Sunday, July 05, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Lonnie Mack

Artist:Lonnie Mack
Album:Memphis Wham!

Though today he is mainly known for his 80s recordings with Stevie Ray Vaughan, guitarist Lonnie Mack scored a top five hit with his 1963 instrumental recording of Chuck Berry's Memphis. Then Mack faded into obscurity until the 80s. He was born Lonnie McIntosh July 18, 1941 in Dearborn County, IN. His early influences were from his family bluegrass group. Mack started playing guitar at age seven. He quit school at age 13 and played Cincinnati clubs. In the 50s he recorded for a couple of small labels but he didn't get anywhere until he started working as a session musician for the Cincinnati based label Fraternity Records. In 1963, Mack was recording with a female R & B trio called The Charmaines. When the session ended early, the band was given the remaining recording time. It was in that 20 minutes that Mack recorded the instrumental of Memphis. It was never supposed to be released. Mack usually performed Memphis live with a vocal but the singer wasn't in the recording studio that day. No one was more surprised than Lonnie Mack when Memphis climbed the charts to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Then Mack recorded an album of guitar instrumentals. A second single Wham! hit the Billboard top 40. And soon after, Johnny Rivers adapted Mack's recording and had an even bigger hit with Memphis. When Mack's subsequent Fraternity recordings didn't sell, he returned to session work. Ace Records owns the rights to Mack's Fraternity recordings and have released this comp. Mack recorded unsuccessfully for Elektra in the late 60s and he also recorded country music albums in the 70s. But his career was revived in the 80s when Stevie Ray Vaughan acknowledged Mack as a big influence and produced his 1985 album Strike Like Lightning for Alligator Records. He last recorded in 1990 but continued to tour. Today Mack is semi-retired but he performs occasionally. Plenty of guitarists will tell you that Lonnie Mack's Memphis was a big deal in 1963. Here's a video for Memphis by Lonnie Mack.


  1. Question for you.., which one is Lonnie Mack in that picture? Thanks so much Frank.

  2. Bottom right hand corner. The V shaped Gibson guitar is Mack's trademark.

    1. Thank-you very much sir. Appreciate it.