200 Greatest! Albums & Performances
Babatunde Olatunji’s Drums Of Passion
Recognized as the first “world music” album, Olatunji’s 1960 percussion opus presented hand drums as the main dish rather than accompaniment. It’s also five times Platinum.
Sonny Payne and Sam Woodyard
At the end of “Battle Royal” from Count Basie’s 1961 album First Time! The Count Meets The Duke, Payne and Woodyard’s parts symbiotically blend rather than play tug-o-war.
The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show
This three-minute broadcast in 1964 inspired more kids to devote their lives to drumming than just about anything. Besides Starr’s matched-grip, uptempo straight playing, the episode established the drummer situated on a riser behind the band rather than to the side.
Hand Percussion on “For Your Love”
The 1965 song by British Invasion band The Yardbirds was notable for the way BBC radio presenter and session drummer Jimmy Piercey furiously played bongos. His part was so crucial that Yardbirds lead singer Keith Relf would sideline the bongo part while lip-synching the song during televised appearances.
Tony Williams on “Agitation”
Williams’ intro on this Miles Davis song from 1965 release E.S.P. is a two-minute stream of chops, nuance, and textural free soloing.
Elvin Jones on A Love Supreme
Hard-bop saxophonist John Coltrane’s 1965 album is considered a gateway to his free-jazz phase. Jones’ bookending solos in “Pursuance,” one part of a four-song suite, is the accessible part of this actually unnervingly complex work.