Tributes paid to legendary Minneapolis musician Willie Murphy, dead at 75

The R&B and soul musician had complications from pneumonia.
Author:
Publish date:

Legendary Twin Cities blues musician Willie Murphy has died at the age of 75.

The Star Tribune's music writer Chris Riemenschneider reports that Murphy, who he described as a "celebrated singer, songwriter, producer, bandleader and all-out ringleader," died on Sunday from complications of pneumonia.

Murphy, one of three charter members of the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame alongside Prince and Bob Dylan, rose to prominence in the 1960s as part of the Minneapolis West Bank neighborhood music scene that also churned out Dylan and "Spider" John Koerner.

He went on to collaborate with Koerner on the acclaimed 1969 album Running, Jumping, Standing Still, before going on to produce Bonnie Raitt's 1971 self-titled debut album for Warner Bros. Records.

Murphy was best known as the singer and pianist for R&B/soul group Willie and the Bees during the '70s and '80s.

While he struggled with ill health over the past year, he recovered to the point he was able to release his last album, A Shot of Love in a Time of Need, in November.

His death has prompted an outpouring of tributes to the legendary music man.

Follow Bring Me The News on Flipboard for the latest stories

"Willie was amazing. Watching him play was a gift," said former St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman, adding: "He could do it all. I once dreamed I would get good enough on guitar that I could sit in on one of his jam session. Pipe dream. We booked him for a reception with a group of City leaders from across the country. Within minutes, everyone was up and dancing. That's no small feat. We will miss him."

Iron Range musician Paul Metsa called Murphy "the Godfather of the Minneapolis music scene" who is "simply irreplaceable."

He also had this cool tale about the time Bob Dylan spent some time at Murphy's house in the '80s.

Here's a clip from the Bees reuniting for a gig at the Cabooze in 2014.

Next Up

new ulm police department squad car

Police: Man who shot himself during traffic stop has died

He died in a Twin Cities hospital early Wednesday.

Flickr - Voyagerous - Christine Warner

MN's lone National Park is also one of the least popular in the country

Travelers are clearly overlooking what northern Minnesota has to offer.

Elton John

Elton John confirms rescheduled St. Paul dates for farewell tour

"I'm going to go out in the biggest possible way, performing at my very best," John said.

Alex, Curt and Steven Boesl

3 Minnesotans honored with Carnegie Medals for heroic acts

The award is the highest honor for civilian heroism in North America.

police tape, crime scene

Police discover woman dead at Twin Cities home following welfare check

Officers also found "multiple" children on the scene, all of them unhurt.

bear cub

Bear clambers into northern MN home through kitchen window

A black bear in the house isn't something you see every day.

Ambulance hospital emergency

5 teens hurt in rollover crash near Hutchinson

The crash happened before 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Pixabay - Crappie fish

MN DNR: Please call us if you find a large group of dead fish

The agency says hot weather might be contributing to recent die-offs.

thomas beach, bde maka ska - lake calhoun

2 Minneapolis beaches temporarily closed due to high E. coli levels

The park board will sample the water at the beaches again on Wednesday.

keegan oyugi

Search continues for missing 26-year-old man last seen near Savage, Prior Lake

The family is hoping to hire a private investigator to help in their search.

Medical, medicine, doctor office

Minnesota STD rates decreased last year, but outbreaks concern officials

Overall, HIV and STD rates in Minnesota went down by 2% compared to 2019.

Related

Neil Young adds 4th show at 4th Minneapolis venue

The legendary musician will play 4 Minneapolis theaters in January.

Musician Charlie Parr breaks shoulder skateboarding with daughter

The Austin-based artist had to undergo a three-hour surgery.

Memorial for musician who died on stage at St. Paul restaurant

Doug James went into cardiac arrest during a set last week.

Ozzy osbourne

Seriously injured Ozzy Osbourne postpones tour, including St. Paul stop

The Prince of Darkness had a fall and is suffering from pneumonia.

Upper Harbor Terminal

Despite opposition, Minneapolis approves North amphitheater concept

Residents of North Minneapolis say their views have been ignored during the process.

Long-time stalker of The Hold Steady's Craig Finn turns himself in

The Edina-raised musician had been forced to move twice because of the fan's obsession.