King Curtis played a honking tenor sax with a rock and roll sting.
If you wanted an R&B sax, King Curtis was your man. He worked with everyone—Aretha Franklin, John Lennon, Clyde McPhatter, Bobby Darin and more.
Award for Musical Excellence Retrospective ReelKing Curtis, Hal Blaine, Scotty Moore, James Jamerson and Earl Palmer are Inducted at the 2000 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Award for Musical Excellence Retrospective Reel00:02:01
Hall of Fame Essay
That the saxophone found a place in rock & roll history is almost exclusively due to the ferocity of the contributions made by King Curtis Ousley to a host of barn-burning singles in the late 1950s, when he played sideman to the Coasters, for starters, and numerous other top R&B names of the era.
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1934, King Curtis was steeped in gospel music at an early age, thanks to his father, who played guitar in a sanctified church band. He was all often years old when he heard Louis Jordan playing saxophone on the radio and found his life’s path suddenly made clear.
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