Description: Keyboardist, Arranger, Band leader, USA

Known For: Arranger for Motown records in the sixties.

Instruments: Keyboards

Music Styles: Rock

Location: MI, United States of America

Date Born: 8th July 1930
Location Born: Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

Date Died: 19th September 1992
Location Died: Detroit, Michigan, United States of America
Cause Of Death: Prostate Cancer

Web Site:  Extended discography at allmusic.com

Other Links: See below:



Earl Van Dyke

Earl Van Dyke (July 8, 1930, – September 18, 1992) was an African American soul musician, most notable as the main keyboardist for Motown Records’ in-house Funk Brothers band during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Van Dyke, who was born in Detroit, Michigan, United States, was preceded as keyboardist and bandleader of the Funk Brothers by Joe Hunter. In the early 1960s, he also recorded as a jazz organist with saxophonists Fred Jackson and Ike Quebec for the Blue Note label.

Besides his work as the session keyboardist on Motown hits such as “Bernadette” by The Four Tops, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye, and “Run Away Child, Running Wild” by The Temptations, Van Dyke performed with a small band as an opening act for several Motown artists, and released instrumental singles and albums himself. Several of Van Dyke’s recordings feature him playing keys over the original instrumental tracks for Motown hits; others are complete covers of Motown songs.

Van Dyke played the Steinway grand piano, the Hammond B-3 organ, the Wurlitzer electric piano, the Fender Rhodes, and the celeste and harpsichord. He played a toy piano for the introduction of the Temptations’ hit, “It’s Growing”. His musical influences included Tommy Flanagan, Hank Jones, and Barry Harris.

In September 1992, at the age of 62, Van Dyke died of prostate cancer at Harper Hospital in Detroit.

Later led Freda Payne’s backing band in the early seventies.



All Soul (Motown) releases 1964: “Soul Stomp”
1965: “All For You”*
1965: “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)”*
1965: “The Flick (Part I)”*
1967: “6 by 6″**
1969: “Run Away Child, Running Wild”

(*) billed as “Earl Van Dyke & the Soul Brothers” (the billed name of the Funk Brothers band was changed by Motown head Berry Gordy, as he disliked the connotation of the word “funk”)

(**) billed as “Earl Van Dyke & the Motown Brass”


All Soul (Motown) releases 1965: That Motown Sound (Earl Van Dyke & the Soul Brothers)
1970:The Earl of Funk