2017 Memphis Music Hall of Fame Inductees
Ed. Note: Tomorrow, October 27th, is the induction ceremony for the 2017 class of the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. It’s at 7 p.m. at the Cannon Center and you can buy your last-minute ticket (it’s an awesome night feat. John Prine, Bootsy Collins, and Maria Maldaur) here.
You may not have heard of all of these folks, but you’ve definitely heard their music. Baylee has all the info on these awesome Memphians, so use this post to learn yourself something about Memphis music and the legacy it’s left on the world.
The Memphis Music Hall of Fame will recognize seven influential Memphians this year for their contributions to the industry. Inductees include “Cowboy” Jack Clement, Cassietta George, The Memphis Horns, Roy Orbison, Irvin Salky, Frank Stokes, and Maurice White.
Here’s a primer for the Memphis Music Hall of Fame’s 2017 Inductees.
1. “Cowboy” Jack Clement
Nowadays, he’s a household name in country music, but “Cowboy” Jack Clement originally made a name for himself in the industry because of his skills as a producer, songwriter, studio engineer, and recording artist. During his time at Sun Studio, he worked with Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Later in his career he produced songs for a slew of acclaimed artists including U2, Chet Atkins, Louis Armstrong, and Waylon Jennings. He’s been inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame, so his induction comes as no surprise to many music fans.
2. Cassietta George
Cassietta George embodied the Memphis soul and charisma we all know and love. George began her singing career as a member of the Songbirds of the South and during the 50s and 60s she joing the Caravans, one of the most popular touring gospel groups. She gained fame for both her luminous singing voice and songwriting prowess, which ended up earning her two Grammy-nominations.
3. The Memphis Horns
Originally a sextet, The Memphis Horns garnered most of their fame as a duo comprised of Wayne Jackson and Andrew Love. These music maestros performed on more records than any other horn section in history (!!) including the albums of Sting, U2, Neil Diamond, Alicia Keys, Jack White, and many others. They recorded at both Stax and Hi studios and worked with Memphis greats including Isaac Hayes, Al Green, and Elvis Presley.
4. Roy Orbison
Known as one of the Sun Records shining stars, Roy Orbison skyrocketed to rock n’ roll fame with his 1960’s hits “Only the Lonely,” “Ooby Dooby,” and “Oh, Pretty Woman.” He collected a plethora of accolades throughout his career including six Grammy wins, an induction into both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Halls of Fame, and the 37th spot on Rolling Stone’s “Greatest Artists of All Time.” He was an icon as a solo artist and as a member of The Traveling Wilburys, a collaboration with George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, and Tom Petty.
5. Irvin Salky
If you’ve ever been to the Beale Street Music Festival, you have Irvin Salky to thank. Back in 1977, Mr. Salky personally financed the early days of Memphis’s iconic riverside jubilee. He also managed and revived the careers of several Memphis greats including Phineas Newborn Jr., Furry Lewis, Fred Ford, and Memphis Slim. Although by day he worked as a civil rights attorney, many Memphians knew him best for his generosity and unwavering support of local musicians and industry. With BSMF celebrating its 40th anniversary and Mr. Salky passing this May, 2017 feels like the perfect year to honor this influential Memphian.
6. Frank Stokes
The Blues man himself was born in Whitehaven around 1877. Frank Stokes would work in vaudeville as a blacksmith and as a medicine show performer before his professionalism truly took root. Credited as the father of the Memphis blues guitar style, Frank Stokes developed a sound all his own with his partner Dan Sane in the Beale Street Sheiks. At the beginning of his career, you would find him busking at W.C. Handy park, but by the end this musician was cutting records with Paramount and Victor and influencing greats such as Jimmie Rodgers, Memphis Minnie, and Bukka White.
7. Maurice White
This Memphis native is most well-known as the singer, producer, drummer, songwriter, and leader of the acclaimed funk band Earth, Wind, and Fire. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School, White moved to Chicago to pursue music professionally and found a job as a session drummer for the famous Chess Records. In 1970 Maurice White formed the supergroup that would change the face of funk. Earth, Wind, and Fire claimed 6 Grammy wins, 50 gold and platinum albums, and 90 million copies sold worldwide.
For more information on the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, visit their website.
About The Author
A born and raised Memphian, Baylee Less recently returned to her roots after her four-year hiatus at the University of Maryland. A contributor to ILoveMemphis and Memphis Travel, she is excited to share the reasons she’s always loved Memphis. She enjoys live music, Asian food, and being outdoors. Follow @bayleeless on Twitter for updates about being vegan in the land of barbecue.