Preston Heyman

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Preston Heyman
Preston Heyman World Expo Astana Kazakhstan No Mad Karma Rehearsal.jpg
Background information
Birth namePreston Ross Heyman
Born (1953-03-05) 5 March 1953 (age 69)
Paterson, New Jersey, United States
OriginLondon, England
Occupation(s)Musician, record producer
Instrument(s)Drums, percussion
Years active1971–present

Preston Heyman (born 5 March 1953) is a British record producer, drummer and percussionist, whose career spans five decades. Best known for his collaborations with Kate Bush, he was also a member of the Tom Robinson Band and has contributed to many hit recordings and worked with a diverse range of artists including Terence Trent D'arby, Tin Tin Out, Massive Attack, Paul McCartney, Tina Turner and a Grammy Award-winning film soundtrack with Mike Oldfield.

Acting career[edit]

Although principally known for his musical career, Heyman's first experiences of show business came as a child actor and student of Corona Theatre School in London; while studying there he appeared in the films Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Goodbye Mr Chips with Peter O'Toole, Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River (1968) with Jerry Lewis, and Salt and Pepper starring Sammy Davis Jr. and Rat Pack star Peter Lawford, as well as in an episode of Z-Cars.

Early musical career[edit]

During this period, Heyman became increasingly interested in music and, when asked by his classmate, guitarist Ronnie Caryl, both aged 16 and still at school, they formed a touring band fronted by former Unit 4+2 singer Tommy Moellar. They would play their hit "Concrete and Clay" sometimes three times a night up and down the country (1966–1967). He later said it was quite a musical education for the age of 16.[citation needed] In 1969, Heyman and Caryl formed the school band Sanctuary; the band's concerts often featured a friend from a rival stage school, Barbara Speake Stage School, the soon to be star Phil Collins. In a two-drummer setup, Heyman and Collins played the same fills, which became somewhat of a norm later in Genesis's career with Chester Thompson. The two were to work again later when Collins asked Heyman to work with his band Brand X as percussionist. Leaving school on the brink of his GCSE exams explaining to his parents that he would not need them in a music career, Heyman secured an album deal for Sanctuary with Polydor, recording an album at Rockfield Studios that still remains unreleased.

Early studio career[edit]

Heyman's first chart success came as a member of British R&B funk band Gonzalez,[1] drumming on their worldwide disco hit "Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet" (1975).[2] He had long been a fan and was asked by bandleader and sax player Mick Eve to join them on the eve of dates supporting Bob Marley on his Hammersmith Odeon shows. This led to many studio sessions, as the Gonzalez rhythm and brass sections were always in demand, especially with visiting U.S. artists. While in Air London Studio with Gonzalez recording tracks for their second album, Our Only Weapon Is Our Music (1975), he was watched from the door by Bryan Ferry who asked him when he finished if he would cart his drums along the corridor to the studio next door. He agreed and played on "This Island Earth" from Ferry's fifth solo album The Bride Stripped Bare (1978) alongside bass player Alan Spenner and guitarist Neil Hubbard of Kokomo, who were London contemporaries to Gonzalez. This began a long studio session career.

Kate Bush[edit]

Soon after this, a telephone call came from Kate Bush and he began working with her, rehearsing for 6 months as a member of her band before embarking on her Lionheart Tour, later to become known as The Tour of Life (1979). Heyman also appears on Live at the Hammersmith Odeon (1981), which was later re-issued in 1994 as a box set audio CD with video; and on Bush's On Stage (E.P.), a live recording of four songs performed on Kate Bush's The Tour of Life in 1979. It was released on 31 August 1979 with "Them Heavy People" as the lead track. It peaked at number 10 on the UK Singles Chart. Following the tour Bush then had him in the studio to provide drums, percussion and some backing vocals on the album Never for Ever. Released in September 1980, it was Bush's first No. 1 album and was also the first ever album by a British female solo artist to top the UK album chart, as well as being the first album by any female solo artist to enter the chart at no 1.[3] Heyman played drums with the Tour of Life band on the B.B.C. T.V. Special KATE (1979) on which a new song "December Will Be Magic Again" was aired, later to be released by the B.B.C. as a DVD. He then went into the studio with Bush and played both drums and percussion on the single "December Will Be Magic Again" (1979), then working with her on the 1982 album The Dreaming. His pounding drums[4] featuring on her Single "Sat in Your Lap" (1981), recorded in the stone room at The Townhouse Studio 2 London with Paddy Bush and Preston on whip (played on bamboo canes swooshing through the air rhythmically), both appear in the video as singing Bulls. This was filmed in Orchestral Studio 1 Abbey Road. Critic Simon Reynolds called it "an avant-pop stampede of pounding percussion and deranged shrieks."[5]

During this period Heyman also played with the Tom Robinson Band on the album TRB Two, produced by Todd Rundgren (1979), and Atomic Rooster on their sixth album Atomic Rooster (1980). On recommendation from bass player and friend Phil Spalding, 1984 saw him in the studio with Mike Oldfield recording the soundtrack for the Academy Award winning film The Killing Fields, (1984)[6] using unusual percussion instruments he had brought back from an extended trip to Indonesia after Kate Bush's tour.

Kim Wilde[edit]

In 1985, Kim Wilde asked him to join her band and he spent most of that year with her in France doing T.V. shows and concerts. He appears in the video for her top 20 single "Rage to Love" which received a remix by Dave Edmunds. They also recorded a French T.V. special on Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean. And did a tour of Roman Amphitheatres in the south of France and Spain, Summer 1985.

Terence Trent D'arby[edit]

After studio sessions (again with Phil Spalding on bass) for the 1987 album Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D'Arby produced by Heaven 17's Martyn Ware, he found himself drumming on the U.S.A. Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit "Wishing Well"[7] (1988) and features in the song's video. He joined Terence's band and spent the next 2 years touring the globe. In nearly every country they landed, both the album and single were No. 1 and at times they found themselves doing 5 T.V. appearances a day, once described as "The world's wildest craziest party that never ever stopped." Eventually, on the verge of another U.S. tour, Heyman decided to leave saying he had to "save my sanity before it was too late to do so."[citation needed] Worldwide, the album sold a million copies within the first three days of going on sale.[8]


Preston endorses Evans Drumheads, Zildjian Cymbals, Tama Drums and Latin Percussion.


With Empire

  • Mark I (1974)
  • The Complete Recordings (2018) The Right Honourable Recording Company Ltd

With Gonzalez

  • Our Only Weapon Is Our Music (1975) Capital


  • "Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet" (1977) Capitol
  • "Bless You" (1978) Capitol

With Jakob Frímann Magnússon

  • Horft Í Roðann (1976) Steiner Iceland

With Brand X

  • Missing Period (1976) Gonzo [released 1997, recorded 1975–1976, collection of lost session tapes]

With Wilding/Bonus

  • Pleasure Signals (1977)

With Bryan Ferry

With Rocky Sharpe and the Replays

  • Rama Lama (1979)

With Kate Bush


With Tom Robinson Band

With Atomic Rooster

With Ken Lockie

With World of Music, Arts and Dance WOMAD Music And Rhythm by WEA Germany (1982) The Best of Music & Rhythm Pengosekan – Vic Coppersmith-Heaven

With Randy California

  • Euro-American (1982)
  • Restless (1985) Vertigo


  • "Hand Gun (Toy Guns)" (1982) Beggars Banquet
  • "All Along the Watchtower" / "Killer Weed" (1982) Beggars Banquet
  • "Run to Your Lover" (1985) Beggars Banquet
  • "Jack Rabbit" (1985) Vertigo

With Monsoon

With Toyah

With Bill Nelson

  • Chimera (1983)
  • Vistamix (1984)
  • On A Blue Wing (1986)

With Impulse

  • Act on Impulse (1983)

With Wall Street Crash

  • European Affair (1983)

With Mike Oldfield

With Sheila Chandra

  • Quiet (1984)
  • The Struggle (1985)

With The Colourfield

With Roy Harper / Jimmy Page

With Heaven 17

With Heaven 17 Feat. Jimmy Ruffin

With When in Rome

With Indochine

With Terence Trent D'Arby


  • "Wishing Well" (1987) U.S.A. Billboard No 1
  • "Greasy Chicken" (1988)

With Tina Turner Singles:

With British Electric Foundation (Feat. Tina Turner)

With Del Amitri


With Heidi Berry

With Tasmin Archer


With Love City Groove

With Ian McNabb

With Massive Attack

With Asia

With Jason Rowe (Jai)

With Mike Scott

With Tin Tin Out


With Tin Tin Out featuring Emma Bunton

With DJ EZ

  • Underground Explosion: The Best R'n'B & Garage Mix (1999)

With Whitney Houston

With Sting

  • "After the Rain Has Fallen" (2000)

With The Pretenders

With Anastacia Single:

With Faith Hill

With Simply Red

With King Brillo

  • King Brillo (2006)

With The Wolfmen


With Aigul Babayeva

  • The Homecoming (2009)

With Namgyal Lhamo

  • Paradise Lost (2010)

With Sinead O'Connor

With Ravid

  • Ravid Hang (2010) Producer, Percussion instruments.
  • Calm Upon You (2013) Producer, Percussion instruments.

With Parsley Sound

  • Picnic on Mars (2013)

With No Mad Karma

  • "27" (2015)

With The Mutants

  • You Desert My Mind (2016)

Movie soundtracks[edit]

Live performance and tours[edit]


  1. ^ Steve Huey. "Gonzalez - Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel. The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits. Billboard Books. p. 259.
  3. ^ Williamson, Nigel (2 October 2005). "The Mighty Bush". Scotland on Sunday.
  4. ^ "Kate Bush: her 31 UK singles from worst to best". The Daily Telegraph. 30 July 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  5. ^ Simon Reynolds. "Kate Bush, the queen of art-pop who defied her critics". The Guardian.
  6. ^ "Mike Oldfield - The Killing Fields -". Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 145.
  8. ^ Whaley, Christopher (September 2007). "Sananda Maitreya Speaks! (interview)" (PDF). Sobo Magazine. Retrieved 18 January 2008.

External links[edit]