Music has charms to sooth a savage breast…to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak… poet William Congreve was correct when, in 1697, he wrote to the power of music.
Greetings from Memphis:
The horrific and cowardly events that transpired at Monday’s Boston Marathon are painfully difficult for all of us to understand, much less accept – even in the context of today’s tumultuous world. Despite our religious, political, and cultural differences here on planet Earth, I find it unfathomable that anyone would strive to kill or maim innocent people in order to illustrate their own barbarism and savagery.
I have worked within the music industry for the past 50 years, and have found time and again that poet William Congreve was correct when, in 1697, he wrote: “Music has charms to sooth a savage breast…to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak…” When we were making music in Memphis at Stax Records in the 1960s and ‘70s it was to make people “feel good,” and we need more of that “feel good” music today – now more than ever.
A Letter from Al Bell to President Obama:
April 16, 2013
Mr. Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House 1600
Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
I am Al Bell, the former owner of Stax Records and current Chairman of the Board of the Memphis Music Foundation. I am a Memphis music entertainment entrepreneur born in Arkansas, and I humbly state that I played a major role in the building and global recognition of Stax Records, the Memphis sound, and the careers of many fine and talented artists and musicians that make Memphis music what it is today. With great respect, appreciation, and insight into the phenomenon occurring at Stax Records, I was inspired to brand our Memphis music home as Soulsville USA. Continue Reading
During this 50th-anniversary celebration of Motown, it is fitting that people reminisce, reflect, and remember all the great artists and music that Berry Gordy presented to us: Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Temptations, Mary Wells, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, the Marvelettes, Marvin Gaye, Edwin Starr, Jr. Walker & the All Stars, the Spinners, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, the Commodores and Lionel Richie, Rick James, Teena Marie, the incomparable Stevie Wonder, and more. The undisputed talent that came out of the studios at Hitsville U.S.A. in the Motor City was remarkable for its freshness and its creativity and equally remarkable because — without a man named Berry Gordy — we would not have one note of that music to cherish today. Nor would we have ever heard of these unique artists. Continue Reading