Hall of Fame drummer Earl Palmer dead at 84

September 20, 2008 7:14:47 AM PDT
Earl Palmer, the session drummer whose pioneering backbeats were recorded on such classics as Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" and The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin,"' has died. He was 84.

Palmer died Friday at his Los Angeles home after fighting a lengthy illness, his spokesman Kevin Sasaki said.

Born in New Orleans in 1924 and later moving to Los Angeles, Palmer worked extensively in both cities, recording with some of the music world's all-time greats on thousands of tracks.

His beats form the backdrop on Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High," Fats Domino's "The Fat Man" and "I Hear You Knockin"' by Smiley Lewis.

From his Los Angeles home, Palmer drummed for music producer Phil Spector and Motown, and his session credits include artists as diverse as the Monkees, Neil Young and Frank Sinatra.

Palmer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. According to the institution's Web site, Little Richard wrote in his autobiography that Palmer "is probably the greatest session drummer of all time."

Palmer married four times and is survived by his seven children.


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