top of page
  • Writer's pictureDave

2020 Blues Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

From the Daily Memphian (Link to article below):

B.B. King's cover of "3 O'Clock Blues" and Hi

Records artist Syl Johnson will be part of the Blues Hall of Fame's 41st class.

The Blues Foundation announced the new class this week, and will hold a ceremony for the 14 inductees on May 6, 2020, at the Halloran Centre on South Main. 

As with all things blues, the class includes several connections to Memphis music history.

There are five categories: performers, non-performing individuals, classics of blues literature, song classics of blues recording, and album classics of blues recording.

King’s rendition of “3 O’clock Blues” was recorded in December 1951, in a makeshift recording service housed in a YMCA on Lauderdale Street and Vance Avenue in South Memphis. Lowell Fulson originally recorded the song during a 1948 session in Oakland. 

According to biographer David McGee in “B.B. King: There is Always One More Time,” the single was an early nationwide success for King, netting him a 17-week run on the Billboard R&B chart.

Among the other singles to be inducted into the hall are Ruth Brown’s “Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean,” Bertha Hill’s “Trouble in Mind,” Willie Brown’s “Future Blues,” and Arthur Crudup’s 1946 recording “That’s All Right (Mama),” which Elvis Presley would record for Sam Phillips on July 5, 1954.

The acetate of Presley’s recording made its way to disc jockey Dewey Phillips, whose affection for the record coupled with his audience’s enthusiasm prompted him to invite Presley for an on-air interview in which a nervous Presley spoke to music fans over the airwaves for the first time.

Several of the six individual performers who will be inducted in the class hail from areas near the Mid-South, or have recorded and collaborated with local producers.

Chief among those is the Holly Springs-born soul man, Syl Johnson. With a long career most closely associated with the Chicago blues scene, Johnson returned to the Memphis area in the 1970s to record four albums and more than a dozen singles under the direction of Willie Mitchell. Each release was recorded in Mitchell’s Royal Studios and distributed on his Hi Records label.

Others to be inducted include harp player George “Harmonica” Smith, who was born in West Helena, Arkansas, and pianist Eddie Boyd, who moved from Clarksdale, Mississippi, to perform on Beale Street, as well as Bettye Layette, Victoria Spivey and Billy Branch. 

Recording engineer and producer Ralph Peer, who traveled to Memphis in 1927 to conduct field recordings in and around Beale Street, joins the list as the sole inductee in the non-performing individual category.

The Blues Hall of Fame will also induct a 1991 box set of Howling Wolf singles which were recorded for Chess Records shortly after the electrifying blues performer’s association with Sun Records.

Tickets for both the hall of fame induction and Blues Music Awards go on sale Jan. 7, 2020.

10 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page