Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Billy Henderson (1940 - 2007)

Billy Henderson, long time member of popular R&B vocal group the Spinners died this morning as a result of complications with diabetes. The Spinners were one the major acts of the 70s and 80s. In the early seventies the group had only marginal success with the talent laden Motown stable. One their last recordings, the Stevie Wonder written and produced "It's A Shame" became a major hit. The Spinners sought greener pastures at Atlantic Records where they enjoyed their greatest success with hits like "Rubberband Man' , "Then Came You" and ""(They Just Can't Help It)The Games People Play".

Joe Hunter (1930-2007)

Pioneer Motown pianist Joe Hunter passed away this morning in Detroit. Hunter was one of the members of the Funk Brothers, an agregation that has played together on more hit records than Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones. Joe Hunter was the first pianist to be hired by Berry Gordy for his Motown record label during its infancy. Hunter was the driving force behind Smokey Robinson and The Miracles huge hit "You Really Got A Hold On Me" as well as Martha Reeves and The Vandellas "Love Is Like A Heat Wave" and Marvin Gaye's "How Sweet It Is( To be loved by you). Hunter joins other Funk Brother alumni like Pistol Allen and Johnny Griffin who did not make the Motown transition from Detroit to Los Angeles.