Legendary bass player Donald “Duck” Dunn died in Toyko Sunday morning, where he was playing a series of concerts billed as “STAX Shows” with Steve Cropper and Eddie Floyd. He was 70.
Steve Cropper, Dunn’s longtime bandmate in Booker T & The MGs and The Blues Brothers Band reported on his Facebook page, “Today I lost my best friend, the World has lost the best guy and bass player to ever live. Duck Dunn died in his sleep Sunday morning May 13 in Tokyo Japan after finishing 2 shows at the Blue Note Night Club.”
Dunn joined Booker T & The MGs in 1964, replacing original bassist Lewie Steinberg; Steinberg played on the group’s biggest hit, “Green Onions,” but Dunn would perform on many other iconic recordings including “Hip-Hug Her,” “Groovin'” and “Soul Limbo.” Booker T & The MGs were the house band for STAX Records, so Dunn also played on several other classics, including Otis Redding’s “Dock Of The Bay,” Sam & Dave’s “Hold On I’m Comin'” and Albert King’s “Born Under A Bad Sign.” In the late ’70s, Dunn and Cropper also played in The Blues Brothers, the band led by Saturday Night Live stars John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. Dunn appeared in both Blues Brothers films.
In more recent decades, Dunn played bass for Eric Clapton and Neil Young, among many others, and also participated in occasional reunions of Booker T & The MGs and The Blues Brothers. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Booker T & The MGs in 1992.