Legendary bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn has died in Tokyo early this morning, following a night of shows at the Tokyo Blue Note. According to reports, Dunn passed away in his sleep.
The bassist, who was 70 years old, was a member of Booker T. and the M.G.’s and session bassist for Stax Records. He was also a member of the famed Blues Brothers band, following his appearance in the 1980 hit movie The Blues Brothers.
Over the years, Dunn performed with Muddy Waters, Freddie King, Albert King, Neil Young, Jerry Lee Lewis, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave, Guy Sebastian, Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, Roy Buchanan and Arthur Conley.
Dunn was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1941, and grew up with future professional musician and M.G.’s co-founder, Steve Cropper. When Cropper and another friend decided to take up the guitar, Dunn chose the electric bass. Dunn was self-taught, learning by playing along to records as a young bassist.
“That’s why Duck Dunn’s bass lines are very unique”, Cropper said, “They’re not locked into somebody’s schoolbook somewhere”.
This morning, Cropper posted a note on Facebook:
“Today I lost my best friend, the world has lost the best guy and bass player to ever live.”
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Donald Dunn. RIP, “Duck”.