Chuck Berry wrote this and recorded it in 1959 as "Memphis, Tennessee." It languished as the B-side of his Back In The U.S.A.
single, but was revived when the white blues guitarist Lonnie Mack covered it in 1963. With the title shortened to "Memphis," his version went to #5 in the US.
Johnny Rivers, who had some success as a songwriter (Rick Nelson's "I'll Make Believe"), but had yet to score a hit as an artist, landed a regular gig in 1963 at the Whisky a Go Go, a popular club on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles (The Doors would later make their mark playing shows at The Whiskey). In 1964 he released a live album recorded at the club called Johnny Rivers At The Whisky a Go Go
, with "Memphis" issued as a single. It became a huge hit for Rivers, going to #2 in America and launching a career that included nine Top 10 singles. He also had tremendous influence on the business side; he started a record label called Soul City which signed the Fifth Dimension and Jimmy Webb