My interview with the legendary Steve Cropper
By Bronson Herrmuth - 02/27/2008 - 02:05 PM EST
Steve Cropper with William Bell and Eddie Floyd - Photo by Chip Stone ©2007
©2007 By Bronson Herrmuth
If playing the fire out of a guitar for over 50 years isn't enough for you, add recording artist, hit songwriter, award winning producer, arranger, engineer, actor, label head, and you start to get the picture of the many talents of Steve Cropper. A founding member of The Mar-keys, and Booker T. and the MG's, his guitar playing is legendary world wide. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, the Rhythm and Blues Pioneer Award in 1995, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005, and the brand new Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville, in 2006. Steve "The Colonel" Cropper has already left his distinctive mark on the history of American music and he is far from done, having just won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2007 Grammy's as a member of Booker T. and The MG's.
As a songwriter, some of the songs he has written or cowritten include:
(Sitting On) The Dock Of The Bay - with Otis Redding - has been played over six million times, making it the sixth most played song of all time (and the ASCAP catalog's second most played)
Mr Pitiful - with Otis Redding
Soul Man - Sam & Dave - The Blues Brothers
In The Midnight Hour - with Wilson Pickett
Don't Fight It - with Wilson Pickett
Green Onions - Booker T. and The MG's
Mo' Green Onions - Booker T. and The MG's
Time Is Tight - Booker T. and The MG's
Melting Pot - Booker T. and The MG's
Crusin' - Booker T. and The MG's
Knock On Wood - with Eddie Floyd
634-5789 - with Eddie Floyd
Seesaw - with Don Covay
Sookie Sookie - with Don Covay
Just some of the artists he has produced, all recordings he also played guitar on:
Wilson Pickett - Poco - Jeff Beck - Jose Feliciano - Yvonne Elliman - John Prine - Tower Of Power - John Cougar - Rufus Thomas - Mavis Staples
As a solo recording artist, he has released 4 albums:
Stax Records, 1969, With A Little Help From My Friends
MCA Records, 1980, Playin' My Thang
MCA Records, 1982, Night After Night
Play It Steve! Records, 1998, Play It Steve!
As a band member of The Mar-Keys, Booker T. and The MG's, or The Blues Brothers:
Satellite Records, 1961, Last Night, The Mar-Keys
Stax Records, 1962, Green Onions, Booker T. and The MG's
Asylum Records, 1977, Universal Language, Booker T. and The MG's
Atlantic Records, 1978, Briefcase Full of Blues, The Blues Brothers
Atlantic Records, 1980, Made In America, The Blues Brothers
WEA International, 1989, Live From Montreaux, The Blues Brothers
Red, White and Blues, 1992, The Blues Brothers
House Of Blues Records, 1997, Live From Chicago's HOB, The Blues Brothers
Fantasy Records, 1998, 3 CD box set, Booker T. and The MG's
As a session guitar player, some of the artists who's records he has performed on include:
Sam & Dave - Otis Redding - Eddie Floyd - Jerry Lee Lewis - Aretha Franklin - Elton John
Rod Stewart - Etta James - John Lennon - Ringo Starr - Paul Simon - Peter Frampton - Buddy Guy - Johnny Lang - Steppenwolf - Art Garfunkel - Albert King - Pop Staples - Neil Sedaka - Leon Russell - Chris Hillman - Richie Furay - Wendy Waldman - Bob Dylan - Richie Havens - Roy Buchanan - Levon Helm - Duane Eddy - Buddy Miles - Boz Scaggs - Aaron Neville - Wynonna Judd - Jimmy Buffett - Rufus Thomas and Wayne Newton.
As an actor, he has appeared in both hit movies made by The Blues Brothers. The first in 1980 titled The Blues Brothers with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, and the second in 1998 with Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, and Jim Belushi, titled Blues Brothers 2000.
In 1996, MOJO Magazine compiled a list of the top 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time and Steve Cropper was ranked #2, behind Jimi Hendrix. A muliti-instrumentalist, he also plays bass guitar, piano, and organ.
A successful studio owner on Music Row in Nashville, Steve Cropper continues to make lots of music. He heads his own label, Play It Steve! Records, and his guitar playing is still in great demand here in the US and abroad. He also designed a guitar for Peavey, called the Steve Cropper Classic.
Steve recently celebrated 50 years of soul with a star studded concert at the world famous Ryman Auditorium. At this event he was joined on stage by some of his friends, including:
Delbert McClinton - James Burton - John Kay - Lee Roy Parnell - Randy Owen - B.J. Thomas - Michael McDonald - Felix Cavaliere - John Anderson - T. Graham Brown - Mark Farner - Danny Shirlely - Beth Nielsen Chapman - Rob Paparozza - Ray Vega - Robben Ford and Peter Gallagher.
The house band at this very special show consisted of David Michael Santos, Jim Horn, Mark Beckett, Bob Britt, Mark Jordan, Roy Agee, Steve Herrman, Sam Levine along with several great back-up singers. All there to help celebrate 50 years of Soul with the soul man himself, Steve Cropper.
Steve Cropper interview with Bronson Herrmuth
Recorded on November 27, 2007 in Nashville, TN
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