A chance encounter in a Mississippi honky tonk with a 70-year-old black pianist and singer named Muriel Davis Wilkins inspired the song that launched Marc Cohn’s career. Walking in Memphis became the breakout hit from Marc’s self-titled Atlantic debut album, winning the 1991 Grammy Award for The Best New Artist.
“That night, at The Grammy Awards, when my name was called, was an out-of-body experience. It took me months to be able to realize how huge it was, a culmination of everything I’d worked towards for so long.”
Marc began playing guitar in grade school. Through the local rock radio stations, he was introduced to the music of Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, and Jackson Browne, all of whom remain among his most enduring influences.
“I remember buying Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush in 1970,” Marc reminisces. “It was at that moment that I first realized: this is his living. Somebody works at this. Right then, the idea of being a songwriter became appealing.”
After college Marc played Los Angeles clubs and coffee houses, wrote songs and sang demos for songwriting legends like Leiber and Stoller and Jimmy Webb. After moving to New York, he led a successful 14-piece R&B band called The Supreme Court. “Almost everything I did from the time I was sixteen, was geared towards getting a record deal.”
In 1993 Marc released The Rainy Season, which included notable guest appearances by David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Bonnie Raitt, and in 1998 he released Burning the Daze.
He continued to tour and write and In 2005, he self-released a live album, Live 04-05. His latest album, Join the Parade followed in 2007.
Marc remains one of America’s most respected song-poets and Walking In Memphis has become an integral thread in the fabric of American musical history.