In 1964, Elmer Valentine gave Rivers a one-year contract to open at the Whisky a Go Go, on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. The Whisky had been in business just three days when the Beatles song "I Want to Hold Your Hand" entered the Billboard Hot 100. The subsequent British Invasion knocked almost every American artist off the top of the charts, but Rivers was so popular that record producer Lou Adler decided to issue Johnny Rivers Live at the Whisky A Go Go, which reached #12. Rivers recalled that his most requested live song then was "Memphis", which reached #2 on the US Hit Parade in July 1964. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc. According to Elvis Presley's friend and employee, Alan Fortas, Presley played a test pressing of "Memphis" for Rivers that Presley had made but not released. Rivers was impressed and, much to Presley's chagrin, Rivers recorded and released it, even copying the arrangement (Fortas writes: "After that, Johnny was on Elvis's shit list" and was persona non grata from then on). Rivers' version far outsold the Chuck Berry original from August 1959, which stalled at #87 in the US.
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