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Funk Brother Johnny Griffith Dies

Keyboardist Johnny Griffith, who backed up many Motown hit-makers as a member of the Funk Brothers, died of a heart attack on Nov. 10. He was 68.

Griffith, who had been in bad health recently, was found dead in his Detroit hotel room a few hours before the area premiere of a film about the Funk Brothers, Standing In The Shadows Of Motown. As the film recalls, the Funk Brothers were a group of jazz musicians called on by Motown label owner Berry Gordy to play behind singers like Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder in the ’60s and ’70s. The band, which included bassist James Jamerson and drummer Benny Benjamin among others, went without credit in album notes until Gaye’s What’s Going On was released in 1971.

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