Lewie Steinberg, original bassist of Booker T. and MGs has sadly passed away. Steinberg played on the band’s first two albums, Green Onions and Soul Dressing. He died Thursday of cancer at age 82. Steinberg had a long and successful career as a writer and composer working with others including Otis Redding, Stax Records’ famous house band the Mar-Keys, and The Ventures.
Jody Callahan of The Commercial Appeal writes of Steinberg:
Along with the other members of the MGs — Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, Al Jackson and Dunn — Steinberg was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. They were inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2002.
With Steinberg’s passing, only Cropper and Jones remain from the band. Al Jackson was murdered in 1975 and Dunn died in 2012.
Funny thing is, if Mr. Steinberg had his way, the name “Green Onions” might never be known today. He proposed another title to Stax founder Estelle Axton, but luckily, she overruled that suggestion.
“He was going to call it ‘Funky Onions,’ and Estelle said, ‘No, that’s too out there,'” said his daughter, Ida Steinberg. “And they called it ‘Green Onions.'”