Willie Mitchell, a towering figure in soul and R&B music passed away this morning at the age of 81. USA Today reports that Mitchell passed at 7:25am Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at Methodist Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
Born in 1928 in Ashland, Mississippi, Mitchell spent almost his entire life in Memphis, and had a large hand in making the city one of the capitals of soul music. He is most famous for his career as artist and producer at Memphis’ Hi Records, for whom he produced all of Al Green’s classic albums from the late ’60s through late ’70s. He was co-owner of the Hi Records label from 1970-1979, and owner of Royal Recording Studios in Memphis, where had continued to produce music until suffering a cardiac arrest in December, 2009.
In addition to his production for Al Green, he also worked on records by Rod Stewart, Keith Richards, Bob Seger, Paul Butterfield, Syl Johnson, Ann Peebles, O.V. Wright, John Mayer, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Jimmy McCracklin, and many more.