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Who stole the roll?

Jimi Hendrix and Mitch Mitchell at Heathrow Airport in London on 21 August 1967

The drummer with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Mitch Mitchell, has died at the age of 61.

But he wasn't just the last surviving member of the band - he was also one of a generation of celebrity drummers who played a far bigger part in the showbiz of rock music, than most drummers today.

So who are those drummers who made their mark on the concerts and albums of the past? The Today programme challenges you to listen to each of the drum performances below and test yourself on which great drummer it is.


The 1960s and 1970s was the era of gifted drummers who were feted as guitarists or singers now are, says Luke Lewis, the deputy editor of the NME.

Today's concerts are far more structured - with less opportunity for the drummer to indulge in the kind of solos once performed by the likes of John Bonham from Led Zeppelin.

Nicko McBrain, the veteran drummer with Iron Maiden, who knew Mitch Mitchell in the 1960s, says he and Mitch would meet to discuss which was the better drummer.

But he said Mitchell had showmanship as well as talent. "He had power. Mitch had a lot of stamina and a lot power - when he was with Jimi in a three piece he had to come out of himself a bit."

Luke Lewis points out that during the 1970s, drum solos got increasingly longer, with competitive one-upmanship leading to performances of up to half an hour.

So what's happened to the drum solo?

"The pat argument would be that punk killed off that whole sense of virtuosity and theatricality," Lewis says.

"There's more to it than that. Also there's a gradual shift away from the age of the album and towards the age of the single and particularly singles that need to be played on the radio.

"You can't really get away with having a 10 minute, 20 minute drum solo these days when it's so important that you have a hook that can be played on the radio."


Answers

Question 1

GINGER BAKER - from the track 'Toad' by Cream. Album: Fresh Cream, originally released in 1966.

Question 2

JOHN BONHAM - from the track 'Moby Dick' by Led Zeppelin. Album: Led Zeppelin II, originally released in 1969.

Question 3

KEITH MOON - from the track 'Won't Get Fooled Again' by The Who. Album: Who's Next, originally released in 1971.

Question 4

MITCH MITCHELL - from the track 'Fire' by Jimi Hendrix. Album: Are You Experienced, originally released in 1967.




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