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Earl Palmer, Who Played With Everyone, Died on this Day in 2008

I will let This Day in Music trace the barest outline of the extraordinary career of drummer Earl Palmer, who died at age 64 on this day in 2008:

Worked with The Beach Boys, Little Richard (‘Tutti Frutti’), Frank Sinatra, Ike And Tina Turner (‘River Deep, Mountain High’), The Monkees, Fats Domino (‘I’m Walkin’), Neil Young, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, The Righteous Brothers (‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’), and Randy Newman, Tom Waits, Bonnie Raitt, Tim Buckley, Little Feat and Elvis Costello.

Frank Sinatra, The Monkees and Ike and Tina Turner. Think about it. Along the same lines, Little Feat’s Lowell George played with Franks Sinatra and Zappa.

Above and below are interesting, informal videos of Palmer rehearsing with guitarist Deke Dickerson. The other players are Pete Curry on bass, Carl Sonny Leyland on piano, and Ron Dziubla on sax. Above is “I Might Not Come Home at All” and below is “I Get So Lonely.” Palmer is more centrally featured in the bottom clip.

Hudson Music offers an appreciation. Palmer was inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. Wikipedia says he was the first session musician to receive the honor. Here is the start of the Hall’s profile:

Earl Palmer grew up in New Orleans and later moved to Los Angeles, impacting the music scenes in both cities as a first-call session drummer. From 1950 to 1957, Palmer’s powerful backbeat and mastery of second-line shuffle rhythms made him a much in-demand percussionist in his hometown. He was hired by bandleader Dave Bartholomew in 1947 after a stint in the army and recorded extensively with Bartholomew protege Fats DominoLloyd Price, Smiley Lewis and other New Orleans artists at Cosimo Matassa’s famed J&M studio. He also played on the seminal rock and roll recordings of Little Richard, who wrote in his autobiography that Palmer “is probably the greatest session drummer of all time.” (Continue Reading…)

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The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

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Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.