Posted by themusicsover on October 14, 2012
Blake Baker Cunningham, Jr.
DOB Unknown – October 14, 2012
B.B. Cunningham was a legendary Memphis musician who, over a career that spanned some 50 years, played in Jerry Lee Lewis‘ band, played in a high school group that included pre-Booker T & The MG’s Steve Cropper and Donald “Duck” Dunn, scored a Top 20 hit as leader of the ’60s garage band, the Hombres, and engineered records by the likes of Elton John. Born into a musical family that included his father who, performing under the name Buddy Blake, recorded for Sam Phillips‘ Sun Records during the ’50s. B.B.’s brother, Bill Cunningham, was a founding member of Alex Chilton’s legendary band, the Box Tops. While in high school, Cunningham played alongside Cropper and Dunn in a band called the Six O’Clock Boys who had a regional hit with “Ivory Marbles.” Meanwhile, Cunningham’s father was working at Sun Studios which lead to a night in 1954 when Phillips invited B.B. to play percussion on Elvis Presley’s earliest Sun sessions. The Six O’Clock Boys soon became the Mar-Keys who had another moderate hit with “Last Night.” The other members of the Mar-Keys eventually evolved into Booker T & the MG’s while Cunningham dabbled in production and session work. In 1963, he joined Jerry Lee Lewis’ band on bass and keyboards. He played with the Killer on-and-off for decades. In 1965, he co-founded the Hombres who had a Top 15 hit with “Let It All Hang Out,” a garage rock staple. During the early ’70s, Cunningham moved to Los Angeles where engineered recordings by the likes of Elton John, Lou Rawls, and Billy Joel. He eventually settled back in Memphis where he opened his own recording studio. In recent years, Cunningham was working as a security guard. In the early morning hours of October 14, 2012, Cunningham, who was working security at an Southeast Memphis apartment complex, reportedly heard a gunshot from a neighboring complex. Initial reports were sparse, but indicate that when police arrived on scene, they found both Cunningham and a 16-year-old boy dead from gunshot wounds. B.B. Cunningham Jr. was 70 when he passed away.
Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number 1 Albums for the assist.