During the late 1970s, after his departure from Stax, Cropper got involved in two Blues Brothers soundtracks and also played in the movie. The debut album he played on was entitled “Briefcase Full of Blues”, released by Atlantic Records on November 28th 1978. The tracks included “Soul Man”, originally performed by Sam & Dave and “I Can’t Turn You Loose”, as an opening and closing track performed by the late Otis Redding. The other musician originally from Stax Records featured on the session was Donald “Duck” Dunn (bass guitar). The album did extremely well by reaching number one on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart, week-ending February 3rd 1979 (1 week). In the process, the album was awarded multi-platinum certification for selling over two million copies in America according to the RIAA. The follow-up album, also released by Atlantic Records, was entitled “The Blues Brothers”. It was also a big seller, reaching the top 40 of the Billboard 200 Albums Chart listing.
Cropper then went on to record two albums on MCA Records, “Playin’ My Thang”, 1980, and “With A Little Help From My Friends”, 1982. He continued to play and produce on many recording sessions between TMI and Ardent recording studios, with such artists as Poco, Jeff Beck, Tower Of Power and Dreams. Cropper is certainly an extraordinary guitarist, still going strong after approximately forty years in the music business. In 1998, he started his own record company, “Play It Steve Records”, and created a state-of-the-art recording studio in Nashville called “Insomnia Studios”. Steve’s approach to playing set him apart from many of his contemporaries and he became a significant influence in the development and delivery of Stax’s raw and refined sound. For his great impact on contemporary music, he was also named the second greatest guitar player of all time, behind Jimi Hendrix, according to Britain’s Mojo magazine in 1996. Some educational institutions are actually conducting courses on Steve Cropper’s guitar techniques, with many publications available to the public.
He was elected to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, for his historical influence on the development of music through several decades. Steve Cropper is indeed one of the main authors and architects of the Memphis soul sound, a creative pillar of the southern soul movement and one of the true stylists on guitar. His contribution to the world of popular music has had an incredible influence on many of his peers and successors. His impact has been felt all around the world.
Photo: Bbcentral 2007 (Wikimedia Commons)