Buddy Rich

Jazz Drummer and Bandleader
Born Sep 30, 1917

Bernard "Buddy" Rich was an American jazz drummer and bandleader. Rich was billed as "the world's greatest drummer" and was known for his virtuosic technique, power, groove, and speed.

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Browse recent news and stories about Buddy Rich.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Buddy Rich.


1917 Birth Born on September 30, 1917.


1937 19 Years Old Rich first played jazz with a major group in 1937 with Joe Marsala and guitarist Jack Lemaire. … Read More


1938 20 Years Old In 1938, he was hired to play in Tommy Dorsey's orchestra, where he met and performed with Frank Sinatra.
1942 24 Years Old In 1942, Rich left the Dorsey band to join the United States Marine Corps. … Read More
1946 28 Years Old In 1946, Rich formed his own band with financial support from Sinatra, and continued to lead different groups on and off until the early fifties. … Read More


In the early fifties Rich played with Dorsey and began to perform with trumpeter Harry James, an association which lasted until 1966.
1967 49 Years Old …  Rich starred in a 1967 summer replacement television series called Away We Go along with singer Buddy Greco and comedian George Carlin.


1973 55 Years Old In 1973, PBS broadcast and syndicated Rich's February 6, 1973, performance at the Top of the Plaza in Rochester, New York. … Read More


1981 63 Years Old One of his most widely seen television performances was in a 1981 episode of The Muppet Show, in which he engaged Muppet drummer "Animal" (played by Ronnie Verrell) in a drum battle. … Read More
1983 65 Years Old …  While recovering from a heart attack in 1983, Rich was presented with a 1940s-vintage Slingerland Radio King set – refurbished by Joe MacSweeney of Eames Drums – which he used until his death in 1987. … Read More
1985 67 Years Old In a 1985 interview, Adler clarified the extent of his teacher-student relationship with Rich and their collaboration on the instructional book. "I had nothing to do with rumor that I taught Buddy how to play.
1987 70 Years Old Buddy Rich continued touring and performing until the end of his life. On April 2, 1987, he died of heart failure following surgery for a malignant brain tumor. … Read More
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