• Guy G. Gorman

Pirouettes, Jerry Lee, and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith

Updated: Nov 14, 2019


The elegant ballet dancer spins around and around and around and around with amazing speed, left arm out in front of her, bent at the elbow, leading the way, right arm extended, head coming around before the body, her eyes zeroing in on a point out in the audience so that she doesn't get dizzy, smile on her face.


The audience erupts into wild applause.

The old story goes that Charlie Rich auditioned at Sun Studios hoping to get a recording contract. Upon hearing him Sam Phillips advised, come back when you learn to play as badly as Jerry Lee Lewis.


I remember first listening to "Hard Again" by Muddy Waters. It was my first blues record. I loved it. I had never before heard such a jubilant, chaotic caterwauling of harmonica, guitar, piano, bass and drums. Especially the drums. That strong back beat and that awesome triplet fill: bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop!


Some years later a friend who knew I played drums asked me about a drum solo in a song he liked. I listened: There it was again: bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop!


Thing is, pirouettes are one of the easier ballet moves.


A very close friend of mine hated Jerry Lee Lewis. She said he just plays the same thing over and over (straight eighths): bahmp, bahmp, bahmp, bahmp, bahmp, bahmp, bahmp, bahmp...


Triplets on the snare drum are one of the easiest fills in blues and rock and roll.


It doesn't matter.


Some things are just great!


For Your Enjoyment:

"I Want to Be Loved" by Muddy Waters (featuring Willie "Big Eyes" Smith on drums.


"Big Blon' Baby" by Jerry Lee Lewis





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© 2018 Guy G. Gorman
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