Contact: Jonathan Lyons

Office: 901-543-5319

Cell: 901-451-9409


Contact: Larry Manuel

Cell: 901-767-7564


Rockabilly Historical Marker to be Unveiled in Downtown Memphis
‘Saturday Night Jamboree’ site of first Rockabilly concert

Memphis, Tenn., March 23, 2012 – The Memphis Landmarks Commission will be unveiling a new historical marker entitled “The Saturday Night Jamboree.” The Tennessee Historical Commission-approved marker will be placed at the Goodwyn Institute’s original location at the corner of Third Street and Madison Avenue in downtown Memphis. A ceremony to unveil the marker will be held Monday, March 26 at noon.

From 1953 to 1954, the Goodwyn Institute Building Auditorium was home to “The Saturday Night Jamboree,” a live country music show that debuted a group of unknown artists who later made music history. Among the artists who appeared were Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Lee Adkins.

Joe Manuel, a popular country music star, founded the show with his business partner M.E. Ellis. As audiences grew, radio station KWEM-AM, with studios in Memphis and West Memphis, Ark., broadcast the show. Backstage in the dressing room, the musicians experimented with new sounds, mixing fast country, gospel, blues and boogie-woogie. Their performances on the Jamboree stage of this new type of music, later called “rockabilly,” may have been the first public performances of the genre.

“The Saturday Night Jamboree played an important role in the launching of the Memphis rockabilly movement,” said Larry Manuel, son of the Jamboree founder Joe Manuel. “Many of the sounds that were born in the dressing rooms backstage made their way into the studios and were soon heard around the world.”

“The Saturday Night Jamboree signifies another important piece of our city’s rich music heritage,” said Kevin Kane, president and CEO of the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau. “This site played a vital role in the influence of Rockabilly, which adds another element to the worldwide impact Memphis had on music.”

The “Saturday Night Jamboree” historical marker will be placed at 165 Madison Avenue on the plaza of the First Tennessee Building, which is the corporate headquarters for First Tennessee Bank. The first floor of the building houses many pieces of the First Tennessee Heritage Collection, a collection of art by and about Tennesseans. The gallery is open to the public during banking hours.

The Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, the official marketing and tourism organization for Memphis and Shelby County, is a private, not-for-profit, membership organization dedicated to building the local economy and the community’s positive image through tourism and convention development, major events and destination marketing.