Don Griffin was born in Baltimore and showed his skills as a musician early on, attending The Peabody Conservatory of Music at just 17.
As brother to the Miracles’ post-Smokey Robinson lead singer Billy Griffin, Don Griffin played lead and rhythm guitar starting in 1974 as part of the band revamping with young funk musicians to bring its sound into a new, contemporary dance/R&B style. Don Griffin played on the group’s double-platinum-selling City of Angels and its single “Love Machine.”
Later, after the Miracles broke up, Don Griffin’s dance band called Madagascar was signed by Clive Davis to Arista Records with the single “Baby Not Tonight” in 1981.
From there, Don Griffin rejoined his brother Billy as the touring guitarist on his solo project and collaborating on the platinum single “Hold Me Tighter in the Rain.”
In 1986, Don Griffin was recruited by Anita Baker to become her rhythm guitarist and recorded on her album Rapture.
Most recently, Don Griffin was preparing repertoire and rehearsing a new funk band in Denver for a Las Vegas show this winter. He is survived by his son, Brandon, his brother Billy Griffin and his sister Diane Pruitt.