When it comes to musical legends, they don’t get much bigger than David Porter. The renowned songwriter and producer is a cornerstone of historic Stax Records. His songs, many co-written with fellow legend Isaac Hayes, drove Stax to the top of the charts and provided us with the musical soundtrack of our lives.
The Memphis native had his first hits when he was still in high school, and his obvious talent led him to become Stax’s first staff writer. He wrote or co-wrote such seminal hits as Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man,” “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby,” and “Hold On, I’m Comin’,” Carla Thomas’s “B-A-B-Y” and Johnny Taylor’s “I Got To Love Somebody’s Baby.” But the impact of his music extended far beyond the hundreds of recordings by artists in the 1960s and 70s. In the decades since, his compositions have been sampled for #1 hits like Mariah Carey’s “Dreamlover” and Will Smith’s “Getting’ Jiggy Wit It,” and has been covered by a who’s who of artists ranging from Aretha Franklin to Tom Jones to Drake, and literally hundreds of others.
In addition to his work as a songwriter and producer, Porter was a recording artist in his own right, with several albums and the R&B hit “I Can’t See You When I Want To.”
Even though not in the spotlight as an artist anymore, Porter has worked non-stop for well over a half century, recently hitting the top of the charts with the number "You" by Nicole Bus. He also released the critically acclaimed The Classics in 2019, reimagining some of his biggest hits.
David Porter has won a plethora of awards, including induction into the National Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. He was also named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of its 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. And he has been citizen #1 of Memphis, tirelessly working for his hometown with his 4U recording studio and his creative program The Consortium MMT, which helps train the next generation of Memphis musical artists. He also has established a 4U recording studio in Atlanta.
In 2022, Porter will open up with his life story in the autobiography The Soul Man, written with RedWriter. He will also be releasing an album of never-released recordings.
By Chris Rizik