This year’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction class features a group of artists who are (mostly) well-known to anyone with a passing familiarity with the last few decades of popular music : Rush, Heart, Public Enemy, Randy Newman and Donna Summer.
However, bluesman Albert King, who is also being inducted, doesn’t have the name recognition of those artists, even though he was a huge influence on generations of guitarists including Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan. That may change with his upcoming Rock Hall induction, and also with the reissue of his classic album, 1967′s Born Under A Bad Sign. It was his first album for legendary soul music label, Stax Records, and the label’s house band – Booker T. & The MGs, along with Isaac Hayes – was the backing band.
“The Born Under A Bad Sign record was revolutionary,” he said. “They were trying to take Albert’s music to a wider audience. They got Booker T & The MGs to be the [backing] band. They were targeting more of a rock and roll crowd, and a soul music crowd, to take the blues to people who thought they didn’t like the blues. Born Under a Bad Sign turned a lot of people on, not just to Albert King, but to blues in general.”
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top concurs in regards to Born Under A Bad Sign: “The backing that was provided to him by the Stax musicians, that raised the bar and Albert had this platform where all he had to do was walk in and play. It was just the best.”
Blues lover John Mayer will present the speech for King, who passed away in 1992, at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, and Mayer and guitar whiz-kid Gary Clark Jr. will perform a tribute to King.
The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony takes place on April 18 at the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles, and Radio.com will be there, providing coverage through the night. The edited broadcast will air on HBO on Saturday, May 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
– Brian Ives, Radio.com