Gene Krupa


Eugene Bertram "Gene" Krupa was an American jazz and big band drummer and composer, known for his highly energetic and flamboyant style.

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Gene Krupa.


1909 Birth Born on January 15, 1909.


1927 18 Years Old 1 More Event
He broke into the Chicago scene in 1927, when he was picked by MCA to become a member of "Thelma Terry and Her Playboys", the first notable American jazz band—all-girl bands excepted—to be led by a female musician. … Read More
1928 19 Years Old Krupa also appeared on six recordings made by the Thelma Terry band in 1928.


1934 25 Years Old 1 More Event
In December 1934, he joined Benny Goodman's band, where his featured drum work made him a national celebrity. … Read More
1937 28 Years Old The 1937 recording of Louis Prima's "Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)" by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra featuring Gene Krupa on drums was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1982. … Read More
1938 29 Years Old However, "artistic and personal disputes" with Goodman prompted Krupa to leave the group and form his own orchestra, shortly after the famous Carnegie Hall concert in January 1938.


1941 32 Years Old He appeared in the 1941 film Ball of Fire, in which he and his band perform an extended version of the hit "Drum Boogie", sung by Barbara Stanwyck (whose singing was dubbed by Martha Tilton), which he had composed with trumpeter Roy Eldridge. … Read More
1943 34 Years Old In 1943, his arrest for possession of marijuana (see below) forced the breakup of his own orchestra and he rejoined Goodman's band for a year. … Read More
1946 37 Years Old He made a cameo appearance in the 1946 film The Best Years of Our Lives. … Read More


1954 45 Years Old In 1954, Krupa returned to Hollywood to appear in such films as The Glenn Miller Story and The Benny Goodman Story.


In 1959, the movie biography The Gene Krupa Story was released; Sal Mineo portrayed Krupa, and the film featured a cameo appearance by Red Nichols. … Read More


1973 65 Years Old In 1973, Krupa died of leukemia and heart failure in Yonkers, New York, aged 64. … Read More
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