K is for Keltner, Jim Keltner

Do you know what is generally lost for me in downloading digital music? Reading the liner notes. That’s the info on the LP or CD that tells you who wrote the songs and who played on them, and often a narrative about the artist and/or the recording session.

As an active liner note reader, I well know the name Jim Keltner. If you are not, you probably do not. Here’s just an excerpt from the page about him on Wikipedia.

Keltner is best known for his session work on solo recordings by three of The Beatles, working often with George Harrison, John Lennon…, and Ringo Starr…He, as a free-lance drummer, has also worked with Leon Russell, Gabor Szabo, Delaney Bramlett, Roy Orbison, Harry Nilsson, Jerry Garcia, Eric Clapton, Guthrie Thomas, Steely Dan, Joe Cocker, Van Dyke Parks, the Rolling Stones…, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Brian Wilson, Roger McGuinn, Seals and Crofts, The Ramones, Bill Frisell…, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Phil Keaggy, Steve Jones, Crowded House, Fiona Apple, Elvis Costello, The Bee Gees, Jackson Browne, The Manhattan Transfer, Randy Newman, Ry Cooder, Sam Phillips, Los Lobos, Pink Floyd, Warren Zevon, Rufus Wainwright, Tom Petty, Gillian Welch, the Steve Miller Band, Alice Cooper, Sheryl Crow and Lucinda Williams among many others. Here’s a discography covering 1969-1998, or this even more extensive list (that loads slowly).

From his Drum Magazine bio: “His drumming approach was idiosyncratic, loose, and soulful, and helped elevate the studio musician’s role from that of a generic hired hand to an individual who colors the music with personality and style. He is known not only for his great feel and sensitivity, but also for bringing a fresh approach to the potentially tedious world of pop music.”

The following are just a handful of the songs he played on
She’s Just My Style – Gary Lewis and the Playboys. Keltner’s first session.
You’re So Vain – Carly Simon.
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan.
Angel Baby – John Lennon
End of the Line – Traveling Wilburys. Keltner is in the video.
Wilbury Twist – Traveling Wilburys. Keltner is in this video, too.
Warren Zevon – Keep Me In Your Heart.
Little Sister – Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, Nick Lowe and Jim Keltner live. These four guys put out a 1992 album called Little Village.
The Drummerworld page for Jim Keltner, featuring more songs.

How does Jim Keltner earn a living?
LENNONYC: Beyond Broadcast. Episode 3: Jim Keltner

Jim Keltner turns 70 on April 27, 2012, so this is an early happy birthday thanks.

ABC Wednesday – Round 10

0 thoughts on “K is for Keltner, Jim Keltner”

  1. I haven’t got over the switch over to CDs. I much preferred the vinyl album covers with all the background information, plus the artwork of course. I have discovered an app for Spotify though that shows the lyrics as the song plays though!


  2. Sadly, I didn’t even know of Mr. Keltner until you posted this. It’s a shame that many great musicians get lost in the shuffle because they’re studio musicians. I love having a greater awareness of them.


  3. Great post. I miss the liner notes too. Even the difference in the large LB covers and inserts wasn’t the same when it went to small format CDs. Carver, ABC Wednesday Team


  4. Amazing how talented artists can be obscured by the larger than life celebrities they work with creatively. Sometimes being known, but not in the extreme, is the best way to fulfill ones talents. Great name and musical artist for the letter “K”. 🙂


  5. I always feel a bit embarrassed when I read your posts about these musicians which I have never heard of. I have only listened to classical music with a few exceptions. Now I am learning from you to listen to modern music.


  6. I have a great friend who is a drummer and I just love it when he goes at it. And he’s not even a pro like Keltner! I’ll have to watch out for his name from now on.

    abcw team


  7. I actually was a liner note reader myself, but for some reason have a terrible memory for names. They go in one side and immediately out the other… Great post, great songs.


  8. Well, I would say he keeps the beat with the best of them. He must be awfully good to be used by so many “big names”.
    Very interesting post. I have to admit I never heard of him.


  9. Roger, the irony of Keltner playing drums for Ringo!

    Every new album that came out back in the day, I’d read all the liner notes before putting needle to vinyl. Some of my favorites were the Sinatra album notes… also, one comment about Barbra Streisand, early in her career: “She is mad with talent and more gifted than any human being ought to be.” And of course the lyrics, which I believe were first printed by the Beatles. Simon and Garfunkel did a lot of lyrics on their LPs, too. Thanks for the blast from the past, Rog! Your buddy in all things musical, Amy


  10. So many fine session musicians I have admired over the years! Nicky Hopkins on Keyboards, Alan White on drums, James Jamerson on Bass, Martha Wash on Vocals, James Burton on guitar, Bootsy Collins on Bass and Guitar. Some like Bootsy got a chance to step out on their own once in awhile, but most stayed in the background. I just remembered Nona Hendryx on vocals, too!


  11. Hi Roger, from the long list of artists he’s worked with and songs he’s played on he must be an exceptional artist. Wonderful K choice. Thanks so much for sharing the talents of Jim Keltner with us.


  12. Good read! Thanks for sharing this info. I’m an 80s baby, but I could relate to the oldies but goodies songs you’ve listed above ^^ Good K choice!


  13. Always something new and different, George! :o) Thanks for introducing this artist, I’ll check on his music!

    I always loved reading liner notes in cds and lps as well, especially the thank-you notes. That’s something to miss in the modern times.

    Kisses from Nydia.


  14. Hello.
    My wife used to collect vinyl records before she moved here to the States. Unfortunately, she left them all back in the UK for her family to fight over. She had some really vintage records too. Do they even make players anymore? Nice “K” entry. Thanks for sharing & visiting.


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