Donald "Duck" Dunn 1941 - 2012

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Thursday, November 15, 2012
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Donald "Duck" Dunn 1941 - 2012

Donald "Duck" Dunn, bassist for the influential southern soul group Booker T. and the MGs, respected session musician for legendary Memphis soul label Stax, producer, and songwriter, died Sunday, May 13, 2012, while on tour in Tokyo. He was 70.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Dunn first picked up the bass guitar to play along with his friend and future band mate Steve Cropper. Self-taught, Dunn would play along to records, adding his own bass lines where he thought they were needed. After stints in The Mar-Keys, with their national hit "Last Night," and Ben Branch's big band, Dunn would settle in as the bassist in Cropper's Booker T. and the MGs, one of the first racially integrated soul groups. As Stax Records' house band, Booker T. and the MGs played backup on Redding's "Respect," and "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay," Sam and Dave's "Hold On, I'm Coming" and Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour." They would also release a few hits of their own - "Hang 'Em High," "Soul-Limbo," and the pre-Dunn instrumental "Green Onions" before splitting up in the early 70s.

Over the next few decades, Dunn would lend his signature bass sound to various projects including the "Blues Brothers" movie and once again as part of Booker T. and the MG's, who went on to backup world renowned artists like Eric Clapton, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan on tour.

Tune in to our Donald “Duck” Dunn favorites at Spotify.