs and lows of a city that’s seen it all.
So grab a pair of headphones and let the music take you away. It’s time to experience the soulful sounds of Memphis.
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