On March 15, 1938, world-renowned jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd is born in South Memphis. Considered one of the true living masters of jazz, Lloyd’s remarkable career has seen him play with Memphian Gerald Wilson’s big band, replace Eric Dolphy in Chico Hamilton’s group, work with Cannonball Adderley and record and perform with everyone from B.B. King to the Beach Boys.
Born Alvertis Isbell on March 15, 1940, in Brinkley, Arkansas, Al Bell started his career as a disc jockey in high school, spinning records at sock hops. Over the next 60 years, Bell would become one of the most important black music figures, running then owning Stax Records and serving as an executive for Motown.
The Big O arrives: Iconic Stax Records star Otis Redding Jr. was born on Sept. 9, 1941, in Dawson, Georgia.
Memphis music producer Jim Dickinson was born Nov. 15, 1941. Dickinson will become a session player for the likes of Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones, a producer for influential groups including Big Star and The Replacements, a sometime solo artist and the patriarch of a small musical dynasty through his sons, Cody and Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars.
On Dec. 19, 1941, Maurice White is born in South Memphis. He would ultimately move to Los Angeles, founding Earth, Wind & Fire, who became superstars in the 1970s, selling more than 90 million albums and creating classic hits like “September,” “Shining Star” and “Boogie Wonderland.” White died in 2016.
Carla Thomas — the Queen of Stax Records and one of the pillars of the South Memphis soul label — is born Dec. 21, 1942.
Elvis Presley makes his first public appearance, competing in a singing contest at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show in fall 1945.
In November 1948, the teenage Elvis Presley moves to Memphis with his parents Vernon and Gladys Presley, eventually settling in the Lauderdale Courts housing project.
In 1948, famed country duo The Louvin Brothers move to Memphis, where they perform regularly and appear on the radio. Among the Louvins’ many ardent local fans are Gladys Presley and her young son, Elvis. Presley would later open shows for the Louvins in the mid-’50s.
The Boxtops who for years , the public thought was a band from England, actually were from Memphis. In September 1967, Memphis pop-soul combo The Box Tops score a hit with “The Letter,” which is recorded at Chips Moman’s American Sound Studio and produced by Dan Penn. “The Letter” remained at the top of Billboard’s chart for four weeks in 1967 and sells over 4 million copies.
Alex Chilton, the mercurial leader of the Box Tops and Big Star who burst from the Memphis music scene in 1967 singing “The Letter” in the smoke-gravel voice of a grizzled soul man even though he was just 16 at the time.
Memphis most defiantly is home for Soul and Blues, and home to All N One Bail Bonds