By John Beifuss, Memphis Commercial Appeal | Robert Plant, the former lead singer of Led Zeppelin whose Dionysian rock god emeritus status is affirmed by the timeless signature of his leonine curls, is likely the most envied, admired or applauded person in any space in which he is present.

But in Memphis on a Thursday night [Sept. 8th], during the awards ceremony for the latest inductees into this city’s Music Hall of Fame? Hard to say.

Booker T. Jones earned a standing ovation accompanied by almost palpable waves of affection.

Priscilla Presley expressed love for Memphis that seemed so sincere — she called Graceland “the first place that I really called home” — that only a churl could begrudge the addition of this non-musician to the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. The audience beamed.

“This is a spirit-filled room tonight,” said Al Bell, the former co-owner of Stax, who inducted singer Mavis Staples (the only living inductee who was unable to attend the ceremony). Bell emphasized his point by turning the podium into a pulpit and transforming the lyrics to the 1973 Staple Singers hit “If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me)” into a sermon.

“Fifty years ago, (Mavis) sang, ‘No hatred — will be tolerated. Let peace and love flow — between the races. If you’re ready — if you’re ready — hmm — if you’re ready…’ It’s as relevant today.”

Jones, Presley and Staples were among the eight honorees inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame during an awards ceremony Thursday at Downtown’s Cannon Center for the Performing Arts that ended an unhappy two-year hiatus: Both the 2020 and 2021 events were canceled due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Operated by the Smithsonian-branded Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame was launched in 2012, as a way of honoring musical greats from or associated with Memphis and the Mid-South.
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This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Memphis Music Hall of Fame: A look at 2022 inductees and ceremony

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