Michael Henderson

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Michael Henderson
Performing in 1971
Performing in 1971
Background information
Birth nameMichael Earl Henderson
Born(1951-07-07)July 7, 1951
Yazoo City, Mississippi, U.S.
DiedJuly 19, 2022(2022-07-19) (aged 71)
Dallas, Georgia, U.S.
GenresR&B, jazz, funk, soul, pop
Instrument(s)Vocals, bass
Years active1970–2022
LabelsBuddah Records, Arista, EMI-Capitol

Michael Earl Henderson (July 7, 1951 – July 19, 2022) was an American bass guitarist and vocalist. He was known for his work with Miles Davis in the early 1970s and on early fusion albums such as Jack Johnson,[1] Live-Evil, and Agharta,[2] along with a series of his own R&B/soul hits and others featuring him on vocals, particularly the Norman Connors-produced hit "You Are My Starship" in 1976 and other songs in the mid to late-1970s.[3]

Early life[edit]

Michael Earl Henderson was born on July 7, 1951, in Yazoo City, Mississippi.[4][5][6] In the early 1960s he moved to Detroit, playing as a session musician.[7]


Henderson was one of the first notable bass guitarists of the fusion era as well as being one of the most influential jazz and soul musicians of the past 40 years. In addition to Davis, he played and recorded with Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, the Dramatics, among many others.[7]

Before working with Davis, Henderson had been touring with Stevie Wonder, whom he met at the Regal Theater in Chicago while warming up for a gig. Davis saw the young Henderson performing at the Copacabana in New York City in early 1970 and reportedly said to Wonder simply "I'm taking your fucking bassist."[8] After almost seven years with Davis, Henderson focused on songwriting and singing in a solo career that produced many hit songs and albums for Buddah Records until his retirement in 1986.[7] Although known primarily for ballads, he was an influential funk player whose riffs and songs have been widely covered. He is also known for his ballad vocalizing on several Norman Connors hit recordings, including "You Are My Starship" and "Valentine Love", performed with Jean Carn.[7]

Personal life and death[edit]

At the time of his death, Henderson was in a relationship with DaMia Satterfield, and separated from his wife, Adelia Thompson.[6] He had three children, and lived in the Atlanta suburb of Dallas, Georgia, where he died from cancer on July 19, 2022, aged 71.[9][6]

Solo discography[edit]

Singing at Sunset Junction Festival in Los Angeles, 2008

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Label Peak chart positions
US 200
US Jazz
1976 Solid Buddah Records 173 10 20
1977 Goin' Places 49 18 11
1978 In the Night Time 38 5 6
1979 Do It All 64 17
1980 Wide Receiver 35 6
1981 Slingshot 86 14 27
1983 Fickle 169 41
1986 Bedtime Stories EMI America 30
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.


Year Single Peak chart positions
US Dance
US Pop
1976 "Time"
"Be My Girl" 23 101
1977 "Won't You Be Mine" 82
"I Can't Help It" 27 103
"You Haven't Made It to the Top" 80
1978 "Take Me I'm Yours" 3 88
"In the Night-Time" 15
1979 "To Be Loved" 62
"Do It All" 56
1980 "Reach Out for Me" 78
"Prove It" 27
"Wide Receiver" 42 4
"You're My Choice"
1981 "Make It Easy on Yourself" 68
"(We Are Here to) Geek You Up" 51
1983 "Thin Walls"
"Fickle" 33
1986 "Tin Soldier" 86
"Do It to Me Good (Tonight)" 17
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.


With Miles Davis[edit]

With Stevie Wonder[edit]

With The Dramatics[edit]


  1. ^ Cole, George (2007). The Last Miles: The Music of Miles Davis, 1980–1991. University of Michigan Press. p. 268. ISBN 978-0-472-03260-0.
  2. ^ Freeman, Philip (2005). Running the Voodoo Down: The Electric Music of Miles Davis. Hal Leonard. p. 127. ISBN 978-1-61774-521-8.
  3. ^ "Michael Henderson: He's now captain of his own starship". Ebony. Vol. 36, no. 3. Johnson Publishing Company. January 1981. p. 68. ISSN 0012-9011.
  4. ^ "Happy birthday to Michael Henderson". SoulTracks. December 27, 2019. Retrieved October 12, 2021.
  5. ^ McCall, Michael (1997). Erlewine, Michael; Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; et al. (eds.). "Michael Henderson". All Music Guide to Country: The Experts' Guide to the Best Recordings in Country Music. AMG All Music Guides. Hal Leonard Corporation: 88, 208. ISBN 978-0-87930-475-1. 0879304758.
  6. ^ a b c Sandomir, Richard (July 23, 2022). "Michael Henderson, Funk Bassist Turned Crooner, Dies at 71". The New York Times. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d Wynn, Ron. "Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved October 12, 2021.
  8. ^ Jung, Fred (December 15, 2003). "A Fireside Chat With Michael Henderson". Allthatjazz.com. Retrieved April 28, 2014.
  9. ^ Brodsky, Rachel (July 19, 2022). "Influential Jazz Fusion Bassist And R&B Singer Michael Henderson Dead At 71". Stereogum. Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  10. ^ a b c "Michael Henderson – Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on November 23, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  11. ^ a b c "Michael Henderson Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography". Music VF. Retrieved October 12, 2021.

External links[edit]