Primary Instrument: Band/orchestra
The Memphis Horns are the quintessential Memphis music combination, Andrew Love, tall, black and as mellow as one of his tenor solos; Wayne Jackson, short, white and as intense as one of his trumpet blasts. Together they were reared in all that Memphis music had to offer. Wayne got his start across the River in his hometown of West Memphis, Arkansas, strumming the guitar and singing in childhood talent shows. Andrew began his career playing “Amazing Grace” in Memphis’ Mt. Nebo Baptist Church, where his father, Roy, was the preacher. Wayne took up trumpet after his mother gave him one at age 11 and began playing in the junior and senior high school bands. From there, the two future partners’ lives moved along parallel lines.
By the beginning of the 60s, Wayne was playing with a group called, The Mar-Keys. A hit instrumental, “Last Night,” landed The Mar-Keys at the top of the charts, and Wayne toured the country in a group that included Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn, Packy Axton, Terry Johnson, Ronnie Angel and Don Nix.
Meanwhile, Andrew was doing sessions at Willie Mitchell’s Hi Records. But one day at Al Jackson’s (drummer for Booker T. & The MGs) suggestion, he brought his sax to Stax. “I remember the first time we played together,” says Andrew. “I loved how our tones blended and so did Wayne. We had a unique sound.”
They appeared on virtually ever Stax recording, backing Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Eddie Floyd, Carla & Rufus Thomas and a host of others.
When not in a Stax session, they could be found recording at Hi Records and American Studio or burning up the highway from Memphis to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where they recorded with a Who’s Who of Southern Soul including Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett.
In 1967, they toured Europe with the Stax/Volt Revue and helped Otis Redding steal the show at the Monterey Pop Festival. For Wayne and Andrew, it was a turning point. “On the drive back to San Francisco to catch the plane home to Memphis, Andrew and I decided that maybe we really could make a living at this,” says Wayne. “It was a revelation. Up until then, we wondered each year what we would do when this was over. And now it seemed like it was going to stretch on forever.”
In 1969, after being told by Stax that they could no longer work at other studios, only exclusively at Stax, they declined to do so. They left the house band payroll and incorporated as The Memphis Horns, offering their services to anyone whose music needed a shot of Memphis soul, and lines began forming. Elvis, Al Green, Stephen Stills, Rod Stewart, The Doobie Brothers, Joe Cocker, Sting, Bonnie Raitt, Peter Gabriel, U2, Jimmy Buffett, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, Robert Cray and hundreds of other have since worked with the men who made up the R&B horn section that provided the model for all others to follow.
To date, they’ve performed on 49 Number One records, 112 Top Ten records, 83 Gold & Platinum records and 15 Grammy winners.
In 2000, Andrew retired, and Wayne has carried on The Memphis Horns’ legacy, lending his arranging, recording and performing expertise to a variety of artists.
On October 28th, 2008, Wayne & Andrew were inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame during a fantastic ceremony and show at the Schermerhorn Symphony Hall in Nashville. They joined fellow inductees, Booker T. & the MGs, the Crickets, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Duane Eddy, Al Kooper and Billy Sherrill, in a three hour celebration of the musicians behind the hits. Well done gentlemen!