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King Curtis Facts

King Curtis: The Soulful Saxophonist and Music Icon

Singer’s Bio and Age

King Curtis, born Curtis Ousley, was an American soulful saxophonist, born on February 7, 1934, in Texas. He began his music journey at the age of 12, playing in his church’s gospel band. Curtis got his first saxophone from a family friend, honed his skills by listening to jazz records, and quickly became a self-taught musician.

Relationships and Children

Not much is known about King Curtis’s romantic relationships, but it is known that he was married and had three children – Craig, Anthony, and Vincent.


King Curtis was 6’3″ or 191 cm tall.


Curtis moved to New York in 1951 to further his music career and soon began playing with several popular bands, including Lionel Hampton, Horace Silver, and Ornette Coleman. In 1957, Curtis made his debut on the Billboard charts with “Soul Twist,” which sold a million copies and became an instant hit.

Curtis recorded several albums throughout his career, including the influential album King Curtis Plays the Great Memphis Hits, which was released in 1967. He also worked as a session musician, playing the saxophone on dozens of classic recordings by artists such as Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, and The Coasters.

Top Songs

King Curtis’s top five songs on the Billboard charts are as follows:

1. “Soul Twist” (1958) – #17
2. “Wobble Twist” (1958) – #34
3. “Castle Rock” (1959) – #31
4. “Quicksand” (1962) – #102
5. “Memphis Soul Stew” (1967) – #33

One of Curtis’s most legendary performances was his saxophone solo on Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” which Rolling Stone magazine named one of the greatest solos in rock history.

Net Worth

Although there are no current records of King Curtis’s net worth, the hit song “Soul Twist” alone sold over a million copies, making him financially successful.


King Curtis’s influence on soul music is undeniable, and his music inspired countless musicians. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2013.

Despite his tragic death at the age of 37, Curtis’s music continues to live on through popular recordings and samples that have been used in contemporary music by countless artists. Kanye West, Public Enemy, and Jay-Z are just a few of the artists who have sampled King Curtis’s music.

In conclusion, King Curtis’s enduring legacy as a soulful saxophonist and music icon continues to inspire new generations of artists. His contributions to the music industry will never be forgotten, and he will always be remembered as a true legend of his genre.

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