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Motown Greats Honor Funk Brothers

November 9, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ It was like an old-time Motown revue at the Apollo Theatre as Mary Wilson, Ashford & Simpson, Mario and others sang in tribute to the Funk Brothers, the musicians behind the hits at the legendary music label.

``They’re responsible for my life,″ said Wilson, who worked with the Funk Brothers in the 1960s as part of The Supremes and performed with them Thursday night. ``Thank you guys!″

The Funk Brothers were the house band for Motown Records, and were responsible for making the Motown sound an international brand, yet most people don’t know their names or their importance in music history.

A new documentary, ``Standing in the Shadows of Motown,″ seeks to rectify that. The film had its premiere at the Apollo on Thursday, with the surviving members of the Funk Brothers present: Bob Babbitt, Johnny Griffith, Joe Hunter, Joe Messina, Uriel Jones, Eddie ``Chank″ Willis and Jack ``Black Jack″ Ashford.

The film was followed by performances by the Funk Brothers with Wilson, Ashford & Simpson, Mario, Musiq, Michelle Williams from Destiny’s Child, Angie Stone, Marshall Crenshaw and Ben Harper.

``Standing in the Shadows of Motown,″ which also features Joan Osborne and Meshell Ndegeocello, opens in New York and Los Angeles Nov. 15.

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