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    Londin, Larrie (15 October 1943 – August 24, 1992)

    Drummer from Norfolk, Virginia, who was raised in Florida but returned to his home town in the 1950s.  He started playing when he was fifteen and was soon good enough to drum in some local bands.  Ironically, his first recording credit was as a vocalist trying to do an Elvis impersonation.  In later years, he would join the King on the road and in the studio.

     

    He and his brother Lonnie relocated to Detroit, Michigan, and haunted the Motown offices, waiting for a break.  Their band was called The Headliners and they were signed by Motown and released a couple of singles, including one named “We Call it Fun.” 

     

    Larrie was destined for bigger things, however.  In those days, Berry Gordy had one go-to guy who sat behind the drum kit for Motown recordings.  His name was Bennie Benjamin.  One day, Berry informed Larrie that Bennie had had a heart attack, and he needed a replacement.  Soon, Larrie found himself working sixteen-hour days and cutting five to six sides a day.  One of these was “Shotgun” by Junior Walker & the All-Stars. 

     

    Eventually, he decided to leave Motown and move to Nashville, Tennessee.  He found some TV work there and appeared on Tennessee Ernie Ford’s and Porter Waggoner’s shows and Hee-Haw.  He also got a chance to play on the Grand OlOpry.  It did not hurt that Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed were a couple of his early champions, and before long, he was in the studio with the likes of Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Elvis Presley, Charlie Pride, and Hank Snow. 

     

    The recording date with Elvis turned out to be more than just a one-shot deal.  It was the beginning of a nine-year collaboration with the King that culminated with concerts in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1977. 

     

    In 1977, Larrie drummed on “Sometimes When We Touch” a #3 hit for Dan Hill.  Further proving his versatility, he appeared on Journey’s 1986 album, Raised on Radio, and Steve Perry’s solo effort, Street Talk.  In the 1980s, he joined The Cherry Bombs, providing the backbeat to country-rock vocalist, Rodney Crowell.

     

    Other artists and groups with whom he has worked include Bobby Bare, Larry Carlton, Rosanne Cash, Joe Cocker, England Dan & John Ford Coley, The Everly Brothers, Dan Fogelberg, The Four Tops, Glenn Frey, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Tom Jones, B.B. King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Mathis, Reba McEntire, Ronnie Milsap, Wilson Pickett, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, Dolly Parton, Boots Randolph, Lionel Ritchie, Lee Ritenour, Smokey Robinson, Linda Ronstadt, Diana Ross, Ricky Skaggs, The Supremes, The Temptations, Randy Travis, Hank Williams, Jr., Stevie Wonder, and Neil Young.

     

    In 1992, Larrie drummed in the Command Performance for the President.  Shortly thereafter, he collapsed during an appearance at North Texas State University and was spirited away to a hospital, where he lay in a coma until his death on 24th August.  He was interred at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Nashville.

     

    Larrie left behind a staggering amount of recordings and a meaningful musical legacy.  He brought the muscle of Motown to Music City, U.S.A., and transformed the Nashville sound.  A staple on drummers’ best-of lists, he practiced tirelessly and could seemingly perform in any genre. 

     

    In 1999, Alfred Publishing released PAS Larrie Londin Benefit Concert, the proceeds from which go to the PAS Larrie Londin Scholarship Fund.

     

    Sources:

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larrie_Londin
    2. http://www.elvispresleymusic.com.au/articles/tcb_band_larrie_londin.html
    3. http://www.drummerworld.com/drummers/Larrie_Londin.html
    4. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-larrie-londin-1549935.html
    5. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=10981

     

             

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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