Booker T. Jones is an instrumentalist, songwriter and arranger, best known for fronting the band Booker T. and the MGs. He has also worked in the studios with some of the most highly regarded artists of our time, earning him a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement.
Jones was a child prodigy, playing the oboe, saxophone, trombone, and piano at school and serving as organist at his church. He attended Booker T. Washington High School with future stars like Isaac Hayes’s writing partner David Porter, and Earth, Wind, and Fire’s Maurice White.
Booker T. & the MGs are an instrumental R&B band that was influential in shaping the sound of Southern Soul and Memphis Soul. For many years, the official story was that the bandname The MGs was meant to stand for Memphis Group, not the sports car of the same name. However, this proved not to be the case, as musician and record producer Chips Moman, active in Stax Records when the band was formed, claims they were named after his car.
In June of 1967, they appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival, alongside performers like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, and Jefferson Airplane. They were also later invited to play Woodstock, but drummer Al Jackson, Jr. was worried about the helicopter needed to deliver them to the site, and so they decided not to play.