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September 27, 1941|
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Don Nix (born September 27, 1941, Memphis, Tennessee) is a songwriter, composer, arranger, musician, and author. Although cited as being "obscure", he is a key figure in several genres of Southern rock and Soul, R&B, and the Blues. He was instrumental in the creation of the trademark "Memphis soul" and Stax Records.
A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Nix began his career playing saxophone for The Mar-Keys, which also featured Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn and others. Don Nix came from a musical family, including his brother, Larry Nix, who became a mastering engineer for Stax and later, Ardent Recording Studios in Memphis, TN. The hit instrumental single "Last Night" (composed by the band as a whole) was the first of many successful hits to Nix's credit. Without Nix, The Mar-Keys later evolved into Booker T & The MG's.
As a producer, Nix worked with other artists and producers such as Leon Russell of Shelter Records, Gary Lewis and the Playboys in Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars, The Beatles' George Harrison and John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. One notable achievement was the collaboration with Harrison, Russell and many others in the production of The Concert for Bangladesh – a star-studded benefit concert at Madison Square Garden in 1971.
Throughout his career, Nix worked behind the scenes as producer, arranger, musician and many other roles for artists such as Lonnie Mack, Furry Lewis, Freddy King, Albert King, Delaney, Bonnie & Friends, Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Jeff Beck, Brian May, Eric Clapton and many others. He wrote and produced many solo albums and with groups Don Nix and the Alabama State Troupers, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and Larry Raspberry and the Highsteppers.
The song "Going Down", originally released by the band Moloch on their eponymous album in 1969, became a blues standard and was covered by Freddie King, Jeff Beck, Deep Purple, JJ Cale, Marc Ford, Chicken Shack, Bryan Ferry, Pearl Jam, Gov't Mule, Sam Kinison, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Satriani, The Who, Led Zeppelin, and many others. Nix himself released a version of the song in 1972 as a single on Elektra Records. The song "Black Cat Moan" was covered on the album Beck, Bogert & Appice.
On December 15, 2012 The Rolling Stones performed "Goin' Down" with John Mayer and Gary Clark, Jr. live on Pay-Per-View television as part of the Stones 50th Anniversary Tour. This concert was also streamed live on Yahoo. Interesting though, when Mick Jagger introduces the song, he says "this is a blues, by Freddie King" 
IN GOD WE TRUST (LP)
LIVING BY THE DAYS (LP)
THE ALABAMA STATE TROUPERS ROAD SHOW (2-LP)
Furry's Blues/Brownsville/I'm Black/A Chicken Ain't Nothin' But A Bird/Will The Circle Be Unbroken/Amos Burke/Mighty Time/Jesus on the Mainline/Mary Louise/Yes, I Do Understand/Opening/Living in the Country/Joa-Bim/Dixie/Heavy Makes You Happy/Iuka/Furry's Rap/Asphalt Outlaw Hero/Olena/My Father's House/Going Down
HOBOS, HEROES AND STREET CORNER CLOWNS (LP)
GONE TOO LONG (LP)
Goin' Thru Another Chance/Feel A Whole Lot Better/Gone Too Long/Backstreet Girl/Rollin' In My Dreams/Yazoo City Jail/Harpoon Arkansas Turnaround/Forgotten Town/A Demain (Until Tomorrow)
GONE TOO LONG/SKYRIDER (CD)
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BACK TO THE WELL (CD)
Goin' Down The Road To Memphis/Waiting for the Help/Plastic Flowers/Angel Tears/Easy Street/Out on the Road Again/Fools Paradise/Too Dumb/Moon Madness/Dance Chaney Dance/Cruise Control/Jerimiah Gage
DON NIX & FRIENDS: GOIN' DOWN – THE SONGS OF DON NIX (CD)
Books by Don Nix
- Road Stories and Recipes (1997), Schirmer Books/Simon & Schuster, New York. ISBN 0-02-864621-5
- Who's That with Don Nix? – A photojournal of Don Nix's personal experiences.
- Second Hand Songs: Going Down.
- The Rolling Stones: Newark, NJ December 15th, 2012
- Simon Leng, While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison, Hal Leonard (Milwaukee, WI), 2006, pp 140–41.