He is one of the main architects of modern music.
He is one of the inventors of rock & roll.
He is mister Back Beat...
His name is Earl Palmer.
Earl Palmer was a first-call drummer on the New Orleans R&B recording scene from 1950 to 1957. Talk about a supreme recommendation — in a city renowned for its second-line rhythms and syncopated grooves, Palmer was the man, playing on countless sessions by all the immortals: Little Richard, Fats Domino, Smiley Lewis, Dave Bartholomew, and too many more to list here.
Born to a mother who was a vaudevillian, little Earl was learning rhythmic patterns as a tap dancer at age four. Such contacts led him to be around drum kits on a regular basis, and it didn't take him long to master them. Bebop jazz was his first love, but R&B and blues paid the bills starting in 1947, when Palmer joined Bartholomew's band after a stint in the army. He recorded extensively with Bartholomew protege Fats Domino, Lloyd Price, Smiley Lewis and other New Orleans artists at Cosimo Matassa's famed J&M studio. He also played on the seminal rock and roll recordings of Little Richard, who wrote in his autobiography that Palmer "is probably the greatest session drummer of all time."
Palmer remained the king of the traps at Cosimo Matassa's fabled recording studio until 1957, when a Shirley & Lee session led to an A&R offer from Aladdin Records boss Eddie Mesner. Palmer found studio work just as plentiful in Los Angeles, making major inroads into the rock, jazz, and soundtrack fields as well as playing on countless R&B dates with his frequent compadres Rene Hall on guitar and saxist Plas Johnson. Occasionally, Palmer would record as a leader — the instrumental "Johnny's House Party" for Aladdin, a couple of early-'60s albums for Liberty.
He's played on literally thousands of rock, jazz, R&B and soundtrack sessions over the years. From his home base in Los Angeles, Palmer drummed for producer Phil Spector and for Motown. His list of session credits includes artists as diverse as Ritchie Valens, Eddie Cochran, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Duane Eddy, Frank Sinatra, the Monkees, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Otis, Neil Young and Elvis Costello. Though Palmer's first love was jazz—"I lived in a jazz world," he allowed in his 1999 autobiography Backbeat: Earl Palmer's Story—he laid the foundation for rock and roll drumming with his solid stickwork and feverish backbeat.
But even the best session men grapple with a certain sense of anonymity.
So the next time you pull out Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti," Smiley Lewis "I Hear You Knockin'," Lloyd Price "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," or Fats Domino "The Fat Man," please keep in mind that it's Palmer feverishly stoking that beat — with a saucy second-line sensibility that drove those songs in fresh, utterly innovative directions. (From http://www.allmusic.com)
Here are some links:
If you want to buy his biography:
This is a great compilation on Ace records: