I will let This Day in Music trace the barest outline of the extraordinary career of drummer Earl Palmer, who died at age 64 on this day in 2008:
Worked with The Beach Boys, Little Richard (‘Tutti Frutti’), Frank Sinatra, Ike And Tina Turner (‘River Deep, Mountain High’), The Monkees, Fats Domino (‘I’m Walkin’), Neil Young, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, The Righteous Brothers (‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’), and Randy Newman, Tom Waits, Bonnie Raitt, Tim Buckley, Little Feat and Elvis Costello.
Above and below are interesting, informal videos of Palmer rehearsing with guitarist Deke Dickerson. The other players are Pete Curry on bass, Carl Sonny Leyland on piano, and Ron Dziubla on sax. Above is “I Might Not Come Home at All” and below is “I Get So Lonely.” Palmer is more centrally featured in the bottom clip.
Hudson Music offers an appreciation. Palmer was inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. Wikipedia says he was the first session musician to receive the honor. Here is the start of the Hall’s profile:
Earl Palmer grew up in New Orleans and later moved to Los Angeles, impacting the music scenes in both cities as a first-call session drummer. From 1950 to 1957, Palmer’s powerful backbeat and mastery of second-line shuffle rhythms made him a much in-demand percussionist in his hometown. He was hired by bandleader Dave Bartholomew in 1947 after a stint in the army and recorded extensively with Bartholomew protege Fats Domino, Lloyd Price, Smiley Lewis and other New Orleans artists at Cosimo Matassa’s famed J&M studio. He also played on the seminal rock and roll recordings of Little Richard, who wrote in his autobiography that Palmer “is probably the greatest session drummer of all time.” (Continue Reading…)
Soul of Wit, a great friend of the site, sent over this link in comments to the post of this morning. It’s Newman, along with Linda Ronstadt and Ry Cooder doing the song Rider in the Rain. It’s just too good to not feature.
The introductory panel of Randy Newman’s song about the greatest river flood in American history says that the water breached 145 levees, flooded 17 million acres of farmland and killed 250 people. The photos are amazing. Here Aaron Neville and India Arie sing the song during what appears to be a benefit for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Newman may have had some family pressure to produce:
Newman comes from a renowned musical family. His uncle, Lionel Newman (1916-1989), scored the music for Love Me Tender and North to Alaska, conducted the music for Alien and Breaking Away, and won an Oscar for Hello Dolly. Another uncle, Emil Newman (1911-1984), composed the music for Island in the Sky, Riot in Juvenile Prison, and Unwed Mother.
His most famous uncle, though, was Alfred Newman (1901-1970), who won nine Oscars for his movie music. He composed the soundtrack for All About Eve, The Grapes of Wrath, How Green Was My Valley, the 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame (starring Charles Laughton), Twelve O’Clock High, and Wuthering Heights. He also wrote perhaps the most famous movie music of all time, the “20th Century Fox Fanfare” — the stirring drum-and-bugle call that plays over the logo as that studio’s films begin.
Louisiana 1927 of course isn’t the type of song for which Newman is known. Here are Short People, I Love LA (performed at the Laker ring ceremony in 2002) and, in a nice duet with Lyle Lovett, You’ve Got a Friend in Me. Newman has just released a song that makes his political leanings pretty obvious.