Blues Brothers Bassist Dies At 70

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

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.

During his long-spanning career, he laid down bass lines on Otis Redding 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.

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 took to Facebook to pay tribute to Dunn, saying:

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

Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, Dunn beagn playing bass when he was 16. In an interview he spoke about his musical upbringing:

“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 has described Dunn's bass playing as "unique", because he "played what he thought should be there to fill any gaps in the music".

Billy Sheehan, bassist with Mr Big, also paid tribute to Dunn, saying:

“Rest in peace, Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn. Superb bass player, wonderful guy. My condolences to your family and friends.”

While the Blockheads guitarist, Lee Harris, called him “one of the best bass players to ever grace our ears.”