The groove for this classic beat is usually played on the toms and is derived from a 3:2 son clave pattern that’s the basis of many Latin music styles.
This track employs a two-handed unison shuffle with quarter-notes played underneath on the bass drum, known as the “Prima shuffle.” This groove remains very popular today.
The first time I heard the intro to this song I thought it was a different version of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock And Roll.” I later learned John Bonham “borrowed” Connor’s pattern almost note for note for Zeppelin’s better-known song.
This track was important because it marks the transition from shuffle-based grooves to straight rock patterns. Earl Palmer played the eighth-note rhythm of Little Richard’s piano part on his snare with his right hand and played backbeats with his left.
The original version of this class song features a typical surf or twist beat characterized by the snare playing 2& and 4. The original recording has a quiet bass drum, though on later recordings the four-on-the-floor pattern is more obvious.
This classic tom tom drum solo was based on drummer Ron Wilson’s high school marching band cadence and can be thought of as surf music’s “Sing, Sing, Sing.” It’s one of the first beats drummers often learn and is in a rare class of beats that are instantly identifiable even by non-drummers.