They have graced hundreds of recordings, colored hits for artists including Elvis Presley and U2 and helped shape the sound of Stax Records.
Now, the Memphis Horns are being recognized with a Grammy.
The Grammys' Recording Academy announced Wednesday that the Memphis Horns -- trumpeter Wayne Jackson and saxophonist Andrew Love -- will be among the recipients of its annual Lifetime Achievement Award in February.
They will join a class of honorees that includes Diana Ross, The Allman Brothers Band, Glen Campbell and George Jones.
The Memphis Horns will receive the honor Feb. 11 at the Grammy Special Merit Award ceremonies in Los Angeles. They will also be recognized during the Grammy telecast the following evening.
"We got a call about a week ago from (Neil Portnow,) the president of Grammys, and he told me he was really proud to be talking to me, and that we were going to be getting a Lifetime Achievement Award," Jackson said. "Man, hearing that -- it rung my bell so hard I didn't sleep all night. We're so excited. It's an unbelievable honor."
The Mid-South natives came to prominence in the 1960s for their work as part of the house band at Stax Records. Their signature arrangements and style would help distinguish the songs of Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Eddie Floyd and Isaac Hayes, among others.
Even after leaving Stax in 1969, the pair continued to be highly sought-after players, working with Aretha Franklin, James Taylor and Rod Stewart. The duo continued their success into the '80s and '90s, playing with the likes of Sting, Peter Gabriel and Robert Cray as well as recording several albums of their own.
"The Memphis Horns are unique when you look at who has won with Lifetime Achievement Awards," said Memphis Grammy chapter president Jon Hornyak. "They were sidemen, certainly two of the greatest sidemen ever. And other than (Motown's) Funk Brothers there isn't any other real comparison in terms of people who've been honored with this award. But their contributions are so distinctive and crucial to so many records. The parts they came up with time and time and again were so memorable."
Over the years, the Memphis Horns have played on more than 15 Grammy-nominated tracks, "but this will be the first time we're being recognized," Jackson said.
Jackson, who returned to Memphis last year after spending nearly 14 years in Nashville, remains an in-demand session and road player, having recorded with Neil Young in recent years. Love retired from performing in 2004 due to health issues.
Jackson and Love, who both turned 70 in November, were honored last year with induction to the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville.
The Memphis Horns' recognition follows recent Lifetime Achievement and Trustees awards for Bluff City figures Booker T & the MGs and the late Estelle Axton in 2007, producer Willie Mitchell in 2008 and former Stax label executive Al Bell in 2011.
"I think that just speaks to the importance of Memphis, the music makers from here and the respect they have from the industry," Hornyak said of the city's recent run of Grammys.
Others set to be honored at the Special Merit Awards this year include bossa nova innovator Antonio Carlos Jobim and funk poet Gil Scott-Heron. New Orleans songwriter/producer Dave Bartholomew, Apple founder Steve Jobs and jazz recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder will be presented with Trustees Awards, a similar honor for nonperformers.