10 classic rock songs powered by drum machines



“Drum machines might be reliable and stuff, but they can’t drink as much as I am,” (supposedly) Motorhead drummer Phil Taylor once said.

In fact, Taylor, who died in 2015 of liver failure, was a machine when he was behind a kit – a relentless rhythmic force on Motorhead proto-thrashers like “Ace of Spades” and “Overkill”.

You get the drift, however. Rock music has a complicated relationship with technology. Of that moron in the crowd who shouted “Judas! “To Bob Dylan when Dylan” went electric “in 1966, to the great philosopher Vince Neil assuming in 1992 to the rest of Motley Crue,” Those keyboards you put on the new album make us sound like (an expletive synonymous with “wimps” ). “

For rockers, drum machines are the trickiest. Probably because electronic rhythms are seen as a building block of pop, rap and radio R&B, supposed antitheses to “real music” like rock, made with “real instruments” like guitars, basses. and real drum kits.

Fortunately, some now classic artists didn’t think of it that way. They used drum machines to help give the 10 songs below their distinctive atmosphere and sounds.

Please Note: Some of these songs feature human drummers in addition to electronic beats. And for this particular list, I focused on acts with traditional instrumentation and excluded bands, like Nine Inch Nails, whose all sound is built around machines.

“With or without you” U2 1987

Co-producer Daniel Lanois said Fender.com U2’s first American number one “wasn’t a group / hall performance, it was a control room concoction.”

Factoid: After initial sessions built on electric beats, The Edge’s hypnotic guitar, Adam Clayton’s steady bass, and Bono’s dramatic vocals, Larry Mullen, Jr.’s real drums were added later for more. power and dynamics.

“Faceless Eyes” Billy Idol 1983

Electronic Linn Drum creates a bewitching atmosphere on this ballad of the former leader of the punk group Generation X.

Factoid: Producer Keith Forsey was a protégé of Giorgio Moroder, known for composing music for synthesis films and soundtrack hits, such as “Take My Breathe Away” from “Top Gun”.

“Don’t come here anymore” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 1985

A somewhat confrontational cut from a legendary – and normally very classical – singer / songwriter.

Factoid: Fleetwood Mac frontman Stevie Nicks forwarded the recording of this song, co-written by Dave Stewart of Eurythmics, which took over from a romantic feud that Stewart overheard between guitarist Joe Walsh … and Nicks.

“Glass Heart” Blondie 1978

A Roland CR-78 makes the heart of the new wave fave smash dance beat faster.

Factoid: Blondie keyboardist Jimmy Destri brought his Roland to the recording sessions update a remaining track from the band called “The Disco Song”, for a late addition to their album “Parallel Lines”.

“Within your reach” The replacements 1983

Boozy Midwestern ragamuffins and a Dr. Rhythm machine were an unlikely but inspired couple.

Factoid: From the amazing biography of Bob Mehr “Trouble Boys: The real story of the substitutes ”, “Mats drummer Chris Mars tried adding live drums to the track, it just didn’t click.

“The Boys of Summer” Don Henley

LinnDrum strikes again, and the beat seems to freeze time on this nostalgic MTV smash.

Factoid: Co-written / co-produced by Mike Campbell, guitarist with Tom Petty, who went on to cut the song herselfF. Henley’s iconic lyrics “Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac” were taken from an experience Henley had while driving on a California highway.

“Turbo lover” Judas Priest 1986

“I’m not one of those drummers who say, ‘Ah machines! Take them away, ”said priest drummer Dave Holland Modern drummer in ’86. “It’s hard to believe that people still feel threatened by them. When used correctly, they can maximize your sound, without robbing you of your work! “

Factoid: The band and Holland broke up three years later.

“In the air tonight” Phil Collins 1981

Genesis ‘drummer solo success is known for Collins’ booming tom-tom roll of around 3:40 inches, but a brooding Roland CR-78 pattern leads the way.

Factoid: The electronic rhythms of the main recording are home demos that Collins did to kill time after returning from tour to find her marriage over and her family gone.

“Photography” Def Leppard 1983

A Fairlight sampler almost joined the group, on the huge LP of British rockers.

Factoid: “There are no real drums,” sound engineer Mike Shipley said of the album “The Pyromania”, in a TapeOp maintenance. “The cymbals are played (by Rick Allen of Def Lep), but the kick drum, snare and toms are all machines. ”

ZZ Top “Well Dressed Man” 1983

“I was in Frank’s living room, when Frank (Beard, drummer for ZZ Top) found out that he had been replaced on the ‘Eliminator’ album by a drum machine”, Linden Hudson, collaborator and pre engineer -production on the LP, written on Reddit. “A close combat ensued, Frank was beyond anger, fists clenched:” Who is that drummer (expletive)? ” He shouted. It was a nasty scene, even Frank thought he was a real human drummer.

Factoid: Galyn Görg, an actress in the famous music video, then appeared in “Twin Peaks” and RoboCop 2. ″


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