Steve Madaio, Trumpeter for Wonder, Stones, Dies

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That distinctive trumpet on this 1972 hit was courtesy of Steve Madaio

Steve Madaio, a trumpeter whose career in the studio and on stage with many of the biggest names of the classic rock era, died January 15, 2019, in Palm Desert, Calif. The Desert Sun newspaper reported Madaio’s death in its January 16 edition. The musician was 70, and was said to have suffered a heart attack in his home.

Since the 1960s, Madaio played with scores of musicians, performing on stage at the 1969 Woodstock festival and at Monterey Pop in 1967 with the Paul Butterfield Blues band.

His trumpet can be heard on countless recordings made with Stevie Wonder, John Lennon (Walls and Bridges), Bob Dylan (Street Legal), Earth, Wind & Fire, B. B. King, Gregg Allman (Playin’ Up a Storm), Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart (Blondes Have More Fun), Don Henley (“New York Minute”), the Marshall Tucker Band, Ringo Starr (Goodnight Vienna), Lowell George, Bonnie Raitt and more.

The Desert Sun obituary relates a story about Madaio that was told by radio DJ Jim Fitzgerald. “He used to hang with me on the air all the time,” the paper quotes Fitzgerald. “I’d play something like Bill Withers’ ‘Lovely Day,’ and he’d go, ‘Oh, I’m on that’.”

Friends and fans are paying tribute to Madaio on his Facebook page.

Madaio is closely associated with many of Stevie Wonder’s 1970s-era studio recordings. He’s credited, for instance, on trumpet for many of the big hits on 1976’s Songs in the Key of Life, including “Sir Duke,” “I Wish” and “Another Star.” His trumpet playing is featured prominently on 1972’s “Superstition.”

Madaio toured with the Rolling Stones during several of their tours of the early ’70s.

Related: Our feature on the 1972 Rolling Stones – Stevie Wonder tour

Madaio was born July 18, 1948.

Watch him offer a trumpet lesson for beginners

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3 Comments so far

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  1. jojo
    #1 jojo 18 January, 2019, 01:40

    Palm Springs, not Vegas

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  2. Bruce Kelso
    #2 Bruce Kelso 25 October, 2020, 15:20

    i first heard of steve when he joined the butterfield blues band. his trumpet was in that killer horn section. in fact playing the live at the troubador shows now. RIP steve.

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