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Williams standing in front of the rubble which was once the Palace Theater. The photo sums up the sense of utter despondence in the community over the ravages of the urban renewal program on Beale Street. Not only buildings were gone, but also a sense of place and of pride. The earliest, failed efforts at redeveloping Beale gave every reason to believe it was gone forever. The key to successful redevelopmentwas envisioning a new incarnation with both amenities and attractions and connections to the proud past. Below are brief biographies which offer a glimpse into the lives of the musicians, composers, disc jockeys, promoters, and music supporters who are celebrated in the concrete sidewalks along Beale Street.
Among the wide array of people he shot during his career, standouts include baseball players Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays along with music legends Elvis Presley, B. Hunter got her first break in when she landed a five-year association with the Dreamland ballroom. Her career skyrocketed in the s as she made regular appearances in clubs and on stage in musicals in New York, Paris, and London. Hunter was working at a New York hospital in when a record producer approached her about taking a break from nursing to record again. In , after retiring from the hospital, Hunter agreed to a two-week gig at the Greenwich Village Club.
The gig served as a major comeback for Hunter and caught the attention of Columbia Records. She performed until shortly before her death in October He explored all kinds of music, listening and learning from acts playing the Ellis Auditorium to Beale Street. With manager Col. During his time in the U. Army, Elvis met his future wife, Priscilla. Schilling served as producer and consultant on film projects about Elvis and also wrote a book about the King. At age fourteen, Lillie Mae ran off to a traveling medicine show, hoping to spark a career as a singer. She married a preacher named Willie Glover and they settled in Memphis in the s.
She came out of retirement in the mids, singing locally and with the traveling Memphis Blues Caravan. He married sixteen-year-old Virginia Travis who died shortly after childbirth. Around this time, blues musician Son House moved to Robinsonville and Johnson followed him around trying to learn the guitar. When Johnson left Robinsonville and reappeared a few months later, he had tremendous guitar technique. He made just two sets of recordings in Texas in and before dying in at age 27 near Greenwood, Mississippi. After leaving the Handy organization he started his own band. He kept a talented house band including, over the years, Dr.
After leaving the club business he continued to perform with large and small groups locally and on tour. He still continues to play and record. King — Riley B. King, born in in Indianola, Mississippi, has become better known as B.
Many of his earliest singles were produced by Sam Phillips, founder of Sun Records. King opened for The Rolling Stones on their American tour. He has recorded many albums of his own and collaborated with artists ranging from U2 to Eric Clapton. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Growing up in Millington, Justin began by singing country music for Star Search.
When the show ended in , Timberlake ed fellow Mouseketeer J. He recorded his first solo album in and then embarked on an acting career with roles in five films between and He has won numerous Grammy Awards, collaborated with artists from Madonna to the Black Eyed Peas on recordings, opened three restaurants and a golf course, created a brand of tequila, and continues to succeed in a wide variety of areas.
He played with various groups before going solo in the mids. Over the years, Pedersen would perform at countless music festivals and harmonica-related events. He moved to Memphis in to become a writer for William B. Tanner later known as Media General where he wrote, arranged and recorded thousands of classic jingles, songs, and scores. Born in Texas, she has been singing since age She moved to Chicago and then Memphis where she has been thrilling audiences with a raw and lively form of vintage blues for decades.
She has performed at the White House and before royalty in Europe. He moved to Memphis in the early s. Knowing of his love for and connection to jazz and blues, he was asked to help pull together a line up for the Cotton Carnival. He collected stories, memorabilia, and taped interviews. He also wrote a few songs. For a time he served as manager for Memphis Slim. His avocation made him a resource for researchers and a treasure for the city. William Herbert Brewster Elementary School. He first recorded for Victor Records in and then for folklorist Alan Lomax in while serving time.
White gave his younger cousin B. King his first guitar. At Home. White died on February 26, He soon learned how to play guitar. At age twelve, Stokes worked as a blacksmith, traveling to Memphis every weekend to perform. In , Stokes stopped touring and settled in Oakville, Tennessee. He went back to work as a blacksmith and also played for local parties, saloons, and fish fries. Later, the duo moved to Victor Records.
Stokes and Sane cut thirty-eight sides between Paramount and Victor Records. Stokes later moved to Clarksdale where he occasionally performed with Bukka White. Stokes died of a stroke in Memphis, Tennessee on September 12, For most of their tenure the group has been a duo, Wayne Jackson and Andrew Love. Still in demand, in they played with Jack White and Alicia Keys. The family ed their first recording contract in , and would go on to record gospel-folk style music for various labels.
It was under Epic Records in that the group began recording more mainstream pop music. Herman Green — Dr. Green began his musical career playing on Beale Street with the Newborn family in Returning to Memphis from a stint in the military in , Green had a layover in San Francisco and became immersed in the music scene there. He stayed in San Francisco and became the bandleader for a club called The Blackhawk. After meeting Lionel Hampton, Herman was offered a job playing with his band. Green has played with a many groups around Memphis over the years, perhaps his longest tenure being with FreeWorld, a Beale Street fixture.
Even with the pinky finger of his left hand missing from a machine saw accident, Laury was an accomplished keyboard player. In , Laury and Chatman caught the attention of a musical talent scout who invited them to come to Chicago. Chatham went and subsequently had an international music career.
Cotton grew up working in the cotton fields with his mother. Williamson became his mentor, taking Cotton to play at juke ts. When Williamson moved to Milwaukee, Cotton moved to Memphis. At age fifteen, Cotton released four songs at Sun Records. Cotton then played with Muddy Waters for twelve years. Lewis learned to play the piano in two weeks.Female tenor sax player blues Memphis Tennessee
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Beale Street Brass Notes