VOL. 130 | NO. 75 | Friday, April 17, 2015
Memphis Music Hall of Fame Expands Nominating Committee
By Andy Meek
Heading into its fourth year of honoring some of the country’s greatest music icons, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame has added some big names to its nominating committee – stacking it with both local and national music executives who will help pick this year’s inductees.
New nominating committee members this year include movie producer Mitch Glazer, who was an original writer for Rolling Stone and Crawdaddy! magazines. His movie writing and screenplay credits include 1988’s “Scrooged” and 1998’s “Great Expectations,” and he also was an associate producer of 2003’s “Lost in Translation,” starring Bill Murray.
New committee members also include musician Randy Jackson, known for among other things his work as a judge on Fox’s “American Idol;” Steve Jordan, a composer, musician and original drummer with Paul Schaffer’s band on “Late Night with David Letterman;” guitarist, songwriter and session musician Danny Kortchmar, who’s worked with singer-songwriters like James Taylor, David Crosby, Carole King and Carly Simon; former Big Star drummer Jody Stephens; and former DreamWorks Records executive and former Def Jam Records vice president Johnnie Walker.
Walker was the first female senior vice president of promotion for the Island Def Jam Music Group and the only female to ever hold that position for the company. In that position, she helped develop the careers of artists like Public Enemy and The Beastie Boys, among others.
Those executives and musicians join current nominating committee members including Dr. Beverly Bond, associate professor of history and director of African American studies at the University of Memphis; veteran A&R executive and producer Gregg Geller; Robert Gordon, author of books like “It Came From Memphis” and most recently “Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion;” and Peter Guralnick, whose books include the Elvis biography “Last Train to Memphis” and the soon-to-be-released biography of producer Sam Phillips.
John Doyle, executive director of the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, described the nominating committee members as “a stellar group of music industry professionals” focused on the venture’s growth.
“Each has reached the pinnacle of their fields,” he said, “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.”
The nominating committee is expected to finalize its selection of inductees to be added to the hall of fame this year by the end of April. The unveiling of the 2015 inductees will come in May, in conjunction with the grand opening of the new Memphis Music Hall of Fame museum now under construction at the corner of Beale Street and Second Street, adjacent to the Hard Rock Café.
The inaugural hall of fame tribute honored the first set of inductees in 2012. The nonprofit Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum administers the program.