‘Heart and soul of Minneapolis music scene’ Willie Murphy dies at 75
He excelled at the blues, and suffered from it, too, but Willie Murphy was best known for consistently bringing joy to Twin Cities audiences for five decades whether he was fronting the sprawling R&B band Willie & the Bees or playing solo piano at the 400 Bar.
The celebrated singer, songwriter, producer, bandleader and all-out ringleader from the Minneapolis West Bank music scene died Sunday morning just a month after celebrating his 75th birthday by releasing a topical new album. He had been hospitalized for several weeks battling pneumonia after a hard year of myriad health complications.
“He was one of the most brilliant, unique and prolific musicians I’ve ever known,” Bonnie Raitt, who enlisted Murphy to produce her 1971 debut album, told the Star Tribune.