One of rock and soul’s
most classic bass players ever.
By Fred Mills
Donald “Duck” Dunn, bassist for the legendary Booker T. and
the MGs, passed away early this morning while on tour in Tokyo. Word got out after bandmate Steve
Cropper posted the news to Facebook, indicating that Dunn had died in his
sleep. A report at Billboard.com adds, “Miho Harasawa, a spokeswoman for Tokyo
Blue Note, the last venue Dunn played, confirmed he died alone early Sunday.
She had no further details.”
A tribute page at Facebook, Remembering Duck Dunn, was quickly
established as the news got out, and fans have already posted numerous
testimonials, photos, etc. to the page.
Dunn was 70 at the time of his passing, and by that time he’d
lived one of music’s richest lived, not only being an integral part of the
Memphis-spawned Stax-Volt scene along with the MGs but also as a sideman and
touring partner to everyone from Eric Clapton, Neil Young and the Blues
Brothers. He additionally appeared in The
Blues Brothers movie as – himself! He was a member of the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame and was a recipient of a 2007 lifetime achievement Grammy.
Speaking personally, I was fortunate enough to see him play several
times and was always struck by the duality of his fierce, precision playing and
his calm outward demeanor. At one show, most likely a Neil Young concert, I
watched him placidly puffing on a pipe while playing his bass in the midst of
several furious raveups – the calm eye at the center of the storm, so to speak.
God bless ya, Duck.