Eddie Willis

Born: 
06/03/1936
City: 
Grenada
Region: 
MS
Country: 
USA
Years Active: 
1959-present
Instruments: 
Guitar, Sitar
Associated Artists: 

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Eddie "Chank" Willis played electric guitar and occasional electric sitar for Motown Records' in-house studio band, the Funk Brothers, during the 1960s and early 1970s.

Willis is known for his signature style of muted guitar riffs which added a distinctive tone or "color" to the beat, often timed with the snare, of the hundreds of hit songs recorded at Hitsville U.S.A. for Motown artists. Among the many Motown recordings WIllis performed on are "Please Mr. Postman" by The Marvelettes, "The Way You Do the Things You Do" by The Temptations, "You Keep Me Hanging On" by The Supremes, and "I Was Made to Love Her" by Stevie Wonder.

Influences for Willis include Chet Atkins, Wes Montgomery, and Albert King. He played a Gibson Firebird guitar on most his early 1960s work, later moving on to use a Gibson ES 335. On recordings such as The Supremes' "No Matter What Sign You Are", Willis performed on a Coral sitar.

He accepted an offer from Phil Collins to perform on his album of Motown and 1960s soul classics Going Back.

Discography

Band of Gold - Freda Payne
Released: 1970
Released: 1970
Released: 1973
Released: 1974
Released: 1980
Released: 2004

Concerts