Like no other music history, It Came From Memphis dishes its tuneful tale with a full context of social issues. From institutional racism to cowboy movies, from manic disc jockeys to Quaalude motorcycle gangs, this story is as unvarnished a history of rock and roll as ever has been written. The Memphis aesthetic is to invert expectations: artists seek imperfection, embracing mistakes and doing it all wrong by forging their own paths to get it exactly right. A storyteller's storyteller, Robert Gordon puts you in the shotgun seat, riding with the old coots and the young rebels as they pass a bottle and a blunt. Memphis changed the world, this book can change you.


25th anniversary edition features all new photos and layout, an updated text featuring more diverse voices, a new foreword by poet, essayist, and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib, new afterword and updated buying recommendations from the author, and a new introduction to come from a prominent young star. More than a music book, this is a culture book. Between the 1950s and the 1970s, Memphis changed the fabric of American society and simultaneously the world's popular culture. A history of interracial and transracial art, ICFM burrows deep into the practicalities of those changes--and has a lot of fun doing it.


Author Robert Gordon has won an Emmy and a Grammy. He's the producer/director of seven feature documentaries, winning for Best of Enemies, about Gore Vidal, William F. Buckley, and the demise of civil discourse in America. His Grammy was for liner notes to the Big Star box set (Alex Chilton's band Big Star is one of the key stories in ICFM). He's the author of six books.

It Came From Memphis: Updated and Revised by Robert Gordon

  • Third Man Books 2020

    New paperback

    344 pages