Renowned saxophonist Andrew Love has died at the age of 70.
His passing comes just two months after Love received a Lifetime Achievement GRAMMY alongside his long-time musical partner and trumpeter Wayne Jackson. Together, Love and Jackson made up the legendary backup group, the Memphis Horns—only the second instrumental backup group to be honoured by the GRAMMYs in such a way.
The duo played on 52 number one records and on 30 Grammy-winning songs, from Elvis Presley to Aretha Franklin, Otis Reading and even U2.
From the punchy riff in Sam and Dave’s Soul Man to Dusty Springfield’s catchy Son of a Preacher Man, their work together is instantly recognizable. The opening melody in Otis Reading’s Try a Little Tenderness is another of the classic tracks they appear on.
The Love and Jackson partnership was a poignant symbol in the American South amid the racial tensions of the 1960s.
“I knew we would be perfect together,” Jackson said on reflecting his partnership with Love that ran until 2004 on his retirement.
“He had a big tone and I had a big tone, and I knew that they would blend in the most natural, beautiful way.”
Love was born in Memphis in 1941 and grew up playing saxophone in his local church where his father was a Baptist minister. After college, he worked as a session musician, a career that would lead him to meet Jackson.
The Memphis Horns played for some of the biggest acts of their day who were signed to R&B label Stax Records. In later years the pair provided backup for the likes of Rod Stewart, Sting and Alicia Keys.
Love and Jackson were inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2008.