Donald "Duck" Dunn

Booker T. & the MG's

Died: 2012-05-13
Age: 70
Cause: Unknown

Bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn, a member of Booker T. & the MGs whose grooves anchored many of the classic soul hits from the 1960s, has died. Dunn was still playing with his longtime partner in the MG's, guitarist Steve Cropper, in Tokyo the week before his death. Donald Dunn died in his sleep at age 70. They had just completed 10 shows over five days with their Stax Revue. The shows had been postponed after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan a year earlier. Dunn's son, Jeff, said that his father had complained to his wife, June, about not feeling well but thought it was no more than jet lag from the long trip to Japan. "Today I lost my best friend, the world has lost the best guy and bass player to ever live," Cropper said. The signature instrumental grooves of Booker T. & the MGs, grounded by Dunn's heavy bass notes, provided the musical bedrock on hundreds of singles for such soul stars as Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Eddie Floyd and Sam & Dave. From Redding's wistful "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" to Picket's raucous "In the Midnight Hour," the band's lean, tight accompaniment carried the vocals. Dunn also played in sessions for many artists outside the realm of soul, including Eric Clapton, Neil Young and Jerry Lee Lewis. Dunn and Cropper also performed in the Blues Brothers Band, a group originally assembled to back John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd for a 1978 comedy sketch on "Saturday Night Live." They also appeared together in the 1980 "Blues Brothers" movie and its 1998 sequel, "Blues Brothers 2000." In addition to his wife and son, Dunn is survived by a grandson, Michael, named after Dunn's other son, who died in a car accident in 1983.

Photo: Unknown

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