Charles Connor (1935-2021)

Innovative Rock and Roll drummer Charles Connor passed away. He was 86 years old.

Charles was a pioneer in the early beat of rock and roll. As a drummer in New Orleans in the early 1950s, he played with Professor Longhair and became the original drummer for Little Richard. In fact, it was Little Richard who asked Connor if he could produce a rhythm that sounded like a train – and he did. The train rhythm can be heard on many of Little Richard’s earliest recordings including “Good Golly Miss Molly.” His innovative playing has since been the inspiration for a long list of players and products such as special double bass drum pedals.

He was working as a nightwatchman for a radio station in 2005 in Los Angeles when I requested an interview with him. This 3 minute segment is among my all-time favorite moments within the NAMM Oral History collection.

Dan Del Fiorentino (NAMM)

Modern Drummer send condolences to Charles’ family, friends, and fans. Rest In Peace.