This Rock Star with a Career Spanning 3 Decades is Buried in a Battle Creek Cemetery
The grave of Autry DeWalt Mixon Jr. in Battle Creek's Oak Hill Cemetery hold a famous recording star who had hits for Motown records and performed on one of Foreigner's biggest hits.
Autry DeWalt Mixon Jr. was born in Blytheville, Arkansas, grew up in South Bend Indiana and is buried in Battle Creek, Michigan. Music fans know him better by his stage name: "Jr. Walker."
Now, you may not exactly remember the name, but you know his work. Press play on "Shotgun" and surely, you will realize you've heard this gem somewhere before. It hit #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart in 1965 according to Junior's Wikipedia entry. "What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) is not as well-known today, but it also was a Top 5 hit in 1965.
Arguably Junior's most enduring work and most recognizable solo is on the 1981 Foreigner song "Urgent." It is no accident he appears on the track. Saxontheweb (don't worry, it is safe for work) has the story of Mick Jones being a big fan and the song "Urgent" "needing a saxophone part 'like Jr. Walker might play it.'" Junior had a gig in town, the two met and the rest is rock & roll history.
Jr. Walker did a few concert dates with Foreigner, also recorded his own version of "Urgent," was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live and was a part of Motown's 25th Anniversary Celebration before settling down in Battle Creek where he passed away in November of 1995 from cancer. Oak Hill Cemetery has a beautiful headstone that keeps his musical legacy alive.
Photos from Jr. Walker's Grave in Battle Creek's Oak Hill Cemetery
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