In January came the sad news that musician, producer, studio- and label owner Willie Mitchell, had passed away at 81. Mitchell started his long career in the music business as trumpeter and band leader early as in the 50s. First of all he will get his place in the history books for his efforts as producer for the label Hi Records, and especially for being the man behind the soul success Al Green’s many classical recordings.Mitchell was working in his Royal Studios (www.williemitchell.com ) right up till his last days, with artists like John Mayer and Anthony Hamilton. Recently he also wrote the musical arrangements for Rod Stewart's new album of R&B covers, and produced Solomon Burke’s last CD. In 2008 he received The Trustees Award from The Grammy Foundation.
Memphis has not only lost one of it’s greatest legends, but also a warmhearted and witty man who always left the door open for everybody. Royal Studio will live on through his grandchildren (who Mitchell called sons), Lawrence ”Boo” Mitchell and Archie Mitchell.
(Photos: Merete Eide)