Al Bell

Legendary television journalist Mike Wallace, who has a long-standing gig on 60 Minutes, once referred to the thrilling experience of interviewing iconic figures by saying “I sat toe to toe with some incredible people.” Often while I am conducting an interview with one of my musical heroes and I have a sensation of goosebumps on my arms I look down to see my toes facing their toes and think how absolutely lucky I am! Such a feeling struck me on December 10, 2018, when I was just north of Little Rock, Arkansas interviewing Stax Record’s own Al Bell!

While he spoke of his influential career and the people he has known over the years, I had a real sense that this was more than just a personal thrill, it was a professional cue. I realized immediately that Mr Bell’s interview would be an important addition to the NAMM Oral History Collection. At that same moment, I was smiling from ear to ear as Mr Bell recounted a personal experience with the likes of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and one of my all-time favorite singers, Otis Redding.

There I was, feeling blessed and honored, sitting toe to toe with one of the most endearing and interesting people I have ever met! Click here to see a segment from Al's interview.


Dan Del Fiorentino
Music Historian