|Birth name||Bernard Lee Purdie|
|Also known as|
|Born||June 11, 1939|
Elkton, Maryland, U.S.
|Genres||Jazz funk, R&B, funk, soul, crossover music, jazz|
|Labels||A&M, Atco, EMI, Capitol|
Bernard Lee "Pretty" Purdie (born June 11, 1939) is an American drummer, and an influential R&B, soul, funk, and jazz musician. He is known for his precise musical time keeping and his signature use of triplets against a half-time backbeat: the "Purdie Shuffle." He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2013.
Purdie recorded Soul Drums (1968) as a band leader and although he went on to record Alexander's Ragtime Band, the album remained unreleased until Soul Drums was reissued on CD in 2009 with the Alexander's Ragtime Band sessions. Other solo albums include Purdie Good! (1971), Soul Is... Pretty Purdie (1972) and the soundtrack for the blaxploitation film Lialeh (1973).
Purdie was born on June 11, 1939 in Elkton, Maryland, US, the eleventh of fifteen children. At an early age he began hitting cans with sticks and learned the elements of drumming techniques from overhearing lessons being given by Leonard Heywood. He later took lessons from Heywood and played in Heywood's big band. Purdie's other influences at that time were Papa Jo Jones, Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Joe Marshall, Art Blakey, as well as Cozy Cole, Sticks Evans, Panama Francis, Louis Bellson, and Herbie Lovelle.
In 1961, he moved from his home town of Elkton, Maryland, to New York City. There he played sessions with Mickey and Sylvia and regularly visited the Turf Club on 50th and Broadway, where musicians, agents, and promoters met and touted for business. It was during this period that he played for the saxophonist Buddy Lucas, who nicknamed him 'Mississippi Bigfoot'. Eventually Barney Richmond contracted him to play session work.
Bernard Purdie has long claimed, the first time in a 1978 interview, to have remade the recording of the drums on no less than 21 Beatles tracks. But today, there is no mention of this on the musician's official website or his autobiography, Let the Drums Speak !, released in 2014. The vast majority of sources say that it is indeed Ringo Starr who officiates behind the drums. Rather, it is likely that Purdie was the studio drummer hired by Atco Records in 1964 to add a punchier sound for the US market to the songs "Ain't She Sweet", "Take Out Some Insurance On Me, Baby" and "Sweet Georgia Brown", recorded in Hamburg with Tony Sheridan in 1961 and 1962, when Pete Best was the drummer of the fledgling British band. It is also probable that he played on covers of Fab Four songs performed by groups of imitators with names like the Buggs, the Liverpools or the Beetles, created by unscrupulous record companies in order to take a piece of the pie. Over time, the drummer could therefore have mistakenly remembered that he embellished the original recordings.
He can be seen drumming for the house band at Murray the K's 1965 Brooklyn Fox show excerpts of which were shown on CBS that year. Purdie was contracted by arranger Sammy Lowe to play a session with James Brown in 1965 and recording session records also show that Purdie played on "Ain't That A Groove" at the same session. Purdie is credited on the James Brown's album Say It Loud – I'm Black and I'm Proud (1969) and album Get on the Good Foot (1972).
Purdie started working with Aretha Franklin as musical director in 1970 and held that position for five years, as well as drumming for Franklin's opening act, saxophonist King Curtis and The King Pins. 5–7 March 1971 he performed with both bands at the Fillmore West; the resulting live recordings were released as Aretha Live At The Fillmore West (19 May 1971) and King Curtis's Live At Fillmore West (1971). His best known track with Franklin was "Rock Steady", on which he played what he described as "a funky and low down beat". Of his time with Franklin he once commented that "backing her was like floating in seventh heaven".
Purdie was credited on the soundtrack album for the film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978) and later he was the drummer for the 2009 Broadway revival of Hair and appeared on the associated Broadway cast recording.
In 1973, Purdie and Lloyd Price founded Encounter Records and released five albums:
- EN 3000: Seldon Powell – Messin' With
- EN 3001: Sands of Time – Profile (with Jimmy Owens, Garnett Brown)
- EN 3002: East Coast – East Coast (with Larry Blackmon, Gwen Guthrie, Haras Fyre)
- EN 3003: Frank Owens – Brown N Serve (with Hugh McCracken)
- EN 3004: Harold Vick as "Sir Edward" – The Power of Feeling
Purdie is known as a groove drummer with immaculate timing who makes use of precision half note, backbeats, and grooves. Purdie's signature sixteenth note hi-hat lick pish-ship, pish-ship, pish-ship is distinct. He often employs a straight eight groove sometimes fusing several influences such as swing, blues and funk. He created the now well-known drum pattern Purdie Half-Time Shuffle that is a blues shuffle variation with the addition of syncopated ghost notes on the snare drum. Variations on this shuffle can be heard on songs such as Led Zeppelin's "Fool in the Rain", the Police's "Walking on the Moon", and Toto's "Rosanna" (Rosanna shuffle). Purdie plays the shuffle on Steely Dan's "Babylon Sisters" and "Home At Last".
- Soul Drums (Date, 1968)
- Purdie Good! (Prestige, 1971) [note: reissued as Legends of Acid Jazz: Bernard Purdie in 1996]
- Stand by Me (Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get) (Mega Records [in the 'Flying Dutchman Series'], 1972) with The Playboys
- Soul Is... Pretty Purdie (Flying Dutchman, 1972; reissued on BGP/Ace in 2014)
- Shaft (Prestige, 1973) recorded 1971 [note: reissued as Legends of Acid Jazz: Bernard Purdie in 1996]
- Lialeh (Original Movie Soundtrack) (Bryan, 1974)
- Delights of the Garden (Douglas/Celluloid, 1975) with The Last Poets
- Purdie as a Picture (Kilmarnock, 1993) with Galt MacDermot's New Pulse Jazz Band
- Coolin' 'N Groovin' (A Night at "On-Air") (Lexington/West 47th, 1993)
- Bernard Purdie's Jazz Groove Sessions in Tokyo (Lexington/West 47th, 1993)
- After Hours with The 3B's (3B's Music, 1993)
- Soothin' 'N Groovin' With The 3B's (3B's Music, 1994) with Houston Person
- The Hudson River Rats (3B's Music, 1995)
- Fatback! The Jazz Funk Masters Featuring Bernard Purdie (Seven Seas, 1995)
- Kick 'N Jazz (Drum Beat Blocks, 1996)
- Soul to Jazz I (Act, 1996) with The WDR Big Band
- Soul to Jazz II (Act, 1997) with The WDR Big Band
- In the Pocket (P-Vine, 1997)
- Get It While You Can (3B's Music, 1999) with The Hudson River Rats
- The Masters of Groove Meet Dr. No (Jazzateria, 2001) with Reuben Wilson, Grant Green Jr., Tarus Mateen
- King Of The Beat (3B's Music, 2001)
- Purdie Good Cookin' (3B's Music, 2003) with Purdie's Powerhouse
- The Godfathers of Groove (18th & Vine, 2007) with Reuben Wilson, Grant Green Jr., Jerry Jemmott [note: originally released as The Masters of Groove]
- The Godfathers of Groove 3 (18th & Vine, 2009) with Reuben Wilson, Grant Green Jr., Bill Easley
- Jersey Blue (Running Rogue, 2009) with Gene McCormick, Jack Hoban
- Selling It Like It Is (Cadence Jazz, 2013) with David Haney; recorded 2009
- Cool Down (Sugar Road, 2018)
- James Brown – It's a Man's Man's Man's World (King, 1966)
- Herbie Mann – Our Mann Flute (Atlantic, 1966)
- Jack McDuff – A Change Is Gonna Come (Atlantic, 1966)
- Freddie McCoy – Funk Drops (Prestige, 1966)
- Gábor Szabó – Jazz Raga (Impulse!, 1966)
- Benny Golson – Tune In, Turn On (Verve, 1967)
- King Curtis & His Kingpins – Instant Groove (Atco, 1967)
- Tim Rose – Tim Rose (Columbia, 1967)
- Nina Simone – Nina Simone Sings the Blues (RCA Victor, 1967)
- Phil Upchurch – Feeling Blue (Milestone, 1967)
- Tom Rush – The Circle Game (Elektra, 1968)
- The Soul Finders – Sweet Soul Music (RCA Camden CAS-2170, 1968)
- Wilson Pickett – I'm in Love (Atlantic SD-8175, 1968)
- David "Fathead" Newman – Bigger & Better (Atlantic, 1968)
- David "Fathead" Newman – The Many Facets of David Newman (Atlantic, 1969)
- Freddie McCoy – Listen Here (Prestige, 1968)
- Albert Ayler – New Grass (Impulse!, 1968)
- Shirley Scott – Soul Song (Atlantic, 1968)
- Jimmy McGriff – Electric Funk (Blue Note, 1969)
- Sonny Phillips – Sure 'Nuff (Prestige, 1969)
- John Lee Hooker – Simply the Truth (BluesWay, 1969)
- Randy Brecker – Score (Solid State, 1969)
- Al Kooper – You Never Know Who Your Friends Are (Columbia, 1969)
- Hank Crawford – Mr. Blues Plays Lady Soul (Atlantic, 1969)
- Gary Burton – Good Vibes (Atlantic, 1969)
- Shirley Scott – Shirley Scott & the Soul Saxes (Atlantic, 1969)
- Yusef Lateef – Yusef Lateef's Detroit (Atlantic, 1969)
- Boogaloo Joe Jones – Boogaloo Joe (Prestige, 1969)
- Johnny "Hammond" Smith – Soul Talk (Prestige, 1969)
- Gene Ammons – The Boss Is Back! (Prestige, 1969)
- Gene Ammons – Brother Jug! (Prestige, 1969)
- Rusty Bryant – Night Train Now! (Prestige, 1969)
- Herbie Hancock – Fat Albert Rotunda (Warner Bros., 1969)
- Dizzy Gillespie – Cornucopia (Solid State, 1969)
- Larry Coryell – Coryell (Vanguard, 1969)
- Johnny "Hammond" Smith – Black Feeling! (Prestige, 1970)
- Pucho & the Latin Soul Brothers – Jungle Fire ! (Prestige, 1970)
- Johnny Pate – Outrageous (MGM, 1970)
- Sonny Phillips – Black on Black! (Prestige, 1970)
- Jimmy McGriff and Junior Parker – The Dudes Doin' Business (Capitol, 1970)
- Johnny "Hammond" Smith – Here It 'Tis (Prestige, 1970)
- Louis Armstrong − Louis Armstrong and His Friends (Flying Dutchman/Amsterdam, 1970)
- Boogaloo Joe Jones – Right On Brother (Prestige, 1970)
- Boogaloo Joe Jones – No Way! (Prestige, 1970)
- B.B. King – Completely Well (ABC, 1970)
- Robert Palmer's Insect Trust – Hoboken Saturday Night (Atco, 1970)
- Charles Kynard – Afro-Disiac (Prestige, 1970)
- Eddie Palmieri – Harlem River Drive (Roulette, 1970)
- Five Stairsteps – O-o-h Child(drummer: Bernard Purdie or Jerome Brailey) (Buddah, 1970)
- Charles Kynard – Wa-Tu-Wa-Zui (Beautiful People) (Prestige, 1970)
- Houston Person – Houston Express (Prestige, 1970)
- Harold Alexander – Sunshine Man (Flying Dutchman, 1971)
- Esther Phillips – From a Whisper to a Scream (Kudu/CTI, 1971)
- Galt MaCDermot – Nucleus (Kilmarnock, 1971)
- Harlem River Drive – Herlem River Drive (Roulette, 1971)
- Hank Crawford – It's a Funky Thing to Do (Cotillion, 1971)
- Boogaloo Joe Jones – What It Is (Prestige, 1971)
- Eddie Harris and Les McCann – Second Movement (Atlantic, 1971)
- David "Fathead" Newman – Captain Buckles (Cotillion, 1971)
- Oliver Nelson – Swiss Suite (Flying Dutchman, 1971)
- King Curtis – Live at Fillmore West (Atlantic, 1971)
- Johnny "Hammond" Smith – Wild Horses Rock Steady (Kudu/CTI, 1971)
- Larry Coryell – Fairyland (Mega/Flying Dutchman, 1971)
- Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson – You Can't Make Love Alone (Mega/Flying Dutchman, 1971)
- Herbie Mann – Push Push (Embryo/Atlantic, 1971)
- Dizzy Gillespie – The Real Thing (Perception, 1971)
- Gato Barbieri – El Pampero (Flying Dutchman, 1971)
- Gil Scott-Heron – Pieces of a Man (Flying Dutchman, 1971)
- Les McCann – Invitation to Openness (Atlantic, 1972)
- Hank Crawford – Help Me Make It Through the Night (Kudu/CTI, 1972)
- Aretha Franklin – Young, Gifted and Black (Atlantic, 1972)
- Hubert Laws – Wild Flower (Atlantic, 1972)
- Leon Thomas - Blues and the Soulful Truth (Flying Dutchman, 1972)
- Esther Phillips – Alone Again Naturally (Kudu/CTI, 1972)
- Miles Davis – Get Up with It (Columbia, 1972)
- Dakota Staton – Madame Foo-Foo (Groove Merchant, 1972)
- B.B. King – Guess Who (ABC, 1972)
- Ronnie Foster – Sweet Revival (Blue Note, 1972)
- Hank Crawford – We Got a Good Thing Going (Kudu/CTI, 1972)
- Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway – Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway (Atlantic Records, 1972)
- Buddy Terry – Lean on Him (Mainstream, 1973)
- David "Fathead" Newman – The Weapon (Atlantic, 1973)
- Gato Barbieri – Bolivia (Flying Dutchman, 1973)
- Leon Thomas - Full Circle (Flying Dutchman, 1973)
- Groove Holmes – Night Glider (Groove Merchant, 1973)
- Garland Jeffreys – Garland Jeffreys (Atlantic Records, 1973)
- Cat Stevens – Foreigner (A&M, 1973)
- Hall & Oates – Abandoned Luncheonette (Atlantic, 1973)
- Bette Midler – Bette Midler (Atlantic, 1973)
- Jimmy McGriff and Groove Holmes – Giants of the Organ Come Together (Groove Merchant, 1973)
- Groove Holmes − New Groove (Groove Merchant, 1974)
- Robert Palmer – Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley (Island, 1974)
- Gato Barbieri – Yesterdays (Flying Dutchman, 1974)
- Aretha Franklin – With Everything I Feel in Me (Atlantic Records, 1974)
- Richie Havens – Mixed Bag II (Stormy Forest, 1974)
- Joe Cocker – I Can Stand a Little Rain (A&M, 1974)
- Rusty Bryant – Until It's Time for You to Go (Prestige, 1974)
- Aretha Franklin – Let Me in Your Life (Atlantic Records, 1974)
- Bama The Village Poet – Ghettos Of The Mind (Chess, 1974)
- Arif Mardin – Journey (Atlantic, 1974)
- Cornell Dupree – Teasin' (Atlantic, 1975)
- Todd Rundgren – Initiation (Bearsville, 1975)
- Joe Cocker – Jamaica Say You Will (A&M Records, 1975)
- Jorge Dalto – Chevere (United Artists, 1976)
- Hummingbird – We Can't Go On Meeting Like This (A&M, 1976)
- Michael Bolton – Michael Bolotin (RCA Records, 1975)
- Nikki Giovanni – The Way I Feel (Nikton Records, 1975)
- Steely Dan – The Royal Scam (ABC, 1976)
- Steely Dan – Aja(song:Home at Last) (ABC, 1977)
- The Last Poets with Bernard Purdie – Delights of the Garden (Douglas, 1977)
- Hummingbird – Diamond Nights (A&M, 1977)
- Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis – Home In The Country (Savoy, 1977)
- Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson – You Can't Make Love Alone (Flying Dutchman, 1977)
- Joe Cocker – Luxury You Can Afford (Elektra, 1978)
- Cheryl Lynn – Cheryl Lynn (Columbia Records, 1978)
- Felix Pappalardi – Don't Worry, Ma (A&M, 1979)
- Cheryl Lynn – In Love (Columbia Records, 1979)
- Dizzy Gillespie – Digital at Montreux, 1980 (Pablo, 1980)
- Steely Dan – Gaucho (MCA, 1980)
- Aretha Franklin – Aretha (Arista Records, 1980)
- B.B. King – There Must Be a Better World Somewhere (MCA, 1981)
- Houston Person – Heavy Juice (Muse, 1982)
- Houston Person – Always on My Mind (Muse, 1985)
- Hank Crawford and Jimmy McGriff –– Soul Survivors (Milestone, 1986)
- Hank Crawford – Mr. Chips (Milestone, 1986)
- Jimmy McGriff - The Starting Five (Milestone, 1987)
- Flip Phillips and Scott Hamilton – A Sound Investment (Concord, 1987)
- Jimmy McGriff – Blue to the 'Bone (Milestone, 1988)
- Hank Crawford - Night Beat (Milestone, 1989)
- Jimmy McGriff - You Ought to Think About Me (Headfirst, 1990)
- Hank Crawford - Groove Master (Milestone, 1990)
- Garland Jeffreys - Don't Call Me Buckwheat (BMG Records, 1991)
- Cissy Houston and Chuck Jackson - I'll Take Care of You (Shanackie Records, 1992)
- Al Green - Don't Look Back (BMG, 1993)
- Laura Nyro - Walk the Dog and Light the Light (Columbia Records, 1993)
- Jimmy Smith – Damn! (Verve, 1995)
- Houston Person – The Opening Round (Savant, 1997)
- Hank Crawford and Jimmy McGriff – Road Tested (Milestone, 1997)
- Jimmy McGriff - The Dream Team (Milestone, 1997)
- Hank Crawford - After Dark (Milestone, 1998)
- Jimmy McGriff - Straight Up (Milestone, 1998)
- Hank Crawford and Jimmy McGriff – Crunch Time (Milestone, 1999) with Jimmy McGriff
- Jimmy McGriff - McGriff's House Party (Milestone, 2000)
- Reuben Wilson – Organ Blues (Jazzateria, 2001)
- Oliver Darley – Introducing Oliver Darley (East West, 2001)
- Jimmy McGriff - McGriff Avenue (Milestone, 2002)
- Elliott Randall – Still Reelin' [EP] (Private Collection Records, 2007)
- Larry Coryell – Earthquake at the Avalon, (inakustik, 2009)
- Hair – Broadway Cast Recording (Ghostlight/Razor & Tie, 2009)
- Chihiro Yamanaka – Reminiscence (Verve, 2011)
- Mick Taylor – East Coast Tour Appearances (2012)
- Vulfpeck – Various Tour Appearances (2016)
- Eddie Palmieri – Wisdom/Sabiduria (2017)
- Gonzalo Aloras – Nuestra Canción (2020)
- Vulfpeck – Something (2020)
- Feather, Leonard & Gitler, Ira (1999). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. Oxford University Press US. p. 541.
- Wynn, Ron. "Bernard Purdie". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Hyatt, Greg & Mitchell, Stan. Get Locked. Alfred Publishing. p. 95.
- "Modern Drummer's Readers Poll Archive, 1979–2014". Modern Drummer. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
- Watts, R., Edwards D., Callahan, M., and Eyries, P. Date Album Discography Retrieved 26 May 2021
- Bernard Purdie discography Retrieved 26 May 2021
- Flying Dutchman Label Discography Retrieved 25 May 2021
- Bernard Purdie discography Retrieved 25 May 2021
- "Bernard "Pretty" Purdie - Artist Profile". bernardpurdie.com. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
- Payne, Jim & Weinger, Harry. The Great Drummers of R&B Funk & Soul. Oxford University Press US. pp. 143–145.
- Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians: Biography. Archived 2011-10-01 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- "Did Bernard Purdie play for the Beatles? - Quora". Quora. Retrieved 12 June 2021.
- "Replacing Ringo? The Story Behind Bernard Purdie and The Beatles". Fab Four Archivist. Retrieved 12 June 2021.
- Ingham, Chris (2009). The Rough Guide to the Beatles. Rough Guides UK. p. 363. ISBN 978-1-84836-752-4.
- Gottfridsson, Hans Olof; Sheridon, Tony & Beatles. The Beatles from Cavern to Star-Club: The Illustrated Chronicle, Discography & Price Guide 1957–1962. Premium Publishing (1997). pp. 222, 310, 313, 333, 341.
- Everett, Walter (2001). "Notes to pages cited". The Beatles as Musicians. Oxford University Press. pp. 202–212. ISBN 9780195141054.
- "James Brown credits". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Unterberger, Richie. "Say It Loud-I'm Black and I'm Proud". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
- Elias, Jason. "Get On The Good Foot". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
- "Bernard "Pretty" Purdie - Artist Profile". Bernardpurdie.com. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
- "Bernard "Pretty" Purdie credits". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
- "Rock Steady". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
- BWW News desk. "Hair Broadway Cast Recording With Never Before Released Tracks Hits Stores". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Jordan, Chris. "Drummer Bernard 'Pretty' Purdie has kept the time to your life", Asbury Park Press, October 4, 2013. Accessed October 5, 2013. "Purdie eventually moved to Jersey — Teaneck and Edison before settling in Springfield."
- last = Wynn| first = Ron| title = Seldon Powell Biography| publisher = Allmusic| Allmusic|class=artist|id=p9445/biography | access-date=26 May 2021
- Allmusic Brown N Serve review
- Michalkow, Mike (2008). The Total Rock Drummer, p.64. ISBN 0-7390-5268-3.
- Berry and Giani (2003). The Drummer's Bible, p.35. ISBN 1-884365-32-9.
- Segal, David (2009-03-30). "A Signature Shuffle Enjoys a New Life". nytimes.com.
- Mason, Stuart. "Babylon Sisters". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- "Oliver Darley Stirring Souls in U.K." Billboard, at Google Books. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
- "Earthquake at the Avalon – Larry Coryell – Songs, Reviews, Credits – AllMusic". Retrieved 1 April 2017.
- Everett, Walter. The Beatles as musicians: the Quarry Men through Rubber Soul. Oxford University Press US (2001). ISBN 978-0-19-514105-4
- Gottfridsson, Hans Olof; Sheridan, Tony and Beatles. The Beatles from Cavern to Star-Club: The Illustrated Chronicle, Discography & Price Guide 1957–1962. Premium Publishing (1997). ISBN 978-91-971894-7-7
- Kernfeld, Barry Dean. The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz second edition. Grove's Dictionaries Inc. (2002). Digitized 21 Dec (2006). ISBN 978-1-56159-284-5
- Miles, Barry, and Badman, Keith. The Beatles Diary: The Beatles years. Omnibus Press (2001) ISBN 978-0-7119-8308-3
- Payne, Jim and Weinger, Harry. The Great Drummers of R&B Funk & Soul. Mel Bay Publications (2007). ISBN 978-0-7866-7303-2
- Rabb, Johnny; Brych, Ray and Lohman, Gregg. Jungle/Drum 'n' Bass for the Acoustic Drum Set: A Guide to Applying Today's Electronic Music to the Drum Set. Alfred Publishing (2001). ISBN 0-7579-9025-8
- Weinberg, Max. The Big Beat: Conversations with Rock's Greatest Drummers. Hal Leonard Corporation (2004). ISBN 978-0-634-08275-7
- York, William. Who's Who in Rock Music+. Atomic Press (1978). Digitized 30 Aug 2007.