I have reviewed hundreds of albums from the sixties through the nineties and one name that pops up with regularity is session drummer Jim Keltner. He has played with a virtual wing of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Steely Dan, The Traveling Wilburys, Barbra Streisand, Mick Jagger, Jerry Garcia, Joni Mitchell, Brian Wilson, The Bee Gees, and dozens of others have employed him as their session drummer. Not bad for a person whose first claim to fame was for Gary Lewis & The Playboys 1966 hit single, “She Just My Style.”
During the early seventies he was the regular drummer for George Harrison appearing on several albums plus drumming live on The Concert For Bangladesh and the subsequent tour. He also played with Ringo Starr and John Lennon which increased his profile to one of the premier session musicians in the world.
It was the only Beatle he did not play for that set in motion one of the great jokes of the seventies. Paul McCartney’s Red Rose Speedway contained information about joining the Wings fan club. Harrison and Starr responded by including information about joining The Jim Keltner Fan Club on their albums, Living In The Material World and Ringo. It is not known how many people actually mailed in the required self addressed stamped envelope.
Now 68 years old, Kelter has remained active in the studio and on the road. In the last decade he has toured with Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Recently he has drummed in the studio for The Pretenders, Oasis, and B.B. King among others.
Still, no matter who he plays with he will always be remembered as the central character in George Harrison and Ringo Starr’s creation of The Jim Keltner Fan Club.