|Birth name||James Lee Keltner|
|Also known as||Buster Sidebury|
April 27, 1942 |
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Genres||Rock, R&B, jazz|
|Instruments||Drums, percussion, ukulele|
|Associated acts||Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, Delaney Bramlett, John Lennon, Plastic Ono Band, George Harrison, Traveling Wilburys, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, The Manhattan Transfer, Steve Miller Band, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, Neil Young, Sheryl Crow, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Harry Chapin, Joe Cocker, J J Cale|
James Lee "Jim" Keltner (born April 27, 1942) is an American drummer known primarily for his session work. He has contributed to the work of many well-known artists. Keltner is originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was characterized as "the leading session drummer in America" by Bob Dylan biographer Howard Sounes.
Keltner was initially inspired to start playing because of an interest in jazz, but the popularity of jazz was declining during the late 1950s and early 1960s, and it was the explosion of pop/rock in the mid-1960s that enabled him to break into recording work in Los Angeles. His first gig as a session musician was recording "She's Just My Style" for the pop group Gary Lewis and the Playboys.
Keltner's music career was hardly paying a living, and for several years at the outset he was supported by his wife. Toward the end of the 1960s, he finally began getting regular session work, and eventually became one of the busier drummers in Los Angeles. His earliest credited performances on record were with Gabor Szabo on the 1968 album Bacchanal.
It was his work with Leon Russell playing on Delaney & Bonnie's Accept No Substitute that attracted the attention of Joe Cocker, who recruited Russell and everyone else he could out of the Delaney & Bonnie band for his album Mad Dogs & Englishmen. Playing with Joe Cocker led to work in 1970 and 1971, on records by Carly Simon (Anticipation), Barbra Streisand (Barbra Joan Streisand), Booker T. Jones (Booker T. & Priscilla), George Harrison (The Concert for Bangladesh), and John Lennon (Imagine).
Keltner is best known for his session work on solo recordings by three of The Beatles, working often with George Harrison, John Lennon (including Lennon solo albums, as well as albums released both by the Plastic Ono Band and Yoko Ono), and Ringo Starr.
Keltner played on many key ex Beatle solo releases, including Harrisons 1973 album Living In The Material World and Lennons 1974 album Walls and Bridges. When Ringo Starr recorded his first full-fledged pop album, Ringo, Keltner was on it. Then George Harrison got him to join the band on his 1974 tour of the United States.
Keltner's relationship with the former Beatles was such that his name was used to parody McCartney on albums released by Harrison and Starr in 1973. Early that year, Paul McCartney, the only Beatle not to have worked with Keltner, included a note on the back cover of his Red Rose Speedway album, encouraging fans to join the "Wings Fun Club" by sending a "stamped addressed envelope" to an address in London. Later that year, both Harrison's Living in the Material World and Starr's Ringo contained a similar note encouraging fans to join the "Jim Keltner Fan Club" by sending a "stamped undressed elephant" to an address in Hollywood. 
Keltner played the role of the judge in the video for George Harrison's 1976 Top 30 hit, "This Song".
In 1987, Keltner, along with guitarist Ry Cooder, and bassist Nick Lowe played on John Hiatt's Bring the Family. Four years later the four musicians reunited as the band Little Village, recording an eponymous album.
In the early '90s, in the wake of a series of sessions that he played for John Hiatt, Keltner became part of the supergroup Little Village, with Hiatt, Ry Cooder, and Nick Lowe.
List of artists
Keltner, as a free-lance drummer, has worked with an endless list of artists (a comprehensive list can be found at the Jim Keltner Discography).
Jim Keltner recorded two albums with his band Attitudes for Harrison's Dark Horse label. The band also included Danny Kortchmar, David Foster and Paul Stallworth, and recorded "Attitudes" in 1975 and "Good News" in 1977.
In 1973, Keltner was the session drummer on Bob Dylan's Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, which includes the hit "Knockin' on Heaven's Door". Keltner says that session "was a monumental session for me because it was such a touching song, it was the first time I actually cried when I was playing".
Keltner has specialized in R&B, and is said to have influenced Jeff Porcaro and Danny Seraphine of Chicago. His drumming style typically melds deceptively simple drum patterns and a casual, loose feel with extraordinary precision.
Demonstrations of his style and range can be found from "Jealous Guy" on John Lennon's Imagine, the hit single "Dream Weaver" by Gary Wright, "Josie" on Aja by Steely Dan, "Watching the River Flow" by Bob Dylan and The Thorns' debut, in which he sensitively accompanies Matthew Sweet, Pete Droge and Shawn Mullins.
2000 to present
In 2000, he toured with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young on their "Tour of America".
In 2002, he briefly joined Bob Dylan's band during the European gigs while its main drummer, George Receli, recuperated from a hand injury. Later in the year, Keltner played in Concert For George, a tribute to Harrison a year following his death. Wearing the sweatshirt with a Bob Dylan logo, he reprised his role as the Wilburys' drummer, joining Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne for "Handle with Care."
In 2003, he toured with Simon & Garfunkel in their Old Friends tour.
In 2006, he toured with T-Bone Burnett in The True False Identity tour and was featured on Jerry Lee Lewis' album Last Man Standing. He played on the Ry Cooder produced recording of Mavis Staples' "We'll Never Turn Back" album.
In 2010, Keltner produced Jerry Lee Lewis' Mean Old Man duets CD. He played drums on Fistful of Mercy's debut album, As I Call You Down, which one of the band's members, Dhani Harrison, described in an interview as the first project of his that he felt worthy to bring to Keltner, who was an old family friend (Dhani is the son of George Harrison). Keltner also played on The Union by Leon Russell and Elton John, produced by T-Bone Burnett and released on October 10, 2010. He also appeared on the eponymous Eric Clapton album, on 8 of the 14 tracks.
For the 2012 release, Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International, Keltner sat in studio with Outernational band playing/covering Dylan's "When the Ship Comes In".
That same year, he recorded with Italian instrumental band Sacri Cuori on their second record, Rosario.
In 2013, Keltner appears on the track "If I Were Me" from Sound City: Real to Reel with Dave Grohl, Jessy Greene and Rami Jaffee. Also, on "Our Love Is Here To Stay", a classic Gershwin jazz standard recorded by Eric Clapton for Old Sock.
- Howard Sounes. Down the Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan Doubleday. 2001 p329. ISBN 0-552-99929-6
- Bruce Eder. "Jim Ketlner - artist biography". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
- "Jim Keltner". Drummerworld. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
- "The Beatles The Jim Keltner Fan Club UK Promo memorabilia". eil.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- "The Jim Keltner Fan Club". Blogcritics. 29 August 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- "Jim Keltner on Knockin' on Heaven's Door". Retrieved 2009-12-07.
- "Psalngs.com". Press.Psalngs.com. Retrieved 2014-01-14.
- "John Mayer, 'Born and Raised': Track-By-Track Review". Billboard. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
- "Jim Keltner on Booker T. and the MGs"(2007 Variety article by Jim Keltner)
- 2005 Interview by Modern Drummer magazine
- Jim Keltner Billboard biography
- Jim Keltner YouTube channel
- IMDb biography