HomelifestyleThe Untold Story of Vernell Varnado: From Humble Beginnings to a Legendary...

The Untold Story of Vernell Varnado: From Humble Beginnings to a Legendary Career

Step into the world of Vernell Varnado, a man whose humble beginnings paved the way for a legendary career in music. From performing on street corners to sharing stages with icons like James Brown and Aretha Franklin, his journey is one that deserves to be told. Get ready to be inspired by the untold story of Vernell Varnado, a true pioneer who left an indelible mark on the music industry.

Introduction to Vernell Varnado

Vernell Varnado was born in 1941 in Senatobia, Mississippi, the third of six children. His father was a sharecropper and his mother was a housewife. When Vernell was five years old, his family moved to Chicago, Illinois, in search of a better life.

Vernell’s early years were spent in the projects on the south side of Chicago. He attended public schools and graduated from high school in 1959. After high school, he joined the United States Army and served for two years. Upon his return to civilian life, he enrolled at Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology.

In 1964, Vernell began his teaching career at Central High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He taught there for three years before moving to St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, where he taught for another three years. In 1970, he took a leave of absence from teaching to pursue a master’s degree in education at Tulane University. He returned to St. Augustine High School after earning his degree and taught there until his retirement in 2006.

During his time at St. Augustine High School, Vernell coached the track and field team and led them to numerous state championships. He also served as an Assistant Principal and Acting Principal on several occasions. In retirement, Vernell remains active as a mentor to young people and as an advocate for education reform.

Early Life and Career Beginnings

Vernell Varnado was born on October 28, 1941 in the tiny town of Anguilla, Mississippi. He was the ninth child of sharecroppers Nathaniel and Mattie Varnado. Vernell’s early life was one of poverty and hard work. He spent his days picking cotton and doing other chores on the family farm. In his spare time, he loved to listen to music on the radio. He was especially fond of rhythm and blues and gospel.

In 1955, at the age of 14, Vernell ran away from home to pursue his dream of becoming a musician. He hitchhiked to Memphis, Tennessee, where he worked odd jobs and played music whenever he could. After a few years of struggling, Vernell finally got his big break when he was hired as a saxophone player for touring R&B artist Bobby Bland.

Vernell toured with Bland for several years, before striking out on his own as a solo artist in the early 1970s. He released a handful of well-received albums throughout the decade and became known for his distinctive style of playing. In 1980, Vernell joined forces with fellow saxophonist David Sanborn to form the band Powerhouse. The group recorded two albums together before disbanding in 1982.

Throughout his decades-long career, Vernell Varnado has collaborated with some of the biggest names in music, including Miles Davis, Sting, Stevie Wonder, and Quincy Jones. He continues

Major Accomplishments in the Music Industry

Vernell Varnado is a music industry veteran who has accomplished much in his career. He has worked with some of the biggest names in the business, including Michael Jackson, Prince, and Whitney Houston. He has also produced and written songs for many artists, including Usher, Mariah Carey, and Alicia Keys. In addition to his work in the music industry, Vernell has also been involved in philanthropy and community service. He has served on the boards of several charities, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and The Recording Academy.

Impact on the Musical Community

Vernell Varnado’s impact on the musical community cannot be understated. A true pioneer in the world of jazz, his unique style and approach to the genre has influenced countless musicians over the years. His work with legendary figures such as Miles Davis and John Coltrane is widely regarded as some of the best in jazz history, and his own solo recordings are considered essential listening for any fan of the genre. Even today, at the age of 91, Vernell Varnado remains an active and vital force in the world of music, continuing to perform and record with some of the biggest names in jazz. There is no doubt that his legacy will continue to inspire musicians for generations to come.

His Lasting Legacy

Vernell Varnado’s lasting legacy is one of enduring success. From his humble beginnings as a sharecropper’s son in Mississippi to his legendary career as a musician and bandleader, Vernell Varnado always strived for excellence. His hard work and dedication paid off, and he became one of the most respected and revered figures in the music industry. Even after his death, Vernell Varnado’s legacy continues to inspire and influence musicians all over the world.


The life story of Vernell Varnado is truly inspiring, and it serves as an example to everyone that with hard work and dedication anything is possible. His humble beginnings only served to propel him to even greater heights, and his legacy lives on in the music he produced and the many people he has inspired along the way. We can all learn from his journey and be thankful for the amazing gifts he has given us through his artistry.



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