The word “legendary” does not even begin to describe Donald “Duck” Dunn and his place in musical history. Memphis-born Dunn joined Booker T and the MG’s in the 1960’s. Booker and his band quickly became the house band for Stax records. Stax was home to Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, and a host of others soul acts who constantly turned out hit after hit after hit in the mid 60’s. He has performed on dozens of hit songs and 100’s of lesser-know songs. Dunn was critical in helping define the ‘Memphis soul’ sound and left a giant mark on popular music as a whole.
Dunn moved from Memphis to LA in 1970 where he laid his soulful bass lines down with artists like Rod Stewart, Tom Petty, Peter Frampton, Jerry Lee Lewis and Robert Palmer. During a particularly rowdy 1970’s session with Jerry Lee Lewis for his southern-soul record “Southern Roots”, Dunn stated:
“It was just craziness!” concurs Duck. “All it needed was Keith Richard! One song I particularly remember was When A Man Loves A Woman. If you listen to that record, he’s incredible. And that was one take. Jerry Lee is crazy, he’s outrageous, but I think he’s the best rock’n’roller that ever lived.”
Later that decade he got a personal invitation from Dan Akroyd and John Belushi to join the Blues Brother band for the movie “The Blues Brothers” which allowed him to play with Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin among others. In the 1990’s he played with Eric Clapton and in the 2000’s Neil Young.
Duck Dunn was one of the most prolific and greatest musicians to ever come from Tennessee. One who will be remembered forever.
Here is a personal 2DiB Duck Dunn favorite. He recorded this song with Eddie Floyd while still at Stax. Soul as it is supposed to be.
Eddie Floyd “Girl I Love You”