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There's a Golden "Anniversary" Sky

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Nice story that Rob,how old was he when he packed in teaching then

Don't know John, he was still teaching after I left school.

Gret read that Karl,wouldnt have looked on this thread for the Jack Wesby thread,thanks Robbie,trying to put a photo album together.

Musical tale of two cities Jul 5 2004
As the music world celebrates 50 years of rock 'n' roll, Paul du Noyer looks at Liverpool's role in rock history.
NOW, it's a mighty long way down rock'n'roll/from the Liverpool Docks to the Hollywood Bowl."

Mott The Hoople's classic song, All The Way From Memphis, makes the link between the twin capital cities of music - Liverpool and Memphis.

There are plenty of places WHERE music is made. but there are few cities that provide the reason WHY music is made.

Liverpool and Memphis are soulmates. Together they shaped the popular culture of the 20th century. For that reason alone they merit the sort of attention that historians have previously reserved for Rome and Athens.

Memphis has rightly been called "the cradle of the blues and rock'n'roll's home town".

Liverpool has a plausible claim to the title of pop culture's global HQ.

The two seminal events in rock music were Elvis Presley's arrival at the Sun Studio, Memphis on July 5, 1954 - and the meeting of John Lennon with Paul McCartney at a Liverpool summer fair on July 6, 1957.

Modest events at the time, each proved cataclysmic in the development of modern music.

But their historic impact was only possible because of the uniquely fertile cities in which they occurred.

Glance at a map and the clues begin to reveal themselves. Beside the mighty Mississippi in the heart of the American south, Memphis was a crossroads of commerce; the bright hope of an army of rural immigrants in search of a better life.

Liverpool, where the Mersey led to the international shipping lanes, was the conduit for every commodity from cattle to cotton. Amid appalling poverty, Liverpool grew into one of the Empire's wealthiest ports. And Memphis enjoyed a comparable boom.

For a generation of African Americans, Memphis was at least a taste of relative freedom; for the hundreds of thousands of Irish people fleeing famine, Liverpool was their nearest chance of food and shelter.
Many colours and creeds sought succour in these cities. The desperate energy of migrant populations and their heartfelt need for beauty and self expression are somewhere in the very souls of Memphis and Liverpool.

Neither city has had an easy history. The bitterest divisions of American history found their European echo in Liverpool: in defiance of the British Empire it once flew Confederate flags from every high building. Racial and sectarian conflicts were endemic to both cities.

Yet it can be said, without sentimentality, that music proved to have a healing power.

The young Elvis Presley, a white country boy whose parents moved to Memphis, grew up on the Negro blues and gospel that his new home made available - mainly via the radio.

The Beatles were born into a cosmopolitan city unlike anywhere else in Europe: a raw compound of British tradition, Celtic romanticism, Afro-Caribbean vigour and ready exposure to imported American sounds.

Memphis is the birthplace of stars, from Aretha Franklin to Justin Timberlake. It's been the home of legends such as Elvis Presley and Al Green. And as any reputable jukebox could tell you, it's repeatedly name-checked in the funkiest songs ever written, whether it be W. C. Handy's Beale Street Blues or Credence Clearwater Revival's Proud Mary.

Above all, though, Memphis is a recording centre with a glorious track record.

The greatest label of Southern soul, Stax, was built around the historic multi-racial house band of Booker T & The MG's (short for The Memphis Group). They were the engine for epic hits by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and others. Across town at Hi Records, the gifted producer Willie Mitchell worked with vocalist supreme Al Green.

Other important studios have been Ardent and Chips Moman's American. From the former came Big Star, an early 70s rock band led by Alex Chilton and Chris Bell. It became the rock'n'roll cult band par excellence.

Big Star's members were, ironically just a few of the Memphis boys whose heads were entirely turned around by the 1964 arrival in the US of The Beatles.

For if Memphis had taught the world to rock, Liverpool was its star pupil. Rock'n'roll and R'n'B were swiftly taken up in a city primed by long years of US interaction. Britain's first real rock star Billy Fury, came from the Liverpool docklands.

By 1962, Liverpool teamed with teenage beat groups attacking American music with energy and passion, if not always expertise, in the formof Merseybeat. They took the driving rhythms of rock and soul but also the close harmonies and songcraft of US pop, to produce something utterly fresh.

By the mid 70s those creative juices were flowing again. At the centre of the action was a new club, Eric's, just across Mathew Street from the site of the Cavern; within a decade the scene here would generate a massive number of punk and new wave luminaries such as Elvis Costello, Echo & The Bunnymen, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark.

A little later came The La's - rather in the Big Star tradition, they wield a posthumous influence out of all proportion to their commercial success at the time.

It's remained the most musical of English cities to this day, whether through dance clubs like Cream, fun pop acts like Atomic Kitten or vibrant rock bands like The Coral.

This year, we've seen Memphis celebrated across the world for its historic role in rock's "official" 50th birthday. And 2008 will see Liverpool honoured as Europe's Capital of Culture.

More than ever before, the glory of these cities resides in music.

And, like the mighty Mississippi and the magical Mersey, the beat goes on ... .



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