Came to Memphis in the 1950s to record for Sun Studios.Shot to fame with blockbuster hits “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire.” Was the first inductee into the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame.
His biggest hit, “Let’s Stay Together,” was voted a Legendary Michigan Song the same year.
WILLIE HERENTONAn embarrassing four-to-one loser in his underfunded and erratically pursued challenge to 9th District congressman Steve Cohen in the 2010 Democratic primary, Herenton, now 71, seems finally to have accepted that his legendary political career, beginning in 1991 when the former city schools superintendent became Memphis’ first elected black mayor and continuing through four successive reelections, is over. “PITT” HYDEAs president of Malone and Hyde in 1968 and CEO in 1972, he was the youngest CEO listed on the New York Stock Exchange for a decade.
Every year our staff faces one of its toughest challenges — looking back at the events of the past year and selecting those Memphians who played the largest role in our city’s present and future.
It is no easy task narrowing the list down to 100 or so.
His pioneering contribution to the genre was recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
In 2008 was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
JACK BELZAs chairman and CEO of Belz Enterprises, Belz heads one of the South’s largest real estate and development firms.
A longtime booster, activist, and participant in downtown development, probably best known for bringing back The Peabody hotel.
What to do next has preoccupied Herenton, who has at various times indicated he is writing his memoirs; he has also considered a new career as talk show host and has made a few trial appearances in that role on local radio. Founded Auto Zone in 1979, one of three Fortune 500 companies with its headquarters in Memphis.