Satirically penned by Memphis songwriter and producer B.B. Cunningham, 1967's "Let It All Hang Out" not only rhythmically noted the pleasures of regaling in your favorite vices can often bring, it served as a personal anthem for a man who lived life to its fullest as a musician, songwriter and producer.
Family, admirers and long time friends, such as legendary, Memphis disc jockey, George Klein, who often called on Cunningham's talents during the 40 years of his annually hosted Charity Christmas Concert, reflected on a man whose shooting death Sunday morning in Southeast Memphis left more than a musical void.
"I you called him, you'd say, Hey, we got a charity affair here B.B..Could you get the Hombres together and bring it one more time? He said, sure. There was no check my calendar," recalls Klein.
Memphis Police announced the arrest on Monday of Dock Cedric Britt, accused of shooting Cunningham and wounding security guard Theresa Sanders. A police affidavit says the 70-year-old Cunningham was on security duty next door to the Cherry Crest Apartments and went to investigate when he heard a shot. When police arrived Cunningham and a 16-year-old boy were both dead from gunshots wounds. A second suspect was still at large as of Monday afternoon. No bond was set for Britt. On Sunday Cunningham's granddaughter mourned his loss.
Though his signature song "Let It All Hang Out" was the chart-topper of his career as a vocal artist, his work as a producer and songwriter was prolific. So, too were the friendships B.B. Cunningham made in the Memphis music community.
"B.B. Cunningham was a great, great talent and Memphis will miss him," says Klein.