John Guerin

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John Guerin
Guerin in San Francisco, 1976
Background information
Birth nameJohn Payne Guerin
Born(1939-10-31)October 31, 1939
Hawaii, U.S.
DiedJanuary 5, 2004(2004-01-05) (aged 64)
West Hills, California, U.S.

John Payne Guerin (October 31, 1939 – January 5, 2004) was an American percussionist. He was a proponent of the jazz-rock style.[1]


Guerin was born in Hawaii and raised in San Diego. As a young drummer, he began performing with Buddy DeFranco in 1960. In the late 1960s, he moved to Los Angeles where his drum work was utilized by artists including Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, George Harrison, Frank Zappa, The Animals, Joni Mitchell, Them, Thelonious Monk, Lou Rawls, Ray Conniff, George Shearing, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Linda Ronstadt, Nelson Riddle and many others.

From July 1972 to January 1973, he was the drummer for The Byrds and joined the L.A. Express later that year. The band served as Joni Mitchell's back-up band on tour during the mid- to late-1970s; Guerin had a brief relationship with Mitchell during that time. She later wrote the song Hejira about leaving him.

Guerin was an exponent of the jazz-rock style and played in many different genres, including for film and television.[1] Among his contributions to motion picture and television scores, Guerin worked on the soundtrack to the 1988 film homage to Charlie Parker, Bird by Clint Eastwood. Those are also his drums on the theme song during the opening credits for the 1968 television series Hawaii Five-O.

In later years, Guerin worked with Oscar Peterson, Jon Faddis, Jimmy Heath, Ray Charles, Sonny Rollins, Justin Morell, Andreas Pettersson, David Basse, David Garfield, Gary Lemel, and Mike Melvoin.

Guerin died of heart failure on January 5, 2004, in West Hills, California.[2]

Selected discography[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With David Axelrod

With The Beach Boys

With Michael Franks

With Terry Garthwaite

  • Terry (Arista, 1975)
  • Hand in Glove (Fantasy, 1978)

With David Gates

With Jack Jones

  • Harbour (RCA Victor, 1974)
  • What I Did For Love (RCA Victor, 1975)

With Peggy Lee

With Melanie

  • Photograph (Atlantic, 1976)
  • Seventh Wave (Neighbourhood Records, 1983)

With Joni Mitchell

With Oliver Nelson

With Aaron Neville

  • The Grand Tour (A&M Records, 1993)
  • Aaron Neville's Soulful Christmas (A&M Records, 1993)

With Tom Pacheco

  • The Outsider (RCA, 1976)
  • Swallowed Up in the Great American Heartland (RCA Victor, 1976)

With Howard Roberts

With Linda Ronstadt

With Diane Schuur

  • Love Walked In (GRP, 1996)
  • Music Is My Life (Atlantic, 1999)

With Seals and Crofts

With Bud Shank

With O. C. Smith

  • Together (Caribou, 1977)

With Patrick Williams

With Frank Zappa

With others


  1. ^ a b "John Guerin Obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 15 January 2004.
  2. ^ "John Guerin, 64, Popular Drummer". The New York Times. Associated Press. 18 January 2004.

External links[edit]