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He recorded a hit song his first day in the studio. He’s played on 52 Number One records and 83 Gold and Platinum records. He’s toured the world and shared the stage with many of the most influential artists in modern music.
If there’s such a thing as destiny, then it’s safe to say Wayne Jackson has a purpose on this earth.
Born in Memphis and raised across the river in the sleepy, cotton town of West Memphis, Arkansas, Wayne’s love of music began with a guitar. Then one night his mother came home with a trumpet for her eleven-year-old son. “I opened up the case, and it smelled like oil and brass. I loved that, so I put it together, blew, and out came a pretty noise. My first taste of Sweet Medicine.”
The rest is music history.
Wayne played in the junior high and senior high bands taking all honors at the local and state level. Soon he was sneaking out the back window to go play at the Jungle Inn on Highway Seventy. And then it happened. In the 12th grade, he found himself playing with a group called The Mar-Keys. They had a number one instrumental smash called, “Last Night.” It was 1961.
What followed was a magical ride making music history with Otis, Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Isaac Hayes, Eddie Floyd, Albert King and the rest of the Stax Records roster. “Back then, we had to do those songs from front to back with no mistakes and with good feelings. That’s what made musicians out of us. That’s what trained us. Now musicians all around the world judge their performances against those records with us on them, and that’s why we’re heroes.”
In 1969, Wayne and sax man, Andrew Love, incorporated as The Memphis Horns and began offering their signature sound to artists around the world. Wayne found himself in the studio with a host of stars such as Elvis, Neil Diamond, B.J. Thomas, James Taylor, Al Green, Aretha Franklin and out on the road touring with Stephen Stills, Rod Stewart and The Doobie Brothers.
After moving to Nashville in the late Seventies, Wayne decided to trade in life on rock and roll jetliners for life on a billybus. He spent three years traveling the roads with country music legend, Marty Robbins, during which time he became the only horn player ever to perform on the Grand Ole Opry.
Then in the mid-Eighties Peter Gabriel called, and Wayne’s work on “Sledgehammer” catapulted him back on top of rock and roll. From that day through this day, Wayne has been in the studio with Neil Young, U2, Billy Joel, Steve Winwood, Bonnie Raitt, Sting, Jack White, Lenny Kravitz, Collective Soul, just to name a few, and on the road with Stephen Stills, The Doobie Brothers, Joe Cocker, Jimmy Buffett, Robert Cray, Luther Allison.
To sum it all up, Wayne says, “My life, so far, has been filled with Sweet Medicine and is a bridge spanning five generations of American music.”
Wayne’s three books about his life and adventures entitled, In My Wildest Dreams – Take 1, Take 2 and Take 3 are now available in paperback on Amazon and in all digital formats. He also writes songs for Sweet Medicine Music, the publishing company he formed with his wife, Amy. His song, Christmas Can’t Be Very Far Away, was featured on Amy Grant’s 1999 album, A Christmas To Remember.
Wayne, Amy and pup, Gracie, moved back home to Memphis in 2010 after fourteen years in Nashville and are happy to be rolling on the River once again.
On February 11, 2012, Wayne and Andrew, received the highest honor in the music industry… a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
On April 12, 2012, Andrew Love passed away at home from complications of Alzheimer’s. Says Wayne, “How fortuitous of God to have put the two of us together. The first time I heard Andrew play I knew we would be perfect together. He had a big tone, and I had a big tone. And I knew that they would blend in the most natural, beautiful way. We loved to laugh together. We laughed and traveled all over the world making records and touring with artists of all genres. We got to do what we loved everyday and share our unique gifts. I will miss him.”
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What you should know about Wayne Jackson
November 24, 1941
West Memphis, Arkansas
Co-Founder of The Memphis Horns
Trumpet Player/Horn Arranger/Songwriter
#1 Records played on:
Gold & Platinum records played on:
Top Ten records played on:
Grammy Winning records played on:
Songs of the Century played on: