Special Sub-Topic: My True Love Guild to Me - 12th Day
|Our first two drummers drumming were never the flamboyant stars of their bands. Though respected by their peers, they were generally content to let other stars shine brightly - and, tragically, burn out. Who were these rather understated drummers for the Beatles and the Rolling Stones?|
Ringo Starr and Charlie Watts. Granted, the very capable Starr did have a brief solo career, and did get a chance to cut loose with the Beatles on "The End" from the album "Abbey Road". Likewise, a nuanced listening to Stones classics "Let's Spend the Night Together" and "Sympathy for the Devil" makes Watts' contributions apparent - as Keith Richards said, you'd hate to be on the end of his fist! Nevertheless, neither Ringo nor Charlie were ever foolhardy enough to challenge John Lennon, Paul McCartney, or Mick Jagger for the spotlight - and thank goodness!
|Our third drummer drumming knows the value of holding down a gig. He has been a member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band since its inception on through its 2008 tour, and has led Conan O'Brien's house band since the red-haired comic took over NBC late night in 1992. Who is this mighty one?|
Max Weinberg. In 1974, Weinberg answered an ad seeking "no junior Ginger Bakers" for Springsteen's group, and he wisely eschewed the lengthy solos for which Baker was known. That being said, Weinberg's abilities are well-showcased on many Springsteen cuts (notably "Born in the USA") and he has many chances to show off his admirable chops leading his eponymous septet on O'Brien's program.
|Our fourth drummer drumming was an acknowledged jazz virtuoso who honed his breathtaking technique as an understudy to Jo Jones with Count Basie's band. He reached his greatest fame in the 1960s and '70s leading a revival of the big band sound - yet ironically may be best known for his drum battle with a puppet! Who was this percussive powerhouse?|
Buddy Rich. Rich staged a number of drum battles through the 1970s with rock musician Ginger Baker; both men were known for epic solos, and fans of the "skins" didn't go away disappointed. Rich parodied these performances on "The Muppet Show", squaring off against the prodigious house drummer "Animal". A memorable sight, I assure you.
|Our fifth drummer drumming is the guy every drummer I ever knew wanted to be when I was a kid. Best known for his work with the Police, his characteristic influences include jazz, reggae, and other forms of "world" music. Who is this groove-oriented master of the trap set?|
Stewart Copeland. After the Police broke up in 1986, Copeland turned his talents to composing. He is the author of film scores for "Talk Radio", "Wall Street", and "See No Evil, Hear No Evil", as well as television themes for "The Equalizer" and "Dead Like Me".
|Our sixth drummer drumming came to prominence in the 1940s after a prolonged recording strike by the musicians' union. A new style of jazz, called "bebop", was bursting onto the scene, and this drummer steadily emerged as the percussive voice of this movement. Who was this archetypal bebop drummer?|
Max Roach. Roach's playing emphasized polyrhythms - a drummer playing multiple figures at a time. This and other innovations did much to liberate the drums from their role as timekeepers. Roach's work served as a fine complement to the innovations of fellow musicians Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charles Mingus - while at the same time establishing Roach as a great soloist himself!
|The seventh drummer drumming is a longtime favorite of Funtrivia music sachems. Best known for his work with the Canadian rock group Rush, this well-respected performer had an artistic crisis in the early 1990s, which led to him completely reinventing his style along the lines of Buddy Rich. Who is this eclectic performer?|
Neil Peart. In addition to his superlative drumming, Peart also writes the bulk of Rush's songs. In 1976, Peart drew upon the anti-collectivist philosophies of Ayn Rand for the band's breakthrough recording, "2112". Peart has also drawn from science-fiction and fantasy literature in his search for new ideas, while musically he is one of the few rock drummers of his caliber to continually pursue formal instruction all through his career.
|Our eighth drummer in line was probably the preeminent percussionist of the 1930s. As a longstanding member of Benny Goodman's groups, he played a major role in jazz's racial integration, anchoring small ensembles with Goodman on clarinet and great Black musicians like pianist Teddy Wilson, vibraphonist Lionel Hampton, and guitarist Charlie Christian rounding things out. Who was this drummer, perhaps best known for his opus "Sing, Sing, Sing"?|
Gene Krupa. In anti-Semitic Nazi Germany, records by artists with Jewish names were banned. Benny Goodman's record company got around this by pressing the overseas versions under Krupa's name. The vaunted drummer would go on to lead his own bands, employing great soloists like trumpeter Roy Eldridge and singer Anita O'Day.
|Our ninth drummer drumming first came to prominence in the house band for the country radio show "Louisiana Hayride". In 1954, a visitor to the program named Elvis Presley tabbed him to play for his embryonic touring band, and the rest was history. What seminal rock and roll drummer made his mark by playing on most of Elvis' best-known records, effectively setting the rock drumming standard for years to come?|
D. J. Fontana. Fontana's time with Elvis lasted, off and on, through the "soundtrack" years of the 1960s and included an understated performance at the King's widely-seen 1968 television special, which saw the drummer content himself with playing on a guitar case with a single ride cymbal. Fontana also worked with rockabilly figures Carl Perkins (that's him on "Blue Suede Shoes") and Gene Vincent.
|The tenth drummer drumming in this corps of excellence is known less as a prodigy on skins than as a great leader and cultivator of talent. Known for the archetypal "hard bop" tune "Moanin'", this drummer's group, the Jazz Messengers, would be a training ground for trumpeters Freddie Hubbard and Wynton Marsalis, as well as sax great Wayne Shorter and trombonist Curtis Fuller. Who was this jazz innovator?|
Art Blakey. At the risk of being redundant, the many distinguished alumni of Blakey's bands really does bear reciting. In addition to those above, the Jazz Messengers would provide a starting point for pianists Keith Jarrett and Horace Silver, sax players Hank Mobley, Benny Golson, and Branford Marsalis, brass artists Chuck Mangione, Lee Morgan, and Donald Byrd, and guitarist Kevin Eubanks.
|Finally, our last two drummers round out the dozen that the proverbial true love is given on January 6. Both of these musicians were widely acclaimed as among the best of all rock artists of the 1960s and '70s, providing the rhythmic foundation for innovative hard rock groups The Who and Led Zeppelin. Unfortunately, both men embraced what has become the stereotypical wild lifestyle of the rock and roll drummer, and both died from chemical indulgences in 1978 and 1980, respectively. Who were these incredible, tragic talents?|
Keith Moon and John Bonham. Bonham was known as the most powerful of drummers, kicking a mighty thump on his bass and using his oversize sticks, known as "trees", to devastating effect. The artistic side of his playing was often underrated, however, as drummers attempting to tackle Led Zeppelin's deceptively complex rhythms find out daily. Moon's playing was also complex, and it was often said that each of his limbs had a mind of its own.
Here's hoping you had a fine Twelve Days of Christmas! From the Quiz Makers' Guild, bless us, every one.
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