The fourth member of the 1965 MGs was Donald Dunn. At school he met Steve Cropper and decided to learn to play bass guitar. He was self-taught, learning by playing along to records, He joined The Royal Spades, the school group, and then played as a member of the Mar-Keys, the original Stax studio band. He joined the MGs in 1964, replacing Lewie Steinberg. The nickname “Duck” was given to him by his father when he was a young boy.
When Dunn was seventeen he bought his first Fender Precision Bass, which he later loaned to James Alexander of The Bar-Kays, Sadly James was killed in an air crash, along with Otis Redding and other members of the Bar-Kays. Dunn’s second Fender was also a Precision Bass with a sunburst body, a one-piece maple neck and a gold anodised pick-guard. Dunn played on most of the Stax hits in the second half of the 60s, including hits by Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Carla and Rufus Thomas and Eddie Floyd and many others.
In 1992, he was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Booker T. & the M.G.’s. He is ranked number 40 on Bass Player magazine’s list of “The 100 Greatest Bass Players of All Time”. In later years he played with Muddy Waters, Freddie King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart.
Dunn was the bassist in Eric Clapton’s band for Clapton’s appearance at Live Aid in 1985. He also appeared in the 1980 feature film “The Blues Brothers” and in the 1998 sequel “Blues Brothers 2000”, playing himself! He died during a tour of Japan in 2012, at the age of seventy.