The Rant: On the Remarkable Revival of Overton Square

This week's 45th anniversary celebration of Overton Square brings back a flood of memories which, in itself, is an accomplishment. TGI Friday's was a year old when I showed up, so if my math is correct, I was 23 when I began singing in the Square.

I'd just moved back to town after a six-year absence, when I got the call. A new club had opened across the street from Friday's where Boscos now stands, called The Looking Glass. In contrast to the frenzy at Friday's, this was more of a businessman's club with the long wooden bar leading into a plush lounge area. They wanted live music but not a whole lot of noise, so I got the solo job, playing nightly, Wednesday through Saturday.

The sitting room was constructed to look like a library, with overstuffed couches and bookshelves filled with someone's castoff antiquities. There was a platform in the corner with a high bar stool on top. Every time I took the stage, it was like climbing an obstacle course, but from there I could watch the whole crazy scene of Memphians celebrating the passage of an ordinance allowing liquor by the drink. The Southern Baptists had kept Memphis a cocktail-free town for 50 years, and now the city was ready to party.

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