Breaking News
More () »

Memphis musicians Don and Larry Nix awarded Beale Street 'Brass Notes'

Saxophonist for The Mar-Keys 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," attributing a tangible embodiments of the "many talented people who had put Memphis music and Beale Street on the world map."

The committee decided that this year, the saxophonist for The Mar-Keys Don Nix as well as 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 found a passion for music from an early age. Don Nix said that the two used to sneak an old transistor radio into their room.

"And we would listen to it under the covers until about twelve o'clock," he said. "We both had a great love for R&B and Blues and even Pop." 

That 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 featured Duck Dunn and Steve Cropper. The band 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 in the early days," Deyo said. "He worked with George Harrison on the 'Concert for Bangladesh' and hundreds and hundreds of other projects." 

Back in the early 60's, as Rock N Roll was just beginning, people didn't believe that the genre would last. Still, that sentiment didn't concern Don and Larry. 

"People said that it wasn't going to last a year," Nix said. "You just live day by day — that's what I did. I still do." 

Don wrote and produced his most notable song "Going Down" in his apartment across the street from Overton Park, and he says the song has been recorded over 70 times.

Don's brother Larry couldn't make the ceremony on Saturday due to family matters, but Larry Nix was an icon in his own right.  

"He ran a mastering studio for STAX and then for Ardent and here is all I have to say about that — two academy awards, sixteen Grammy winners and 178 Gold and Platinum albums — fantastic," Deyo said. 

The "only bad part" of an otherwise "great day" was that Larry Nix couldn't attend the celebration, according to brother Don.

"This note is for the both of us," he said "I am really sad and glad about it, and I can't wait to see it in the ground." 

Before You Leave, Check This Out