Eddie Willis

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Eddie Willis
Willis at a ceremony in March 2013 to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for the Funk Brothers
Background information
Also known asChank Willis
Born(1936-06-03)June 3, 1936
Grenada, Mississippi, US
DiedAugust 20, 2018(2018-08-20) (aged 82)
Gore Springs, Mississippi, U.S.
GenresSoul, R&B
InstrumentsElectric guitar, electric sitar
Associated actsThe Funk Brothers, Phil Collins

Eddie "Chank" Willis (June 3, 1936 – August 20, 2018) was an American soul musician. Willis played electric guitar and occasional electric sitar for Motown's in-house studio band, The Funk Brothers, during the 1960s and early 1970s.


Born in Grenada, Mississippi, Willis was 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 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 included Chet Atkins, Wes Montgomery, and Albert King. He played a Gibson Firebird guitar on most of 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.


Willis died on August 20, 2018 in Gore Springs, Mississippi from complications of polio at the age of 82.[1]


  1. ^ "Motown's Eddie Willis, one of last Funk Brothers, dead". EU.Freep. August 20, 2018.

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