Mar-Keys saxophonist Don Nix and his brother Larry, who ran a mastering studio for STAX and Ardent, have been recognized by the Beale Street Walk of Fame.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – For the first time in two years, the Beale Street Walk of Fame Committee resumed its “Brass Note Ceremonies”, awarding a tangible embodiment of the “many talented people who had put the music of Memphis and Beale Street on the map of the world” . .”
The committee decided that this year, Mar-Keys saxophonist Don Nix along with his brother Larry, who ran a mastering studio for STAX and Ardent, fit the mold to be recognized by the Beale Street Walk of Fame.
The brothers grew up in Memphis and were passionate about music from an early age. Don Nix said the two used to slip an old transistor radio into their bedroom.
“And we would listen to it under the covers until about noon,” he said. “We both had a great love for R&B and Blues and even Pop.”
This love would launch the brothers into two very successful careers in the music industry.
Don began his career playing saxophone for the Mar-Keys, which also included Duck Dunn and Steve Cooper. The group composed many songs but “Last Night” became Don’s first big hit.
Nix would then go on to produce many hit songs with many well-known artists, working with Leon Russell, George Harrison of The Beatles as well as Gary Lewis & the Playboys.
Dean Deyo is the chairman of the Beale Street Walk of Fame.
“He was in the Mar-Keys early on,” Deyo said. “He worked with George Harrison on the ‘Concert for Bangladesh’ and hundreds and hundreds of other projects.”
In the early ’60s, when Rock N Roll was just getting started, people didn’t believe the genre would last. However, this feeling did not concern Don and Larry.
“People said it wasn’t going to last a year,” Nix said. “You just live hand to mouth – that’s what I did. I still do.”
Don wrote and produced his most notable song “Going Down” in his flat across from Overton Park, and he says the song has been recorded over 70 times.
Don’s brother, Larry, couldn’t attend the ceremony on Saturday due to family issues, but Larry Nix was an icon in his own right.
“He ran a mastering studio for STAX and then for Ardent and here’s all I have to say about it – two Oscars, sixteen Grammy winners and 178 gold and platinum albums – fantastic,” said Deyo .
The “only downside” to an otherwise “great day” was that Larry Nix couldn’t attend the celebration, according to his brother Don.
“This note is for both of us,” he said. “I’m really sad and happy about it, and I can’t wait to see it in the ground.”