Memphis, Tennessee, native Booker T. Jones started playing the piano as a toddler, and began singing in his church choir as a six year-old. With the release of “Green Onions” in 1962, Booker T. & the M.G.’s organ-infused Memphis soul sound became a number-one hit on Billboard’s R&B chart. Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Jones at the North Carolina Folk Festival, where he recalls growing up in Memphis, playing as a studio musician at Stax Recording Studio while still in high school, and the story behind “M.G.” in the band’s name.
This show was originally broadcast October 11, 2019 and is reposted as a “best-of-the-best” podcast in celebration of Journeys of Discovery’s 30th anniversary producing on-air and digital media podcasts featured on KCBX and NPR One.
Jones is a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. His autobiographical book “The Time is Tight—My life Note By Note” was released in November 2019. Jones’ music has been acknowledged by USA Today’s “100 Best Songs in History” and Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” Recipient of three Grammys and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the hit-single “Green Onions” was inducted in to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast Directory, Apple Podcast, the NPR One App & Stitcher.com. Twitter: TomCWilmer. Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer. Member of the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Underwriting support provided by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.