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Junior Walker, Sax Machine

Published: 6/15/2012
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.

 Junior Walker, shown in a 1979 photo, is one of popular music's premiere saxophonists and leader of the Motown group Junior Walker and the All Stars. Junior Walker and the All Stars recorded some of Motown's most enduring hits, including ``Shotgun,'' ``What Does It Take To Win Your Love,'' ``How Sweet It Is'' and ``These Eyes.'' (AP Photo)
Junior Walker, shown in a 1979 photo, is one of popular music's premiere saxophonists and leader of the Motown group Junior Walker and the All Stars. Junior Walker and the All Stars recorded some of Motown's most enduring hits, including ``Shotgun,'' ``What Does It Take To Win Your Love,'' ``How Sweet It Is'' and ``These Eyes.'' (AP Photo)


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

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