We here at Beato’s Blog wanted to take a moment to honor the anniversary of the passing of perhaps the greatest drummer the world has ever seen; Bernard “Buddy” Rich. Rich, who was loved and known to so many as a virtuoso, died in Los Angeles on April 2, 1987, which was 29 years ago. Born in Brooklyn, Rich was known for his intricate, complicated, but flawless playing and particularly his epic drum solos. His various stints on The Tonight Show when Johnny Carson was at the helm are legendary.
When he died Rich was only 69 years of age.
Since his passing, Rich has been the subject of numerous memorials however, The Burning For Buddy tribute album from 1994 is perhaps the most notable. (The 1994 release was the first volume. A second volume was released in 1997 followed by a 5 hour documentary which came out in 2006 and it was entitled The Making Of Burning For Buddy). The 1994 album, which featured numerous iconic players including Neil Peart, Simon Phillips, Dave Weckl, and Steve Gadd (just to name a few), also had these players performing with the Buddy Rich Big Band. The final product was nothing short of historic. In fact, check out this clip of Neil Peart performing Cotton Tail:
Editor’s Note: The clip of Peart performing Cotton Tail above was actually from an April 8, 1991 performance at the Ritz Theater in New York City during a Buddy Rich memorial concert.
In the end, there isn’t much we can say about Buddy Rich that has not been said before. His greatness was evident in his playing and regardless of how one views his personal opinions or his persona, Buddy was an outstanding performer who, in our opinion, has yet to be eclipsed and perhaps never will be. Therefore, we wanted to take a moment to remember the man whom many in the music industry will simply never forget; we know we won’t. So, we leave you with one of the more popular clips of Buddy performing on The Tonight Show:
Editor’s Note: If you visit the Los Angeles area make sure and stop by and see our friends at The Professional Drum Shop which is located in Hollywood at 854 Vine Street (phone 323-469-6285). There, you can see up close and personal a kit actually played by Buddy Rich. (The kit is pictured below).