Three-time grammy winning pianist of The Funk Brother’s Band was found dead in his Detroit apartment, The Detroit Police say.
Joe Hunter was 79 years of age, and was a diabetic. The cause of his death was not immediately known. His son told a local paper that it looked as if Joe was trying to take some kind of medicine when he died. He was found on Friday, Police said.
Hunter’s piano work was a part of such songs as Martha and the Vandellas’ “Heat Wave”, and Marvin Gaye’s “Pride and Joy.”
Joe had just returned from a European tour with fellow Funk Brother Jack Ashford.
“Joe Hunter’s piano and stellar leadership helped birth the Motown Sound,” Bruce Resnikoff, president of Universal Music Enterprises, which oversees the Motown catalog, said in a statement.
“You can’t miss Joe’s piano on those great early hits. The first of the Funk Brothers, his terrific riffs and easy-going musicianship will live forever.”
The documentary film, “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” was released in 2002. The Funk Brothers contributed to the film, and were given a spotlight appearance.
The soundtrack album won two Grammy’s in 2003. Hunter and the Funks were awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004, at the Grammys.
Joe Hunter was the one who founded Motown Records, and he was also Barry Gordy Jr’s first hire. The funk brothers’ put the back-beat into several hits for artists and bands, including Diana Ross & the Supremes’, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles.
Joesph Edward Hunter was born on November 19, 1927, in Jackson, Tennessee. His works arranged from being a Musician, composer, Arranger, ad a Consultant.
His mother was Vada Idona Hunter, and his father was John G. Hunter. Joe had initially learned how to play piano by watching his mother give piano lessons.
He married Mabel Daisy Miller on June 15, 1957. They have one son, and one daughter.
Joe Hunter attended Lane College from 1945-46. He was a Pre-Law student at the University of Detroit from 1949-51. He entered wit ha private music tuition, and participated in church activities
He was a band leader with Jackie Wilson in 1961. He was also at the Apollo Theatre also accompanied by Mother Waddles and the Spinners, and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas’.
He was also on a number of TV talk shows such as Johnny Carson, with Aretha Franklin. His radio appearances included WCHB-WGPR.
Joe Hunter composed many songs such as, The Key to My Heart, Christmas All Year Long,Sleep Little One, You Can’t Bypass This Love, Poor Unfortunate, Do You Remember, and Do You Love Me, which became a major hit when it was used in the Patrick Swayze hit movie, Dirty Dancing.
Joe Hunter also had many recordings such as “I’d Like to Know; The music to Boom Boom Boom Boom, with Johnny Lee Hooker, The Man With the Blessing Plan, and many more.
Funk Brother Joseph E. Hunter
A Personal Message
“PLEASING SOUNDS FOR POSITIVE THINKERS”