King Curtis

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Date of Birth February 7, 1934
Place of Birth Fort Worth, Texas
Date of Death Apr 13, 1971 (37)
Horoscope Aquarius

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Curtis Ousley, who performed under the stage name King Curtis, was an American saxophonist known for rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, blues, funk and soul jazz. Variously a bandleader, band member, and session musician, he was also a musical director and record producer. Adept at tenor, alto, and soprano saxophone, he played riffs and solos on such hit singles as "Respect" by Aretha Franklin, and "Yakety Yak" by The Coasters and his own "Memphis Soul Stew".

Birth name: Curtis Montgomery
Also known as: Curtis Ousley
Born: February 7, 1934, Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Died: August 13, 1971, New York, New York, U.S.
Genres: Soul, R&B, Rock, funk, jazz, country
Occupation(s): Musician, bandleader, producer
Instruments: Soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, trumpet
Years active: 1950–1971
Labels: King, Prestige, True Sound, Capitol, Atlantic, Groove, Enjoy, Atco
Associated acts: Aretha Franklin, The Coasters, John Lennon, The King Pins, Bernard Purdie, The Shirelles, The Noble Band, Cornell Dupree, Jerry Jemmott, Buddy Holly, Duane Allman Waylon Jennings)
Spotify: King Curtis's Spotify

About King Curtis

Saxophone virtuoso who recorded in numerous styles, from jazz to soul. He was a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee in 2000.

Before Fame

He was a talented student with interests in R&B and jazz, leading him to turn down scholarship offers and instead join the Lionel Hampton Band.


His distinctive solo on "Yakety Yak" inspired Boots Randolph's own take on it, "Yakety Sax," which became the signature piece of the Benny Hill Show.

Family Life

He was raised in Fort Worth by an adoptive family. His sister was also adopted.


He performed the saxophone solo on John Lennon's track "It's So Hard" off the 1971 album Imagine.

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Latest information about King Curtis updated on December 01, 2020.

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