B.B. Cunningham, Jerry Lee Lewis Bandmate, Shot To Death
Keyboardist and singer B.B. Cunningham Jr., 70, a member of Jerry Lee Lewis' band, was shot to death in Memphis on Sunday. Cunningham was working as a security guard when he heard a gunshot at the Cherry Crest Apartments and went to check out the scene, where a 16-year-old male was also found dead. "I liked him. We have a good memory from him. He'd take care of the old people and the Spanish kids," Byny Garcia, a neighbor of the area, told Commercial Appeal. "He was a good person. We don't feel good at this moment."
Garcia explained that Cunningham was shot down about 30 feet away from where the teenager fell, near a stairway. "It's like five or six shots. I don't think anything about this because it's common," Garcia said, adding that his wife saw a man and a woman flee the scene, in what looked like a green Honda. Police have yet to make any arrests. B.B.'s brother Bill Cunningham, a founding member of 1960s pop-soul band Box Tops, could only confirm the incident, but had no further details.
B.B., real name Blake Baker Cunningham Jr., was a multitalented artist: "a musician, frontman, songwriter, session player, engineer and producer" who gained notoriety as a member of Ronnie and the Daytonas in 1965. Cunningham later went on to join Lewis' band in 1997 and release his own solo album, Hangin', in 2003. He also had a stint as chief engineer of Independent Records in Los Angeles during the 1970s, at which point he worked with artists like Billy Joel, Elton John and Lou Rawls, among others.
Check out the No. 12 chart hit, "Let It All Hang Out" (1967), by the Hombres, for which Cunningham was a keyboardist, below. The title went on to feature in Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown (2005), as well as in numerous ads.