Drummer Buddy Harman: Shaping The ‘Nashville Sound’

Drummer Buddy Harman

Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” has a simple, but great opening: a pounding snare on every downbeat, and the hi-hat on the eights. It takes a genius to keep it simple and make it sound distinctively at the same time.

The genius in this case is Buddy Harman, a Nashville studio drummer who was essential in shaping the classic and sophisticated “Nashville Sound” in the late nineteen-fifties and early nineteen-sixties.

You’re not sure, if you ever heard him play? Don’t worry, you heard him countless times. He played on many classic country and pop hit records such as Crazy (Patsy Cline), Bye Bye Love (Everly Brothers), Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash), Stand By Your Man (Tammy Wynette) or Viva Las Vegas (Elvis Presley). According to Drummerworld he played on 18,000 recording sessions in the last 40 years.

Listen to “The Drum History Minute”, a short but very informative introduction to Buddy Harman’s style of drumming narrated by drummer Daniel Glass:

This little piece of audio is a real ear opener and you will treasure the fine and discreet drumming of Buddy Harman even more next time you hear him playing.

Update Article from New York Times (August 22, 2008): Buddy Harman, 79, Busy Nashville Drummer, Is Dead

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