Glossy city magazines have an almost impossible task: producing good prose while simultaneously sucking up to companies who cotton to rich folks–and who, incidentally pay for the ads. That’s why you see those issues with lame stories such as “this year’s movers and shakers” and “the physician directory” with glowing little box profiles of doctors within an IV drip of an ad from their practices.
The July issue of Memphis magazine is about the best issue of this publication I’ve seen. The cover story is a 30-year look back at how the magazine covered Elvis, from their literally stop-the-presses September, 1977 issue–Memphis would have come out the month after the most momentous death in Memphis history with a cover on Dutch Elm disease and no mention of the King–complete with covers from all the issues during that time. Good stuff.
There is also a Chris Herrington article on the various out-of-town artists who recorded in Memphis. These include the Yardbirds, Neil Diamond, John Prine, Sonic Youth, Stevie Ray Vaughn, R.E.M, and Three Doors Down. Herrington then makes his case for what he thinks are four of the most significant albums recorded in Memphis by artists who did not live there: Dusty Springfield’s 1968 Dusty in Memphis, ZZ Top’s 1983 Eliminator, The Replacements’ 1987 Pleased to Meet Me, and the White Stripes’ 2001 White Blood Cells.
Memphis magazine costs a mere $15 per year for 12 issues, a bargain.
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