The Memphis Music Hall of Fame follows up a huge inaugural class with their second group of inductees.
Reflecting its reputation as the home for a variety of roots music, this years inductees span genres from blues to country to pop with names both nationally known and specific to the local scene.
The new inductees include blues great Albert King, Southern Gospel legends The Blackwood Brothers, gospel composer and publisher Rev. W. Herbert Brewster, soul queen Carla Thomas; recording pioneers the Memphis Jug Band, producer/musician/studio cat Roland James, Stax stalwart David Porter, jazz/pop stylist Kay Starr, the man in black, Johnny Cash, Sid Selvidge, a journeyman who blazed his own trail, jazz pianist Phineas Newborn, Jr. and the Bar-Kays, soul sensations for almost 50 years.
The induction ceremony will be held on November 7 at the Gibson Showcase Lounge.
Short biographies of each of the inductees from the Memphis Music Hall of Fame Press Release:
- Albert King - “The Velvet Bulldozer” and one of the “Three Kings of the Blues Guitar,” Albert King wielded a custom-built Gibson Flying V guitar, delivered the solid vocal style and distinctive guitar style he called “Blues Power,” and impacted musicians around the world. He influenced Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and others. He played Bill Graham’s Filmore, covered Elvis Presley, entered the Blues Hall of Fame in ’83 and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2013… the same year he enters the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.
- The Blackwood Brothers - Singing gospel for over 78 years, formed in The Great Depression by brothers James, Doyle and Roy Blackwood with Roy’s son, R.W. Since relocating to Memphis in 1950, the members have changed, but their spiritual message has remained consistent, recording 200 albums, garnering eight Grammy awards, 6 Dove Awards and entry into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Today, James son Billy Blackwood continues the family’s musical ministry, joined by Butch Owens, Michael Helwig, Wayne Little and pianist Mike Hammontree.
- Reverend W. Herbert Brewster - Serving as the pastor of East Trigg Avenue Baptist Church for over 50 years, Reverend W. Herbert Brewster wrote and published more than 200 gospel music standards, among them the very first hit for the great Mahalia Jackson. Reverend Brewster also composed more than fifteen gospel music dramas, including the first nationally-staged African American religious musical drama. In 1982, he was honored by the Smithsonian Institution.
- Carla Thomas - “The Queen of Memphis Soul,” Carla Thomas began performing at age ten in 1952 as the youngest ever performer for the WDIA Teen Town Singers. Through her career, she’s released twelve albums, most for Stax Records. With her father, she recorded the very first hit for Stax Records… converting the legendary label from country and pop to soul and R&B. Her release, “Gee Whiz” was an smash hit, giving Stax national exposure.
- Memphis Jug Band - Unique and influential, beginning in 1926 The Memphis Jug Band assumed other names, and rotated dozens of band members, including 2012 inductee Memphis Minnie, though usually grouped around leader Will Shade. Incorporating unique instruments like the jug and the kazoo, combined with traditional guitar, drums, piano and fiddle, they recorded over 80 commercial recordings, many covered by 60s rock groups including the very first single recorded by The Grateful Dead. A favorite of Mayor Crump, they played everywhere from Church Park to The Peabody Hotel. They’re also credited with recording the very first record in Memphis, Tennessee.
- Roland Janes - Consistent among many 2013 inductees… longevity of career! Roland Janes… fewer may know him, but everybody has heard him. Producer and engineer, Janes had his own band, was at Jerry Lee’s side throughout his greatest triumphs of the 50s, member of The Little Green Men, linchpin of the 60’s Sun house band, helped develop the rockabilly guitar style, ran his Rita Records in the 60s and Sonic Studios in the 70s, has worked with everyone from Dylan to Three 6 Mafia, and has been the resident sage and producer at Phillips Recording Service for 31 years.
- David Porter - As a teenager he may have entered the doors of Stax to become a recording artist, but instead became the foremost architect of American soul music and one of the most successful songwriters in the world. His credits include over 300 songs for Stax. His lyrical hits continued for Joe Cocker, Bonnie Raitt, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, ZZ Top, Hall & Oates, Aretha, Jerry Lee, and more. Member of the National Songwriters Hall of Fame, and his current personal commitment to aspiring artists through his Consortium MMT continues the Memphis music legacy he helped to build.
- Kay Starr - Before she was 15, Kay Starr had her own music show on Memphis’ WMPS radio, had performed at The Peabody Hotel, and was chosen to tour with the Joe Venuti Orchestra. For her network radio debut in New York, Starr sang “Memphis Blues.” For Capitol and RCA, she recorded over two dozen top 40 hits. She’s performed with Count Basie, Rosemary Clooney, Pat Boone, Tony Bennett and others. Her hit “Wheel of Fortune” stayed at the top of the charts for ten weeks in 1952, and “Rock and Roll Waltz,” selling a million copies in two weeks, became the first number one single by a female vocalist in the rock era. At 91, she still performs.
- Knox Phillips - With the legendary Sun Studios as his childhood playground, Knox Phillips has continued his family’s Memphis music legacy for almost 50 years, as engineer, producer, studio owner and patron saint of Memphis music. As engineer and producer, he’s worked with the Gentry’s, Randy & the Radiants, Alex Chilton, Jerry lee Lewis, Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Amazing Rhythm Aces, and John Prine, among others. A Grammy Trustee since 1971, in May, 2013, Phillips received the prestigious Governor’s Arts Award from Tennessee governor Bill Haslam.
- Johnny Cash - “The Man in Black,” Johnny Cash’s unique crossover appeal earned him induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. An incredible string of hits included “I Walk the Line,” which shot to number one and remained on the Billboard chart for an amazing 43 weeks. A member of the legendary Million Dollar Quartet, member of the Highwaymen with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson, Cash is one of the only artists to sell over 90 million records.
- Sid Selvidge - A Memphis music champion for over five decades until his death earlier this year. A teenage disc jockey, a pure, soulful soloist, a champion of the 60s blues / folk revival, record company owner and producer. A surrogate son to blues legend Furry Lewis, producer for Alex Chilton, Cybil Shepherd, even Tim McCarver, a member of Mud Boy and the Neutrons, and seventeen year producer of “Beale Street Caravan,” which aired on 300 U.S. radio stations and, via NPR, on stations on five continents.
- Phineas Newborn, Jr. - Legendary jazz pianist from the iconic musical Newborn family, Phineas Newborn, Jr., has been considered one of the three greatest jazz pianists of all time. He performed with Lionel Hampton, B.B. King, Willie Mitchell, and recorded at Sun Studios before moving to New York and going solo with RCA. With ten albums from the fifties and into the seventies, Newborn proved to be one of the most technically skilled and brilliant pianists in jazz.
- The Bar-Kays - The funk-o-matic Bar-Kays have epitomized Memphis’ funk soul sound for almost fifty years. From teenage success as a Stax house band, through the plane crash tragedy that took the life of Otis Redding and four of the group's original members, the band’s impact has brought funk to projects by Isaac Hayes, Johnny Taylor, Carla Thomas, Albert King, and more. Their hits, like “Soul Finger,” “Shake Your Rump to the Funk,” “Sex-o-Matic,” “Freakshow on the Dance Floor,” and more are matched by an unequalled stage presence which has influenced everyone from Rick James to Prince. With their latest LP, “Grown Folks,” their legend continues – produced by Jazze Pha, son of Bar-Kays founder James Alexander, featuring guest spots from George Clinton, Three 6 Mafia, Eightball and others.