In Memoriam: Donald “Duck” Dunn

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.

Booker T. and the M.G.'s

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”.

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  1. A GREAT has passed. Duck was a legend when that really meant something.

  2. He was one of my heroes. This is incredibly sad news, but at least he was gigging all the way until the end.

  3. A Legend has passed….RIP Duck Dunn!

  4. A very sad day… What an influence he was on so many. Godspeed Duck!

  5. Very sad, but jamming till the end, what better way to go, RIP Duck….

  6. He was one of, if not the biggest influence on my style ever since picking up the bass for the first time over 20 years ago.

  7. Godspeed, Duck. You were one of the greats.

  8. turn it up to 11 and rock the heavens, R.I.P.

  9. A true talent and inspiration….

  10. So glad Duck took up the bass when Steve Cropper picked up the guitar.
    My condolences to Steve and all who played with, knew, and loved Duck Dunn over the years both fans and fellow musicians. Our loss is Heaven’s gain.

  11. Yup, Heaven done called another blues stringer back home.

  12. Great creative bass player…R.I.P.

    • The group i was playing in opened for Booker T & The Mgs long ago in the glory days. As we introduced them and were walking side stage the bass player slaped me on the arm and said good job on that bass, your right in the pocket. I had no idea at the time that he was they guy I had and would copy my playing from for the rest of my life. RIP Duck. You Dunn good.

  13. My heart and prayers go out to the Dunn family I know that Mr. Dunn play for my father Wilson Pickett one of the songs he Play was In the Midnight Hour he Mr. Dunn was truly a great and awesome man.

  14. Goodbye old friend. RIP. Thank you…

  15. If you like Stax, Atlantic Records R&B, Otis, Wilson, etc….this man provided that “fat” bottom for almost all of them….a true original! RIP

  16. Started listining to Donald”Duck”Dunn since I heard Him played”Groovin”???With Booker T. and The MG’s.~ Loved that Bass sound.Very Nice.R.I.P.? Duck….

    • Thanks sister(@[100000356506178:2048:Kattya]).Good Evening and a Good Weekend To U and Your Lovelly Family….Big Hugz to Everyone.?!!!!!!One Love.???

  17. A major influence to the music world all through his career. RIP Duck.

  18. Sherman hawker

    He was one of the greats! Inspired me to play bass, heard his signature licks long before I knew who he was! Thank you Donald Duck Dunn for the inspiration, you’ll live on forever …..