Al Jackson Jr.

Hand drummers in Berkeley, California, about 1966

American drummer, producer, and songwriter.

- Al Jackson Jr.
Hand drummers in Berkeley, California, about 1966

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Jones in 2009

Booker T. Jones

American musician, songwriter, record producer and arranger, best known as the frontman of the band Booker T. & the M.G.'s.

American musician, songwriter, record producer and arranger, best known as the frontman of the band Booker T. & the M.G.'s.

Jones in 2009
Booker T. Jones's childhood home on Edith Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee
Booker T. playing organ at the Petaluma Wine, Jazz and Blues Festival, August 2009

It was here that he met Al Jackson Jr., whom he brought to Stax.

Willie Mitchell in 1966

Willie Mitchell (musician)

American trumpeter, bandleader, soul, R&B, rock and roll, pop and funk record producer and arranger who ran Royal Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.

American trumpeter, bandleader, soul, R&B, rock and roll, pop and funk record producer and arranger who ran Royal Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.

Willie Mitchell in 1966
Mississippi Blues Trail marker dedicated to Mitchell in Ashland

Mitchell's productions have been much noted for featuring a hard-hitting bass drum sound (usually played by pioneering Memphis drummer Al Jackson, Jr. of Booker T. & the M.G.'s).

Dunn in 2007

Donald "Duck" Dunn

American bass guitarist, session musician, record producer, and songwriter.

American bass guitarist, session musician, record producer, and songwriter.

Dunn in 2007
Dunn (left), Guy Sebastian (center) and Steve Cropper (right) on tour in Australia with the Memphis Tour

Booker T. and the M.G.'s was founded by Cropper and Booker T. Jones in 1962, with the drummer Al Jackson, Jr. The original bassist, on early hits such as "Green Onions", was Lewie Steinberg; Dunn replaced him in 1965.

Cropper performing in 2008

Steve Cropper

American guitarist, songwriter and record producer.

American guitarist, songwriter and record producer.

Cropper performing in 2008
Steve Cropper in concert, 1990
Steve Cropper at the Hamar Music Festival, 2007
Cropper toured Australia with Guy Sebastian, playing on Sebastian's The Memphis Album tour in March 2008

He became a founding member of the Stax house band Booker T. & the M.G.'s, along with Hammond organ player Booker T. Jones, bassist Lewie Steinberg (who was replaced by Donald "Duck" Dunn soon thereafter) and drummer Al Jackson Jr. As a house guitarist, he played on many recordings such as "(Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay", co-written with and performed by Otis Redding and Sam & Dave's "Soul Man" on which he was mentioned by name.

The "Stax-o-Wax" logo used during the Atlantic distribution years

Stax Records

American record company, originally based in Memphis, Tennessee.

American record company, originally based in Memphis, Tennessee.

The "Stax-o-Wax" logo used during the Atlantic distribution years
Hip Hug-Her, by Booker T. & the MG's (1967), showing the two different Atlantic-era Stax logos
The Stax Museum on McLemore Avenue in Memphis, founded in 2003, is a replica of the Stax studio, built on the same site where many of the historic Stax recording sessions took place. The original Stax studio was demolished in 1989.
Tennessee Historical Commission marker at the original site of Stax Records, now the site of the Stax campus.

Jones, Steinberg and Cropper were joined in mid-1962 by drummer Al Jackson, Jr. to form Booker T. & the M.G.'s, an instrumental combo that would record numerous hit singles in their own right and served as the de facto house band for virtually every recording made at Stax from 1962 through about 1970.

King in 1978

Albert King

American blues guitarist and singer whose playing influenced many other blues guitarists.

American blues guitarist and singer whose playing influenced many other blues guitarists.

King in 1978
King at Fillmore East, October 1968, with his Gibson Flying V guitar. Photo: Grant Gouldon
King in Chicago, 1981

Produced by Al Jackson Jr., King with Booker T. & the MGs recorded dozens of influential sides, such as "Crosscut Saw" and "As the Years Go Passing By".

Eddie Floyd in 2000

Eddie Floyd

American soul-R&B singer and songwriter, best known for his work on the Stax record label in the 1960s and 1970s including the No. 1 R&B hit song "Knock on Wood".

American soul-R&B singer and songwriter, best known for his work on the Stax record label in the 1960s and 1970s including the No. 1 R&B hit song "Knock on Wood".

Eddie Floyd in 2000

The song "Big Bird" (featuring Booker T. Jones on organ and guitar, Al Jackson, Jr. on drums, and Donald "Duck" Dunn on bass) was written while Floyd waited in a London airport for a plane back to the United States for Otis Redding's funeral.

Pickett in 1969

Wilson Pickett

American singer and songwriter.

American singer and songwriter.

Pickett in 1969
Wilson Pickett with Pino Presti during the European tour in 1970
Everybody Needs Somebody to Love

The genesis of "In the Midnight Hour" was a recording session on May 12, 1965, at which Wexler worked out a powerful rhythm track with studio musicians Steve Cropper and Al Jackson of the Stax Records house band, including bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn.

Mann c. 1980

Herbie Mann

American jazz flute player and important early practitioner of world music.

American jazz flute player and important early practitioner of world music.

Mann c. 1980
Herbie Mann and Will Lee (1975)

The musicians on these recordings are some of the best-known session players in soul and jazz, including singer Cissy Houston (mother of Whitney Houston), guitarists Duane Allman, Larry Coryell, and Sonny Sharrock, bassists Donald "Duck" Dunn, Chuck Rainey, and Miroslav Vitous, and drummers Al Jackson, Jr. and Bernard Purdie.

Booker T. & the M.G's c. undefined 1967 (L–R): Donald "Duck" Dunn, Booker T. Jones (seated), Steve Cropper, Al Jackson Jr.

Booker T. & the M.G.'s

American instrumental R&B/funk band that was influential in shaping the sound of Southern soul and Memphis soul.

American instrumental R&B/funk band that was influential in shaping the sound of Southern soul and Memphis soul.

Booker T. & the M.G's c. undefined 1967 (L–R): Donald "Duck" Dunn, Booker T. Jones (seated), Steve Cropper, Al Jackson Jr.
Booker T. & the M.G.'s in Tunica, Mississippi, 2002

The original members of the group were Booker T. Jones (organ, piano), Steve Cropper (guitar), Lewie Steinberg (bass), and Al Jackson Jr. (drums).