Almost 50 years ago, Jackson County was a tremendously popular destination for performers and people seeking nighttime entertainment.

Doc Hawk, who worked at both Bob King’s and the Silver Moon during that time, recalls how people would travel from surrounding areas to Jackson County’s nightclubs.

Almost 50 years ago, Jackson County was a tremendously popular destination for performers and people seeking nighttime entertainment.
Doc Hawk, who worked at both Bob King’s and the Silver Moon during that time, recalls how people would travel from surrounding areas to Jackson County’s nightclubs.
“The clubs around here drew a lot of people from outside of the county,” Hawk said.  “Especially Bob King’s and the Silver Moon, because they had entertainment, and people came from Jonesboro, Walnut Ridge and Batesville.”
Other popular destinations were Porky’s Rooftop, the Bloody Bucket and Jarvis’s Bamboo Club.
Local attorney and prosecutor, Henry Boyce, thinks being bordered by several counties which prohibit the sale of alcohol added to the region’s popularity.
“Jackson County was a wet county that is surrounded by dry counties for the most part, and there were a lot of entertainment options,” Boyce said.  “People would come from miles around for the nightlife.”
Boyce, who helped get the Arkansas Legislature to proclaim portions of U.S. 67 as Rock ‘n’ Roll Highway 67, considers increased pay as the primary reason many of the artists traveled to the area.
    “The most famous musicians from out of Memphis and Eastern Arkansas were willing to come to Jackson County because the received higher wages than anywhere else,” Boyce said.
    Local artist, Sonny Burgess, concurs with Boyce’s  assessment.
    “Jackson County was a big influence on the musicians,” Burgess said.  “They could make a little money here because it paid better than the clubs in Memphis.
    Burgess, who prefers Fender and Gibson guitars, should know because he first played the Sliver Moon back in 1954.  Of all the acts he saw perform, Burgess cites Elvis Pressley as the most extraordinary.
    “Elvis was the best because there was nobody else like him,” Burgess said.  “He had the charisma, the looks and he could really sing.”
    Johnny Cash, Fats Domino and Conway Twitty were some of the other more prominent acts to play here, and Hawk recollects some controversy after Domino’s performance.
    “ I remember some people that said that was not Fats Domino when he played here, but it really was,” Hawk said.
    The former manager of the Silver Moon’s memory also includes a disparity in people’s nightclub attire between then and now.
    “One of the main differences back in those days was the dress code because almost everybody wore a suit and tie,” Hawk said.  “They did not come to the club dressed casually.”
    For several years, people have considered the notion of establishing U.S. Hwy 67 as a notable thoroughfare to increase tourism in the area, and it has finally become a reality.
    “The idea for recognizing the highway as a historically significant route has been kicked around since the 1950’s,” Boyce said.  “Rep. J.R. Rogers suggested to seek a legislative resolution declaring it be the Rock ‘n’ Roll Highway.  We got a bill drafted and presented it to the subcommittee on transportation.”
    The Rock ‘n’ Roll Highway will be dedicated during Depot Days, and the public will have an opportunity to observe the event.
    “We are having a ceremonial ribbon cutting so everybody here locally can come and be part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Highway,” Boyce said.  “It will give everybody around here a chance to feel like they have been a part of it.”