Stars fell on Alabama

Percy Sledge - Photo by Marc Parker
Percy Sledge - Photo by Marc Parker

Montgomery, AL –About a thousand people were treated to some of the best the music world has to offer during the Alabama Music Hall of Fame’s 13th Induction Banquet and Awards show Thursday night at the Renaissance Convention Center.

David Johnson, executive director of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, which is located in Tuscumbia, said that they were proud to be returning to Montgomery for the event that honors the state’s great music achievers.

Bob Howell, news anchor for WSFA-12 in Montgomery, served as emcee for the evening’s events which included performances by Mac Davis, Jamey Johnson, Percy Sledge, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Mac McAnally, Eddie Levert, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, and Bobby Denton.

Mac Davis sang two of his popular tunes “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me” and “Texas in My Rearview Mirror.” The Atlanta Rhythm Section paid tribute to inductee Buddy Buie by performing two of the songwriter’s hits “Spooky” and “Champagne Jam.”

Pat Upton sang, “More Today Than Yesterday,” a melody he penned in 1969, and legendary R&B and soul performer Percy Sledge brought the house down with his 1966 masterpiece, “When a Man Loves a Woman.”

The following is a list of inductees and their categories:

Performing artist/group category

The Blind Boys of Alabama – Heritage is traced back to 1939 at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind in Talladega. The Grammy-winning a cappella vocalists continue to influence the music world.

Eddie Levert - Photo by Marc Parker
Eddie Levert - Photo by Marc Parker

Eddie Levert (the lead singer of the O’Jays), a Bessemer native, sprang to the national forefront in 1963 as a founding member of the O’Jays of Canton, Ohio, having their first major hit in 1967 with “I’ll Be Sweeter Tomorrow (Then I Was Today).”

Music creator

Dothan songwriter/record producer Buddy Buie – Spent much of his career as an award-winning songwriter, record producer and concert promoter in the Atlanta area where he worked with such acts as the Classics IV and Atlanta Rhythm Section.

Florence session musician Jerry Carrigan – Was one of the first session drummers for Muscle Shoals area studios, playing behind Arthur Alexander, the Tams, and Tommy Roe. He left for Nashville and became a leading studio drummer, working with Elvis Presley, Charlie Rich, Ray Stevens, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, and others.

Entertainment industry

Elba native, record producer/musician Paul Hornsby – Became a hit record producer for the Charlie Daniels Band, the Marshall Tucker Band, Wet Willie, Kitty Wells, and others, in Macon, Georgia, initially with Capricorn Records.

John Herbert Orr Pioneer Award

The late Muscle Shoals musician Terry Thompson – An Amory, Mississippi native who moved to Florence as a child, was a guitarist who was an inspiration for many of the early Muscle Shoals musicians in the 1950-60s. Thompson died at age 24 in Dothan.

Mac Davis accepting the Jerry Wexler award - Photo by Marc Parker
Mac Davis accepting the Jerry Wexler award - Photo by Marc Parker

Singer Colbert-Lauderdale County State Senator Bobby Denton – Of Cherokee, made some of the early recordings in Muscle Shoals for Tune Records.

The contemporary awards:

Governor’s award

B. A. Nugent of Point Clear – A North Alabama native now retired after a career in education, was director of the Southern Methodist University band, chairman of the music department at Emporia State College (Kansas), chair of the University of Oklahoma school of music, dean of sciences and art at Washington State University, and founder of the J. William Fulbright College of Liberal Arts in Arkansas.

Music industry award

Integrity, Inc., chief executive officer Michael Coleman of Mobile – Co-founder of Integrity, Inc., a much-awarded, global Christian praise and worship music company based in Mobile since 1987.

Sam Phillips innovator’s award

Concert promoter Tony Ruffino of Birmingham – Was founder of Ruffino Vaughan Productions and New Era Promotions, is a retired concert promoter in the Birmingham area. His first concert promotion in Alabama was one by Jimi Hendrix.

Jerry Wexler award

Former Muscle Shoals recording artist Mac Davis of Los Angeles, California – A songwriter who found success as a recording artist with Rick Hall as his producer at Fame in Muscle Shoals. Among their hits were “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked On me,” “Stop and Smell the Roses,” “Texas in My Rearview Mirror,” and “Hooked on Music.” In 1974, Davis was named the Academy of Country Music’s entertainer of the year.

Arthur Alexander songwriter’s award

Mac McAnally - Photo by Marc Parker
Mac McAnally - Photo by Marc Parker

Singer/songwriter Mac McAnally of Sheffield – A Red Bay native who grew up in Belmont, Mississippi, has won numerous awards for his songwriting. He writes and tours with Jimmy Buffet, whom he also produces.

Alabama’s rising star award

Singer Jamey Johnson of Enterprise – Born in Enterprise, but grew up in Montgomery, has been on a hot streak in recent years. He co-wrote the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music 2007 Song of the Year, “Give it Away,” recorded by George Strait. The Grammy-nominated artist won the ACM’s Song of the Year for his single, “In Color.”

Media award

Original MTV veejay Alan Hunter of Birmingham – From Mountain Brook, was the first veejay when Music Television bowed as a new network for showing music videos and doing music documentaries. After six years, he returned home to start a film company. Then he became host of the Looking for Stars reality show.

Article by Melissa Parker

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