Liverpool and Memphis Unite As ‘Rock ‘n’ Soul Mates’

The cities that gave the world the two greatest popular music icons are to join forces to become Rock ‘n’ Soul Mates as part of a Transatlantic strategy to build cultural awareness and encourage destination tourism and business links.

The joint public and private sector initiative - forged by the cities of Liverpool and Memphis - hopes to encourage tourists to explore the many links between the cities whose music and history shaped the world - with a little help from The Beatles and Elvis Presley.

Liverpool and Memphis are cities bonded by a shared history and a culture that forms the foundations of a unique and fascinating relationship. From the early rock ’n’ roll of Memphis to the birth of The Beatles, from the cotton plantations of Tennessee to Liverpool’s port there is a deep interconnecting history that is in turn challenging and vibrant. To visit one city is to witness only half of the whole amazing story.

Both Liverpool and Memphis have explored these rich cultural and historical elements individually through established institutions such as The Beatles Story, Graceland, The Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, The Slavery Museum and The National Civil Rights Museum but never before in context of each other.

The two cities are in the process of forging meaningful links between more than 40 key destinations that share cultural or historic links. Each venue is choosing a soul mate across the Atlantic Ocean and will be championing its new Rock 'n' Soul mate to all visitors. 

Iconic venues already confirmed as Rock ‘n’ Soul Mates include Beatles Story & Graceland, The new Liverpool Museum & Stax Museum of America Soul Music, Liverpool Maritime Museum & The Cotton Museum in Memphis, The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and Beatles Story.

Memphis’s Stax Academy is already in collaborative conversation with Paul McCartney’s LIPA and plans are underway for the creation of many other Rock ‘n’ Soul Mates including Mathew Street & Beale Street, Sun Studio and The Casbah Club and many of the leading hotels, museums and galleries of the two cities.

Beatles Story and Graceland have recently cemented their Rock ‘n’ Soul Mates status with the media announcement of Elvis & Us, a jointly curated exhibition launching in Liverpool on September 28 2011. The exhibition will explore the influence Elvis Presley had on The Beatles and their UK musical contemporaries.

Jerry Goldman, MD of Beatles Story comments:

“The cities of Liverpool and Memphis have been unearthing more and more connections as we have progressed. These ties are far more than cosmetic. We are planning a calendar of US and UK themed projects and cultural exchanges that will enrich the offer of both cities. The recently announced Elvis and Us Exhibition is just the beginning.

“Culturally we have been closely aligned for the best part of a century and historically for much longer. We hope that what has started off for many people as a shared love of music will soon develop into an even more meaningful exploration of our deeper connections.”

A C Wharton Jr, Mayor of Memphis comments:

"Memphis and Liverpool have shared a common bond through music and history that's shaped the world," said Memphis. "Visitors already flock to both cities to experience their soulful music, history and culture, so it's only fitting for us to formalize our shared heritage through this partnership."

Max Steinberg, chief executive of Liverpool Vision who is supporting the initiative and exploring business connections between Liverpool and Memphis comments:

“Liverpool and Memphis are two cities that have inspired the cultural journeys of the UK and the US as well as providing a formidable greatest hits track list for the world. But beyond music there are so many links that we can exploit to improve the futures of our citizens.

“These links exist not only in the music industry itself, but in port logistics and shipping, bio technology, advanced science, creative and digital as well as with our higher educational establishments.

“Liverpool Vision is committed to making Rock N Soul mates work on a wider level and we are already in discussion with our Memphis counterparts to establish sustainable and fruitful business and trade relationships.”

Leader of Liverpool City Council, Councillor Joe Anderson comments: “It is fitting that Liverpool and Memphis, with a rich shared history, join hands again under the banner of music.

“For several years, the city’s tourism team has been in talks with colleagues in Memphis and I am delighted that we can now develop visitor and business opportunities which connect the two world-renowned cities.

“This initiative has my full support and Liverpool is committed to making it an outstanding success.”

Michael McCabe and Joe Smith, UK Producers of Million Dollar Quartet comments:

"We are immensely proud to play host to the launch of the Rock ‘n’ Soul Mates initiative between Liverpool and Memphis.  At the heart of Million Dollar Quartet is the story of not just the birth of four music legends, but the birth of rock 'n' roll itself, and nowhere is more famous with this golden age of music than Memphis!

“That The Beatles made popular the song "Honey Don't", written by one of the "Million Dollar Quartet", only goes to prove how the cities are bonded by a shared musical heritage."