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The Mar-Keys


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The Mar-Keys, formed in 1958, were a studio session band for the Stax label that also recorded some influential hits on their own. Their backing music, along with Booker T. & the MG’s, formed the foundation for the early Stax sound, with their brand of music inspiring many other artists. Their organ and saxophone fuled singles released on their own led to a #3 national hit with “Last Night” in 1961. Keyboards on said track was notably played by Jerry Lee “Smoochy” Smith. Other popular singles of theirs include “Philly Dog”, “Grab This Thing”, and “Pop-Eye Stroll”.

Members of this rhythm section later formed other nationally prominent Memphis studio session groups, including The Memphis Horns, The Packers, and Booker T. & the MG’s. Some also ended up playing in the prominent group The Blues Brothers. Each of these offshoot groups also recorded popular albums of their own, in addition some of them serving as the backing band on albums by dozens of rock, r&b, and soul music stars on Stax, Volt and other national labels.

The Mar-Keys served as a key player in the development of the musical styles of and .

* Steve Cropper - guitar
* Donald “Duck” Dunn - bass
* Charles “Packy” Axton - tenor sax
* Don Nix - saxophone
* Terry Johnson - piano
* Wayne Jackson - trombone, trumpet
* Jerry Lee “Smoochie” Smith - keyboards
* Booker T. Jones - keyboards
* Isaac Hayes - organ
* Al Jackson, Jr - drums


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