Johnny Griffith (musician)

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Johnny Griffith
Johnny Griffith musician.jpg
Background information
Birth nameJohn Ellis Griffith Jr.
Born(1936-07-10)July 10, 1936
Detroit, Michigan, United States
DiedNovember 10, 2002(2002-11-10) (aged 66)
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Occupation(s)Session musician
Associated actsThe Funk Brothers

John Ellis Griffith Jr. (July 10, 1936 – November 10, 2002) was an American musician.


Born in Detroit, Griffith was a musician who played keyboards for Motown Records' in-house studio band, The Funk Brothers. Among Griffith's most notable performances on the hundreds of Motown recordings he played on are the electric piano on "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye and "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" by The Temptations, the organ on "Stop! In the Name of Love" by The Supremes, and the organ and shotgun effects on "Shotgun" by Junior Walker & the All Stars. Griffith also played on many of the non-Motown releases with the Funk Brothers, such as "Cool Jerk" by The Capitols and "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" by Jackie Wilson.

Griffith played the Steinway grand piano, the Hammond B-3 organ, the Wurlitzer electric piano, the Fender Rhodes, and the celeste and harpsichord. His musical influences included Bud Powell, Glenn Gould, and Oscar Peterson.

Griffith died of a heart attack in a Detroit hospital on November 10, 2002. He was 66 years old.[1]


  1. ^ McLellan, Dennis (November 12, 2002). "Johnny Griffith, 66; Played Keyboard for Motown Greats". Los Angeles Times.

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