Ace Cannon:  Godfather of Sax

Sam Phillips, the legendary Memphis record producer and owner of Sun Studios once said, "Ace Cannon is the greatest saxophone player who ever lived, but then he came out of the same stables as Carl Perkins, Elvis, Jerry Lee and Bill Justice." Dubbed the "Godfather of Sax," by Phillips and Joe Coughi of Hi Records, Cannon is best known for his instrumental hit, "Tuff," which he recorded in 1962. 

Since that time he has recorded 67 albums and 46 singles. The kind that gets nominated for Grammy Awards such as his recording of "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain," million selling TV albums such as "Golden Classics," "The Entertainer" and when paired with trumpeter legend Al Hirt resulted in a historic duet TV album of country classics that could be one of the biggest TV albums in history.

Cannon was born in Grenada, Mississippi, learning to play the saxophone at age 10. He first came to prominence with the well-known Bill Black Combo in 1959, appearing on the popular television shows of the time, such as "The Ed Sullivan Show," "The Merv Griffin Show", and "American Bandstand."


In 1986, Cannon was asked by Dick Clark to join the All Star Country Band for the "Country Music Academy TV Special". That year he recorded "The Class of '55" with Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash. He has recorded several albums that are sold on television, including one with trumpet legend Al Hirt, which is one of the biggest "TV albums" in history. Although he started as a Rockabilly performer, Cannon's repertoire contains everything from rock and roll to country, pop, blues and jazz, so there is something for everyone. Cannon was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2000.

These days, Cannon spends a lot time on the road playing concerts, festivals, corporate functions, and fairs all over the U.S. and in the Caribbean and Bahamas, according to his manager, Griffin.  After years of traveling and entertaining fans the world over, he moved back to Calhoun City in the late 1980s and resides there today. When he's not touring, he can be found most days working on his golf game at his home course.

Cannon was inducted into both the Rock and Soul Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2000.    In May 2007, his hometown honored this music legend by hosting its first annual Ace Cannon Festival.  On December 9, 2008 Ace was honored with induction into "Mississippi Musicians Hall Of Fame".

Ace Cannon, Tech 1952

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