Longtime Union resident Herman “Little Mojo” Grimes was among the 2017 inductees to the St. Louis Classic Rock Hall of Fame.
The ceremony was held Friday, Oct. 20, at the Kirkwood Community Center.
Grimes, 74, said he was humbled and honored to even have been nominated for the hall of fame.
“Just being nominated is an honor itself,” he said.
His feelings turned to surprise when he found out he had won. The public could vote from a slate of 27 nominees in the “local artist” category. Votes came in from all over the world.
“There were a lot of nominees,” he said. “I didn’t even think they would remember me. I couldn’t believe it.”
Grimes was nominated by a former disc jockey, Tim Neeley.
“If you would have told me any of this would happen in my life I would have called you crazy,” he said. “It was really nice to be remembered like that.
“I’m in there with Chuck Berry, Michael McDonald, Johnny Johnson, Miles Davis... It’s just incredible. I’m so proud to be there,” he said.
Grimes said he enjoyed the event, especially seeing other musicians he hasn’t seen in many years. He and other winners signed a guitar that was auctioned off at the event.
Grimes was born in Kennett, Mo. After World War II, Grimes’ family moved to the Hazelwood area.
“It was a wonderful time to be alive,” he said. “There were so many dances and things to do. Everyone had a great time back then, and I was really lucky to be a part of it.”
At the age of 14 he began performing under the name “Little Mojo.”
He recorded his first hit “Paula” in 1960. In 1964 he began performing under his name, rather than Little Mojo. At one time, he was backed up by The Mojo Men and The Spectors.
He first started singing at a local American Legion post.
Before long, he was working and performing with Ike and Tina Turner, Chuck Berry, Bob Cuban, Terry Thompson, Steve Scorfina (of REO Speedwagon) and other rock legends.
Grimes said he performed during the 1967 World Series at Busch Stadium and the 1961 Illinois State Fair, opening for Ricky Nelson.
He appeared on the television show “St. Louis Hop” with Russ Carter and “American Bandstand” with Dick Clark.
In his 20s, Grimes went to Los Angeles, Calif., where he continued performing. Some hits include “Thought I Had It Made,” and “You Can’t Take Back Kisses.”
Grimes said that age 32 he was ready to settle down and “I went home and did exactly that,” he said.
He and his wife of 42 years, Connie, own the Great American Flea Market (Mason Dixon Flea Market) just outside of Union and the nearby Sunset Motel. They also manage rental properties locally and recently expanded to Florida.
The couple have six children, all who were raised in Union: Michelle Bautista, Benji Grimes, Christopher Grimes, Jason Grimes, Patrick Grimes, Andrew Grimes.
After his “retirement” from the music industry, Grimes worked for a distributor for Anheuser-Busch products. He and his wife now manage real estate.
Other 2017 inductees include: Miles Davis, local artist; REO Speedwagon, outside influence; John “Schmee” Schmiemeier, executive/other; Gary Kolander, DJ; Steve Scorfina, local artist; Elmo Farquar, Jerry M. Cook award; and Peaches Records, venue/institution.