Stax Museum mourns passing of legendary bass player

(WMC-TV) – The music world is mourning the loss of another Stax Records legend. Bass player Donald "Duck" Dunn died in Tokyo in his sleep his family announced Sunday.

He'd just played two shows the night before.

Articles from Donald "Duck" Dunn's life are scattered throughout the Stax Museum.

That's not surprising considering his bass lines became synonymous with the Stax Records' sound back in the recording studio's heyday.

"He was one of the architects of the Memphis sound and all the music," said Tim Sampson, Stax communications director. "He played on everything. Booker T. and the MG's backed everybody at Stax. And you know, he was one of the big six: Booker T and the MG's and Isaac Hayes and David Porter."

Musicians say Dunn's country roots were responsible for the swing in his distinctive groove that became world renown when he joined Booker T. and the MG's in 1964. The group recorded with the likes of Otis Redding, Sam and Dave and Albert King.

"He was absolutely, you know, one of the most influential bass players in the world," said Sampson. "If you ask any group of young bass players today who their inspiration was and most of them would say "Duck" Dunn."

Nicknamed "Duck" as a child by his father, the bass player went on to play with the Blues Brothers, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart and was a featured bass player for Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty.

He was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and at 70-years-old Duck was still going playing gigs.

"He was semi-retired, but he had played two shows in Tokyo the night that he passed away," said Sampson.

Details on a memorial in Memphis haven't been finalized.

But one thing is certain: the impact that Dunn's bass playing had on music will always be remembered at the Stax Museum.

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