Bonnie Raitt: In Memory of Willie Murphy

Bonnie Raitt   January 15, 2019

I am so shocked and heartbroken to hear of my longtime friend Willie Murphy’s sudden passing. Although we’d spoken during his recent illness, and he was getting better, very excited about his new album, I don’t think many of us knew how serious his condition may have been. Along with producing my first album in 1971, he was one of the most brilliant, unique and prolific musicians I’ve ever known. His enduring contribution to one of America’s funkiest and most flavorful music scenes, the West Bank of Minneapolis, where I first fell in love with his band, Willie and and the Bees, will be treasured by all of us who can appreciate the incredible breadth, soul and inventiveness of the music he made. He lived to play and remained a defiant maverick, preferring to spend time creating music and friendships rather than get sucked into the trap of social media. He was my friend, a great inspiration and I will miss him terribly. I’m so grateful he was able to leave us with another amazing record before his untimely passing. Another bright light, gone way too soon.

Editor’s Note: Willie produced, and the Bees backed, Bonnie Raitt’s first album ‘Bonnie Raitt.’  Rather than try to write about it, we found this perfect 2019 podcast by the Current’s Andrea Swensson which captures, in their own words, reminiscences from Bonnie, Willie, Maurice, Gene and others about those storied recording sessions. Trust us, you’re going to love this.  Pull up a chair, pour a cup of coffee or a cold one and give it a listen!  The Current Rewind: Bonnie Raitt’s Lake Minnetonka Beginning | The Current

Bonnie Raitt band with Willie Murphy and the Bumblebees - August 1971
Bonnie Raitt Band with Willie and the Bumblebees, August 1971