Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

Graceland steward Jack Soden and soul man Wilson Pickett among nine people inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame

By meerna Jun25,2024
Graceland steward Jack Soden and soul man Wilson Pickett among nine people inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – The Memphis Music Hall of Fame inducted its inaugural class of 25 luminaries in a rousing ceremony 12 years ago, honoring legends spanning generations and genres, from Elvis Presley to ZZ Top to Three 6 Mafia.

In later years, dozens of other musicians who recorded, taught and performed in Memphis secured a place in the Hall of Fame in this cradle of blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll – Justin Timberlake, Tina Turner, Karol Tomaszto name just a few.

This year, he will induct the 100th member of the Memphis music landscape with a class of nine, including a soul singer Wilson Pickettrapper, producer and songwriter Jazze Pha and Jack Soden, who joined forces with Elvis’ ex-wife Priscilla Presley open Graceland as a tourist attraction in 1982. This was five years after the singer and actor died in Memphis at the age of 42.

Today, Graceland, a former Elvis museum turned home, is a mainstay for American tourists, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to this city on the Mississippi River.

The hall’s announcement of the Class of 2024 noted that Soden in 1981 was hired “to plan and execute the opening of Graceland to the public despite recommendations to sell it to avoid bankruptcy.”

Graceland has evolved from a museum on the 13-acre property where the house sits into a sprawling entertainment complex with a sound stage, exhibition space, restaurants and a 450-room hotel.

All under Soden’s “watchful eye,” the Hall of Famer said in a news release.

“Under Soden’s leadership, Graceland has maintained Memphis’ strong music footprint, achieving an annual economic impact of $200 million,” the press release said.

By the early 1980s, Graceland had become a burden on Presley’s estate, which was subject to high estate and inheritance taxes. Accountants and bankers wanted to sell the house, but Priscilla Presley believed that opening the house to tourists could solve financial problems while maintaining Elvis’ legacy. She received a $500,000 investment and, with Soden, visited other tourist attractions for inspiration – Hearst Castle, Will Rogers’ house, and even Walt Disney World.

Graceland opened to tours on June 7, 1982. All 3,024 tickets were sold out on the first day.

“We had no idea whether 30 people would come on the first day, or 300, or 3,000. Fortunately, it was the latter,” Soden told The Associated Press in a 2012 article about Graceland’s 30th anniversary.

Since opening, Graceland has helped keep the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll in fans’ minds with new compilations of his music, constant pop culture references and movies like “Elvis” in 2022 and “Priscilla” a year later.

Soden thanked the Hall of Famer in a statement provided to The Associated Press.

“It is an honor to be selected and join such an outstanding group of talented singers, musicians and pioneers who have created Memphis’ rich musical legacy,” Soden said. “Music is the soul of Memphis and attracts millions of visitors from around the world each year who want to immerse themselves in this history – from Graceland to Beale Street and everything in between.”

Soden joins Pickett, who recorded “In the Midnight Hour” at Stax Records in Memphis. Stax is known for producing some of soul music’s most enduring and groundbreaking hits, including Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” Sam and Dave’s “Soul Man,” Eddie Floyd’s “Knock on Wood” and ” Green Onion” by Booker T. and MG.

“Wilson Pickett’s career exploded when Atlantic Records sent him to Memphis,” said Jeff Kollath, executive director of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. “Working with Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd and others, Pickett found his voice and became a standard bearer of Southern soul.”

In addition to Jazzy Phe, the other members inducted in 2024 are soul singer James Carr (“Dark End of the Street”); pop group The Gentrys (“Keep on Dancing”); opera singer Kallen Esperian; Spooner Oldham, southern soul keyboardist and songwriter; singer-songwriters Rhodes, Chalmers, Rhodes; and Kevin Kane, longtime head of Memphis’ tourism office.

They will be honored at a ceremony on September 27 in Memphis.

By meerna

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