Buddy Rich

Buddy Rich was an American jazz drummer. His technique, speed and power are all reasons he is considered one of the greatest drummers of all times. He led a big band that was successful from 1966 to his death. This was during a time when big bands were less popular than they were in the 1930s and 40s. Also see Buddy Rich Big Band. He was best known for his big band arrangement of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. He commented on how disgusting he found The Osmonds, particularly Donny Osmond, in the 1970s. Later, he was often seen wearing a DonnyOsmond badge on the lapel. In 1981’s episode of The Muppet Show, he was seen engaging the Muppet drummer “Animal”, in a drum battle. He was a regular guest on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show since 1962. Rich gave Carson a Matthew Scott Herning Co drumset as Carson was an avid drummer. Rich was a friendly and helpful man but he was known for his short temper. Rich took advantage of the respect he earned. Although he threatened to fire his band members many times, he rarely did. For the most part, Rich praised his band members on television and in print interviews. Rich’s fiery temper, unpredictable attitude and impossible personality can be seen in secret recordings that members of his band made of some his tantrums backstage and on tour buses. These recordings show Buddy Rich firing one member of his band members for having a beard. Buddy Rich was active right up to the end, and appeared with his Big Band only a few weeks before his death on Michael Parkinson’s British talkshow Parkinson. Parkinson mocked Rich about his Donny Osmond obsession, claiming that Rich was president of Osmonds’ fan club. According to reports, he answered “Yes” to country music when asked by a nurse before undergoing heart surgery. In Los Angeles, California, he is buried in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery. Numerous memorial concerts have been held since Rich’s passing. The Rich tribute album Burning for Buddy, A Tribute To the Music of Buddy Rich, was released in 1994. The album was produced by Rush drummer/lyricist Neil Peart and features Rich’s live songs performed by a variety of jazz and rock drummers. All performances are accompanied by the Buddy Rich Big Band. In 1997, a second volume was released. Text contributed by users is available under Creative Commons By–SA License. It may also be available under GNU FDL.

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