In the pantheon of American music, guitarist and songwriter Steve Cropper, a 2005 Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, is a titan of classic R&B, soul, funk, blues and rock ‘n’ roll. With that legacy, on December 1 the celebrated Cropper will present four historic instruments to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. In an event made possible by both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and BMI, Cropper will donate three Fender guitars that he played with Otis Redding on “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay,” in the Blues Brothers movie, and on other significant recordings, and an amp Cropper used with Booker T & the MGs on their 1962 hit recording “Green Onions.” During the ceremony, the renowned BMI writer will perform some of his classics and be interviewed by the Museum’s Curator of Music, Dr. John Hasse.
“Steve Cropper’s repertoire has become one of the foundation stones of the contemporary American songbook.” Said SHOF President & CEO Linda Moran. “His work with Stax became an inflection point in American musical history, blending genres and cultural influences and providing an artistic beacon for ethnic harmony. His works are among the most-performed recordings of the 20th Century, and they continue to win new fans well into the 21st. We are delighted to work with the Smithsonian to celebrate his career, and bring his musical legacy to the attention of future generations.”
As a founding member of Booker T & the MGs, the storied house band of Memphis’ Stax Records, Cropper’s signature bursts of guitar on cuts like “Green Onions” and “Time is Tight” helped define the sound of an era. He has co-written, collaborated and played alongside a host of formidable names, from Redding, Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin to Eric Clapton, the Blues Brothers and David Bowie. Cropper was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 as part of Booker T. & the MGs, and has also been inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame and the Missouri Hall of Fame. Among his many accolades, he’s earned three GRAMMY Awards and a star on the Music City Walk of Fame. With a long line of accomplishments, this distinguished donation speaks to Cropper’s role as a national treasure.
Members of the public interested in reserving seats for the Steve Cropper Donation Ceremony may request tickets by visiting http://americanhistory.si.edu/reservation/ceremony. Space is limited and reservations will be on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a limit of two seats per request.