Some or even most of you are asking who is Steve Cropper?

Left to right: Dexter Redding, Otis Redding the third, and Steve Croppper
Getty Images / Moses Robinson

 

It's really nice to pay tribute to an individual who is not only living, but is still vibrant.  This is the case with Steve Cropper.

Steve just celebrated his 73rd birthday.

Yeah, OK, so what's the big deal with this man?

Mr. Cropper is a songwriter, arranger, producer, and most notably, one of the greatest guitar players of all time. He is known in the music industry as "The Colonel."

Cropper is best known as the lead guitarist for Booker T. & the M.G.'s.

The group had a few hits on their own, but nothing earth shattering.  It was behind the scenes where this group of musicians made their mark.

Aside from their talent, a really neat thing about the group is that they were racially integrated.  A rarity during the 1960's.

Booker T. & the M.G.'s was the "house" band for the Memphis based Volt and Stax record labels.  They were separate labels owned by the same company.  Volt and Stax were responsible for many of the great R&B hit records during and 1960's and 70's.

Here are a few examples of The Colonel's body of work.

He co-wrote and produced  "Sittin on the Dock of the Bay" with Otis Redding.

With Booker T. & the M.G.'s as the studio band you will hear at the end of this post Steve Cropper's incredible lead guitar on Eddie Floyd's "Knock on Wood" and Sam and Dave's  "Soul Man."

Cropper and the group were also the recording session guys for scores of big hits that included records by The Blues Brothers, Wilson Pickett, Carla Thomas and Johnny Taylor ("Who's Making Love to Your Old Lady").

A reporter once asked The Rolling Stone's Keith Richard's opinion of Mr. Cropper.  Richard replied, "Perfect, man."

The thing is, Cropper and his guitar made good songs great songs.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is still recording and performing.  Let's keep our fingers crossed that Steve Cropper will keep adding to his legacy for many years to come.

Steve co-wrote, produced, played guitar and won a Grammy for this one.

Listen to Steve's guitar work with Booker T.'s band on this great Eddie Floyd song.

Finally, here's Cropper with Booker T.'s band backing up Sam and Dave.