CHAMPAIGN -- It's a classic track not too many have heard.
The song is called "Champaign, Illinois." Rock-n-roll artist Carl Perkins is the voice on the song. But another music legend helped to create it. Music legend Bob Dylan co-wrote the song with Perkins. The two worked on it in 1969 and Perkins put the track on his album called "On Top."
We went to Exile on Main, a record shop in downtown, to learn more about this rare tune. Shop owner Jeff Brandt says in 20 years of working around music he's never seen a physical copy of the album "On Top". The first time he heard the track was on the internet, the same place we found it.
About 40 years later, country band Old 97's wrote its own version of the song with Dylan's blessing. It's called "Champaign, Illinois," but with different lyrics. The music was from another of Dylan's songs called "Desolation Row."
"The fact that Bob Dylan had something to do with two different songs written about Champaign Illinois when you know, it's not like anybody else of his stature has really ever mentioned Champaign, though many of them have come here and toured at various times," said Brandt. "But to have two songs specific songs that are tied to Bob Dylan it's pretty cool."
If you'd like to hear the version by Dylan and Perkins, click here!
Brandt says Dylan and Perkins probably wrote about Champaign after passing through town while on tour. He says the city was often a stop between Chicago and Memphis, and also between St. Louis and Indianapolis.
Brandt says a Facebook movement
started back in 2010 when Dylan had a concert at Assembly Hall. They were hoping he'd perform his song
named after the city in which he was currently playing in, but to their
disappointment he didn't.