Calhoun City---John Henry “ACE” Cannon, 84, passed away suddenly at his home on Thursday, December 6, 2018. Born May 5, 1934 in Grenada, MS, he was the son of the late John Henry Cannon, Sr. and the late Alice Redwine Cannon. Ace Cannon, known as the “Godfather of the Sax”, started his career in Memphis, TN, recording on many of the 1950’s hits on Sun Records. Sam Phillips, founder of Sun Records in Memphis was once quoted as saying, “Ace Cannon is the greatest saxophone player who ever lived, and he came out of the same stables as Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Justice, etc.” In 1959 he started with the Bill Black Combo. They appeared on the most prominent TV shows of that era, including The Ed Sullivan Show, The Merv Griffin Show, Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, and The Buddy Dean Show. The co-founder of Hi Records, Joe Cuoghi—who christened Cannon as “ACE”--- was a committed fan of the sax man. “I was his favorite artist, “Ace would recall, “He wanted to make me the Frank Sinatra of the saxophone.” In 1962, Ace recorded his instrumental smash “TUFF”. Since that time he has recorded 69 albums and 46 singles, and earned a Grammy nomination for “Best Instrumental” in 1975 for his version of “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.” In 1986, he performed on the Class of ’55 album which brought together Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Roy Orbison. Ace was proud to have been inducted into the Smithsonian Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the International Rockabilly Hall of Fame, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame, and the North American Country Music Association Hall of Fame. On January 12, 2008, Ace was presented the coveted legislative award from the State of Tennessee. On May 30, 2009, he was presented the coveted Mississippi Legislative Award for his long career and contributions to the music industry. Despite his fame and many musical accomplishments over the years, Ace will be remembered by the people of Calhoun City as a great friend, a golfing partner like non other, and just an enjoyable person to be around. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him, but there will never be another ACE CANNON!
Pryor Funeral Home has the honor of serving the family of Ace Cannon.
A funeral service celebrating his life will be held Sunday, December 9, 2018, at 2:30pm at Pryor Funeral Home. There will also be a visitation on Sunday from 12:30pm until service time at the funeral home. Bro. John Warren will be officiating, with Bro. Jim Vance delivering the eulogy. Interment will follow at Pinecrest Memorial Gardens in Calhoun City.
Serving as pallbearers will be Bill Tharpe, Carl Griffin, Steve McGregory, Eddie Slusser, Jim “Jello” Chrestman, and Andy Reid.
Honorary pallbearers will be all of his Sunday afternoon golfing buddies at Pine Hills Country Club in Calhoun City, and also the many musicians that were with Ace throughout the years.
He leaves behind his wife, Betty Sue Cannon; a daughter, Pam Cannon Hearne of Louisiana; two sons, Mike (Michelle) Cannon of Iuka, MS, and Rick (Carol) Cannon of Louisiana; and also several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Alice Cannon, and his brother, John Cannon.
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