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King Curtis


Curtis Ousley (a.k.a. King Curtis) is born in Fort Worth, Texas.


King Curtis tours with jazz bandleader Lionel Hampton.


- 1971 As a sessionman and touring musician, King Curtis backs an estimated 125 artists ranging from rock and roll and R&B to jazz and pop.


The Coasters record “Yakety Yak,” which is highlighted by King Curtis’s honking sax solo. It hits #1 on both the pop and R&B charts, and King Curtis becomes a mainstay of Atlantic Records’ soul and R&B sound.


“Soul Twist,” an instrumental by King Curtis, enters the charts, subsequently reaching #1 R&B and #17 pop. The song merits a mention by Sam Cooke later that same year in his hit “Havin’ a Party.”


1965: Jimi Hendrix goes to New York with Little Richard’s band and takes a room at the Theresa Hotel. Over the next several months, he will play with Little Richard, King Curtis, Joey Dee and the Starlighters and the Isley Brothers. He also takes a job with a club band called Curtis Knight and the Squires.


Aretha Franklin’s recording of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” which includes King Curtis on sax, tops the R&B singles chart.


King Curtis is stabbed to death outside his apartment on New York’s Upper West Side.


John Lennon’s Imagine album, featuring King Curtis on several tracks, is released.


King Curtis is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the fifteenth annual induction dinner. Mike Leiber and Jerry Stoller are his presenters.