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Posts Tagged ‘Donald Duck Dunn’

Died on This Date (October 14, 2012) B.B. Cunningham / Gave Us “Let It All Hang Out,” Played With Jerry Lee Lewis

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.

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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.

What You Should Own

Click to find at

Briefcase Full of Blues - The Blues Brothers

Posted in Funk, Musician, R&B, Rock | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Died On This Date (October 1, 1975) Al Jackson Jr. / Booker T & The MGs

Posted by themusicsover on October 1, 2009

Al Jackson Jr.
November 27, 1934 – October 1, 1975

Al Jackson, Jr. was a much respected drummer, producer and songwriter who is best remembered for his work as a member of the house band for Stax Records, Booker T. & the M.G.s. Jackson started drumming as a child and is even reported to have played on stage with his father’s jazz band as early as the age of five.  He eventually joined up with Booker T. Jones, Donald “Duck” Dunn, and Steve Cropper to form the equally integrated R&B band, Booker T. and the M.G.s (Cropper and Dunn are both white).  Together (and separately)  they played on countless R&B hits, including those by Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, and Wilson Pickett.  In 1962, the group released the instrumental, “Green Onions” which became an iconic hit that has been heard in countless movies, television shows and commercials over the years.   In the early hours of October 1, 1975, Jackson returned home from watching the Joe Frazier – Muhammad Ali fight on a local movie theater screen.  He was met by an intruder or intruders who shot and killed him execution style.  Details of the incident have remained fuzzy, but some believe that his wife was in on it.  A suspect who apparently knew Jackson’s wife, was shot and killed in a gun battle with police nine months later.  It is not clear if it was related to the Jackson killing.

What You Should Own

Click to find at

The Very Best of Booker T. & the MG's - Booker T. & The MG's

Posted in Musician, Producer, R&B, Songwriter | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »