Eddie Willis, original Motown Funk Brother, dies aged 82

(Image credit: Tabatha Fireman/Redferns/Getty)

Eddie Willis, guitarist and founding member of Motown record label house band, the Funk Brothers, has died aged 82.

Willis had been suffering complications from his lifelong battle with polio.

The guitarist, known as ‘Chank’, joined the Motown house band in 1959, and lent his choppy, syncopated style to hits including The Marvelettes’ Mr. Postman, The Supremes’ You Keep Me Hangin’ On, the Temptations’ The Way You Do The Things You Do, and Stevie Wonder’s I Was Made To Love Her and My Cherie Amour.

Willis left the label in 1972, but continued to tour with The Temptations’ Eddie Kendricks and also played with The Four Tops.

In 2013, Willis - along with other surviving Funk Brothers - received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.

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