Jim Sundquist, Minnesota musician behind 'Mule Skinner Blues,' dies


Jim Sundquist, the lead guitarist behind rockabilly group the Fenderman and its big hit, "Mule Skinner Blues," has died, the Star Tribune reports.

Sundquist, who was born in Niagara, Wis., and settled in Minnesota, died Tuesday of cancer.

He was 75.

The musician formed the Fendermen with rhythm guitarist and singer Phil Humphrey in 1958 in the Madison area, and recorded "Mule Skinner Blues" in 1960.

According to the Star Tribune, a record store owner initially cut the single for them, which sold 8,000 copies in two days after a LaCrosse DJ began playing the song.

After Minneapolis music mogul Amos Heilicher caught wind of the song and helped the duo re-record it at Kay Bank Studios, it became a big hit in the Twin Cities before hitting No. 5 nationally on the Billboard Music Charts.

Although the duo broke up in 1961, Sundquist re-formed the group under the name Jim Sundquist and the Fendermen in 1980.

According to their website, the band was playing gigs as late at 2010, when Sundquist suffered a heart attack.

A memorial service for Sundquist is set for 3 p.m. Saturday at Henry W. Anderson Mortuary, 3640 23rd Av. S., Minneapolis, with visitation one hour before the service.

Sundquist will be buried at Acacia Park in Mendota Heights.

Hear a vinyl recording of "Mule Skinner Blues" below.

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