Duo reunites to revisit historic - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Song-writing duo revisits historic song honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

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Earl Randle and Henry Partee revisited Willie Mitchell's Royal Studios, home of Hi Records and the place they met so long ago. Earl Randle and Henry Partee revisited Willie Mitchell's Royal Studios, home of Hi Records and the place they met so long ago.
Now a cigar chomping 85-year-old, Partee was driving trucks and running a Memphis loading dock in the early 1980s while trying his hand as a songwriter. Now a cigar chomping 85-year-old, Partee was driving trucks and running a Memphis loading dock in the early 1980s while trying his hand as a songwriter.
Partee did not see Dr. King's assassination on April 4, 1968, but he says he heard it while driving a few hundred yards from the Lorraine Motel. Partee did not see Dr. King's assassination on April 4, 1968, but he says he heard it while driving a few hundred yards from the Lorraine Motel.

(WMC-TV) - A Memphis song-writing duo recently reunited specifically for the national holiday honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

A Memphis truck driver and a professional musician co-wrote a song three decades ago celebrating the highs and lows of Dr. King's incredible life. Though the song never made it to the top of the charts, it did make its mark on Memphis music history.

Earl Randle and Henry Partee revisited Willie Mitchell's Royal Studios, home of Hi Records and the place they met so long ago.

"I went to try to write some songs ... wrote quite a few but they didn't do no good," said Partee.

But Hi Records was on a roll. The hit factory spun gold with the Rev. Al Green. Randle worked inside the South Memphis studio as a staff songwriter and musician.

"I loved doing it, and I thank the Lord for giving me something I loved to do," said Randle.

Randle told Partee to try and write gospel. Now a cigar chomping 85-year-old, Partee was driving trucks and running a Memphis loading dock in the early 1980s while trying his hand as a songwriter.

"Then I said: I'm writing all these songs. I'm going to write one about Martin Luther King because he stood for what I thought was right. So I set up on the side of the bed one night, and I wrote it," said Partee.

Randle took a look at the lyrics.

"All I had to do was look at it and read the words. I said, 'Man, this is awesome,' " said Randle. "He said, 'You think you can do something with it?' So I worked with it, and wrote the melody and the music to it. God Bless Martin Luther King."

Partee did not see Dr. King's assassination on April 4, 1968, but he says he heard it while driving a few hundred yards from the Lorraine Motel.

"I don't think. I know I heard it. It was a shot," said Partee.

Family Records released the song as a 45 vinyl back in 1983. Although it failed to hit the charts, it touched many hearts on Memphis radio.

"I love it. Earl can sing anyway. I didn't know he could sing that good," said Partee. "Just remember the man, who he was, and what he tried to do for everybody. Not just one people but everybody. Everybody in the world."

You can hear the whole song by clicking here. You can read lyrics by clicking here.

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