Friday, June 14, 2013

June 14: Junior Walker - "Shotgun," "What Does it Take?" - was born on this date in 1931...

... he died on November 23, 1995. He was 64 when he passed away from cancer.

(Watch "Shotgun" and "What Does it Take" below.)

Born Autry DeWalt Mixon on June 14, 1931, Junior Walker formed his own band the "Jumping Jacks" when he was only 14 years old. His friend, drummer Billy Nix, also started a band and the two would switch off and perform with each other.

Billy scored a regular gig at a local TV station in South Bend, Indiana, and asked Junoir to join him and his keyboardist, Fred Patton on a steady basis.  Shortly after, local singer Willie Woods joined the group. When Billy got drafted into the US Army, Jr.Walker, Fred and Willie moved to Battle Creek, Michigan, where they were joined by drummer Tony Washington. Then Victor Thomas replaced Fred on piano. This new line up called themseves the "All Stars."
Junior got his big break in 1961, when Johnny Bristol saw the band and recommended them to Harvey Fuqua, who signed them to his record label. He changed their name to Junior Walker & the All Stars. When Harvey's labels were taken over by Motown's Berry Gordy, Jr. Walker & The All Stars became members of the Motown Records family, recording on Motown's Soul label.

In 1966, Billy "Stix" Nicks once again met up with Junior, and joined the band. Their first and signature hit was "Shotgun," written by Junior, it reached No.4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and No. 1 on the R&B chart in 1965, and was followed by many other hits, such as "I'm a Road Runner," "Pucker Up Buttercup," "Shake and Fingerpop," "Come See About Me," and "What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)?"
In 1979, Junior Walker went solo and was signed to Norman Whitfield's Whitfield Records label. He also played the sax on the group Foreigner's "Urgent" in 1981. In 1983, Junior re-signed with Motown.

(Continued below CDs...)

HIGHLY Recommended (Links to entire Amazon Website):
Definitive CollectionShotgunUltimate Collection

(... continued)

Autry DeWalt Mixon AKA Junior Walker, was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1995, a few months before he died. Junior's song, "Shotgun," was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002.



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