Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Earl Palmer

Earl Palmer (October 25, 1924) is a legendary drummer and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He started his career as a tap dancer in vaudeville.

Palmer is best known for playing on many legendary New Orleans recording sessions, including "The Fat Man" (Fats Domino (and all the rest of Fats' hits), "Tutti Frutti" by Little Richard (and most of his Richard's hits), "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" by Lloyd Price, and "I Hear You Knockin'" by Smiley Lewis.

His playing on "The Fat Man" featured one of the first instances of the back beat that has come to be the most important element in rock and roll. Palmer said, "That song required a strong afterbeat throughout the whole piece. With Dixieland you had a strong afterbeat only after you got to the shout last chorus . . . It was sort of a new approach to rhythm music."

He left New Orleans for Hollywood in 1957. His career as a session drummer included work with Frank Sinatra, Phil Spector, Rick Nelson, Ray Charles, as well as jazz sessions wsith Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie.


Further reference