King Curtis

  • Year:
  • Inducted by:
    Mike Stoller
  • Category:
    Musical Excellence
King Curtis


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.

Hall of Fame Essay


David McGee

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.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Program 2000
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