Maybe It Was Memphis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"Maybe It Was Memphis"
Single by Pam Tillis
from the album Put Yourself in My Place
B-side"Draggin' My Chains"
ReleasedNovember 25, 1991
FormatCD single
Length3:59 (album version)
LabelArista Nashville
Songwriter(s)Michael Anderson
Producer(s)Paul Worley, Ed Seay
Pam Tillis singles chronology
"Put Yourself in My Place"
"Maybe It Was Memphis"
"Blue Rose Is"

"Maybe It Was Memphis" is a song written by Michael Anderson, and recorded by American country music artist Pam Tillis on two separate occasions. The second recording was released in 1991 as the fourth single from her album Put Yourself in My Place.


The song was first recorded by Phil Seymour whose bass player, Michael Anderson, wrote the song. Phil's version was released posthumously in 2001 on the expanded version of his 2nd Boardwalk album "Phil Seymour 2." It was produced by Richard Podolor.

Tillis first cut the song on Warner Bros. Records in the late 1980s[1] under the production of Josh Leo, but did not release this version until Warner issued the album Pam Tillis Collection in the mid-1990s.

Her second and most successful version of the song was recorded on her 1991 album Put Yourself in My Place. It was released in November 1991 as the album's fourth single and became not only her breakthrough hit, but also her third Top Ten hit on the Billboard country charts, peaking at number 3 in February 1992.[2] "Maybe It Was Memphis" was also nominated for the Country Music Association's Song of the Year in 1992.[3] This version also earned Tillis a Grammy nomination for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female.

According to Arista Records' then-senior director of marketing Mike Dungan, executives were reluctant to release the song due to its more pop sound, and held off on doing so until Tillis had established herself.[4]


The song is a mid-tempo ballad in which the female narrator recalls a former lover whom she met in Memphis, Tennessee. It is composed in the key of A major with a vocal range of A3-E5. The main chord pattern on the verses is A-D twice, E-D twice, and E-G-A.[5]

Michael Anderson wrote the song in 1983. In an article for TAXI, he described the song writing process:[6]

I believe I wrote the last verse soon after the first verse – may have been the same night - and I knew it was the last verse. I didn't want the standard "happy ever after" storyline – and I couldn't see it ending badly – so I left it open – just the way it was. I imagined myself back in LA remembering it all and just wrote that...I decided to just write a filler verse and then I would record it that way and change it when I got back to LA. So I made up some stuff about Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, and country love songs ("summer night beauty took my breath away" was directly from "Southern Nights" by Glen Campbell and one of the song books – never even liked that song but the concept worked in context). I recorded it the next day and never changed the verse.

American Idol & The Voice[edit]

On May 24, 2011, Lauren Alaina performed the song during the finale of American Idol. Carrie Underwood selected the song as part of the round of competition in which each contestant's idol chose their song. On May 8, 2013, during the live rounds of the fourth season of The Voice, Danielle Bradbery from Blake Shelton's team sang it as her song.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1991-1992) Peak
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[7] 4
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[8] 3

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1992) Position
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[9] 60
US Country Songs (Billboard)[10] 29

Danielle Bradbery[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[11] 25
US Billboard Hot 100[12] 92
Canadian Hot 100 92


  1. ^ Opry, Grand Ole; Oermann, Robert K. (2008-10-08). Behind the Grand Ole Opry Curtain: Tales of Romance and Tragedy. Center Street. ISBN 9781599951843.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Nashville's sophomores in spotlight". York Daily Record. 1992-09-30. Retrieved 2008-09-10.
  4. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (1992-06-20). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.
  5. ^ Michael, Anderson,. "Pam Tillis "Maybe It Was Memphis" Sheet Music in A Major - Download & Print". Retrieved 2016-05-09.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  6. ^ "Songwriting: Maybe It Was Memphis". Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  7. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 2064." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. February 29, 1992. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  8. ^ "Pam Tillis Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  9. ^ "RPM Top 100 Country Tracks of 1992". RPM. December 19, 1992. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  10. ^ "Best of 1992: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 1992. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  11. ^ "Danielle Bradbery Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  12. ^ "Danielle Bradbery Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.

External links[edit]