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
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
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.
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 Ol’ Opry. 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.
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.
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
In 1992, Larrie drummed in the Command Performance for the
President. Shortly thereafter,
he collapsed during an appearance at North Texas
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.
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.
Alfred Publishing released PAS Larrie Londin Benefit Concert, the proceeds from which go to
the PAS Larrie Londin