A number of musicians have taken to the web to respond to the passing of legendary bass player Donald “Duck” Dunn. Dunn got his start playing in Booker T & The MGs in the ’60s. On their own, they recorded a number of instrumental hits, and as the STAX Records house band, they backed a number of singers, including Otis Redding, Sam & Dave and Albert King.
In the late ’70s, along with MGs guitarist Steve Cropper, Dunn joined The Blues Brothers, a blues revival group led by comedians and Saturday Night Live stars Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.
In the ’80s, he played bass in Eric Clapton’s backing band, and worked on and off with Neil Young and CSNY in the late ’90s and early 2000s. He’s also worked with Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters and Levon Helm, among many others.
The news of his death began to spread after Steve Cropper posted a message to his Facebook page, saying, “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’s other surviving MGs bandmate, keyboard player Booker T. Jones responded to his friend’s death on his official website, saying “I am struck deeply by Duck’s death… God is calling names in the music world. He gave us these treasures and now he is taking them back. Duck was too close to me for me to at this point realize the full implications of his passing… I can’t imagine not being able to hear Duck laugh and curse, but I’m thankful I got to spend time and make music with him. His intensity was incomparable. Everyone loved him. None more than Otis Redding.”
Indeed, the family of Otis Redding posted a quote about Dunn: “The family of Otis Redding are deeply saddened by the lost of Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn. He was an amazing talent and Otis loved him dearly. May they re-unite in heaven.”
Another legendary bassist – Bootsy Collins – took to his Facebook page to post a message about Dunn: “Yesterday, We Lost Another Brick in our Musical Foundation. ‘Donald Duck Dunn’ has Joined that Musical Stax Soul Orchestra in the Sky. Send out prayers & love vibes to his Family & Friends.”
Also paying tribute to the man on Twitter were legends from the worlds of hip-hop, disco and hard rock.
R I P Mr Donald Duck Dunn of the MGs a nice man & last week losing Mr Skip Pitts Memphis soul giants who I was happy to have met & honored..
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) May 13, 2012
A great bass player just died in Tokyo. He was a true innovator! Donald “Duck” Dunn RIP huff.to/K7jHdA
— Nile Rodgers (@nilerodgers) May 13, 2012
Donal “Duck” Dunn was one of the greatest side & session, blues, R&B, Soul bassists of all time. RIP.
— Slash (@Slash) May 14, 2012
RIP ‘Duck’ Dunn. An innovator on the bass. A sweet and kind man. You shall be missed.
— Duff McKagan (@DuffMcKagan) May 13, 2012
–Brian Ives, CBS Local