What a night in Memphis for music fans! Justin Timberlake put on a surprise show for the Memphis Music Hall of Fame with R&B legend Sam Moore. The show — in which Timberlake and Moore got down on Sam & Dave’s “Hold On I’m Coming” and Otis Redding’s “Dock of the Bay”– backed by the Hi Records Rhythm Section and in front of an audience that included Jimmy Fallon, Governor of Tennessee Bill Haslam, and Keith Richards–turned into a wild rave. At one point, Stax Records legend William Bell jumped in with them.
And all this is after Fallon gave a long very very funny speech about his friend Timberlake, which was followed by Justin’s own lengthy. moving, and also humorous acceptance speech. That speech, which Justin made in a blue Tom Ford tuxedo while holding a potent drink, began with a long thank you to his wife, Jessica Biel, sitting with Justin’s parents, their respective spouses, and his many friends from Memphis, his hometown. Biel, wearing a gorgeous black white Dolce and Gabbana dress, glowed. Earlier, we talked backstage about baby Silas and all Jessica’s projects. They are a happy, happy family. “All we do at home is laugh,” Jessica told me.
Meantime, the whole backstage at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts was teeming with notables including the great drummer Jim Keltner, plus Sun Records founder Sam Phillips’s sons, the family of legendary producer Willie Mitchell, and so on. Yvonne Mitchell, daughter of Willie, reminisced with Keith Richards about the time she picked him up from the airport when he recorded his first solo album at her dad’s Royal Studios. Keith, who came with manager Jane Rose, was thrilled to see Mitchell again. Then he gave the award inducting Elvis Presley band leader Scotty Moore into the Hall of Fame.
There were plenty of other awards and performers including the sensational Tracy Nelson, who offered a sensational “Mother Earth” in tribute to Alberta Hunter. Melanie Fiona gave a sultry reading of Al Green and Willie Mitchell’s “Let’s Stay Together” backed by many of that record’s original players. Charlie Rich Jr. did his late father proud playing and singing “Behind Closed Doors.”
An historic night. PS Big shout out to Hal Lansky, at the best and most interesting men’s store in the US, Lansky’s at the Peabody Hotel, where the ducks are still making twice daily appearances. Half the performers last night wore clothing from Lansky’s! Memphis is the best dressed town in America!