As word of Shannon's passing spread on social media, fans, fellow artists and local music institutions were quick to pay tribute. Noted guitarist Eric Gales posted "Preston Shannon. Wow. No more pain. Rest friend. Icon." The Stax Museum of American Soul Music tweeted out: "Mourning the loss of our friend and King of Beale Street Preston Shannon. Synonymous with #memphismusic. Very sad."
Born in Olive Branch, Miss., Shannon moved to Memphis at the age of 8. While his family was steeped in the culture and music of the Pentecostal church, it was blues and R&B that fired Shannon's imagination.
Shannon first gained notice in the 1980s as a member of local group Amnesty while still working as a hardware salesman. His big break came after being discovered by soul singer Shirley Brown. Shannon's distinctive vocals, often described as "a cross between Bobby Womack and Otis Redding" and supple guitar playing, set him on the path professionally.
Courtesy of the Commercial Appeal