Song of the Day Apr 7

April 7, 2024

This month I’m focusing on One Hit Wonders of the 90s.

Today our song is:  Walking in Memphis

Wikipedia tells us this about the song:

Cohn has said that "Walking in Memphis" is "100 percent autobiographical". He has described it as a song about "a Jewish gospel-music-lover", and added that "the song is about more than just a place; it's about a kind of spiritual awakening, one of those trips where you're different when you leave." He was inspired to write "Walking in Memphis" by a 1985 visit to the Memphis, Tennessee, area. At the time, he was working as a session singer in New York City while pursuing a recording contract. In 2014, he recalled:

One night while listening to all of my demos, I came to the realization that I shouldn't be signed, because I didn't have any great songs yet... I was 28 years old and not in love with my songs. James Taylor had written 'Fire and Rain' when he was 18, and Jackson Browne wrote 'These Days' when he was only 17. I thought: 'I'm already ten years older than these geniuses. It's never going to happen for me.' So it was a pretty desperate time, and I went to Memphis with that struggle at the forefront of my mind.

After reading that James Taylor overcame writer's block by going to a place he had never been, Cohn visited Memphis. A friend had told him "there were two things in particular that I had to do [in Memphis], things that would forever change me. They later became the centerpieces of 'Walking in Memphis'." 

The second piece of advice was that Cohn visit the Hollywood Café in Robinsonville, Mississippi (present-day Tunica Resorts, 35 miles south of Memphis), to see Muriel Davis Wilkins, a retired schoolteacher who performed at the cafe on Friday nights.



  1. Wonderful song. I like how he felt as a writer but finally got there atvthe old age of 28:)


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