Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Steve Cropper (Part 2)

One  of  the Key Creative Pillars of  the  Southern Soul Music

Cropper is responsible for Wilson Pickett’s early successes on Atlantic Records.  Pickett came to SStax in 1965 looking to get his career kick-started after several failures trying to get a hit while recording in New York under Jerry Wexler (a legendary recording executive for Atlantic Records and the man responsible for Aretha Franklin’s first million selling recording of "I Never the Way I Love You". 

ilPickett's first collaboration with Cropper was “In The Midnight Hour” which was co-written at the same hotel as that in which coincidentally the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been fatally shot several years later. That song took the No.1 position on the Billboard R&B chart listing from The Four Tops spending nine weeks at No.1 with “I Can’t Help Myself”.  Wilson’s single reached the summit on August 7th 1965 (1 week).

Another of Steve Cropper’s first major successes as a Songwriter and as   Producer was with Eddie Floyd’s “Knock On Wood” which became a gold single co-written with Floyd. Floyd was the first solo Artist at Stax to have achieved a gold record and as well a key songwriter in the Stax organization. Featured on this recording session were fellow Stax musicians Booker T. Jones (keyboard), Donald “Duck” Dunn (bass) and Al Jackson Jnr. (drums), with Isaac Hayes on piano and the Bar-keys on horns. Cropper’s next landmark recording was Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of The Bay”, which remained R&B and Pop Chart No.1 for several weeks on Billboard. After Otis Redding’s premature death in a plane accident with some other members of The Mar-kays.               
The song received two Grammy Awards for “Best R&B Male Vocal Performance” and “Best R&B Song” in 1969. Steve Cropper co-wrote this song with Otis Redding, played acoustic and electric guitar and also produced the track. The song has been played over six million times, making it the sixth Most Played Song of all time and is also listed on The Grammy Hall of Fame site as a lasting and historical significance, inducted in 1998. The Album entitled “(Sittin On) The Dock of The Bay” achieved UK Pop No.1 position in 1968 and USA Pop No.4 in 1968. Cropper has also co- written “The Happy Song”; “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)” and ”Mr Pitiful”, all recorded by Otis Redding.

Steve performed on two singles that achieved gold record sales of Million-plus Copies sold in the USA for Stax. Those were The Mar-Keys “Last Night”, Pop Chart No 3, August 7th 1961, Satellite 107 and Booker T & the MGs’ “Green Onions”, Pop Chart No. 3, R&B Chart No. 1, September 15th 1962, (4 weeks), UK Pop No. 7, 1979, Stax 127

 Researched and compiled by 
Mr K Tomlin Music Historian 

  ©RCM Music/Signaturesoundsonline 2013

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About Me

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Old Harlow, Essex, United Kingdom
Kevin Tomlin has over 34 years of teaching experience in Jamaica, England and America, including 15 years teaching music history of black origin and visual art in South Florida, U.S.A., through Arts in Education. Tomlin created special training programmes and workshops for music teachers in South Florida schools, using music history as the foundation, to build exciting programmes of study and support materials for education professionals. Since 2000, he’s taught music history, geography, religious education, history, visual arts and performing arts at schools in Hertfordshire and Essex, at both primary and secondary levels. He conducts research and provides consultancy services for multi-media organisations, schools, recording artists, cultural and faith-based groups and entertainment professionals.

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