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Donnie Fritts, Acclaimed Muscle Shoals Session Musician & Songwriter, Passes at 76

Donnie Fritts, Acclaimed Muscle Shoals Session Musician & Songwriter, Passes at 76

Donnie Fritts. Credit: Allister Ann.
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(CelebrityAccess) – Donnie Fritts, the acclaimed session musician and songwriter who served as Kris Kristofferson’s keyboardist, has passed away.

The news was confirmed by Fritts’ longtime friend Gary Nicholson in a Facebook post yesterday evening (Aug. 27). The post read: “Tonight Funky Donnie Fritts, my dear friend and collaborator passed, there aren’t words to describe what his loving friendship has meant to me through the years, so many songs and stories, it’s gonna take awhile to process this one.”

Born in Florence, Alabama in 1942, Fritts began playing drums in local bands at age 15 and later developed into a session keyboard player. Working closely with the likes of Rick Hall, Billy Sherrill, Dan Penn, Arthur Alexander, David Briggs, Jerry Carrigan and Norbert Putnam, Fritts was involved in many of the early songs and recordings that came out of the Muscle Shoals music scene.

In 1965, he was signed to a Nashville publishing company and had songs recorded by Charlie Rich and Jerry Lee Lewis. He later joined Kris Kristofferson’s band, remaining a friend and collaborator for more than two decades.

As a songwriter, Fritts penned songs including “We Had It All,” recorded by Ray Charles, Willie Nelson and others, “Breakfast In Bed,” recorded by Dusty Springfield, Chrissie Hynde and UB40, “You’re Gonna Love Yourself In The Morning,” and “Choo Choo Train” among others.

Fritts was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 2008. He was 76-years-old at the time of his passing.

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