First Class

The Rock 'n' Soul Museum moves into new territory with the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.




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The 25 Inaugural Inductees to the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.

Jim Stewart & Estelle Axton: The brother/sister duo put the “St” and “ax” in Stax as co-founders of the city’s signature soul label.

Bobby “Blue” Bland: The soul-blues titan honed his craft alongside other future stars in the 1950s vocal group the Beale Streeters.

Booker T. & the MGs: The Stax house band and hitmakers-in-their-own-right embodied one version of the Memphis sound.

Lucie Campbell: The gospel composer was a contemporary of the more famous Thomas A. Dorsey and helped shape the black gospel sound of the pre-soul era.

George Coleman: The Memphis jazz great was a saxophone sideman for B.B. King before joining up with the Miles Davis Quintet.

Jim Dickinson: The producer/sideman/bandleader was a musical sponge and bridge between distant eras of Memphis music.

Al Green: The last soul legend was the purest Memphis vocalist since Elvis Presley — and remains productive.

W.C. Handy: The “Father of the Blues” published compositions that popularized the regional form.

Isaac Hayes: A Hall of Famer even before Shaft and Hot Buttered Soul, he evolved from essential sideman/songwriter to superstar.

Howlin’ Wolf: The Delta-bred blues powerhouse cut classic sides with Sam Phillips before migrating north to Chicago.

B.B. King: The “Beale Street Blues Boy” started his career on radio and on stage locally before becoming the blues’ biggest modern star.

Jerry Lee Lewis: The piano-pounding revolutionary traveled up from Louisiana and was introduced to the world via Sam Phillips’ Sun label.

Jimmie Lunceford: The Manassas High School gym teacher evolved into the King of Swing.

Prof. W.T. McDaniel: This segregation-era music teacher at Manassas and Booker T. Washington high schools trained multiple generations of Memphis musicians.

Memphis Minnie: The “Queen of Country Blues” first hit Beale Street as a young teen and emerged as one of the signature blues artists of her era.

Willie Mitchell: The bandleader and producer forged the sophisticated Hi Records soul sound and “discovered” Al Green.

Dewey Phillips: The original wild man of rock-and-roll radio gave Elvis Presley his first spin.

Sam Phillips: The idiosyncratic producer and Sun Records founder cut classic blues sides and then presided over the great wedding ceremony, marrying country and blues to create rock-and-roll.

Elvis Presley: The kid from Tupelo waltzed into Sun Records and announced that he “sang all kinds.” Perhaps you’ve heard of him.

Otis Redding: The soul man supreme gave Stax Records its first true superstar, and then left us too soon.

The Staple Singers: The family band blended soul and country, gospel and blues into a distinctive sound — and had something to say.

Rufus Thomas: The prankster, patriarch, and pop-cultural preacher drove Memphis music from the Rabbit Foot Minstrels to WattStax.

Three 6 Mafia: The Southern rap pioneers graduated from selling self-made mixes out of their trunk to claiming Oscar gold on behalf of crunk.

Nat D. Williams: The “Beale Streeter by birth” took the mic at WDIA to become the first black disc jockey on the country’s first all-African-American radio station.

ZZ Top : The dusty Texas blues band honed their sound and emerged as superstars out of Memphis’ Ardent Studio.

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