Junior Walker, Sax Machine

Junior Walker was one of Motown's greatest sax players. Born 81 years today, he formed his first band by the time he was 14 and kept playing music all his life, finding new audiences as the years went by.

Walker's first and greatest success was with his band Junior Walker & the All Stars. They had a string of R&B chart toppers, starting with 1965's "Shotgun."





Somewhat younger listeners not familiar with Walker and the All Stars may recall his work on a 1981 pop song. "Urgent" was a hot single for Foreigner, and it features a sax solo by Walker.





A few years after “Urgent,” Junior Walker starred alongside John Cusack and Tim Robbins in the movie Tapeheads. Walker and fellow R&B star Sam Moore played The Swanky Modes, a soul duo whose popularity was waning – but whose sound, like Junior Walker's, was still as fine as it ever was.





Written by Linnea Crowther