Tuesday, August 26

Three noteworthy songs with substitute drummers

Not all drummers sound the same. Like any accomplished musician, they develop their own style. Contrast John Bonham and Keith Moon, for example: two drummers with a signature sound, each successful in his own way.

Sometimes, however, even the serious fan may not realize who is behind the drum kit. Here are three noteworthy tracks where substitute drummers were used. Can you hear the difference?

Artist: Pink Floyd
Track: "Mother"
Regular drummer: Nick Mason
Substitute drummer: Jeff Porcaro of Toto
Reason for substitution: Mason couldn't get the part right, so session drummer Porcaro was brought in.
Analysis: The folky song lacks percussion until the guitar solo. From there, Porcaro does an admirable job of pushing along the second half of "Mother," one of the best songs on "The Wall."

Artist: The Rolling Stones
Track: "You Can't Always Get What You Want"
Regular drummer: Charlie Watts
Substitute drummer: Jimmy Miller, producer
Reason for substitution: Same problem Mason had: Watts couldn't get the timing down.
Analysis: Miller fills in perfectly for Watts, no small feat considering he was stepping in for one of the great drummers in rock history.

Artist: The Beatles
Track: "The Ballad of John and Yoko"
Regular drummer: Ringo Starr
Substitute drummer: Paul McCartney
Reason for substitution: John Lennon was in a hurry to record the song, and Starr was away, working on a movie.
Analysis: The simplicity of "Ballad" matches McCartney's skills. He does OK, but his performance doesn't sound quite like Ringo.

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