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Drummer Bobby Graham has died


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Drummer Bobby Graham, who played on an estimated 15,000 albums and 107 Top 50 Hits, 13 of which reached No. 1, died Monday as a result of a four-month battle with stomach cancer. He was 69.

Graham began his career in the late '50s and his session resume reads like a who's-who in classic rock. He worked with Dusty Springfield, Joe Cocker, Jimmy Page, Marianne Faithful, Tom Jones, the Animals, Rod Stewart and Them, the Irish garage rock band that featured Van Morrison. A successful backing drummer in early Brit-pop bands like the Stormers,Graham became one of the most sought after drummers around.

One of his largest claims to fame is also one of the most controversial. Graham claimed to have played the drums on many of the hits of the Dave Clark Five, in place of Clark himself. Many people present at the time have supported this allegation, though Clark denies it.

Ancient music legend even has it that Graham passed on an opportunity to join the Beatles after founding drummer Pete Best was dismissed from the band. Graham told Beatles manager Brian Epstein that he didn't want to leave his steady-paid spot in Brit rock guitarist Joe Brown's backing band, the Bruvvers, to join a band no one outside of Liverpool had ever heard of.

However, Graham's backbeat made its way onto some major hits, namely the Kinks' 'You Really Got Me' and 'Tired of Waiting for You,' Petula Clark's 'Downtown' and Them's 'Gloria.' Eventually Graham would leave the drum seat and work as a producer for EMI's Dutch label. Between 1973 and '75, he produced several Christian acts and opened the Trading Post, a collectors' record shop in his Edmonton, UK hometown. In the '80s he started a career as a producer for corporate training videos and private events, but would pick up the drumsticks again forming the local band the Jazz Experience.

Approached by the Kinks' Ray Davies, Graham would appear on the 1998 album 'The Storyteller.' Proving to be a jack of all trades, he penned his autobiography 'The Session Man' and in 2000 was audibly immortalized with the Rollercoaster Records album 'Crazy Drums/Crazy Drummer.'

"He was one of a small band of English musicians who had the right attitude," the Kinks Dave Davies said of Graham. "Bobby would hit the drums so hard the engineers never had any trouble recording him. He was a great inspirational drummer."

He is survived by his wife, Belinda, his son, Shawn, and his brother, Ian.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Bobby several years ago. He was fun to talk to and he had a lot of interesting stories about Jimmy.

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