W. S. Holland
|This biographical article relies on references to primary sources. (October 2011)|
W. S. "Fluke" Holland (born April 22, 1935, in Saltillo, Tennessee) is a drummer who worked extensively with numerous rock and roll musicians, beginning with Carl Perkins, but became well known as the drummer in singer Johnny Cash's succession of backing bands: The Tennessee Three, The Great Eighties Eight, and The Johnny Cash Show Band. Holland played drums on the 1955 Sun Records recording of "Blue Suede Shoes" by Perkins, the song's writer and original performer.
Holland earned the nickname Fluke while working at a filling station. He would use "fluke" as a slang term to replace other nouns. For example, "look at that car," became "look at that fluke." The owner of the station began calling Holland "Fluke" and the nickname stuck. A common, yet understandable, misconception is that Holland earned the nickname "Fluke" because of his improbable entry into the music industry. At the time he made his first recording for Sun Records, he had played the drums just once before. A major break came with his performance on Perkins' recording of "Blue Suede Shoes". In the months to follow, Holland pioneered the use of drums in rock and roll music, well before Elvis Presley began touring with a drummer.
Holland went on to perform on the "Million Dollar Quartet" session that featured Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash. Holland's contribution to rock and roll has been recognized by several respected drummers, including Ringo Starr of The Beatles, as being a major influence in their careers. In 1960, Holland joined Johnny Cash as a touring and recording artist and is heard on many of Cash's famous songs, including "Ring of Fire." It is reported that Johnny Cash said to him, "I want you to work with me on every show I play for as long as I'm in the business," which ended up being the case.
Holland appeared with the Carl Perkins band in the 1957 rock and roll movie Jamboree, performing "Glad All Over."
Today, Holland heads up the "Ultimate Johnny Cash Tribute Show" with Cash tribute artist Frank Hamilton & The New Tennessee Three. The tribute tours nationally and recently released their first CD entitled, "One More Time."
Holland's contribution to rock and roll and the signature sound of Johnny Cash's Tennessee 3 has earned him recognition the world over as a true American music pioneer. He continues to influence musicians and music artists internationally.