Willie Love told The Associated Press on Friday that her husband died Thursday night surrounded by family and friends at his Memphis home. Love had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Love is best known for his work with Jackson as The Memphis Horns. The two were awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in February, only the second instrumental backup group in history to receive the honor.
“He played with such feeling. He played with grace, soul,” Willie Love said. “Andrew played notes from his heart.”
Love, who was black, and Jackson, who is white, played together on 52 No. 1 records and 83 gold and platinum records, according to Memphis-based Stax Records. They backed up Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Otis Redding, Neil Diamond, Isaac Hayes, the Doobie Brothers, U2, Jack White and Alicia Keys, and many other American pop music acts.
The Memphis Horns could sound soulful and romantic on one song, loud and rousing on another. They provided the horn tracks on dozens of well-known songs, including Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” Presley’s “Suspicious Minds,” Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man,” Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” and Steve Winwood’s “Roll With It.”
Jackson said he first heard Love play at the Manhattan Club with the Willie Mitchell band. They were first paired together as part of the Stax Records’ Mar-Key Horns.
“I knew we would be perfect together,” Jackson said in a statement released Thursday. “He had a big tone and I had a big tone, and I knew that they would blend in the most natural, beautiful way.”
Love and Jackson also backed Otis Redding with Booker T. & the MGs at the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival.
In 2008, Jackson and Love were inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame.
“He continued to uplift and attract all of us to him throughout the time he endured illness,” said former Stax Records owner Al Bell. “That spirit is what you hear in his music.”