Benny Benjamin (aka Papa Zita) was born as William Benjamin on July 25, 1925 in Birmingham, Alabama.
he was drummer for the Motown studio band known as The Funk Brothers, working with Buddy Petit, Herb Morand, George Lewis, Bunk Johnson and Emil Barnes. He played on The Supremes' "My World Is Empty Without You", and Gladys Knight And The Pips' release "I Heard It Through The Grapevine").
Benjamin was notorious for being late to work, and also for creating highly fabricated and humorous stories for why he was late. Once caught sleeping at his drumkit by a Motown producer, Benjamin snapped awake and began drumming and calling out "Papa-zita, papa-zita, papa-zita," which is how he earned his nickname.
Benny Benjamin was influenced by the work of drummers Buddy Rich and Tito Puente. He recorded with a studio set comprised of Ludwig, Slingerland, Rogers and Gretsch components.
By the late-1960s, Benjamin struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, and fellow Funk Brothers Uriel Jones and Richard "Pistol" Allen performed more of the drum tracks for the studio's releases.
The drummer was a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee. Unfortunately, Benjamin died on April 20, 1969 due to a stroke.