Legendary Drummer Uriel Jones Dies

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Famed drummer Uriel Jones, who played on many top Motown hits as part of the legendary Funk Brothers session group, died yesterday at the age of 74.

His sister-in-law told Reuters that complications from a heart attack he suffered in mid-February relapsed, and he passed away in a Dearborn, Michigan hospital.

After touring with Marvin Gaye, Jones came to Motown in 1964, and, along with Richard "Pistol" Allen, gradually took over for the label's main drummer, Benny Benjamin, who battled a drug addiction that killed him in 1969.

Through the 1960s and 1970s, Jones' drumming was an integral part on such hits as the Temptations' Ain't Too Proud to Beg, Marvin Gaye's I Heard It Through the Grapevine and the Miracles' The Tracks of My Tears.

The Funk Brothers were rediscovered by many after the 2002 documentary, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, that pointed out that these musicians played on "more records than the Beatles, Elvis, the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys combined."

The filmmaker, Allan Slutsky, told the Detroit News that Jones was "one of the great R&B drummers," and that "of the Funk Brothers drummers, Uriel was the hardest rocking."

Of the 13 members featured in the film -- clips from which will be shown on 'American Idol' this week -- only four are still alive.

Jones is survived by his wife, June, three children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.


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