Wayne Jackson of the Memphis Horns duo dies at 74

Trumpeter Wayne Jackson
Trumpeter Wayne Jackson, shown here in 2012, has died at 74.

Trumpet player Wayne Jackson, who played standout horn lines on rock ’n’ roll, soul, R&B and pop mainstays along with Memphis Horns partner and tenor saxophonist Andrew Love, has died. He was 74.

His wife, Amy, told the Associated Press in Memphis that her husband died of congestive heart failure Tuesday night. Jackson had been hospitalized and released June 7 but was readmitted Monday.

Jackson and Love performed on recordings by numerous top-shelf artists, including Otis Redding, Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond and U2.

Jackson and Love — the Memphis Horns — were awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in February 2012, only the second instrumental backup group in history to receive the honor at the time. According to his wife, in his acceptance speech, he said, “It’s been a dance of love between me and that trumpet.”


Love died in April 2012.

Love, who was black, and Jackson, who was white, played together on 52 No. 1 records and 83 gold and platinum records, according to Memphis-based Stax Records. Amy Jackson said her husband received his first gold record in 1961 and his last in 2005.

The duo backed up Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Otis Redding, Neil Diamond, Isaac Hayes, the Doobie Brothers, U2, Jack White, Alicia Keys and many other American pop music acts.

The Memphis Horns could sound wistful and romantic on one song, boisterous and up-tempo on another. They provided the horn tracks on dozens of well-known songs, including Redding’s “Dock of the Bay,” Franklin’s “Respect,” Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” Presley’s “Suspicious Minds,” Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man,” Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” Steve Winwood’s “Roll With It,” Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer,” and U2’s “Angel of Harlem.”


Jackson was born in Memphis and was raised across the Mississippi River in West Memphis, Ark., according to his website.

On his website, he described the time when his mother gave him a trumpet at age 11.

“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,” he said.

Jackson said he first heard Love play at the Manhattan Club with the Willie Mitchell band.

“I knew we would be perfect together,” Jackson said in a statement released after Love died. “He had a big tone and I had a big tone, and I knew that they would blend in the most natural, beautiful way.”

In 1969, Jackson and Love formed the Memphis Horns. Jackson also wrote three books.