Elvis Presley and The Memphis Horns

You know the Memphis Horns, even if you think you don’t.

This magical musical duo, made up of saxophonist Andrew Love and trumpeter Wayne Jackson, played on countless hit songs for decades. The pair played on soul, blues, R&B, country and rock ‘n’ roll hits, always adding that special Memphis sound to each and every recording.

The Memphis Horns played on three of Elvis’ hits: “Suspicious Minds,” “In the Ghetto” and “Kentucky Rain.” Let’s learn more about these guys, who provided an incredible sound for so many legendary artists, including the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

The Memphis Horns performed on one of Elvis' biggest hits, "Suspicious Minds."

The Memphis Horns performed on one of Elvis’ biggest hits, “Suspicious Minds.”

Andrew Love, a Memphis native, began playing music in his father’s church. Wayne Jackson, from West Memphis, Arkansas, took up the trumpet in the school band. Both of the men found careers in music in the Bluff City – Jackson joined a group called The Mar-Keys, while Love performed session work at Willie Mitchell’s Hi Records. The guys eventually landed at the legendary Stax label, where they met. You could say the rest is history, but it’s a really good history.

Andrew Love, right, and Wayne Jackson are The Memphis Horns.

Andrew Love, right, and Wayne Jackson are The Memphis Horns. They were born just a few days apart from each other – Love was born on November 21, 1941, and Jackson was born on November 24.

Jackson and Love performed for Stax, Hi Records and American Studio, all in Memphis, and they also recorded at studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The guys decided to form The Memphis Horns after performing with Otis Redding at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. The guys were employed by Stax, but left in 1969 to offer their services to anyone who wanted that special Memphis sound.

Love and Jackson played on Elvis’ RCA sessions at American Studios in Memphis on January 13-16 and 20-23, 1969, and Jackson performed on the sessions on February 17-22, 1969. “Suspicious Minds” and “In the Ghetto” were recorded in January, with “Kentucky Rain” recorded in February.

Wayne and Elvis had this photo taken during one of the recording sessions.

Wayne and Elvis.

The Memphis Horns contributed to so many incredible hit songs and albums, beyond their work for the king. Here is an incredibly short and in no way comprehensive list of songs and albums the pair worked on: “Try a Little Tenderness” and “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding; “Respect” and “Think” by Aretha Franklin; “In the Midnight Hour” and “Mustang Sally” by Wilson Pickett; “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge; “B-A-B-Y” by Carla Thomas; “Knock on Wood” by Eddie Floyd; “”Tired of Being Alone,” “Let’s Stay Together,” “I’m Still in Love with You” and “You Ought to Be With Me” by Al Green; “Shaft” by Isaac Hayes; “Dusty in Memphis” by Dusty Springfield; “Hot Buttered Soul” by Isaac Hayes; “Soul Man” and “Hold On I’m Coming” by Sam & Dave; “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond; “I Just Can’t Help Believing” and “Hooked on a Feeling” by B.J. Thomas; “Roll With It,” by Steve Winwood; “Takin’ It to the Streets,” by the Doobie Brothers; “Shotgun Willie” by Willie Nelson; “Do the Funky Chicken,” by Rufus Thomas; “I Can’t Stand the Rain” by Ann Peebles; “Rattle & Hum” by U2; “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel; “Born to Boogie” by Hank Williams Jr.; “Mercury Falling” by Sting; “Disciplined Breakdown” by Collective Soul.

As you can tell, the duo performed on countless chart-topping songs and albums, GRAMMY-award winning music, and tunes that have been loved by fans for decades.

Love retired in 2004, and passed away in 2012. Jackson died in 2016. The Memphis Horns were inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2008, and that same year, Jackson was inducted into the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame. The pair were inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2017.

Learn more about some of the other musicians, producers and singers who worked with Elvis. Check out our blog posts about The Blue Moon Boys, Sam Phillips, The Jordanaires, Chet Atkins and Floyd Cramer.

Explore all facets of Elvis’ career at Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum here at Graceland! It’s the world’s largest Elvis museum, and it covers everything from his start at Sun to his movie career, from “Aloha from Hawaii” to the ’68 Special, from his jumpsuits to his awards. Visit Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis!


1 Comment

  1. Jeremy

    Very neat spotlight on two iconic Memphis session cats. Regarding the photo of Elvis & Wayne Jackson, the experts at For Elvis CD Collectors have dated the photo to August 1973 in Las Vegas backstage at the Hilton. Jackson was also a licensed pilot who co-piloted a Lear jet belonging to the wealthy real estate developing husband of Elvis’s cousin Bobbie Wren…Jackson would fly them all out to see Elvis’s opening Vegas shows until Bobbie passed away in December 1976. Bobbie was the daughter of Gladys’ sister Lillian.

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