The Memphis Music Hall of Fame just announced this year's inductees, who officially enter the ranks of honorees at the induction ceremony this November. The Hall of Fame, a nonprofit set up in 2012 and administered by the Memphis Rock N' Soul Museum, now celebrates the works of over seventy artists or groups, and shows no signs of lacking local talent for future recognition.
This year's inductees are, as usual, giants in their respective genres. We pay tribute to them here with clips of them working their magic onstage. Towering over them all is the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, who died just last month. She will be paid a special tribute in November's ceremony, as the Hall of Fame honors a legend who called Memphis her birthplace.
Another soul giant, Eddie Floyd, will also be inducted this year. The writer and hit performer behind "Knock on Wood" and many other Stax hits, Floyd's songs were interpreted by nearly every Stax artist. Naturally, not a year has gone by without at least one artist from the label being inducted.
O'Landa Draper, the Grammy Award-winning gospel singer and director of the Associates Choir, was considered one of the top gospel artists of the 1990s. He too will join the ranks of honorees this year. Though not born in Memphis, Draper moved to Memphis at the age of 13 and attended Overton High School and the University of Memphis.
At today's announcement event, there was some light-hearted discussion of whether Draper could be honored in the same program as fellow 2018 inductees, 8 Ball & MJG. They will be, we were assured, but the musical numbers won't be juxtaposed. The rap duo are on a roll lately, ramping up their live appearances and continuing to drop new albums. (See our recent profile of them below).
In keeping with the Hall of Fame's tradition of inducting groups as well as solo artists, the Box Tops were also added this year. With Big Star having been inducted in 2014, this makes for two groups associated with Alex Chilton getting the nod. Could he be recognized as a solo artist in his own right one day? In any case, the announcement also named checked original members Danny Smythe, Bill Cunningham, and Gary Talley, as well as 1968 additions Rick Allen and Thomas Boggs. The fabulous guitar in this video clip was not mentioned by name.
Another group, arguably far more groundbreaking than the Box Tops, was also recognized: The Rock and Roll Trio, responsible for the groundbreaking "Train Kept A-Rollin'" and other rockabilly masterpieces. Driven by the savvy guitar attack of Paul Burlison, brothers and Memphis natives Dorsey and Johnny Burnette took the world by storm, once upon a time. Here they are from 1956.
And finally, another legend from the first days of Elvis, who most certainly has not left the building, is George Klein, the pioneering DJ and rock 'n' roll television host who was critical to giving regional bands exposure via his programming. He was also an early friend to the King, and had the honor of inducting Elvis into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He'll be honored with the other performers above (for he, in his own way, was an artist as well) at the induction ceremony, scheduled for November 1st at the Cannon Center. Here's George sharing a strange moment with the great Sam Phillips.