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Memphis Musician Sid Selvidge Dies At 69

Archer Records

Sid Selvidge was a cultural voice in Memphis for more than five decades, and he helped start the Beale Street Caravan radio show, which broadcasts live performances of Memphis music to more than 2.4 million people worldwide.

First and foremost a singer, Selvidge made eight albums as a solo artist and three with the Memphis alt/rock band Mud Boy and the Neutrons. Selvidge also ran his own record label for several years and produced Alex Chilton’s Like Flies on Sherbert, Cybill Shepherd’s Vanilla, and Paul Craft’s Warnings!

As Selvidge aged, he said he didn’t want to listen to music that depressed him or reminded him of a “marriage gone bad.”

For kicks one night, he said he and blues-legend Furry Lewis made up verses to a song with a humorous tone “You’re Gonna Look Just Like A Monkey (When You Get Old).”

“Lots of fun, you know, lots of joy,” Selvidge recalled. “And two days later he [Lewis] had a heart-attack and died. That was the last we saw of him. So, of all, that song has always been real special to me because of that…I’m glad I got it.”

He recorded the song on his last album I Should Be Blue.

Selvidge died Thursday after a battle with cancer. He was 69.

I love living in Memphis, but I'm not from the city. I grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I spent many hours at a highly tender age listening to NPR as my parents crisscrossed that city in their car, running errands. I don't amuse myself by musing about the purity of destiny, but I have seriously wondered how different my life would be if my parents preferred classic rock instead of Car Talk.