Saturday, September 19, 2009

Drummerobit: Bobby Graham

One of the most familiar unknown names of the 1960s pop world, Bobby Graham, has died.

By his own reckoning, Graham played on a total of 40 top five UK hits, drumming on Dusty's I Only Want To Be With You, You Really Got Me for The Kinks, and Make It Easy On Yourself. The Walker Brothers version.

Graham also claimed he was nearly in those Beatles, he was; his tale insisted that Epstein had offered him Pete Best's job and it was only offered to Ringo after he'd turned it down. To be fair, Graham at least has the talent to back-up the claim, unlike everyone over the age of 60 in Liverpool who also claims they said "no" to a job in The Beatles.

In total, Graham is believed to have drummed, clashed and cymablled his way through 15,000 tracks. As Professor Gordon Thompson remembers, his reputation meant he was often an obvious choice:

His association with the Dave Clark Five proved particularly problematic given that the bandleader WAS the drummer; moreover, Clark routinely declared that no other drummer played in the studio. However, a close listen to early recordings such as “Do You Love Me,” “Glad All Over” and “Bits and Pieces” reveals double-tracked drumming, suggesting that the drummer/producer had assistance from another musician. Graham maintained to the end that he was that drummer (a claim supported by unofficial correspondence) and who could doubt Clark’s good judgment at hiring the best. Indeed, many a British drummer cringed when they saw Graham at a session, knowing they had just been demoted to playing tambourine.

Bobby Graham, who was 69, had been ill with cancer for some months. He died in Welwyn Garden City on Monday, and is survived by a wife, a son and a brother.

[Thanks to Jon for the story]