Published May 14, 2012Soul music has lost one of its most esteemed bass players in Donald "Duck" Dunn of veteran Southern soul band Booker T. & the MGs, who died on Sunday (May 13) in Tokyo. He was 70 years old.
This news came via MGs guitarist Steve Cropper, who wrote on Facebook, "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."
A brief statement on Dunn's official website adds, "We are deeply saddened to report the death of Donald 'Duck' Dunn May 13, 2012 at the age of 70."
So far, however, the exact cause of his death has not been confirmed.
The Memphis-born Dunn played with the MGs since the mid-'60s, and the group helped to carve out the sound of Southern soul as the Stax Records house band. Dunn became a widely-used session bass player who played with the likes of Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, Neil Young, Levon Helm, Bob Dylan, and many more.
He also appeared in the hit 1980 musical comedy The Blues Brothers, and played bass on enduring hits like Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" and Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour."
Clearly Dunn's influence still lives on. Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea tweeted, "Wow, duck Dunn passed. What a deep pocket that dude had, so glad I got to see him play, beautiful bass player we'll be listening to forever."
Dunn is survived by his wife June, his son Jeff and a grandchild.