Friends, Family Mourn Death Of Memphis Music Legend

MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com)-- A Memphis music legend passed away, but chances are you never knew his name. And that's exactly how 79-year-old Gene Mason liked it.

"Gene Mason wasn't there to be recognized, or he wasn't there to get something. He was there to give," said longtime Memphis radio disc jockey George Klein.

Klein and Mason were longtime friends.

Mason was a behind the scenes kind of guy. He helped to promote and manage a number of musical acts such as Isaac Hayes, David Porter and the Bar-Kays. 

He also owned a number of nightclubs in Memphis such as the "Tiki Club" and "Psycho Lounge". Many up and coming musicians got their starts at many of his clubs.

As Mason got older he still loved that Memphis sound, and spent a lot of time on Beale Street.

"This man was 79-years-old and he was out at least four nights of the week. Four or five in the morning," said Mason's daughter Joni Kattawar.

If he wasn't on Beale Street than you might find him at Graceland. Mason was a friend of Elvis Presley and he loved telling tourists stories of Memphis' most well-known native son.

"We used to go to the fair every year and dad would say, we have to ride the (Zippen) Pippen, with dad every year, and he would tell us, oh man, me and Elvis used to ride this and we'd sit right up front," said Kattawar.

Mason wasn't a musician, but he played a role in making sure Memphis greats got mainstream attention.

"Man, he was crazy about us. He said, 'ya'll bad. Ya'll a bad son of a gun now'", said original Bar-Kays member Ben Cauley.  

Those that knew him best said that Mason should be recognized for his work.

"He really promoted Memphis music much more than a lot of people who are recognized for promoting Memphis music, and I honestly think that Gene Mason should have a note on Beale Street," said Klein.

Services will be held Monday, April 13th at Bartlett Funeral Home on Stage Road. Visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and followed by a funeral service. 





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