The National R&B Music Society Inc. BLACK AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH: Today we Honor “AL BELL: Legendary Record Producer, Songwriter, Record Executive and Disk Jockey. Al Bell Joined Stax Records in 1965 as Director Of Promotions. He later became Executive Vice President. In 1968, after Stax severed it’s distribution deal with Atlantic Records, Al lead the charge to release new material for Stax (Atlantic Records controlled all Stax Recording catalog prior to 1968).
Some of the new acts signed to Stax were The Staple Singers (Repect Yourself), The Emotions (So I can Love You) and The Soul Children (The Sweeter He is, Hearsay and I’ll be the other woman).
Those acts along with current labelmates Johnnie Taylor (Who’s Making Love), William Bell(I forgot to be Your Lover) and Eddie Floyd (I’ve never found a girl) helped rebuild Stax recording catalog. Al became co-owner of Stax Records in 1969. Through Al’s leadership, Stax flourished: Landmark Album by Issac Hayes (Hot Buttered Soul), I’ll Take you There (written by Al Bell) becomes The Staple Singers biggest Hit, Platinum Single for Jean Knight (Mr. Big Stuff), two soundtracks for feature films, “Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song” and “Shaft, The Dramatics (What You See Is What You Get and In The Rain). In 1972, Al supervised The WattStax Festival, a day long concert featuring Stax recording artists which was held in Los Angeles. The Film version of the concert was released in 1973. Stax signed a distribution deal with CBS Records in 1972 but unfortunately Stax went into bankruptcy in 1975. Later Al became head of Motown Records Group and worked closely with Berry Gordy in the sale of Motown to the MCA/Boston Ventures Group. Al later became owner of Bellmark Records. His Company’s release of “Whoomp! (there it is) for the group Tag Team became one of the biggest selling records in 1993. Al then turned to hosting a sucessful on-line (web based) radio program called “Al Bell Presents: American Soul Music”. Al’s Achievements/ Awards are endless:
Arthur A. Fletcher Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Black Chamber of Commerce
Alex Haley “Roots Award,” Greater Washington, DC Business Center
National Award of Achievement, U.S. Department of Commerce
Dare To Soar Award, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
Achievement Award, Boy Scouts of America
1000 Most Successful Blacks, Ebony Magazine
100 Most Influential Black Men, Ebony Magazine
Entered in “Who’s Who in the World
Inductee, America’s Music and Entertainment of Fame
Inducted – Arkansas Black Hall of Fame
Member of the Board of Directors, Memphis Chamber of Commerce
Member of the Board of Directors, Central Arkansas Chapter of the March of Dimes
Member of the Board of Trustees, Philander Smith College
Memphis’ Legendary Record Producers Award, 2005
W. C Handy Lifetime Achievement Award, 2002
Record Executive of the Year, Impact Magazine, 1994
Record Executive of the Year, BRE, 1994
Chairman’s Award, Southeast Music, 1994
NARM Indie Best Seller Award (“Whoomp! There It Is” – Tag Team), 1994
Independent Label of the Year Award, The Urban Network, 1994
The Spirit of Freedom Award, Freedom Magazine, 1994
Russell Simmons Award for Executive Excellence, Young Black Programmers’ Coalition, 1993
Black Music Chief Executive of the Year, Impact, 1993
Living Legend Award, Warner Bros., Reprise Records & Urban Network, 1972 Heroes and Legends Leadership Award, 1991
Voted Number Five in the 30 All-Time Greatest Executives in Black Music, Impact Magazine Poll, 1985
Best Documentary (Wattstax), nomination Golden Globe (1973)
Executive of the Year, Bill Gavin Radio Program Conference, 1971.
He is a member of The National R&b Society Inc. His biggest acheivement will come this Friday as he will receive The Trustee’s Award in a special ceremony at THE GRAMMY AWARDS in Los Angeles. That award will be recognized during the Grammy telecast on February 13, 2011. So we honor You: AL BELL. You are truly a LEGEND!
Regards Gregory Moore
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