Classic Drummer Hall of Fame
Honoring Music's Most Influential Drummers
As voted by the readers of Classic Drummer Magazine
In the early 50s when Little Richard, Fats Domino and Professor Longhair began moving from swinging the groove to rocking it, the man behind the kit at New Orleans’ legendary J&M Recording Studio was Earl Cyril Palmer.
With formal musical training from the Gruenwald School of Music and instincts for selling the tune from years as a tap dancer and child star in vaudeville, Earl Palmer was destined to become one of the most recorded drummers of the 20th Century.
His move to LA in 1957 led to decades non-stop session work as a member of a group of musicians that were to become known as “The Wrecking Crew”, backing popular artists such as Sinatra, Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, Duane Eddy, Richie Valens, Eddy Cochran, Jan and Dean, The Righteous Brothers, Sam Cooke, Ike and Tina Turner, Herb Alpert, Ray Charles, The Byrds, The Bee Gees, The Monkeys, The Mamas and the Papas, Neil Young and Elvis Costello to name just a few.
However, while he’s a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the genre’s founding fathers. Palmer’s heart always remained in the jazz that he continued to play throughout his career. He also did extensive television and movie sound tracks throughout his career.
From Little Richard, to Sam Cooke, to Dizzy Gillespie, to the Monkees, Earl Palmer was there. From Mission Impossible, to Cool Hand Luke, to The Flintstones theme his hand shaped the soundtracks generations. From the 1940’s to the 21st Century Earl Palmer influenced the music of every decade and virtually every genre.