lessons

The Trickiest Drum Intros On Record

“I Wish” by Stevie Wonder
This one looks obvious on paper, but I’ve known several students and have seen other drummers who have messed it up live. It’s funny how some of these intros may completely baffle one drummer while being obvious to another. If this one throws you, the melody of the bass line or the snare accent on the & of 4 may be the source of the problem.

“Take It Easy” by The Eagles
The Eagles were known for their bluesy country-influenced pop-rock songs, which populated the airways for over a decade. With members like Joe Walsh, Glenn Frey, and Don Henley on drums and vocals, it’s not hard to imagine why this supergroup had a string of radio hits. “Take It Easy” was but one of several Eagles tunes that had tricky intros. The guitar accent pattern is usually misperceived as being played on 1 2& &4& in every measure up to the drum entrance in the ninth bar. The trick to this one is that the guitar chords actually come in on count 4.

“Start Me Up” by The Rolling Stones
Perhaps the best-known recorded screw up of all time. Charlie Watts had a problem finding 1 with Keith Richard’s guitar intro to “Start Me Up,” screwed up his entrance, and then tried to fix it as it went along. That would make this the best-known train wreck ever to become a hit song and make oodles of dollars in the process. I’m sure he laughed all the way to the bank. Oh well, it just goes to show that sometimes a mistake can be the most interesting thing you can play.

“Since You’re Gone” by The Cars
The Cars were another popular ’80s band that was all over the radio and MTV with a string of huge hits. “Since You’re Gone” begins with drum machine handclaps, then later with keyboards and guitars. The handclaps are primarily responsible for this auditory illusion. The tendency is to hear them on the downbeats rather than the upbeats.

“The Crunge” by Led Zeppelin
I included this song simply because the last time I wrote it out, I screwed it up. An astute reader of DRUM! (and aren’t you all?) pointed out the mistake to me, and I’ve wanted to correct it ever since. My mistake was to loop the first measure of the groove with software and not count the entire intro out. I assumed the pattern started on count 1, when it actually starts on count 6. If I’d counted further into the tune, I’d have noticed that both the bass and guitar entrances suggest the actual placement of count 1.

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  • Thanks for the Mitch Mitchell intro tracks anything by Mitch works for me.

  • I’m with you 100 percent. Mitch was my biggest influence.

  • You guys should check out Matt Cameron’s intro on God Don’t Make Lonely Girls by The Wallflowers.  Definitely made me think harder than usual!

  • *Matt Chamberlain, not Matt Cameron

  • “Take It Easy” by The Eagles actually comes in on the “&” of 4.  Check out this link for an out loud count: http://roger-davis.home.comcast.net/~roger-davis/MP3’s/TIE.mp3

  • Yeah, I can hear it on the Eagles.

  • How about “I Want You To Want Me” by Cheap Trick?  There is something different in the beginning of that song that always seems to trip me up thinking I’m dropping a beat. Would love to see it written out.