The night was November 26, 2007 and the event was the First Annual Musician’s Hall of Fame Induction ceremony. The event focused on studio and tour musicians, whom after last night I realize is the most underrated and under-recognized group of players. Six groups were inducted last night and unless you are deeply into the music business, most people have never heard of them. Their music, however, is another story.
The first group to perform was the The A-Team.(no, not that A-Team!) They are a group of gentlemen that were THE sought after studio musicians in Nashville from the 50’s through the 70’s. They recorded 130,000 songs in a 5-year period. Phenomenal! Performances last night featured The A- Team performing such hits as King of the Road, with Keith Anderson, Crazy, and Stand by Your Man, with Mandy Barnett and The Grand Tour with George Jones.
Second up on the stage was the Tennessee Two, Marshall Grant and Luther Perkins. They are best known for the man that joined their group- Johnny Cash! They were mechanics at the time and wanted to compete with Elvis. They taught themselves how to play guitar and the rest is history! John Carter Cash was on hand to help honor these great musicians. Songs performed were Folsom Prison Blues, I Walk The Line, and Ring of Fire. What a treat.
Next up was the Funk Brothers known for their accomplishments in Motown. They are similar to the A-Team in that they were comprised of the most sought after studio musicians in Motown. Performances for the night included Peter Frampton doing Signed, Sealed, and Delivered, and Shotgun, My Girl by Dobie Gray, and Mary Wilson of the Supremes performing Stop in the Name of Love, and You Just Keep Me Hanging On.
The Blue Moon Boys were up next, and for me as a HUGE Elvis fan, what a treat. These 2 gentlemen, Scotty Moore and Bill Black, were responsible for auditioning Elvis for Sun Studios. Within days the three were in the studio recording, and music has never been the same. Performances were with Vince Gill singing That’s Alright, Mama, Heartbreak Hotel, and Blue Suede Shoes. Absolutely spectacular.
California based The Wrecking Crew were next. They performed on most of the hits associated with the West Coast in the early 60’s. Also associated with Phil Spector and his Wall of Sound, this group of musicians have performed with an amazing list of artists and contributed to various movie and television scores including Green Acres, M*A*S*H, and Hawaii Five-O. Performances included Roger McGuinn of the Byrds doing Mr. Tambourine Man, and Turn,Turn,Turn, and an absolutely beautiful rendition of Bridge Over Troubled Water by Vince Gill.
Lastly, but certainly not least was the Memphis Boys. These musicians are noted as being the hardest working men in music, having played on more hit records in a 6 month period than anyone else. Performances included I Gotch and Sweet Caroline by Scatt Springs, Always on My Mind, and Cry Like A Baby, by Dan Penn, BJ Thomas sang Hooked on A Feeling and Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song, In the Ghetto and Good Time Charlie were performed by Bobo Moreno, Amy Grant sang Son of A Preacher Man, and the piece de resistance – Garth Brooks singing Suspicious Minds.
As I wrote earlier the names of these legendary groups of musicians are not household names but their music is memorable. As you read this recounting of the nights events you can’t help but appreciate what these musicians have contributed to the music industry as a whole. Imagine the world without Elvis, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, The Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, The Supremes, etc. I can’t, and thanks to these talented individuals none of us have to. These musicians that have always lived, and thrived in the shadows finally got the recognition that they deserve. The performers that came out to honor them were truly humbled, and looked to many of these musicians as their inspiration for embarking in the music business. So next time you hear a great song take the time to look at the musicians that make it so, because after all where would music be without them.