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Memphis Street to be renamed after James Alexander of Bar-Kays – Billboard

James Alexander, the last surviving member of the Bar-Kays band that backed soul music star Otis Redding, will rename a street after him in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn., the Stax Museum said.

Memphis’ Stafford Avenue, which is near Stax Records Studios where the soul-funk collective recorded, is slated to get a new name on April 24: James E. Alexander Avenue. The bassist is the founder and last surviving member of the Bar-Kays. Four band members and Redding died when their plane crashed into an icy lake in Wisconsin on December 10, 1967. They were on their way to a show in Madison when the plane crashed.

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One band member, trumpeter Ben Cauley, survived the crash. Alexander wasn’t on the plane. He boarded a commercial flight because the plane could only hold a certain number of people, Stax said.

The Bar-Kays had their first hit in 1967 with “Soul Finger”. The band then became Redding’s touring band. After the crash, Alexander and Cauley re-formed the band, with lead singer Larry Dodson. Alexander played bass on Theme From Shaft, written by Isaac Hayes. The song won an Oscar in 1971. Cauley has since died.

Memphis City Councilman JB Smiley supported the street renaming. “I’m absolutely blown away by the renaming of the street I grew up on,” Alexander said in a statement.

The Stax Museum is in the building that housed Stax Records, which produced music by Redding, Hayes, Sam & Dave, The Staples Singers, Carla Thomas, Wilson Pickett, Booker T. and the MGs, and more.

https://www.billboard.com/music/rb-hip-hop/james-alexander-memphis-street-name-last-surviving-bar-kays-1235054856/ Memphis Street to be renamed after James Alexander of Bar-Kays – Billboard

Adam Bradshaw

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