Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Distant Drums

It's been a bad year for great musicians - Temptations songwriter/producer Norman Whitfield passed away a few days ago. Now the latest entrant to rock'n'roll heaven is drummer Earl Palmer.

You may never have heard of Palmer, but you've certainly heard his work - a jazzman at heart, he played on an astonishing array of all-time great recordings, from Fats Domino and Little Richard's pioneering early rock'n'roll in Palmer's native New Orleans, to "River Deep Mountain High" and other Phil Spector classics in Los Angeles, finding time in between to drum on everything from TV theme tunes to movie soundtracks, and even record a piece or two under his own name (The A Side blog has one). He is also said to be the man who first applied the word "funky" to music.

Palmer's autobiography, Backbeat, is a great rock read, taking the reader through a colourful life that went from tap dancing in vaudeville as a child to accompanying Frank Sinatra at the White House.

"I invented this shit"
was Palmer's legendary response to a young rock band worried that he might not be able to play in their style. He sure did.

Disclaimer - I get a small commission from Amazon UK if you buy the book through the picture link here.

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