Arthur Alexander – “June” to his friends – wrote and recorded Muscle Shoals’ first big nationwide R&B hit, 1962’s You Better Move On.
The song made it to #24 on the Billboard pop chart and transformed Alexander from a bellhop at a Sheffield, Alabama, hotel to a singer sharing the stage with soul legends Ben E. King, Jackie Wilson, Solomon Burke and Etta James.
When the Beatles and the Stones got their first chance to record, one did Anna and the other did You Better Move On. More recently, Ry Cooder recorded a version of Alexander’s Go Home, Girl in 1979.
By the late 1960s, Alexander’s performing career had faded. An attempted comeback album in 1972 went nowhere.
By 1977 he had quit drinking, dropped out of show business and was driving a community centre bus in Cleveland, Ohio.
In 1990 he was lured back to the stage to perform his Muscle Shoals classics at the long-awaited opening of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia.
He recorded the critically acclaimed album Lonely Just Like Me in 1993 and was making a sensational comeback when he died of a heart attack in Nashville, Tennessee, on 9 June 1993. He was just 53.
His grave went unmarked – because his family could not afford a tombstone – until 2000 when fans and friends donated a 6-foot-wide and 3-foot-high marble monument.