Legendary bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn died in his sleep on May 14th in Japan. Duck had performed last night at Tokyo’s Blue Note Club as part of “The Stax Show”, along with guitarist Steve Cropper and singer Eddie Floyd. News of Dunn’s passing was reported by Cropper on his Facebook page. “Today I lost my best friend,” Cropper wrote. “The world has lost the best guy and bass player to ever live.”
As part of the house band for Memphis-based Stax Records, Dunn’s distinct bass lines in the studio during the sixties rivaled Motown’s James Jamerson, as the two labels battled it out for dominance on the R&B and pop charts. Some of the immortal songs that have featured Duck’s bass include Otis Redding’s “Dock Of The Bay”, Wilson Pickett’s “In The Midnight Hour”, Sam & Dave’s “Hold On I’m Coming” and “Soul Man”, and many more. After Stax Records dissolved in the seventies, Dunn remained an active session player and played on recordings by Neil Young, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Buffet and other prominent artists. He also played bass for The Blues Brothers in 1980, appearing in their movie portraying himself. As an original member of Booker T. and the MG’s, Duck Dunn and his bandmates were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1992 and received a lifetime achievement Grammy Award in 2007.
Duck Dunn was 70 years old.