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Liverpool and Memphis celebrate being Rock 'n' Soul Mates with new plaque

A plaque celebrating Liverpool and Memphis’s relationship as musical Rock ‘n’ Soul Mates has been unveiled in Mathew Street.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson and Kevin Kane, president of Memphis Tourism, officially unveiled the latest link between the two cities.

An identical plaque is being placed in world-famous Beale Street in Memphis where blues and rock ‘n’ roll were born.

Speaking at a special event at the Cavern Club, Mr Kane said: “There aren’t two cities in the world that had a bigger impact culturally through music than Liverpool and Memphis. We should celebrate that.”

The plaque – donated by Memphis - states that “Liverpool on the banks of the River Mersey and Memphis on the mighty Mississippi River are bound by their definitive music heritage…..The iconic sounds of both cities changed the world and continue to reverberate globally weaving into new and exciting revolutionary music genres even today.”

Memphis's famous Beale Street at night. Credit: Brand USA

Recording engineer Sam Phillips opened Sun Studio in Union Avenue, Memphis, in 1950. It was there in 1954 that a teenage Elvis Presley recorded That’s All Right – and rock ‘n’ roll was born.

Four thousand miles away, Presley’s music inspired a certain John Winston Lennon to pick up a guitar (as well as naming his cat Elvis) and what would become The Beatles was born.

Although Elvis and The Beatles met only once – at Presley’s mansion in Bel Air in 1965, both singer and band changed the face of popular music.

Joe Anderson and Kevin Kane unveil the new plaque in Mathew Street

Links between Liverpool, a UNESCO City of Music, and Memphis go back to 2004 and the 50th anniversary of That’s All Right. In 2011 venues in the two cities agreed to become Rock ‘n’ Soul Mates.

Liverpool’s music heritage industry is now believed to be worth around £90m per year to the city, and consultations are currently underway on a masterplan aimed at transforming the Mathew Street area to offer visitors from home and abroad a quality experience.

Drop in consultation events are due to take place at the One Stop Shop in St Johns Market this Friday, November 8 from 10am to 3pm, and RIBA North at Mann Island on November 19 from 2-5pm.

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