B.B. Cunningham Jr. Dead: Jerry Lee Lewis Band Member Killed in Memphis Shooting
B.B. Cunningham Jr., a member of the ’60s group the Hombres and in his later years a part of Jerry Lee Lewis’s band, was shot and killed in Memphis on Sunday morning (Oct. 14). Police say the 70-year-old was working as a security guard when he heard gun shots and went to investigate.
According to the Commercial Appeal, Cunningham and a 16-year-old boy were found dead from gunshot wounds near the apartment complex Cunningham was working at. No suspect has been named.
In addition to his work with Lewis and the Hombres, the bassist, keyboardist and singer worked with Billy Joel, Elton John and Lou Rawls throughout his career. Fellow Memphians are taking his death hard. Local musicians like Richard Cushing knew Cunningham as a kind man.
“He and I played bass,” Cushing tells WMC-TV. “He on occasion would show up at our gigs and was very generous and very kind and would always come talk to me because we’re both bass players.”
Cunningham had worked with Lewis since 1997. He was born into a music family as Blake Baker Cunningham Jr. His father recorded under the name Buddy Blake and his brother Bill founded the Box Tops. Songs like ‘G.T.O.’ and ‘Let It All Hang Out’ were amongst his early successes, the later used in commercials for Foster’s beer and covered by John Mellencamp. In recent years Cunningham recorded a solo album and played with a Swedish group called the Cadillac Band. His official website says many call him the first rap artist.