King of Clubs lives on in memories

The King of Clubs in Swifton, Arkansas, was a historic landmark where early rock and roll legends including Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins performed in the 1950-60s. It was situated on Highway 67, recently designated the “Rock and Roll Highway.”

The history once contained inside its walls is gone now, thanks to an early-morning fire yesterday, but those who frequented the place could tell you the dozens of names that once had taken the stage there. Click here to read the story about the fire.

Roy Orbison. Charlie Rich. Conway Twitty. Johnny Cash. Sonny Burgess. Billy Lee Riley. Those names that defined the rock and roll sound and forged the way for a new era in music.

The King of Clubs may be gone but it’s not forgotten. The club, opened in 1951 by the late Bob King, may not have looked like much in its later years, but it still was a favorite hangout for many who live in the area, my dad included. Bob’s widow, Evelyn, still lives next door.

I had just been there this summer, and took lots of photos for some strange reason. Not sure why. I had been there millions of times before and never thought of taking pictures before.

This time felt different, though. And I never dreamed it would be the last time I would see the place.

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