The sad news continues in 2010
Memphis musician and producer Willie Mitchell dies at age of 81
The sad news of another soul music legend passing on, video news clip and news release below and links to interview and the forum thread follows
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Willie Mitchell, a record producer, label head and musician who worked with Al Green and other stars, died Tuesday. He was 81.
Mitchell died at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis at 7:25 a.m., more than two weeks after he suffered cardiac arrest Dec. 19, said his son, Lawrence Mitchell.
Willie Mitchell owned Royal Studio where Buddy Guy, John Mayer and many others recorded their music.
In the 1970s, Mitchell also owned Hi Records of Memphis, the label that produced some of Green's biggest hits. Green, also from Memphis, was flying to Australia and unavailable for comment Tuesday.
At Hi, Mitchell was responsible for several instrumental hits of the 1960s and helped the careers of Green and singer Ann Peebles in the 1970s. Even in later years, Mitchell stayed busy at his studio, working with then-emerging talents like Mayer and Anthony Hamilton.
Most recently, he wrote string and horn arrangements for Rod Stewart's new album of R&B covers, and produced a still-unreleased album from soul kingpin Solomon Burke.
He received a Trustees Award from the Grammy Foundation in 2008.
A trumpeter, Mitchell and his band provided the musical entertainment at several New Year's Eve parties for Elvis Presley at Presley's Graceland home. A Memphis boulevard was named in his honour in 2004.
Below clips from the Memphis website commercial appeal article
News of Mitchell's passing elicited an immediate outpouring of emotion from those who knew him best.
"I'm terribly saddened," said Otis Clay, the Chicago soul singer who came under Mitchell's tutelage in the late-'60s. "This man was like my father. I learned so much from him.
"What he taught me is how I've survived in a business that hasn't always been kind. But Willie was always kind, and he treated me like a son. And I loved him that way."
"It's hard to say anything, it's such a great loss," said Ann Peebles, who came to Mitchell as a raw teenage talent and blossomed into a star. "For me, he was the beginning of my career -- and, as a matter of fact, he was an inspiration all throughout my career."
Mitchell's most famous protégé, Al Green, was en route to Australia to begin a concert tour and could not be reached for comment.
Online interview from 2004 can be read here
Forum tribute thread can be read here