Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental amanuensis Hop-Sing and I are off to a Japanese tuna boat somewhere in the South Pacific, where we'll be catching up with National Review's first annual William F. Buckley Memorial Fuck the Dolphins Cruise. Which means, of course, that posting by moi will necessarily be somewhat fitful for a few days.
But until then, as always, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:
MOST EXCITING, INVENTIVE, OR JUST PLAIN COOL WORK BY A DRUMMER ON A HIT SINGLE OR ALBUM CUT OF THE SEVENTIES!!!!!!!!
Totally arbitrary rule: No prog-rock or fusion need apply, unless I decide otherwise. Which means, I'm sorry to say, that Bill Bruford and Tony Williams can, uh, you know, blow me.
That said, here's my totally top of my head Top Eight:
8. Devo -- Satisfaction (1976)
That's the unheralded Alan Myers playing that brilliantly spazz mutation of the Stones' original straight four. Sound simple? Let's see YOU do it, bub!
7. Al Green -- Let's Stay Together (1972)
The late great Al Jackson pretty much invented the particularly sinuous Memphis groove that the Reverend Green rides here. Sheer bliss.
6. Faces -- Stay With Me (1972)
This live clip is a real find I think, but it ends before the recorded version did and thus misses some of Kenny Jones' most wonderful drum fills. Go get the album, pronto.
5. Elvis Costello and the Attractions -- Pump It Up (1978)
Pete Thomas makes that tiny little drum kit sound like an apocalypse on this one, which remains one of the all-time great rock n roll dance songs largely because of his primordial pounding.
4. Rolling Stones --
(a tie) Tumbling Dice (1971)
and Rip This Joint (1971)
Charlie Watts, natch. When Mick Jagger noted (on "Get Yer Ya-Yas Out") that "Charlie's good tonight, isn't he?" he really meant "Charlie's good every night." On the studio versions (no less than here) of these two Stones classics, Charlie absolutely lays 'em in the aisles.
3. Bruce Springsteen -- Rosalita (1973)
That's the studio version, featuring Vinnie "Mad Dog" Lopez, the guy manager/producer Jon Landau kicked out of the band because he played too imaginatively. Not so oddly, the wonderful out of control almost jazz feel that informed Springsteen's music at the time immediately vanished with him. Yes, now it can be told: I think Max Weinberg is a great drummer with his own band on Conan O'Brien -- with Springsteen, not so much.
2. The Raspberries -- Tonight (1973)
The ultimate Beatles Meet The Who synthesis, and drummer Jim Bonfanti covers himself in glory as both Ringo and Keith Moon.
2. Led Zeppelin -- Fool in the Rain (1979)
A truly monster groove from the late John Bonham, and as my dear friend and drummer extraordinaire Glen Bob Allen puts it, "Bonzo's feel on the tune and the roll he does coming out of the Latin break back into the refrain is just beee-uuuu-tiful."
And the number one, nobody even comes close, coolest drum performance on a 70s song is ---
1. The Who -- Won't Get Fooled Again (1971)
Four guys playing and singing at their absolute peak, but guess who steals it? Once again, as Greil Marcus famously remarked: "Keith Moon playing lead drums -- after all these years, the audacity of it still takes your breath away."
Alrighty now -- what would your choices be?
[h/t the aforementioned Glen Bob Allen -- if you're in the vicinity of Manhattan, go see him tomorrow with the French Cookin Blues Band at B.B. King's!!!!]