I was thinking about it recently and can't find any answers, but when was the first recording or instance of a simple 4/4 rock drum beat? Who was the first drummer to do it?
I'm guessing it must have been a jazz drummer, who decided to use the bass drum on the first crotchet of the bar?
Answers on a postcard please.
And while we're at it who invented A#minor?
Have a listen to "The Fat Man" by Fats Waller, recorded in 1949 (2 years ahead of Ike Turner's "Rocket 88", also sometimes dubbed the first rock'n'roll song).
The Fat Man features Earl Palmer (RIP) on the tubs, and according to him it was the first time a drummer held the back-beat on 2&4 throughout the song, he claims it was based on an old dixie-land outro. For comparison, listen to "Rock Around The Clock" and you'll hear a much jazzier, less rock use of the auld snare drum.
As to the whole jazz drummer thing, pretty much all the early rock drummers were jazzists, they were just picking up on a new style. If you want to hear something cool listen to Chuck Berry, specifically how he plays his guitar parts as straight 16ths but his drummer plays a swung jazz groove. That comes from jazz being the predominant style that most traps players would have played. Even our whole concept of the backbeat on 2&4 really comes from jazz, not early rock.
Hope that's of some help to ye.
I presume it comes from the swing band era, where drummers became an integral part of the band's sound. Chick Webb or Butch Miles (Count Basie) maybe?
Here's one for ye greensleeves - who was the more important Hammond organist; Rick Wakeman or Jimmy Smith?
No question. Jimmy Smith!
Thanks Talkshowman. I was aware of Fats song and I suppose it is a contender for the first use of the straight backbeat. I'm just not convinced it wasn't used in a song since the drum kit came into being.
It's kind of remarkable that the pocket groove is probably the first thing a drummer learns and the simplest, yet its (only) 70 years old. Maybe i'm just being picky?
I think maybe Bea Flat used A#minor as a stage name.
Well, if you're after the very first ever recorded instance of that groove being played, if even for only a bar, I'd follow Earl Palmer's lead and look in the dixieland direction.
I mean of all the drum patterns a drummer can play it's probably inevitable that someone played that exact groove at some point, but I don't equate this to being the first recording of a basic rock beat, y'know? It's more in the jazz comping vein I'd say, whereas in the case of Earl Palmer it was a premeditated decision to purposely play just that groove throughout the song. I dunno, splitting hairs?