Bill Cunningham (musician)
January 23, 1950|
Memphis, TN, U.S.
|Instruments||Bass Guitar, Piano, Organ, Upright Bass, Cello, Vocals|
|Associated acts||Box Tops, Chris Bell|
Cunningham was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He remained a member of the Box Tops until August 1969, when he decided to return to school to get a music degree in performance of the upright bass.
Though Cunningham virtually vanished from the pop music scene after he left the Box Tops, he rose in the ranks of classical musicians, playing in many symphony orchestras and in ballet and opera companies while attending university. During this period he backed artists as diverse as Eddy Arnold, Van Cliburn, Isaac Hayes, the Romeros (Spanish guitarists), and Dionne Warwick.
During that period, Cunningham played on a number of string sessions for STAX and other Memphis recording artists. One example can be heard on Chris Bell's (Big Star) song "You and Your Sister," featuring Bell's guitar work and vocals, Alex Chilton backing vocal, and Cunningham's string arrangements and upright bass work.
In 1996, Cunningham played the principal role in reforming the original Box Tops. He played bass and shared responsibility for keyboard parts with John Evans on the Tear Off album. Cunningham has toured with the group since 1997.
After a 6 year hiatus following the death of The Box Tops lead singer, Alex Chilton in 2010, Bill and Gary Talley, the original guitarist, reunited The Box Tops and began touring in 2016. In 2017 The Box Tops joined The Happy Together Tour with The Turtles, The Association, The Cowsills, Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night, and Ron Dante of The Archies. The Summer tour played 48 cities across the U.S. and entertained over 200,000 fans.
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