The Funk Brothers were the backing musicians for nearly all of the Detroit-based Motown's recordings until the studio relocated to Los Angeles. The group consisted of a diverse range of instrumentalists and writers. The official members of the Funk Brothers is a matter of contention among fans and the musicians due to the constantly revolving line up on records and studios frequently failing to give proper credit to backing musicians and writers. Despite this, a core group of musicians are generally agreed upon as being Funk Brothers. Notable members include Thomas "Beans" Bowles, Benny Benjamin, James Jamerson, Bob Babbitt, and Earl Van Dyke.
The Funk Brothers had their beginnings in Detroit before the creation of Motown Records, although their prime recording years were from the 60's through the 70's, during which time Motown became a national phenomenon based primarily on their talent as musicians. The group helped define and push the boundaries of several genres of music, from jazz and blues to soul and R&B,
The group is largely unknown despite having played on numerous hit records. Only two members of the group have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and scholarly attention is near non-existent.
Where are the materials and primary sources? Who is in control of them?
Who is advocating for the Funk Brothers? Is anyone in Detroit preserving this history?
Why are the Funk Brothers an important part of Detroit history?
Who are the surviving members? Where are they?
Who are the next of kin for those who have died?
Where is the Motown archive?
Sources and bibliography
Funk Brothers, Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame.
Funk Brothers, All Music Guide, biography written by Steve Huey