First thing.... tonight was one of the best nights of my life. How’s that for a set-up?
The Musicians Hall of Fame inducted its 2008 honorees at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center and needless to say that the inductees are some of the most influential musicians in recording history.
The Memphis Horns - Wayne Jackson (trumpet) and Andrew Love (tenor saxophone) Famous for their many appearances on Stax Records, they have been called "arguably the greatest soul horn section ever." The Memphis Horns appeared on nearly every recording for Stax — with Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas, Sam and Dave and others — as well as on other releases, including The Doobie Brothers' What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits, U2's Rattle and Hum as well as a few solo records.
The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and Friends - Jimmy Johnson (guitar), Roger Hawkins (drums), David Hood (bass), and Barry Beckett (keyboards) along with friends Spooner Oldham, Clayton Ivey, Randy McCormick, Will McFarlane and Pete Carr. Formed in 1967, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section is considered one of the finest studio rhythm sections in the world, playing sessions in New York, Nashville, and Muscle Shoals. They became world renown as the musicians, and or producers, on such classics as "Respect" by Aretha Franklin, "Mustang Sally" by Wilson Pickett, "Kodachrome" by Paul Simon, "I'll Take You There" by The Staple Singers, "Old Time Rock and Roll" by Bob Seger, and many others. They have played on over 500 LPs, garnering over 75 gold and platinum LPs. They were inducted by Ed King (Lynyrd Skynyrd) cause remember the line “Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers”
The Crickets - Jerry “J.I.” Allison (drums), Joe B. Mauldin (bass), Sonny Curtis (guitar/lead vocal)
Founded in 1957, the Crickets have influenced virtually every major rock performer in the United States and abroad – from Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan to the Rolling Stones and The Beatles (whose name was even Crickets-inspired). Their hits have included some of rock’s historical classics, “That’ll Be The Day,” Peggy Sue,” “Oh Boy,” “Not Fade Away,” “Maybe Baby,” “It’s So Easy,” “I Fought The Law“ and “More Than I Can Say.”
Al Kooper - Best known for his striking organ riff on “Like a Rolling Stone” with Bob Dylan in concert in the 60’s and produced the first three albums of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd, including the single, "Sweet Home Alabama" and the iconic "Free Bird". He wasn’t there as he was sick... would’ve been cool to hear him play.
Billy Sherrill (Producer Award) – Record producer and arranger who has been regarded as the defining influence of the countrypolitan sound, Sherrill is famous for his association with a number of country artists including Tammy Wynette, Charlie Rich, Elvis Costello, George Jones, Johnny Paycheck, Tanya Tucker, Johnny Cash, Barbara Mandrell, David Allan Coe, Ray Conniff, Joe Stampley, Charlie Walker, Ray Charles and many others. He was inducted by George Jones who sang “He Stop Loving her Today”... pretty cool!
Duane Eddy - Grammy Award winning guitarist, member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Number One Rock and Roll Instrumentalist of All Time. Beginning with his first release, in 1958, his distinctively low, twangy riffs would be featured on an unprecedented string of thirty four chart singles, fifteen of which made the Top Forty, with sales of over 100 million worldwide. Best known for such hits as "Rebel Rouser," "Forty Miles of Bad Road," "Peter Gunn," "Because They're Young," "Cannonball," "The Lonely One," "Shazam," and "Some Kind-a Earthquake."
Booker T. and the MGs - Booker T. Jones (organ, piano), Steve Cropper (guitar), and Donald "Duck" Dunn (bass) and posthumously Al Jackson (drums)
Best remembered historically as the studio band for Stax-Volt Records during the 60s, Booker T. and the MGs created the "Memphis Sound” behind the hit recordings by Carla Thomas (“Gee Whiz”), Rufus Thomas (“Walkin’ the Dog”), Otis Redding ("Dock of the Bay"), Sam and Dave, among others. The reputation as a band in their own right was established in 1962 with their instrumental hit "Green Onions." On their own Booker T. and the MGs had rhythm and blues hits with "Hip Hug-Her," "Groovin'," "Soul Limbo," and "Time Is Tight."
I knew I was going to be floored by all of this but @#*!.... I’m speechless... but can still type. It was surreal to see The Crickets (who without them there would probably be no Beatles or Stones) play the songs that made them famous. Aside from the fact that you’d ever be lucky enough to successfully play with the same guys for 50+ years, watching J.I. Allison play those famous sixteenth notes in “Peggy Sue” was like watching Edison recreate the light bulb. You couldn’t help but snarl your upper when Duane Eddy launched into “Peter Gunn”.
The house band had some familiar faces too.... percussionist Tom Rhoady, original Toto bassist David Hungate, and Roger Hawkins’ son on drums.... A touching moment was when Steve Cropper told the story of saving his money as a kid a buy a $17 Sears guitar. His father promised that if he learned to play it, then he’d get him a real guitar. “And he kept his word” he remarked before introducing his father to the audience. Duck Dunn told a similar story where thanked his brother for co-signing a loan for his first bass.
There were a few unfortunate moments.... an absent Al Kooper, drummer Roger Hawkins played percussion instead of drums (I’m sure there’s a good reason), Memphis Horn saxophonist Andrew Love was confined a wheelchair and couldn’t perform (although I’m not sure why someone didn’t give him a microphone to accept his award), an absent Ronnie Milsap, an absent surprise guest that would’ve brought sexy back, Steve Cropper’s award breaking during his speech, and the house band stepping on Booker T’s ending of the show during “Soul Man”.