RIP Wayne Jackson of The Memphis Horns dies aged 74

More sad news breaking today that Wayne Jackson, one half of the famed Memphis Horns, has passed away aged 74. 

In a year of sad deaths in the world of entertainment, news of another passing reaches us today as Wayne Jackson, trumpeter and part of the acclaimed musical duo The Memphis Horns, died yesterday aged 74 as a result of congestive heart failure.

Jackson is most famous for his session work with his musical partner Andrew Love. Together they performed with the Stax band The Mar-Kays, but soon became Stax’s on call horn section and performed on almost all of the Stax Records of the day, appearing on singles by Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, William Bell, Eddie Floyd and more. Then in 1969 the duo split from Stax to form The Memphis Horns in order to acquire bigger fees, and they soon found themselves inundated with work. The seventies saw the duo perform on records by Al Green (including his 1973 smash ‘Let’s Stay Together‘), Elvis Presley (‘Suspicious Minds‘) and even Neil Diamond. They also released several of their own albums, including The Memphis Horns and Horns For Everything. 

As the eighties rolled around they remained in demand, and toured and performed alongside The Robert Cray Band, The Doobie Brothers and Rod Stewart to name a few, as well as recording with the likes of U2. According to Rolling Stone, The Memphis Horns performed on “52 number ones, 83 gold and platinum-selling albums, 116 top 10 records and 15 Grammy-winning records.”

Tragedy struck Love in 2002 when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, and passed away in 2012, the same year the duo won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Jackson meanwhile had failing health in recent years but continued to earn money by providing personalised tours of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Jackson is survived by his wife Amy who posted news of his death on Facebook, below. The world will never see the likes of these horn players again, but their legacy and the music will live on.

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George Haffenden
Written by George Haffenden
Brought up on a healthy diet of soul and funk, Haff's dream was to become the first British member of The Temptations. Realising that this dream could never be realised, he is now the curator of The Funk & Soul Revue.