Jim Keltner

While largely anonymous to the general public, the beat of a Jim Keltner drum part was anything but unknown to those within the music world, thanks to his six decades of session work during which he amassed an ... Read more »

Born: 04/26/1942 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Filmography

Music (15)

Man of Steel 2013 (Movie)

Drum Orchestra(Junkie XL) (Music)

Synecdoche, New York 2008 (Movie)

Drummer (Music)

Across the Universe 2007 (Movie)

Off-Camera Musician(LA Band) (Music)

Walk the Line 2005 (Movie)

Featured Musician (Performer)

Willie Nelson & Friends: Outlaws And Angels 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Song Performer

An Ordinary Crime 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Music

Drumline 2002 (Movie)

Kit Drums (Music)

The End of Violence 1997 (Movie)

("UFO Has Landed in th Ghetto") (Song)

Trespass 1992 (Movie)

scoring musician (Music)

Johnny Handsome 1989 (Movie)

percussionist (Performer)

Johnny Handsome 1989 (Movie)

drummer (Music)

Slam Dance 1987 (Movie)

drummer (Music)

Alamo Bay 1985 (Movie)

drummer (Music)

Streets of Fire 1984 (Movie)

(Performer)
Actor (7)

Sound City 2013 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

George Harrison: Living in the Material World 2011 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

The Blues 2003 (Tv Show)

Actor

Farm Aid V 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Tapeheads 1988 (Movie)

Swandy Modes Band Member (Actor)

Old Boyfriends 1979 (Movie)

Bloodshot Band Member--Drummer (Actor)

Biography

While largely anonymous to the general public, the beat of a Jim Keltner drum part was anything but unknown to those within the music world, thanks to his six decades of session work during which he amassed an incomparable list of credits. Born James Lee Keltner on April 27, 1942, he credited jazz as his inspiration in becoming a percussionist at an early age. However, as the late 1950s turned to the early '60s, Keltner found himself picking up session work amid the emerging pop/rock movement in Los Angeles, CA. Gary Lewis & the Playboys' single "She's Just My Style" kicked off Keltner's career, which - after a few lean years - went on to include working with an impressive list of stars including Joe Cocker, Carly Simon, Barbra Streisand, Eric Clapton and others. It was Keltner's 1970s association with all the Beatles save Paul McCartney that made his name as one of the era's best-known session musicians. Introduced to the fold through his L.A. work with producer Phil Spector, Keltner played on some of the biggest solo albums by the ex-Beatles, including John Lennon's Imagine (and his wife Yoko Ono's free-jazz-influenced Fly, recorded during the same sessions), George Harrison's Living in the Material World and even drummer Ringo Starr's best-selling solo effort, Ringo. In the years that followed, his resume expanded still more, including appearances on best-selling albums by Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, Bonnie Raitt, and Steely Dan. Keltner served as the drummer for Harrison's 1980s supergroup The Traveling Wilburys and played drums on several tours by Starr's supergroup the All-Starr Band. Despite never becoming a household name, Keltner's breezy but precise style helped define the sound of mainstream rock in the 1970s and '80s. In later years, he recorded with younger artists like Lucinda Williams, John Mayer and Fiona Apple, and appeared in Dave Grohl's documentary about a legendary 1970s Los Angeles studio, "Sound City" (2013).

Milestones

1988

Records with the Traveling Wilburys

1973

plays on Ringo Starr's "Ringo"

1970

plays on John Lennon's "Imagine"

1966

first session work on Gary Lewis & the Playboys' "She's Just My Style" album

Bonus Trivia

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"The first time I played with Bob (Dylan) was in the early '70s . . . and then I didn't see him again until we did "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" in Los Angeles. That was a monumental session for me because it was such a touching song, it was the first time I actually cried when I was playing. When I hear that on the radio now, it's very special to me. I almost well up again when I hear it, because it's a frozen moment in my life that will always be there," from SoundSpike Aug. 4, 2000

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"(John Lennon) was amazing, of course. His songs were all complete. He was the ultimate songwriter in the same way that Bob Dylan is. Neil Young. Guys who write songs where the song plays itself, basically. That's been one of the great blessings of my life, is to have played with some of the greatest songwriters of our time," from SoundSpike Aug. 4, 2000

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Both Ringo Starr's Ringo and George Harrison's Living in the Material World feature a joke inviting listeners to join "The Jim Keltner Fan Club" in their liner notes.

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