Recognition has long eluded the Funk Brothers, but on March 21, Motown's backing musicians will be immortalized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The process to secure a star began five years ago and barely became a reality.
Contributions from fans such as Motown writer/producer Valerie Simpson, David Letterman bandleader Paul Schaffer, and Detroit native Ray Parker Jr. helped to reach the project's goal of raising $25,000, which is used for creation and installation of the star and maintenance of the Walk of Fame.
The Funk Brothers performed backing tracks to Motown hits such as "My Girl," "Baby Love," "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," and "Let's Get It On" and dozens of others from 1959 until 1972 when Motown founder, Berry Gordy, moved to Los Angeles. Their involvement in Motown went widely unknown until the release of the 2002 documentary "Standing in the Shadows of Motown". The film claimed that The Funk Brothers "played on more number-one hits than The Beatles, Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, and The Beach Boys combined."
At the end of March, the Funk Brothers will receive one of the most well-known honors in show business: the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which already recognizes many of the great performers they once recorded with, among them Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder. It is uncertain how many original members will attend the ceremony due to health and travel concerns, but many fans are expected to attend and express their support for an honor a long time in the making.