Detroit legend Joe Hunter — Funk Brothers keyboardist and bandleader — has been found dead in his Detroit apartment. Although the cause of death is not yet known, it is assumed to be related to his diabetes.

The Funk Brothers were the house backing band for Motown Records, playing on approximately four-fifths of all Motown albums (“I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and “The Tears of a Clown” jump to mind as notable tracks featuring Funk Brother instrumentation.)

Joe’s idiosyncratic piano style — influenced by Rachmaninov and Nat King Cole — became an integral feature of the “Motown sound.”

You might not have known Joe’s name before today, but you knew Joe.

From the Detroit News obituary:

Hunter, whose jovial personality and snappy dress sense delighted his fans, had just returned on Sunday from a European tour with fellow Funk Brother Jack Ashford.

[ . . . ]

“He will be welcomed in heaven,” said fellow Funk Brother Bob Babbitt.

Dave-o is a frequent contributor to the Hugs video-cast. He unabashedly supports Poor Mojo’s Newswire, a blog of merit since 1905 — now available electronically!

Be Sociable, Share!