Saturday, September 20, 2008

Drummerobit: Earl Palmer

The death has been announced of Earl Palmer, session drummer.

Although not a well-known name, you'll be familiar with his work: he played on The Righteous Brother's You've Lost That Loving Feeling, Ike and Tina's River Deep, Mountain High and Tutti Frutti by Little Richard. The percussive beats that drive I Hear You Knocking? That would be Palmer. Later work included Elvis Costello's King Of America album in a career that stretched from the culty (The Monkees' Head) through to the populist (contributing to the sessions for the Flintstones soundtracks).

Palmer originally started out in the entertainment industry as a tap dancer; his big break as a drummer came when he relocated from New Orleans to Hollywood, taking a reputation forged alongside the early giants of rock and roll into a rapidly expanding market.

During the 80s he took another largely unsung but important role, taking a treasurer's role in a musicians' union. In 2000, Palmer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Four times married, the 84 year-old is survived by seven children. His spokesperson says he had been ill for some time before his death on Friday.