Booker T. & The M.G.’s biography



The Stax house band!

Led by piano and organ player Booker T. Jones, the Stax Records house band played behind numerous legendary artists, as well as released their own instrumental records. Most famously Green Onions.

As Stax’s answer to Motown’s Funk Brothers, they arranged and recorded for Bill Withers, Albert King, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, and many, many more.

With the addition of the Memphis Horns, they would come to define the sound of Memphis and Southern Soul.

The list of hits these guys are largely responsible for is seriously extensive, here’s a handful.

Green Onions, Born Under A Bad Sign, (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay, Ain’t No Sunshine, Soul Man, Hold On I’m Coming, Knock On Wood, Try A Little Tenderness, Respect (Otis Redding version), and Mr. Pitiful.


Core band members

Booker T. Jones was the bandleader, he played piano and organ but also co-wrote many of the hits as well as produced.

Steve Cropper played guitar and also co-wrote many of the songs, most famously (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay with Otis Redding.

Donald Duck Dunn was not the first bass player, he replaced Lewie Steinberg but he did become synonymous with the band and did have the longest involvement with them.

Al Jackson Jr. was a founding member of the band. He played drums but also produced, most famously Albert King. Not just involved with Stax, Al Jackson Jr also recorded for Hi records where he played on Al Green‘s smash hit Let’s Stay Together. Other credits include Rod Stewart, Elvis Presley, Eric Clapton, Ann Peebles, and Donny Hathaway.


What does M.G’s stand for?

There has been a lot of debate about what the acronym M.G stands for, including references to the car manufacturer.

The world has settled for Memphis Group but Donald Duck Dunn famously claimed it stands for musical geniuses and who can argue with that?


(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding

G | B7 | C | A |
Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun, I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ comes.
G | B7 | C | A |
Watching the ships roll in. Then I watch ’em roll away again, yeah.

Go to (Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay chords.


Ain’t No Sunshine – Chords

Am7 Em G5 | Am7 | Am7 Em G5 |
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone, it’s not warm when she’s away.
Am7 | Em7 | Dm7 | Am7 Em G5 | Am7 |
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone, she always gone too long anytime she goes away.

Go to Ain’t No Sunshine chords.


Ain’t No Sunshine – Lyrics + Live performance

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone,
it’s not warm when she’s away.
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone,
she always gone too long anytime she goes away.

Go to Ain’t No Sunshine lyrics.


Born Under A Bad Sign – Chords

Db7 | Db7 | Db7 | Db7 (Gb G) |
Born under a bad sign, I’ve been down since I began to crawl.
Ab7 | Gb7 | Db7 | Db7 |
If it wasn’t for bad luck, you know I wouldn’t have no luck at all.

Go to Born Under A Bad Sign chords.


Born Under A Bad Sign – Lyrics + Live performance

Born under a bad sign.
Been down since I began to crawl.
If it wasn’t for bad luck.
You know I wouldn’t have no luck at all.

Go to Born Under A Bad Sign lyrics.


Respect – Chords

G7 | F7 |
(Oh) What you want, (Oh) Baby, I got it.
G7 | F7 |
(Oh) What you need, (Oh) Do you know I got it?

Go to Respect chords.


Respect – Lyrics + Live performance

(Oh) What you want,
(Oh) Baby, I got it.
(Oh) What you need,
(Oh) Do you know I got it?

Go to Respect lyrics.


Soul Man – Chords

G G7 G | G G7 G |
Coming to you, on a dusty road,
G G7 G | G G7 G |
good loving, I got a truckload.

Go to Soul Man chords.


Soul Man – Lyrics + Live performance

Coming to you, on a dusty road,
good loving, I got a truckload.
And when you get it, you got something.
don’t worry, ’cause I’m coming.

Go to Soul Man lyrics.