The Funk Brothers

Formed 1959. Disbanded 1972
The Funk Brothers
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1959
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The Funk Brothers

The Funk Brothers Biography (Wikipedia)

The Funk Brothers were a group of Detroit-based session musicians who performed the backing to most Motown recordings from 1959 until the company moved to Los Angeles in 1972.

They are considered one of the most successful groups of studio musicians in music history. The Funk Brothers played on Motown hits such as "My Girl", "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", "Baby Love", " I Was Made to Love Her", "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone", "The Tears of a Clown", "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", and "Heat Wave".

There have been many articles written that identify members of the Funk Brothers, some of which claim that virtually every musician who ever played on a Motown track was a "Funk Brother". There are 13 Funk Brothers identified in the film Standing in the Shadows of Motown. The same 13 members were identified by both NARAS for the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and were recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The role of the Funk Brothers is described in Paul Justman's 2002 documentary film Standing in the Shadows of Motown, based on Allan Slutsky's book of the same name. The opening titles claim the Funk Brothers "played on more number-one hits than the Beatles (20), Elvis Presley (7), the Rolling Stones (8) and the Beach Boys (4) combined." This figure, 39 number one hits spread across several Billboard charts, is indeed dwarfed by the collection of Motown chart toppers the Funk Brothers are thought to have backed. Motown released more than a hundred U.S. R&B number one singles and more than fifty U.S. Pop number ones between 1961 and the studio's relocation to Los Angeles in 1972, on which some combination of Funk Brothers always served as personnel. In 2007, the Funk Brothers were inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.

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