Arkansas native Al Bell Receives Grammy Trustees Award

Zoie Clift
Arkansas native and musician Al
Bell has just been awarded the 2011 Grammy Trustees Award. The award is known
as the highest honor the music industry offers. Among those who have received
the award over the years include the Beatles, Duke Ellington,
George and Ira Gershwin and Walt Disney.
Born in Brinkley in 1940 as Alvertis Bell, he
has been a disc jockey, a record producer and songwriter executive at Stax
Records, the label that made Memphis a major name in pop music circles in the
1960s. From 1965-1976 he was involved in the careers of Otis Redding, Isaac
Hayes, Booker T and the MGs, Johnnie Taylor, Sam and Dave, The Bar-Kays, The
Emotions, The Dramatics, Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Billy Eckstein, Rufus
Thomas and his daughter Carla. His career also includes time as the head of
MoTown Records and the founding of Bellmark records. Some of his songwriting
hits include: I’ll Take You There, a #1 hit in 1972 for The Staple Singers; Comfort
for Carla Thomas, Hard to Handle for Otis Redding plus songs for Isaac
Hayes, Eddie Floyd and others.
When Bell owned Stax in
the 1970s, it was the second-largest African-American owned business in the
U.S. After the company’s demise, he went on to serve as president of Motown
Records Group, and later started his own Bellmark Records label. Bell now
operates his own web-based music channel, “It just may
be a bit early to give him a Lifetime Achievement Award, because he is not done
yet,” said Dean Deyo, President of the Memphis Music Foundation, via a news
release. “Al Bell is just getting started.” Photo shot by Josh Anderson
for The New York Times.


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