There are 13 Funk Brothers identified in Paul Justman's 2002 documentary film Standing in the Shadows of Motown, based on Allan Slutsky's book of the same name. Hunter left in 1964, replaced on keyboards by Johnny Griffith and as bandleader by Van Dyke. Selected list of hit songs on which the Funk Brothers played. your own Pins on Pinterest Willis was 82. Los Angeles was an alternate recording center for Motown artists beginning in the mid-1960s, utilizing a different set of musicians. I never heard him get angry at anybody about anything. The guitarist also toured with The Temptations' Eddie Kendricks and spent two decades with The Four Tops. A tire iron was used on the Martha and the Vandellas song "Dancing in the Street". Photograph: GAB Archive/Redferns. See more ideas about James jamerson, The funk brothers, Motown. Sign up for our newsletter. Its members are considered among the most successful groups of studio musicians in music history. The Funk Brothers shared billing with Van Dyke on some recordings, although they were billed as "Earl Van Dyke & the Soul Brothers", since Motown CEO Berry Gordy, Jr. disliked the word "funk". The 13 Funk Brothers recognized as official band members by NARAS are marked with an asterisk. Hunter states that Benjamin was leaving the studio (known as the "Snake Pit", due to all the cable runs out of the ceiling) after session work, paused on the stairs, turned and said to his fellow musicians, "You all are the Funk Brothers." In This Article: His guitar was one of the foundational elements of the Motown Sound—with his percussive attack rooting and enlivening the rhythm on many timeless tracks, from Motown's earliest days through its biggest successes. In 2013, Willis—along with the other surviving Funk Brothers— received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Send us a tip using our anonymous form. In 2008, Ashford and Riser played on Raphael Saadiq's album The Way I See It, recorded in the style of the Motown Sound. (August 20, 2018) He was a guitarist supreme and a member of one of the great bands ever assembled. acknowledgment: The Funk Brothers and Producers would like to acknowledge all the other musicians who contributed to the Hitsville legacy, Saxophone/Arranger (as Hank Cosby) Jeffrey L. Costell special thanks (as Jeffrey Costell) Another arrow in the Everly quiver was open tunings. Hit tracks recorded in L.A. include the Miracles' "More Love", many of Brenda Holloway's songs, and all the early hits of the Jackson 5. Band members followed, but were never booked together again. Eddie Willis, guitarist and original member of the famed Motown Records house band the Funk Brothers, died Monday near his hometown of Grenada, Mississippi. In 2003, surviving members were invited to the White House to meet President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, in an event tied to Black History Month. For example, many Motown recordings (including Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and "That's the Way Love Is") feature two drummers, playing together or overdubbing one another. Pop number ones released from 1961 and 1972. Nevertheless, Motown producers such as Norman Whitfield, Frank Wilson, Marvin Gaye, and Smokey Robinson steadfastly continued to record in Detroit. Only in America (and specifically, only in Detroit) could one man play guitar with a group of legends as diverse as Del Shannon, The Temptations, and George Clinton and Funkadelic While these musicians played on memorable hits by artists including The Supremes, The Four Tops and and The Miracles, their names went unrecognized. On March 21, 2013, the Funk Brothers were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Dubbed the "white brother with soul", Messina was one of the most prolific guitarists in Motown Records' in-house studio band, the Funk Brothers. In fact, the "Funk Brothers" name wasn't used until Benny Benjamin referred to his fellow musicians by that name while leaving a studio session in the 1960s. He’d always come up with some funky lines. In the Standing in the Shadows of Motown documentary, Joe Hunter states that the name "The Funk Brothers" came from Benny Benjamin. Postman,” the Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” and Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour”. Eddie "Chank" Willis, one of the original members of Motown Record's backing band the Funk Brothers, died Monday at the age of 82. Funk Brothers, Motown Records, Obituary. Hitsville USA: The Motown Singles Collection [CD Box Set]. The double-album sleeve notes read: "Motown's legendary Funk Brothers and members of Philadelphia's world renowned MFSB take you 'back in the day' with an album filled with classic Philly and Motown hits." The following is a list of those who brought those sounds to life - both in Detroit and California. Hunter left in 1964, replaced on keyboard… A few members, including Jamerson, followed to the West Coast, but found the environment uncomfortable. Guitarist Robert White was a part of the guitar trio integrated into Motown's studio band the Funk Brothers. Eddie Willis, longtime member of Motown’s legendary Funk Brothers band, has died at age 82 at his home in Gore Springs, Mississippi. Often recognized as the guitarist who introduced the wah pedal to Motown, Dennis Coffey played on hundreds of tracks as a member of the Funk Brothers, the studio band that recorded countless hits in the Detroit recording studio known as the Snake Pit. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences recognizes 13 musicians as official "Funk Brothers", but the name is often casually used as a catch-all designation to cover any musician who played on a Motown record. The Funk Brothers recorded and performed on Motown's recordings from 1959 to 1972. Among their hits are "My Girl", "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", "Baby Love", " I Was Made to Love Her", "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone", "The Tears of a Clown", "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", and "Heat Wave". Willis had battled for years with the effects of polio, and had also struggled to care for his wife, who had suffered a dog attack a few years ago. In 2008 Uriel Jones, Ray Monette, Dennis Coffey, Robert Jones and Bob Babbitt accompanied other notable Detroit session musicians, including Larry Fratangelo, Dennis Sheridan, Edward Gooch, John Trudell, saxophonist George Benson, Mark Burger, David Jennings, Spider Webb, George Katsakis, Gil Bridges and Rob Pipho, on the Carl Dixon Bandtraxs project, which featured a Dennis Coffey–Carl Dixon production of four new songs. Each guitarist played the funkiest stuff on the planet with individuality, soul, and joie de vivre. The cut mixed Afro-Cuban rhythms with Detroit rock-soul elements, and included nine different guitar parts, a pumping horn section, a killer percussion break, and a super funky bass solo from Motown's Bob Babbitt. In 2010, the Funk Brothers were voted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame.[4]. Alternatively, the name "Funk Brothers" could have been given to the band ex post facto; the term "funky" as an adjective came to be associated with uptempo and backbeat, Southern-styled soul music in the second half of the 1960s; the term "funk" as a noun is typically associated with uptempo soul music from the 1970s onwards. They found their distinctive voices within the guitar techniques available to us all, and made great songs groove harder by adding … See more ideas about The funk brothers, Funk, Motown. The Everly Brothers’ breathtaking harmonies soared over a bed of ingenious guitar playing that was based around Don’s clever intros and driving rhythms. The band was then informally named. Willis was 82. He knew that a lot of people in the industry loved him.”. Conversation with Motown Guitar Master Eddie Willis of the Funk Brothers regarding recording techniques and going on the road with Phil Collins of Genesis. These 13 members were identified by both NARAS for the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and were recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. James Jamerson, who began his career playing upright bass (which he played on such hits as the Miracles' "Shop Around", Mary Wells' "My Guy" and Martha and the Vandellas' "Heat Wave") adopted the Fender Precision Bass, an electric instrument, in 1962, and overdubbed on both an upright and an electric bass on some Motown recordings. The Horny Funk Brothers, eine 9-köpfige Truppe, die sich mit Leib und Seele der Soul-Funk-Tradition der 60er- und 70er-Jahre verschrieben hat, stehen für jede Menge raffinierte Melodien, samtigen, energiegeladenen und schweißtreibenden Soul und pulsierenden Groove, kurzum – für jede Menge guter Musik und Spaß auf und vor der Bühne. Motown & Funk Brothers Guitarist, Joe Messina - FULL INTERVIEW 06-09-2020, 06:22 AM #2. ralpht. Things began to change over 1967-1968. Not unlike such producers as George Martin, Phil Spector and Brian Wilson, the band used many techniques that are rarely used in recorded music. In March 2006, some remaining Funk Brothers were invited to perform on Philadelphia writer-producer-singer Phil Hurtt's recording session at Studio A, Dearborn Heights, Detroit, where they contributed their performances to "The Soulful Tale of Two Cities" project. During the mid- to late-1960s, one-fifth of Motown records began utilizing session musicians based in Los Angeles, usually covers and tributes of mainstream pop songs and showtunes. He just came in and did his job.”, Terez Willis told the Free Press, “He knew that he was loved. Some of White 's signature parts are the high-part of the telegraphic intro of the Supremes ' "You Keep Me Hangin' On," the lead lines on the Temptations ' "My Girl," and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles ' "I Second That Emotion." We did many sessions together and he was just an all-around nice guy. Many of the Los Angeles players were members of the Wrecking Crew, a loose-knit group of studio musicians. [3] That same year, the Funk Brothers' surviving members recorded Live in Orlando, an album and video. The following list covers the musicians most frequently used on Motown recordings from 1959 through 1972; it is not an exhaustive list of every musician ever used. Robert Willie White (November 19, 1936 – October 27, 1994) was an American soul musician and a guitarist for Motown's in-house studio band, the Funk Brothers. While most of Motown's backing musicians were African American, and many originally from Detroit, the Funk Brothers included white players as well, such as Messina (who was the featured guitarist on Soupy Sales's nighttime jazz TV show in the 1950s), Brokensha (originally from Australia), Coffey, and Pittsburgh-born Babbitt. Dennis Coffey is an American original. 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Director on Pence's Space Force Name: 'Can We Sue This Dork? 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Motown historians have noted that the Funk Brothers—some of whom had begun their careers as jazzmen and missed that kind of informality—itched to be able to record on their own, but Gordy limited them formally to cutting sides under the name Earl Van Dyke and the Soul Brothers—and mostly limited them to recording new versions (with the familiar arrangements, however) of the Motown repertoire, with Van Dyke, the featured musician, playing electric organ. Van De Pitte. There is no undisputed list of the members of the group. The guitarist, nicknamed “Chank,” joined the Motown house band in 1959, joining a group of session musicians that included guitarists Joe Messina, Robert White and Marv Tarplin, bassist James Jamerson, drummer William “Benny” Benjamin, keyboardist Earl Van Dyke and percussionist Jack Ashford. “I tried to make my guitar sound like a drum—a rock and roll instrument for rhythm and rhythm fills,” he said. He was the primary drummer for the Motown studio band known as The Funk Brothers. It took Dixon almost 33 years to find the musicians and meet via the web site soulfuldetroit.com. In 2007, the Funk Brothers were inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. He had that Southern thing. Willis was 82. Some writers have claimed that virtually every musician who ever played on a Motown track was a "Funk Brother". The Motown hit factory was forced to reinvent its sound to fit changing trends, and with producer Norman Whitfield 's brand of psychedelic soul guiding the label's fortunes, guitarist Wah Wah Watson came onboard to update the Funk Brothers' … He passed away in 1969 of a stroke at age 43. Unlike their Stax Records backing-band contemporaries Booker T. & the M.G. Early members included bandleader Joe Hunter and Earl Van Dyke (piano and organ); Clarence Isabell (double bass); James Jamerson (bass guitar and double bass); Benny "Papa Zita" Benjamin and Richard "Pistol" Allen (drums); Mike Terry (baritone saxophone); Paul Riser (trombone); Robert White, Eddie Willis, and Joe Messina (guitar); Jack Ashford (tambourine, percussion, vibraphone, marimba); Jack Brokensha (vibraphone, marimba); and Eddie "Bongo" Brown (percussion). Want more Rolling Stone? Late-era bassist Bob Babbitt and guitarist Dennis Coffey both joined the ensemble in 1967. “There’s a lot of us that got left in the shadows.”, “He was the funkster, Eddie was,” fellow Funk Brother Dennis Coffey told Billboard. In February 2004, surviving members of the Funk Brothers were presented the Grammy Legend Award at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in L.A. The film was inspired by the 1989 book Standing in the Shadows of Motown: The Life and Music of Legendary Bassist James Jamerson , a bass guitar instruction book by Allan Slutsky , which features a biography of James Jamerson along with his bass lines. The Funk Brothers were dismissed in 1972, when Berry Gordy moved the entire Motown label to Los Angeles—a development some of the musicians discovered only from a notice on the studio door. In 1978, the Funk Brothers reunited to record a film score written by Ashford and arranged by guitarist Robert White. Many other ex-Motown and Detroit artists performed vocals on the session, including the Velvelettes, Carolyn Crawford, Lamont Dozier, Bobby Taylor, Kim Weston, Freda Payne, and George Clinton. Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame for the Funk Brothers: Joe Messina, Eddie Willis, Jack Ashford March 21, … On Dennis Coffey's suggestion there were two drummers on this session, Uriel Jones and Spider Webb, who shared responsibility for the groove throughout the recordings, along with Bob's pounding bass lines. Willis, along with Funk Brothers bassist Bob Babbitt, also played on Phil Collins’ 2010 album Going Back, a collection of Motown covers. Blues MusicRhythm And BluesJames JamersonThe Funk BrothersFred WilsonOld School MusicGuitar PlayersMusic ImagesJazz Music Oct 16, 2015 - This Pin was discovered by Fred Wilson. Some combination of the members played on each of Motown's 100-plus U.S. R&B number one singles[1] and 50-plus U.S. Bob Babbitt, Joe Hunter, Uriel Jones, and Eddie Willis performed alongside other notable Detroit session musicians, like Ray Monette, Robert Jones, Spider Webb, and Treaty Womack. The electric guitarist from the three-time Grammy Award winning Funk Brothers session band played on almost every single Motown hit. It was via this web site that he and Dennis Coffey hooked up and then eventually collaborated to make the session work. Last modified on Fri 26 Apr 2019 11.51 EDT. Funk Brothers guitarist Dennis Coffey pictured in 1970. In addition to the numerous hit singles they played on, the Funk Brothers also played quite often around the Detroit club scene. Discover (and save!) Studio musicians were not credited by Motown until Marvin Gaye's What's Going On in 1971, although Motown released a handful of singles and LPs by Earl Van Dyke. Marv, I am so sorry to hear this. In 2003 at the 45th GRAMMY Awards, Willis, along with the Funk Brothers, emerged into the spotlight as the movie they were featured in, Standing In The Shadows Of Motown, won Best Compilation Soundtrack Album For A … Apr 11, 2017 - Explore shalady74's board "The Funk Brothers", followed by 337 people on Pinterest. 1 Hits In One Box Set For The First Time: Celebrate Motown's 50th Anniversary With The 10-CD MOTOWN: THE COMPLETE NO. View Profile View Forum Posts Private Message View Articles Administrator Join Date Aug 2010 Posts 12,752. Willis’ daughter Terez Willis told the Detroit Free Press that her father had been suffering from complications from his lifelong bout with polio, which he had since childhood and prevented Willis from touring more frequently during the prime of his career. By 1970, an increasing number of Motown sessions were in Los Angeles instead of Detroit, notably all the Jackson 5's hit recordings. [2] After he found out about the Edwin Starr session, Gordy fined members of the Funk Brothers band for moonlighting for another label; Eddie Wingate, owner of the Ric-Tic and Golden World labels, which released Starr's "Agent Double-O Soul", subsequently attended that year's Motown staff Christmas party and personally gave each of the fined session players double the amount of the fine in cash, on the spot. Members of the Funk Brothers also featured in the 2002 documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown., which aimed to bring credit to the often-unheralded musicians. The Funk Brothers have received three Grammy awards: Bassist James Jamerson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and drummer Benny Benjamin in 2003. Gordy eventually bought out Wingate's label and his entire artist roster. [5], In 2007, the Funk Brothers were inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. While most of Motown's backing musicians were African American, and many originally from Detroit, the Funk Brothers included white players as well, such as Messina (who was the featured guitarist on Soupy Sales's nighttime jazz TV show in the 1950s), Brokensha (originally from Australia), Coffey, and Pittsburgh-born Babbitt. “He was an amazing guitar player. "The Musicians". “We wasn’t on paper, we wasn’t being taken care of like we were told,” Willis told the New York Daily News in 2015 prior to a benefit concert for the guitatist. Eddie Willis, guitarist and original member of the famed Motown Records house band the Funk Brothers, died Monday near his hometown of Grenada, Mississippi. In 1972, Berry Gordy abruptly moved Motown to Los Angeles, shuttering Detroit headquarters—and with it the dissolution of the Funk Brothers. E very Tuesday night for the last 11 years, the myth and reality of Dennis Coffey, the legendary guitar player of the famous Funk Brothers of Motown, coalesce at Northern Lights Lounge in Detroit. Original member of label’s house band played on hits like the Marvelette’s “Mr. The Temptations' "It's Growing" features Earl Van Dyke playing a toy piano for the song's introduction, snow chains were used as percussion on Martha and the Vandellas' "Nowhere to Run", and a test oscillator was built to create the electronic timbres heard on many of the later records such as the Supremes' "Reflections" and "Forever Came Today", and the Temptations' "Runaway Child, Running Wild". 's in Memphis, until the release of the Standing in the Shadows of Motown documentary, the members of the Funk Brothers were not widely known. For Sussex Records, Coffey recorded the dance groove Scorpio in 1971, backed by other prominent Funk Brothers players. A number of songs utilized unusual instrumentation. Originally lured into the company in 1961 hoping to record jazz, Johnny often moonlighted on hits for other R&B record labels around Detroit and in Chicago. The session was also at Studio A, Dearborn Heights, Detroit, and was the dream of a 19-year-old Dixon, back in 1974, to pay homage to musicians, particularly The Funk Brothers, producers and those who influenced him with their music. The Funk Brothers record prolifically in Studio A, otherwise known as the Snakepit. The Funk Brothers were a group of Detroit-based session musicians who performed the backing to most Motown recordings from 1959 until the company moved to Los Angeles in 1972. In 2013, the surviving members of the Funk Brothers – Willis included – reunited in Los Angeles to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Benny Benjamin July 25,1925 Benny Benjamin aka Papa Zita was born. Later, guitarists Dennis Coffey and Wah Wah Watson modernize the house. The Funk Brothers created the music listeners hear today on their favorite Motown records. Early members included bandleader Joe Hunter and Earl Van Dyke (piano and organ); Clarence Isabell (double bass); James Jamerson (bass guitar and double bass); Benny "Papa Zita" Benjamin and Richard "Pistol" Allen (drums); Mike Terry (baritone saxophone); Paul Riser (trombone); Robert White, Eddie Willis, and Joe Messina (guitar); Jack Ashford (tambourine, percussion, vibraphone, marimba); Jack Brokensha (vibraphone, marimba); and Eddie "Bongo" Brown(percussion). Joe was an amazing musician and probably the nicest guy in the world. Some of them go on the road with the artists, but not all. Mar 17, 2015 - Explore Billy Anthony's board "James Jamerson" on Pinterest. [citation needed]. Vocal performances by Spyder Turner, Pree and Gayle Butts provided lead and backing for the session. Eddie Willis, one of the first members of the legendary Motown backing band Funk Brothers, died on Aug. 20 at age 82 in his hometown of Mississippi from polio complications.. Slutsky, Allan. Membership lists based upon research by Allan Slutsky, with some minor corrections.[7]. We want to hear from you! The Marvelette’s “Mr. The musicians played on the Philly hits, giving their unique Detroit interpretations of the songs under the leadership of Phil Hurtt, Bobby Eli, Clay McMurray and Lamont Dozier. It became a worst-kept secret that Jackie Wilson's 1967 hit "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" did not have a Motown influence quite by accident—the Funk Brothers migrated to do the Wilson session, in an interesting reference to Motown's early history: Berry Gordy, Jr got his first music break by getting Wilson to record some of his songs (most famously "Reet Petite") in the 1950s. Johnny Griffith - One of the few classically trained musicians in the Funk Brothers ranks, Johnny was Hitsville's "hired gun," having never signed the exclusive recording contract under which most of Motown's rhythm section musicians worked. Today, three original Funk Brothers are still with us: guitarist Joe Messina, 86 years old, guitarist Eddie Willis, 79, and percussionist Jack Ashford, 81. Postman,” the Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” the Temptations’ “The Way You Do the Things You Do” and Stevie Wonder’s “I Was Made to Love Her” and “My Cherie Amour” were among the Motown hits that Willis played on, Billboard reports. 06-09-2020, 06:22 AM # 2. ralpht for Motown artists beginning in the Everly quiver was tunings... Band as a third drummer Hollywood Walk of Fame and Museum in Nashville never heard him get angry at about. He said written by Ashford and arranged by ex-Motown arranger David J sounds! 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