Earlier this month, at the Gibson Showcase Lounge in Memphis, 13 new inductees to the Memphis Music Hall of Fame were celebrated in in words and music. This latest round of inductions, following last year’s inaugural event, honored The Bar-Kays, The Blackwood Brothers, Rev. Herbert W. Brewster, Johnny Cash, Roland Janes, Albert King, Memphis Jug Band, Phineas Newborn, Jr., Knox Phillips, David Porter, Sid Selvidge, Kay Starr and Carla Thomas.
The city of Memphis, recognized globally as the home of the blues and the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, launched the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2012. The 2013 Induction Ceremony brought the Inductee roster to 38. The Hall of Fame is administered by the Smithsonian-developed Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum.
Lifting the roof from the very beginning was national gospel recording artists Kevin Davidson & The Voices, paying tribute to Rev. Herbert W. Brewster. They were joined by choir members from East Trigg Avenue Baptist Church, the church led by Rev. Brewster from 1930 until his death in 1987. Worship at The Gibson Showcase Lounge continued with the induction of The Blackwood Brothers and a harmonizing, crowd-raising performance by the current members led by Billy Blackwood, son of founding member James Blackwood.
While musical tributes honored many of the inductees, Stax legends Carla Thomas and The Bar- Kays wowed the audience with their own performances. Carla belted out her 1960 hit, “Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes),” with sister Vaneese Thomas on backing on vocals. The Bar-Kays, including front man and original member James Alexander as well as original member Ben Cauley, brought the crowd to their feet with performances of “Soul Finger” and “Freakshow on the Dance Floor.”
Other musical highlights included blues icon Bobby Rush performing a rousing performance of Johnny Cash’s “Walk the Line,” backed by the legendary Hi Rhythm Section, and Bad Company frontman Paul Rogers, in town recording, honoring inductee Albert King with a soulful rendition of King’s “Born Under a Bad Sign.” Producer Jimmy Jam paid tribute to legendary songwriter and performer David Porter followed by an explosive rendition of the Isaac Hayes / David Porter-penned hit “Hold On, I’m Coming,” and performed at the ceremony by rising Memphis artist and 2013 finalist on NBC’s The Voice, Kris Thomas.
The late Sid Selvidge, who performed in the influencial 1970s alternative rock group Mudboy and the Neutrons and as a solo artist, was honored with a stirring performance by Sons of Mudboy, with lead vocals performed by son Steve Selvidge, and also with original Mudboy and the Neutrons member, Jimmy Crosthwait. Until his death this past May, Selvidge produced the popular syndicated radio show, Beale Street Caravan, heard on radio stations around the globe.
The 2013 Memphis Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony performances were produced by Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, owner of Memphis’ iconic Royal Studios and son of legendary Hi Records producer and 2012 Memphis Music Hall of Fame inductee Willie Mitchell.
The thirteen 2013 Inductees will also be joining the 2012 Inductees, which include Elvis Presley, Al Green, Isaac Hayes, Sam Phillips, B.B. King, Jerry Lee Lewis and others, on the award-winning Memphis Music Hall of Fame web site at www.memphismusichalloffame.com.
Inductees are selected each year by a Nominating Committee of local and national music professionals, including studio owners, producers, authors, and historians.
In response to November 7, 2013 inductions, Memphis Mayor AC Wharton commented, “Everywhere I go, people know Memphis, Tennessee. Every country around the world recognizes Memphis as the epicenter of music. The Memphis Music Hall of Fame lends focus to this fact, and pays tribute to the musical pioneers and icons whose contributions to our culture and our heritage, both locally and globally, are unequalled.”