Memphis music producer and musician Willie Mitchell started his career as a bandleader in the 1950s before working his way up to the highest courts of Memphis soul. Over the course of his rise, he released a number of solo records and produced hits that helped to define how we think of soul today.
In February 2009 Willie Mitchell received The Recording Academy's Special Merit Award for lifetime acheivement.
In February 2009 Willie Mitchell received The Recording Academy's Special Merit Award for lifetime acheivement. Alberto Rodriguez/Getty
Mitchell died Tuesday after suffering a heart attack. He was 81.
Mitchell was best known for helping to produce Al Green's '70s soul classics "Tired of Being Alone" and "Call Me." In 2003, he and Green reunited for the album I Can't Stop, the pair's first collaboration in 18 years.
Mitchell also worked with soul artist Ann Peebles on her hit "I Can't Stand the Rain" which was later was sampled by Missy Elliot in 1997. The sample eventually made VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the '90s.
More recently, Mitchell worked with John Mayer and Rod Stewart and is rumored to have produced a not-yet-released album with Solomon Burke.
This interview was originally broadcast on April 13, 1995.