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Posts Tagged ‘Dan Aykroyd’

Died On This Date (May 13, 2012) Donald “Duck” Dunn / Booker T. & The MG’s

Posted by themusicsover on May 13, 2012

Donald “Duck” Dunn
November 24, 1941 – May 13, 2012

As the house bassist for Stax Records throughout the ’60s and ’70s, Donald “Duck” Dunn provided the unmistakable bottom-end for countless soul and R&B songs that have stood the test of time. He can also be heard on some of the greatest rock recordings from the ’70s and ’80s.  From Otis Redding’s “I Can’t Turn You Loose,” Sam & Dave’s “Hold On I’m Coming,” and Albert King’s “Born Under A Bad Sign” to Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,”  Dunn’s groove can not be missed.  And in between, there was Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, and Rod Stewart, to name a few.  And as bassist for Booker T. & the MG’s, Dunn made his mark on such iconic songs as “Green Onions.”  In 1980, Dunn played himself alongside John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as part of the Blues Brothers band both in the movie, and at live performances.  Although semi-retired by 2000, Dunn continued to play at occasional Booker T. gigs and other events well into the new decade.  Donald “Duck” Dunn died in his sleep following a performance in Tokyo, Japan on May 12, 2012.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

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Briefcase Full of Blues - The Blues Brothers

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Died On This Date (September 16, 2011) Willie “Big Eyes” Smith / Grammy Winning Electric Blues Great

Posted by themusicsover on September 16, 2011

Willie “Big Eyes” Smith
January 19, 1936 – September 16, 2011

Photo by Michael Kurgansky

Willie “Big Eyes” Smith was an influential electric blues triple threat.  Not only was he revered for his singing and harmonica playing, but he was also an award-winning drummer.  Born in Helena, Arkansas, Smith moved to Chicago when he was 17 and initially took up the harmonica.  Inspired by the likes of harpists Sonny Boy Williamson II and Henry Strong, Smith formed his own trio within a year of landing in Chicago.  It was also around this time that he played on Bo Diddley’s recording of “Diddy Wah Diddy.”  Smith soon realized that harmonica players were basically a dime a dozen in Chicago, so he switched to drums and was shortly thereafter hired by Muddy Waters.  He went on to play with Waters on and off for the next two decades, only taking a break during the mid ’60s to earn more consistent money as a cab driver.  Between 1960 and 1980, Smith played on over 80 of Waters’ recordings, many of which ending up on Grammy-winning albums.  In 1980, Smith and other members of Waters’ band splintered off to form the Legendary Blues Band who some may recognize as the band behind John Lee Hooker in the 1980 motion picture, The Blues Brothers, starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.  The Legendary Blues Band recorded seven albums and toured with the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and Bob Dylan during their run.  It wasn’t until 1995 that Smith began making his own albums.  He continued to record and perform as recently as 2010 when he and former Legendary Blues Band mate and Muddy Waters refugee, Pinetop Perkins released Joined At The Hip for Telarc Records.  The album earned the pair a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album on February 13, 2011.  Perkins passed away a little over a month later.  According to The Celebrity Cafe, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith passed away on September 16, 2011 following a stroke.  He was 75.

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Joined At the Hip: Pinetop Perkins & Willie

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Died On This Date (June 8, 2011) Alan Rubin / Mr. Fabulous; The Blues Brothers Band

Posted by themusicsover on June 8, 2011

Alan Rubin
February 11, 1943 – June 8, 2011

Alan Rubin as an American trumpet player who was commonly referred to as Mr. Fabulous.  A gifted musician since childhood, Rubin started at the esteemed Julliard School of Music on a scholarship at the age of 17.  In 1975, he was hired on as the trumpet player in the original Saturday Night Live band.  In 1980, he backed fellow cast members, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in the Blues Brothers, in both the film and beyond.  His resume throughout the years reads like a pop music VIP list, having played with likes of Frank Sinatra, Frank Zappa, the Rolling Stones, Duke Ellington, Billy Joel, B.B. King, Miles Davis, Sting, James Brown, Ray Charles, and Eric Clapton.  Alan Rubin died of cancer on June 8, 2011.  He was 68.

Thanks to Benji Isabel for the assist

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Briefcase Full of Blues - The Blues Brothers

 

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Died On This Date (April 9, 1988) Dave Prater / Sam & Dave

Posted by themusicsover on April 9, 2010

Dave Prater
May 9, 1937 – April 9, 1988

Dave Prater is best known as half of the R&B duo, Sam & Dave. He and his vocal partner, Sam Moore made classic recordings for twenty years, beginning in 1961. Of those songs, they are best known for “Soul Man,” that reached an even bigger audience when it became an unlikely hit in 1978 for the Blues Brothers (Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi). Over the years, Sam & Dave were awarded several gold records, a Grammy, and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame among other accolades. “Soul Man” itself has been recognized as one of the most influential songs of the first half century of rock ‘n’ roll and has earned a place in the Grammy Hall of Fame.  Dave Prater died on April 9, 1988 when the car he was driving veered off the road near Syracuse, GA. He was 50.

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Sam & Dave

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Died On This Date (March 5, 1982) John Belushi / The Blues Brothers

Posted by themusicsover on March 5, 2010

John Belushi
January 24, 1949 – March 5, 1982

john-belushiFor all intents and purposes, John Belushi had two successful, yet brief careers. Belushi skyrocketed to fame thanks to his amazing comedic abilities that were showcased nationally when he became a cast member during Saturday Night Live’s inaugural season of 1975.  During breaks from the show, Belushi acted in some of the era’s most popular comedies.  That list includes Animal House, Continental Divide, and of course, The Blues Brothers, which showcased his singing abilities as well.  The Blues Brothers were a singing duo made up of Belushi and SNL cast mate, Dan Aykroyd who were first introduced on the show, and then elevated to starring roles in the popular musical comedy of the same name.  Premiering in June of 1980, the film went on to gross $115 million and spawn Briefcase Full Of Blues, the double-platinum soundtrack.  A strong part of the duo’s appeal was that they were backed up by some of the greatest session musicians popular music has ever know, the Saturday Night Live house band.  Belushi’s singing (or at least his mimicking) talents were also featured in a legendary SNL segment when he “dueted” with Joe Cocker, performing as his popular parody of Cocker, himself.  During Belushi’s meteoric rise to the top, he also developed a reputation as a hard partier.  On March 5, 1982, he and several friends were hanging out at a West Hollywood hotel.  At one point, as was confessed at a later date, a female acquaintance injected Belushi with a fatal dose of cocaine and heroin.  John Belushi died as a result at the age of 33.  The woman eventually accepted a plea bargain to involuntary manslaughter and served 15 months in prison.

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Briefcase Full of Blues - The Blues Brothers

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