Memphis Music Hall of Fame Announces Big Names as New Nominating Committee Members
Prestigious Local & National Music Industry Execs Prepare to Select 2015 Hall of Fame Inductees
Memphis, TN … Entering its fourth year of paying tribute to many of the greatest musical icons in American history, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame announces the newest members of The Hall’s prestigious Nominating Committee. The 2015 Memphis Music Hall of Fame Nominating Committee is comprised of local and national music executives who will share the critical task of selecting the 2015 musical inductees.
Newer members of the Nominating Committee include American movie producer and writer and original writer for both Rolling Stone and Crawdaddy! magazines, Mitch Glazer; musician, songwriter, manager, music-industry executive and original judge and advisor on Fox TV’s hit American Idol, Randy Jackson; Grammy award winning composer, musician, director and original drummer with Paul Schaffer’s band on Late Night with David Letterman, Steve Jordan; noted guitarist, session musician, producer and songwriter known for his work with James Taylor, Carol King, Linda Ronstadt, Graham Nash and many others, Danny Kortchmar; CEO of Memphis’ famous Ardent Studios and Ardent Records, and drummer and only remaining original member of the legendary pop group Big Star, Jody Stephens; and Executive Director of the Memphis & Shelby County Music Commission, former executive with Dream Works Records and former VP for Def Jam Records, Johnnie Walker.
These Nominating Committee members join other current members, including Dr. Beverly Bond, Associate Professor of History, Director of African American Studies at the University of Memphis; Gregg Geller, 40-year music industry veteran A&R executive and producer at CBS, RCA and Warner Bros. Records; Robert Gordon, author of “It Came From Memphis,” “Can’t Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters,” and most recently “Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion”; and Peter Guralnick, whose books include the Elvis biography “Last Train to Memphis,” “Careless Love,” and the soon-to-be-released biography of Sam Phillips. Full biographies are included below. Photos are available upon request.
“It is rewarding to have such a stellar group of music industry professionals focused on the growth of the Memphis Music Hall of Fame,” said John Doyle, Executive Director of the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. “Each has reached the pinnacle of their fields, from publishing and higher education to journalism and the music industry, and many have worked with the absolute biggest names in the music industry. However, they each still hold a real reverence and a special knowledge about Memphis music and its world changing musicians. We are fortunate to have their expertise focused on the selection of the 2015 inductees.”
Inductee selection for the Memphis Music Hall of Fame is expected to be completed by the Nominating Committee by the end of April. The announcement of the 2015 Inductees will be held in May, in conjunction with the grand opening of the new Memphis Music Hall of Fame museum currently under construction at the corner of Beale Street and Second Street in downtown Memphis, adjacent to the Hard Rock Cafe.
The Memphis Music Hall of Fame tribute began in 2012, and is administered by the non-profit Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, located at 191 Beale Street and Third Street at FedExForum. Rock ‘n’ Soul is open daily from 10:00 am until 7:00 pm, as will the Memphis Music Hall of Fame museum.
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Memphis Music Hall of Fame Nominating Committee Biographies
Dr. Beverly Bond – Associate Professor of History, Director of African American Studies at the University of Memphis, and Dunavant University Professor. She is co-author of “Memphis in Black and White,” “Beale Street (Images of America),” and “Tennessee Women: Their Histories, Their Lives.” She published “Dreamers. Thinkers. Doers. A Centennial History of the University of Memphis” and “History of the University of Memphis.” She is working on the book “Claiming My Self: African American Women in Memphis, Tennessee, 1820s-Early 1900s.”
Gregg Geller – A 40-year veteran music industry A&R executive and producer at CBS, RCA and Warner Bros. Records. Geller signed Elvis Costello, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Hiatt, Labelle, Minnie Riperton, Nick Lowe and Rockpile to CBS’ Columbia and Epic labels. Three-time Grammy Award nominee for Elvis – A Golden Celebration, Johnny Cash – The Legend, and Frank Sinatra: The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings. He has also been tapped by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to collect documents for their archives.
Mitch Glazer – American movie producer and writer. Before becoming a screenwriter, he wrote for the music publications Rolling Stone Magazine and Crawdaddy!, where he met and befriended Timothy White (editor for both Crawdaddy! and Rolling Stone). Among his movie writing and screenplay credits are Scrooged (1988), Off And Running (1991), Three of Hearts (1993), Great Expectations (1998), Charlie’s Angels (2000) and The Recruit (2003). He was Associate Producer of 2003’s Lost in Translation, and others. Included among his television credits are creator, writer and executive producer for Magic City. Glazer was born in Key Biscayne, Florida, and was raised in Miami. In 2007, Glazer and his wife Kelly Lynch were named as one of Vanity Fair’s best-dressed couples.
Robert Gordon – The author of “It Came From Memphis,” “Can’t Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters,” and most recently “Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion.” A 2011 Grammy winner for his liner notes with the “Keep an Eye on the Sky” Big Star box set. As a filmmaker, he has produced and directed documentaries on Muddy Waters and Stax Records for PBS, “Johnny Cash’s America” for A&E, and on outliers like Cowboy Jack Clement (“Shakespeare Was A Big George Jones Fan”) and Jerry McGill (“Very Extremely Dangerous”). He was the writer and associate producer of “The Road To Memphis,” an episode in Martin Scorsese’s series “The Blues.” Most recently he produced and directed “Best of Enemies,” about the explosive relationship between Gore Vidal and William Buckley.
Peter Guralnick – His books include the Elvis biography “Last Train to Memphis” and “Careless Love.” He won a liner notes Grammy for “Sam Cooke Live at the Harlem Square Club,” and wrote and co-produced the documentary “Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll,” and wrote scripts for the Grammy-winning “Sam Cooke / Legend” and Martin Scorsese’s “Feel Like Going Home.” Recent inductee into the Blues Hall of Fame. Other books include “Sweet Soul Music,” “Lost Highway,” the biographical inquiry “Searching for Robert Johnson,” “Nighthawk Blues,” and “Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke.” He’ll soon release a Sam Phillips biography.
Randy Jackson – This fearless and forward-thinking mentality has guided him from musician, songwriter, and Grammy Award-winning producer to revered record-industry executive, business entrepreneur, best-selling author, talent manager, television producer and beloved television personality. All of this stems from Jackson’s passion for music. Jackson has lent his talents to hit records by Smokey Robinson, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, and Madonna, to name a few. Meanwhile, he also entered the rock ‘n’ roll realm, recording and performing with legendary musicians such as Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi, Keith Richards, Journey, Carlos Santana, Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and countless others. All in all, he has over 1,000 gold and platinum plaques to his name, with collective sales exceeding 200 million copies. Turning into one the highest-rated television shows of all time, Fox’sAmerican Idol became a phenomenon that yielded some of the most crucial artists of the twenty-first century. As the program’s longest-standing panel judge, Jackson reached an iconic status within pop culture. His charitable work includes his role as Goodwill Ambassador for Save the Children U.S., as well as his involvement with the Gibson Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Music in the Schools program of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and the T.J. Martell Foundation, which honored him with its Lifetime Music Industry Award. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he was one of the architects of the multimillion-dollar fundraiser, Idol Gives Back, delivering relief to Louisiana. He also contributed to “We Are the World 2,” benefiting Haitian relief efforts.
Steve Jordan – Multi-instrumentalist, composer, musical director and Grammy Award-winning artist who has made a name for himself as a producer from the Bronx in New York City. Best known as a drummer, including stints on Paul Shaffer’s band on Late Night With David Letterman, and tours including The Blues Brothers and Eric Clapton. A member, songwriter and co-producer of Keith Richards and the X-pensive Winos and the John Mayer Trio. Jordan has also released an instructional program for drummers called “The Groove is Here.”
Danny Kortchmar – Guitarist, session musician, producer and songwriter. Kortchmar’s work with such singer-songwriters as Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, David Crosby, Carole King, Graham Nash, and Carly Simon helped define the signature sound of the singer-songwriter era of the 1970s. Jackson Browne and Don Henley have recorded many songs written or co-written by Kortchmar, and he was Henley’s songwriting and producing partner in the 1980s. Former band member with Carol King in a trio named The City, he continued backing her during her solo career, including the 1991 groundbreaking album Tapestry. Also a former band member with James Taylor and reunited with him for the 1970 breakthrough album Sweet Baby James. He has performed with Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon, Jackson Browne, and many others. He has produced or co-produced for Don Henley, Neil Young, Jon Bon Jovi, Stevie Nicks, Billy Joel, Tracy Chapman, Hanson and others.
Jody Stephens – New CEO of Memphis’ famous Ardent Studios and Ardent Records, and drummer for the legendary early ’70s pop group Big Star, and the only surviving original member. After the demise of Big Star Stephens stayed on at John Fry’s Ardent Studios, where all three Big Star records were recorded, acting first as a session drummer, producer and administrator for the successful studio before becoming CEO in 2014. Under his direction, Ardent Productions developed several artists in the 1980s and 1990s, landing deals at Geffen for John Kilzer, A&M for Tora Tora, and Elektra for The Eric Gales Band. In recent years Stephens has added his superb power-pop drumming skills to the likes of Matthew Sweet and the Posies while helping to re-start the Ardent label.
Johnnie Walker – Executive Director for the Memphis & Shelby County Music Commission. Founder of the National Association of Black Female Executives in Music & Entertainment, Inc. She holds the distinction of being named the first female Sr. Vice President of Promotion for the Island Def Jam Music Group and the only female to ever hold that position for the company. Walker was named Radio & Records Urban Promotion Executive of the Year in 2003 and 2004. She began her career in 1978 as a country music air personality. In 1989, Johnnie Walker’s talent caught the attention of Russell Simmons at Def Jam Recordings. Walker became the label’s Regional Promotions Manager based in Memphis and, one year later was promoted to National Director of Promotion. Later as Senior National Director, she helped develop the careers of Flavor Flav, Public Enemy, The Beastie Boys, 3rd Bass, Redman, Method Man, Montell Jordan, Case and Foxy Brown! In 1997, she moved to New York City where she assumed the position of Vice President of Promotion for Def Jam Recordings. Later as Senior Vice President, Walker worked with Jay-Z, Sisqo, Kelly Price, Ashanti, Ja Rule, DMX, LL Cool J, Musiq Soulchild, Dru Hill and many others. In 2003 she was named Head of Black Music for DreamWorks Records.