Benjamin had played in the forties and fifties, already with some big bands before he became Motown's first session drummer. Along with James Jamerson he formed the nucleus of the Funk Brothers, Motown's legendary studio band. Some producers of the Detroit R & B labels, including Berry Gordy himself, refused to even make a recording, unless Jamerson and Benjamin formed the rhythm section.
Among the hits that accompanied Benjamin, include Dancing in the Streets by Martha & the Vandellas, Do You Love Me by the Contours, Baby Love by The Supremes, the Temptations Get Ready by, Going to a Go-Go and Shop Around of the Miracles, I Heard It Through the Grapevine by Gladys Knight & the Pips, Money ( That's What I Want) by Barrett Strong, My Guy by Mary Wells, My World Is Empty Without You by the Supremes, Stubborn Kind of Fellow by Marvin Gaye, Uptight ( Everything's Alright ) by Stevie Wonder, as well as songs by the Four Tops.
Benjamin was famous for being late to appear at Sessions and to come up with original excuses. When he was once found by a Motown producer asleep at his drums, he woke up and started playing while he called " Papa Zita, Papa Zita, Papa Zita " on the instrument. That earned him a then nicknamed " Papa Zita ".
In the late 1960s Benjamin was then heroin and alcohol addict and died on April 20, 1969 of a stroke. In 2003 he was included in the category " Sidemen " posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
- Soul musician
- American musician
- Born in 1925
- Died in 1969