Aretha, Box Tops Among this Year's Memphis Music Hall of Fame Inductees

Sep 13, 2018


The Memphis Music Hall of Fame named its 2018 class of inductees on Wednesday, representing a variety of genres and eras in local music.

The seven include the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin; gospel choirleader O'Landa Draper; 1950s rockabilly group The Rock and Roll Trio; '60s rockers The Box Tops; radio and television personality George Klein; Stax singer Eddie Floyd and rap duo 8Ball & MJG.



Though Franklin is typically associated with the Detroit music scene, her birth in Memphis in 1942, along with tunes penned by Memphis artists such as Otis Redding ("Respect"), made her a long-time candidate.

Executive director John Doyle said the honor was already in the works before her death last month.  

“She knew that she was being inducted this year," he said. "She was excited that her hometown, her birth place respected her father and what he did as a pastor.”

The six other artists have stronger ties to this city.

Gospel powerhouse Draper was born here and attended Overton High School. He died in 1998 with one Grammy and multiple nominations to his credit.

The rockabilly Rock and Roll Trio, who inspired players like Jimmy Page, got their big break on the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour in New York. While never charting a hit, they nevertheless influenced a number of musicians who followed.

A quintessential blue-eyed soul group of the late 1960s, The Box Tops, is perhaps most famous for the hit song "The Letter." It will mark vocalist Alex Chilton's second appearance in the Memphis Hall. He was inducted with the 1970s power pop band Big Star in 2014.

Influential local television and radio host George Klein, once a member of Elvis Presley’s inner circle, is a rare non-musical honoree.

Legendary recording artist Eddie Floyd -- still performing at age 81 -- now joins many of his Stax label-mates in the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, thanks to hits such as "Knock on Wood" and "Raise Your Hand."

This year’s youngest inductees are Orange Mound rappers Premro Smith and Marlon Jermaine Goodwin, also known as 8Ball & MJG. Their career spans more than 25 years and eight albums.

Doyle says that a Nov. 1 ceremony and concert at the Cannon Center will pay tribute to the city’s deep bench of musical talent.

“We are a city that comes out gives standing ovations for legends who made our city not just a medium-sized American town, but literally made our city," Doyle said. "It’s all because of music.”

Doyle says that the line-up for this year's ceremony is still being organized.