The Funk Brothers were some of the greatest artists of their time, but few people know about them. We’re diving into musical vaults to discover why so few people know about the Funk Brothers. Let’s explore!
The Funk Brothers were a group of Detroit session musicians who played for Motown Records from 1959 to 1972. The core members were bassist James Jamerson, drummer William "Benny" Benjamin, and keyboard player Earl Van Dyke. The group eventually became a family, with over 30 musical cousins popping in. Each member's individual talent made them a bonafide supergroup, and every singer that walked into Studio A knew it. However, Berry Gordy made a strategic business choice in 1972 and moved his operation to California, breaking up the band.
The Funk Brothers were uncredited until 1971, when they received their first credit on Marvin Gaye's album What's Going On. Their familiarity with Motown's success made them contractually obligated to only play with their record company.