Most recorded drummers - Who gets your nod?

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
The most recorded drummers of all time: Hal Blaine and John Jr. Robinson. Whom do you prefer more? The modern, pushing and precise rock&pop sound of drummer Robinson or the "laissez-faîre old-school" vibe of Blaines 50s-70s drumming? In my case it's Blaine (obviously). He had that "little extra musicality", that certain "voice" that you'll never forget once you hear his grooves.



Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Definitely Hal in terms of more recognizable and original playing. JR is fabulous, but hasn't done nearly as much groundbreaking (pop-music wise) as Hal did in his relatively brief heyday.

In terms of sheer ability, JR plays circles around Hal. But we all know it's not about that unless you're playing with Zappa.



Gold Member
According to Wikipedia, the Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame said JR is "the most recorded drummer in history, even surpassing the great Hal Blaine." I didn't think anyone had recorded more than Hal Blaine.

So what would be the highlight recordings from both of them in your opinion?
I'd say John Robinson is probably most respected or most thought about amongst drummers for his groove on Ain't Nobody. I was around when that song was new, and it was THE groove that drummers talked about and learnt in the same way as when Gadd created his patterns for 50 Ways and Late in the Evening.


Senior Member
I wouldn't compare the two. HB is more of a legend than JR, but he was in a different environment.

JR is unbelievable in a subtle way, for example years ago I went to see the movie "Hairspray" and was blown away by the drumming on the soundtrack. It was JR. Or take the old hit 'Just a gigolo' I believe that was him as well.


Silver Member
Hi WD. Do jingles count? If so you might want to count some others also.

Hal Blaine

Jim Keltner

Bernard Purdie

Andy Newmark

Earl Palmerl
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Platinum Member
I'm still recovering from seeing Robsinson play at the Baked Potato ~20 years ago. He played really, really loud. Never seen anyone play their cymbals that hard, especially in such a small space. I've never sought either player out just to listen to their drumming. For drummers who have recorded a lot, I'm more interested in Steve Gadd, Harvey Mason, Ndugu Leon Chancler, Jim Keltner, John Guerin, Jim Gordon, Roger Hawkins...

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
So what would be the highlight recordings from both of them in your opinion?
John Jr. Robinson rings my bell less often, to be hones. I think "Hey, that's JJR", whenever I hear "Ain't nobody", "All night long", "We are the world" and "I wanna dance with somebody (Who loves me)" and "Bad". That's about it. Really 100% 80's/90's pop.

Hal Blaine... uuuh... I hear and recognize him really often. "Everyody loves somebody", "America", "Mr. Tamourine Man", "Monday monday", "These boots are made for walking", "Be my bay", "Aquarius/Let the sunshine in", "Bridge over troubled water", "Indian Reservation", "California Dreaming", "Return to sender", "Good vibrations", "A taste of honey", "A little less conversation", ... I better stop. It's just so many many classic songs that really almost everybody knows.


Senior Member
As someone pointed out before, the drum part for Ain't Nobody was probably not recorded in one go, but still this lick is great to try (almost impossible to do in the chorus with the open hihat...)

On a very good day I can do it, sort of. Generally, it seems easier to play such hihat foot parts heel up. JR of course plays the bass drum part heel down!


Senior Member
No mention yet of Jeff Porcaro or Larrie London. A couple of heavyweights in their own right.


Platinum Member
For sheer workload in a short period of time Hal Blaine. Regardless of ability that guy worked his arse off as did Earl Palmer and Jim Gordon.

I can't imagine recording all day in LA then flying to Vegas to perform live, fly home, rinse and repeat. If you're not preforming you're doing another session.

The L.A. hit making machine in the 60s was a frightening beast. The amount of money being made doesn't bare thinking about.

Purdie has got to be up there as well.

As much as JR and Jeff ruled the roost in the late 70s/80s, the music industry had changed so much from the 60s.


Gold Member
Jim Gordon

But between Hal Blaine and JR Robinson, I like JR's drumming more but I think Hal Blaine played on better music.
I think my favorite track with JR is Back in the High Life, Steve Winwood. He kills on that whole record. Hal Blaine is in a class all by himself though.