Classic Drummer Hall of Fame
Honoring Music's Most Influential Drummers
As voted by the readers of Classic Drummer Magazine
Before there was Wipe Out, before In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, before Moby Dick and Toad, if a young drummer wanted to hear a rock and roll drum solo his best bet was a record by Sandy Nelson. Predating Ringo or Dave Clark or Keith Moon or Bonzo, the rock and roll drummer who was a household name was, you guessed it, Sandy Nelson. Sure we had Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich and we loved them, but they were grown ups, they played jazz, and seemed like our parents. Sandy, on the other hand, was one of us.
Born in 1938 Sander L. Nelson is a Santa Monica California native who attended high school with Jan and Dean and Phil Spector. In the late 1950’s he cut his teeth as a studio musician and with an assortment of groups including The Renegades, Phil Spector’s Teddy Bears, and The Hollywood Argyles. But he made his personal mark in 1959 with the drum-tastic, million-selling, instrumental entitled Teen Beat. He then followed that success with the Top 10 instrumental hit, Let There Be Drums, and the Top 40 hit Drums Are My Beat.
Of course, the singles were fine for the general public. But if you were a young drummer in the early 60’s you lived for the next Sandy Nelson album. Just imagine . . . entire albums with new beats to learn, new solos to try and no pesky lyrics to get in the way. If the drum kit was your passion, Sandy Nelson was your hero. Sandy Nelson continues to record perform occasionally and will always be known as one of the original rock and roll drum stars who inspired and instructed a generation of drummers.