Classic Drummer Hall of Fame
Honoring Music's Most Influential Drummers
As voted by the readers of Classic Drummer Magazine
Bill Bruford, (or Dr. William Scott Bruford to us since he received his PhD in Music at the University of Surrey in 2016), first gained prominence as the original drummer for Yes, playing with them from 1968 until 1972.
Influenced by American jazz greats such as Max Roach, Joe Morello and Art Blakey he began playing at age 13. His early professional work included a short stints with The Breed, Savoy Brown, Paper Blitz Tissue and The Noise, before coming to the attention of Jon Anderson. Following a series of rehearsals, gigs and personnel changes, Yes was formed and during the next five years Bruford would appear on their first five studio albums including Yes, Time and a Word, The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close to the Edge.
In 1972, Bruford left Yes to join King Crimson for an extensive UK tour. Early the next year, Larks' Tongues in Aspic was released, followed by 1973 tours of Britain, Europe, and the USA. The group’s Starless and Bible Black and Red albums were released in 1974, after which King Crimson was disbanded.
During Phil Collins’ Genesis transition to vocals, Bill supported the group’s 1976 tour playing on songs that Collins fronted, consequently appearing on their live albums Seconds Out, Three Sides Live, and Genesis: In Concert.
’77 then saw Bill forming his own band, Bruford, releasing three studio and two live albums between 1978 and 1980. Then, as a member of a newly reformed King Crimson in 1981 he recorded the albums Discipline, Beat, and Three of a Perfect Pair before the group’s second disbanding in 1984.
There would be a reprise of Yes in the early 90s that was the residue of a late 80s collaboration among Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe. Then in the mid 90s King Crimson would reform with a world tour of more than a hundred concerts.
In a career that saw Bill Bruford appear on more than 40 albums, he spent the balance of the 90s until his 2009 retirement recording, performing and/or touring with Kazumi Watanabe, David Torn, The New Percussion Group of Amsterdam, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Akira Inoue, Al Di Meola, Anderson Bruford Wakeman and Howe, the Buddy Rich Orchestra, Tony Levin, Pete Lockett, Yes, Earthworks and more.