Scouring liner notes of old records can be very rewarding when it comes to tracing the development of the musicians you admire. Today we are looking at an interesting connection between singing and playing the drums. More legendary singers than you may know actually play drums—it seems to speak to the way great singers hear and understand rhythm. Take a look below at three of our favorite singers who play drums.
Stevie Wonder is one of those musicians that you know can pick up any instrument and make it sound good, but rarely do people think of his accomplishments as a drummer. Beginning with his days as a producer at Motown, Stevie was learning how to play drums. As the story goes, Stevie was producing the Spinners classic, "It's A Shame" and became dissatisfied with the beat Uriel Jones was putting down. Unable to convey what he wanted to Jones, Stevie sat down at the drum set and played what you hear on the record today.
Wonder also played drums on many of his own hit tracks including "Superstition," "Too High,"I Wish," and more.
Before developing into one of the greatest singers who ever lived, Gaye was actually playing drums with the Funk Brothers on sessions for Martha and the Vandellas, the Spinners, the Miracles, the Marvelettes, and even Stevie Wonder (when he was called Little Stevie Wonder). Marvin was the drummer on Motown's first No. 1 single on the pop charts, “Please Mr. Postman,” among others, though he remains uncredited on many.
Maurice White is probably best known as the longtime singer and founder of Earth, Wind, and Fire, but before he lent his incredible voice and songwriting talents to his own band, White played drums. More specifically Maurice White was the drummer on upwards of nine Ramsey Lewis albums as a part of his band and trio. Though we are all familiar with White's pioneering Kalimba use with EWF, it was actually with Lewis that he first recorded with a Kalimba on "Uhuru."