Willie Weeks

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Willie Weeks
Weeks performing in the 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival
Weeks performing in the 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival
Background information
Born (1947-08-05) August 5, 1947 (age 75)
Salemburg, North Carolina
United States
GenresRock, blues, jazz, blues rock, country
Occupation(s)Musician, actor
Instrument(s)Bass guitar
Years active1963–present
LabelsReprise, Tamla, Polydor Records, Epic Records, EMI Records, Warner Bros. Records, Atlantic, Capitol, Columbia, EMI, CBS, Elektra

Willie Weeks (born August 5, 1947) is an American bass guitarist. He has gained fame performing with famous musicians in a wide variety of genres. He has been one of the most in-demand session musicians throughout his career. Weeks has also gained fame touring with many of rock's heavyweights throughout his career.

Career[edit]

Weeks was born in Salemburg, North Carolina and began playing the electric bass in the early 1960s. His earliest influences were the country, pop and R&B music he heard on the radio. Weeks counts bassists Ron Carter, James Jamerson, and Ray Brown as early influences.

Weeks has worked in the studio or toured with a wide range of artists, including:

Gregg Allman, David Bowie, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Roy Buchanan, Jimmy Buffett, Kevin Chalfant, Eric Clapton, Hank Crawford, Robert Cray, Pino Daniele, Bo Diddley, The Doobie Brothers, Lou Fellingham, Aretha Franklin, Vince Gill, Buddy Guy, Isaac Hayes, George Harrison, Donny Hathaway, Etta James, Billy Joel, Rickie Lee Jones, Wynonna Judd, Chaka Khan, B.B. King, Lyle Lovett, Gail Davies, David Lee Roth, Michael McDonald, Don McLean, John Mayer, John Mellencamp, Bette Midler, Randy Newman, Pino Palladino, Leon Russell, Boz Scaggs, John Scofield, Carly Simon, Soulive, Rod Stewart, The Rolling Stones, James Taylor, Richard and Linda Thompson, Joe Walsh, Steve Winwood, Bobby Womack, Stevie Wonder, Ronnie Wood and Eikichi Yazawa.

His playing on Donny Hathaway's Live (1972), including a 3½ minute bass solo on "Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)",[1] is regarded by many bass players as some of Weeks' best work. He played a 1962 Fender P-Bass through an Ampeg SVT amplifier on the recording (though it had initially been reported that he played through an Ampeg B-15).

Weeks' contributions to the Hathaway album impressed many English rock musicians, leading to his work with Ronnie Wood, George Harrison and David Bowie from 1974 onwards.[2] In a press conference for his 1974 North American tour, Harrison cited Weeks' musicianship when dismissing the likelihood of a Beatles reunion, saying he would "rather have Willie Weeks on bass than Paul McCartney".[3]

Weeks played with Ask Rufus, the precursor band to Rufus with Chaka Khan. He appeared on their recording of Al Kooper's song "Brand New Day". Weeks also played with the Fabulous Amazers and Bill Lordan (pre Robin Trower drummer) in the Minnesota group Gypsy. He also played bass guitar for Michael's Mystics back in the 1960s in Minnesota, with Lordan again on drums. That band recorded "Pain" by the Grassroots, a big hit locally for the Mystics.

He also played bass at Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival on July 28, 2007 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois.[4]

Equipment[edit]

In addition to his red 1962 Fender Precision, Weeks uses a maple-neck 1958 Precision and a 1964 Fender Jazz Bass, as well as a tobacco sunburst Kay four-string acoustic bass for Clapton's "unplugged repertoire". Weeks used a sunburst 1963 P-Bass during Clapton's 2008 European Summer tour. In 2014 he began using his "WW" Willie Weeks signature bass by Bee Basses.

On the 2009 Australasian and British tours, Weeks played Fender, Kay and Alleva Coppolo basses. In 2017, Weeks used a custom made Alien Audio bass made by Charles "Chopper" Anderson in Nashville.

Weeks appeared in the films Blues Brothers 2000 (in a fictional supergroup along with other musicians he's worked with) and Lightning in a Bottle.

Discography[edit]

With Gypsy

With Donny Hathaway

With Herbie Mann

With Stevie Wonder

With Gloria Jones

With Aretha Franklin

With Randy Newman

With Ronnie Wood

With Rod Stewart

With George Harrison

With Don McLean

With David Bowie

With James Taylor

With Carly Simon

With Terry Garthwaite

  • 1975 Terry

With Kenny Vance

  • 1975 Vance 32

With Al Jarreau

With Richie Havens

  • 1976 The End of the Beginning

With Dianne Brooks

  • 1976 Back Stairs of My Life

With Maria Muldaur

With David Batteau

  • 1976 Happy in Hollywood

With Steve Winwood

With Cher and Gregg Allman

With Dan Fogelberg

With Joe Walsh

With Rickie Lee Jones

With Bette Midler

With Adam Mitchell

  • 1979 Redhead in Trouble

With Chaka Khan

With Stephen Bishop

With Michael McDonald

With Bill LaBounty

  • 1982 Bill LaBounty

With The Doobie Brothers

With John Mellencamp

With Rosanne Cash

With Jimmy Buffett

With William Lee Golden

  • 1986 American Vagabond

With Webb Wilder

  • 1989 Hybrid Vigor

With Etta James

With Vince Gill

With Kenny Rogers

With Marty Balin

With Ronna Reeves

  • 1991 Only the Heart

With Joan Baez

With Wynonna Judd

With John Michael Montgomery

With Tracy Lawrence

With Billy Burnette

  • 1994 Coming Home

With Rodney Crowell

With Peter Cetera

With Janis Ian

With Tanya Tucker

With Lisa Brokop

With Dan Hill

  • 1996 I'm Doing Fine

With Lari White

With Anita Cochran

With Tara Lyn Hart

With Sonya Isaacs

  • 2000 Sonya Isaacs

With Robert Cray

With Hal Ketchum

With Alicia Keys

With Keb' Mo'

With Amy Grant

With J. J. Cale and Eric Clapton

With John Mayer

With Eric Clapton

With LeAnn Rimes

With Boz Scaggs

With Leon Russell

With John Oates

  • 2014 Good Road to Follow

With Colin James

  • 2015 Hearts on Fire

With Mark Ronson

With Cyndi Lauper

With Elizabeth Cook

  • 2016 Exodus of Venus

With Ronnie Baker Brooks

  • 2017 Times Have Changed

With Gloria Gaynor

With Wendy Moten

  • 2020 I've Got You Covered

With Cravity

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Donny Hathaway Live". Chris.quietlife.net. Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  2. ^ Leng, Simon (2006). While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison. Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard. p. 157. ISBN 978-1-4234-0609-9.
  3. ^ Doggett, Peter (2011). You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After the Breakup. New York, NY: It Books. pp. 224–25. ISBN 978-0-06-177418-8.
  4. ^ "Pictures and Photo Galleries". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 1, 2007. Retrieved March 16, 2014.

External links[edit]