Beale Street honors blues legend Preston Shannon

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A procession took over Beale Street on Friday to honor Memphis music icon Preston Shannon.

The sidewalks on Beale Street were filled with Preston Shannon's family, friends,  and fans--all of whom came to remember the life of the "King of Beale Street."

You could hear the sweet, crisp sound of blues music echoing down Beale Street on Friday. The music helped usher Memphis Blues legend Preston Shannon into the next life.

"Preston was just amazing, you know, and he's going to be missed," Preston Shannon Band member Jonathan Ellison said. "I'm still dealing with the fact that he's gone. I'm at a loss of words."

Family members said the blues legend died this week after a short battle with cancer.

"He was a great musician, a great musical artist, vocalist, and musician. But even more important he was simply a good man," TN Rep. G.A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) said.

Shannon spent years playing in local clubs, like B.B King's Blues Club, but he also traveled across the world, playing and mentoring young musicians.

"Everybody knows him as Preston Shannon the guitarist, the guy that's ripping and singing his butt off. We know him as Preston Shannon the father figure, the mentor," Preston Shannon Band member Marquis "Tank" Hodges said.

Though Memphis has lost another blues legend, his band members said they'll do all they can to make sure everyone remembers the King of Beale Street.

"[We'll] do what he wanted us to do, and that's keep the blues alive, keep the music alive," Hodges said.

Preston Shannon's funeral is Saturday, and on Sunday his band members say they'll be playing at B.B. King's Blues Club in his memory.

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