Honoring the Most Influential Drummers of the 20th Century
Welcome to the inaugural Classic Drummer Hall of Fame and to the establishment of its archives and museum. The team at Classic Drummer Magazine is grateful for the opportunity to recognize these gifted artists and to thank them for their contributions to music on behalf of our readers, our industry, and our publication.
As important as we feel it is, and as seriously we’ve worked to create it, the germ of the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame actually began modestly. A conversation in a funky little rib joint just outside Atlanta over a rack of baby backs and at all cold beverage launched the concept. We would have written it on the legendary “back of a napkin” but ours were covered with sauce at the time.
The Hall of Fame was conceived in the spring of 2011 as a way to make certain that the important contributions of the 20th Century’s great drummers would not fade from memory, and that those who sometimes laid down their seminal grooves in the shadows would have their art illuminated.
We invited readers, artists and the industry to cast their votes via, either the paper ballot that was enclosed in our last issue, or on-line using a digital ballot at classicdrummer.com. We received thousands of votes and the results are reflected in the pages that follow. Due to the virtual dead heat among the final half dozen or so nominees, the first induction class includes eighteen deserving greats.
Each year a new list of nominees will be announced and a new class of inductees will be honored. Each inductee receives the snare-drum-inspired Classic Drummer Hall of Fame Award, a permanent place in the Hall of Fame archives and museum for their artifacts and works, along with the respect and appreciation of music lovers everywhere.
As is the case with any new endeavor, we learned quite a bit during the process of collecting and tabulating the votes. One thing is that our readers are serious about their favorites and were not timid about suggestions for our list of fifty initial nominees. Thanks to the write-in option provided on each ballot, we found that greats such as Warren “Baby” Dodds, Bobby Caldwell, Alan White, Ian Paice, Les DeMerle, Roy Burns, Bun E. Carlos, and others would have been welcome additions to the nominees and you can expect them to appear on the ballot in 2013.
Hall of Fame Inductee Photos
The next revelation was that because many of the nominees are still very actively contributing to today’s music through touring and recording, their fanbases became energized in ways that couldn’t be expected for the post humous nominees. It is a testament to their stature that eight of the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame inductees are no longer with us.
Finally, we had hoped that this sincere gesture of recognition and appreciation would be meaningful to the artists themselves. The warm feedback we’ve received from nominees and their representatives has been very satisfying and has helped make the work of implementing this endeavor a pleasure. Our special thanks to everyone who shared their opinions, showed their respect and cast their votes for those we recognize here.
Steve Bryant - Director, Classic Drummer Hall Of Fame