Blues Brothers and MG's bassist Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn dies at 70

Respected soul and blues bassist Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn has died at the age of 70.

Have a Nice Trip Donald "Duck" Dunn

TOKYO (AP) — Bass player and songwriter Donald “Duck” Dunn, a member of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame band Booker T. and the MGs and the Blues Brothers band, has died in Tokyo. He was 70.

Dunn was in Tokyo for a series of shows. News of his death was posted on the Facebook site of his friend and fellow musician Steve Cropper, who was on the same tour. Cropper said Dunn died in his sleep.

Dunn, who was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1941, performed on recordings with Eric Clapton, Neil Young and many others, and specialized in blues, gospel and soul. He played himself in the 1980 hit movie “The Blues Brothers.”

He received a lifetime achievement Grammy award in 2007 for his work with Booker T. and the MGs.

Born in Memphis on November 24, 1941, Dunn was given his nickname by his father as the two watched a Donald Duck cartoon on TV. He began playing the bass guitar when he was 16 and joined Booker T. & the M.G.'s in 1962.

He’s remembered for being a member of Dan Akroyd and John Belushi’s comedy revue outfit the Blues Brothers and for his long-term membership of session stars Booker T and the MGs.

With that band he laid down bass lines on Otis Redding’s Respect, Sam and Dave’s Hold On I’m Coming and Albert King’s Born Under a Bad Sign, among many others. He went on to play with Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Rod Stewart, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Jerry Lee Lewis, Levon Helm and Freddy King.

In the Blues Brothers’ 1980 movie he was given the line: “We had a band powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline.”

Dunn was semi-retired, partly caused by back problems which made walking painful. But he had just completed a five-night tour of Japan, ending with two shows in the Blue Note Night Club in Tokyo. He’d been playing as part of the Stax Show with MGs guitarist Steve Cropper and Stax singer Eddie Floyd.

Cropper said via Facebook: “Today I lost my best friend. The world has lost the best guy and bass player to live, ever.”

The Memphis, Tennessee-born musician started playing bass when he was 16, explaining: “I tried the guitar but it had two strings too many. Plus, I grew up with Steve Cropper. There were so many good guitar players another one wasn’t needed. What was needed was a bass.”

Cropper once said Dunn’s playing was unique because he played what he thought should be there to fill any gaps in the music, adding his riffs weren’t “locked in somebody’s schoolbook somewhere.”

Although connected with MGs hit Green Onions, he didn’t play on the original track since it was recorded before he joined the band in 1964.

Booker T. & the M.G.'s were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and Dunn received a lifetime achievement Grammy award in 2007.

R.I.P. Donald "Duck" Dunn

Donald "Duck" Dunn's official website

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