Opening in 1963, the Mid-South Coliseum was a very popular multi-functional sports and music arena. The arena could hold up to 10,085 people and would pack full of fans who wanted to see anything from their favorite music artists to their favorite basketball team. The Coliseum cost one million dollars a year to maintain, causing its closure in 2006. Only six years before its closure, the Mid-South Coliseum was granted listing on the United States National Register of Historic Places.
The Mid-South Coliseum was built in 1963 and progressed the "arena rock" movement in Tennessee. Famous for being the only arena in Tennessee that housed concerts for Stax Revue, Elvis, Celine Dion, and the Beatles, the Mid-South Coliseum landed a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.
Located fifteen minutes from downtown Memphis, the Coliseum was well known for housing concerts, in addition to a multitude of other events. The music scene at the Coliseum has been filled with performances by some of the most world-renowned musicians and groups. The Beatles played two concerts here in 1966 on their final American tour. Elvis performed several times at the arena, with the shows being used in many of his live recordings which would later become albums. Celine Dion did a two-night stint on her famous Fall Into You Around the World Tour in 1997. In the late 1960s and early 70s, the venue also held concerts for several other world-famous groups, including: The Rolling Stones, The Monkees, The Beach Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Led Zeppelin, Steppenwolf, The Temptations, The Who, Jackson Five, The Allman Brothers Band, The Band, Chicago, and ZZ Top.
They also had famous country music singers Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, and George Jones play big-name concerts there. Other famous solo artists who have performed at the arena include: Bob Dylan, Elton John, Tina Turner, Edgar Winters, Jethro Tull, Alice Cooper, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, and Elvis Presley. The list goes on and on of famous groups and artists who have played at the historic Mid-South Coliseum; it remains a staple of music history in the city of Memphis.
The United States Wrestling Association was also based out of the arena. The arena headlined several wrestling matches of Jerry “The King” Lawler as well as other professional wrestlers. Wrestling brought in over 10,000 fans to the Coliseum, and that trend would continue from 1971-2005. The Coliseum does not just showcase wrestling but is also known for other sports such as hockey, indoor soccer, and basketball.
The Coliseum was also the headquarters for the American Basketball Association, Memphis franchise. The team originally went by the name Memphis Pros; they then became the Memphis Tams, with their final name change being the Memphis Sounds. In 1975 the Memphis franchise moved to Baltimore and became the Baltimore Claws. It was also the home court for the University of Memphis Tigers (then Memphis State University).
In addition to the many basketball teams based out of the Coliseum, two Central Hockey League teams have used the arena as their home. Originally, the Memphis Wings were located here from 1964 to 1969. Then, in 1992, the Memphis RiverKings moved in from 1991 to 2000. The team would later move to Southaven, Mississippi.
After all the Coliseum's history, it closed permanently in 2006. The closure came after the Memphis government would not pay its operating cost of one million dollars a year. Only six years before its closure, the Mid-South Coliseum was granted listing on the United States National Register of Historic Places. It remains to this day a place of music, sports, and entertainment history.
Fonville, Ben. A Brief History of Memphis Music. Amro Music. Accessed 2/21/17. https://www.amromusic.com/amro-blog/posts/memphis-music.
"The History of the Mid-South Coliseum." The History of the Mid-South Coliseum. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2017. <http://www.prowrestlinghistory.com/memphis/>.
West, Carroll Van. Memphis Music Scene. The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.. Accessed 2/21/17. http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/entry.php?rec=896.