As one of the originator of the Memphis soul sound and the leader of the house band on many Stax/Volt hits, Booker T. and his group, the MGs, became one of the most respected and imitated bands of the mid-1960s. Booker T. Jones and the group forged a soulful sound and backed many of the greatest soul and rhythm & blues musicians of the era, including Otis Redding, Wilson Picket, Sam & Dave, Albert King, and many others.
Booker T. Jones was born on November 12, 1944 in Memphis, Tennessee. Music came easy to young Booker, who was named after the influential political figure Booker T. Washington. Jones learned how to play the piano, trombone, oboe, and saxophone while he was still in school, even playing saxophone on a Rufus and Carla Thomas' hit single "Cause I Love You."
In 1962, Booker T. Jones formed his iconic group, Booker T. & the M.G.'s. At first, Stax Records claimed that M.G. stood for Memphis group, but later it was revealed that it was named after the MG brand of sports car. Either way, the group was set, and Jones—backed by guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Lewie Steinberg (who was replaced by Donald "Duck" Dunn in 1965), and drummer Al Jackson, Jr.—the M.G.'s set to take over the R&B world, crafting over 10 albums and acting as the backing band for some of Stax Records biggest artists. Booker T. Jones is perhaps best known the M.G.'s first hit single, 1962's "Green Onions." Featuring an undeniable Hammond organ melody played by Jones, the song snuck all the way to No. 1 on the Hot R&B Singles chart and remains a popular song to this day. It has been covered countless times and is featured in many movies, including the awesome 1993 comedy The Sandlot.
After a hiatus from 1977 to 1994, the M.G.'s reformed (sans Al Jackson, Jr.) and today they continue to play shows. Booker T. Jones was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. In 2009, Jones released, Potato Hole, his first solo album since 1989's The Runaway on popular indie label, ANTI-. Accomplished alt-country group the Drive-By Truckers acted as the backing band on the album, and it was named the Best Pop Instrumental Album at the 2010 Grammy Awards.