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Benny Benjamin

🇺🇸 Birmingham, AL
  • Born
    June 25, 1925
  • Died
    April 20, 1969
William "Benny" Benjamin , nicknamed Papa Zita, was an American musician, most notably as the primary drummer for the Motown studio band known as The Funk Brothers.

Benjamin originally learned to play drums in the style of the big band jazz groups in the 1940s. In 1958, Benjamin was Motown's first studio drummer, where he was noted for his dynamic style. Several Motown record producers, including Berry Gordy, refused to work on any recording sessions unless Benjamin was the drummer and James Jamerson was the bassist. The Beatles singled out Benjamin's drumming style upon meeting Gordy in the UK.

Among the Motown songs Benjamin performed the drum tracks for are early hits such as "Money (That's What I Want)" by Barrett Strong, "Shop Around" by The Miracles and "Do You Love Me" by The Contours; as well as later hits such as "Get Ready" and "My Girl" by The Temptations, "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" by Stevie Wonder, "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by Gladys Knight & the Pips, and "Going to a Go-Go" by The Miracles.

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