Buddy Rich
Name: Buddy Rich
Occupation: Drummer
Gender: Male
Birth Day: September 30, 1917
Death Date: Apr 2, 1987 (age 69)
Age: Aged 69
Birth Place: Brooklyn, United States
Zodiac Sign: Libra

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Buddy Rich

Buddy Rich was born on September 30, 1917 in Brooklyn, United States (69 years old). Buddy Rich is a Drummer, zodiac sign: Libra. Nationality: United States. Approx. Net Worth: $1 Million.

Brief Info

Jazz drummer and bandleader who appeared on more than sixty albums as a sideman and leader. He played with an array of groups, including Tommy Dorsey's orchestra.


He was never formally trained and started playing percussion at a year old with spoons.

Net Worth 2020

$1 Million
Find out more about Buddy Rich net worth here.

Does Buddy Rich Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Buddy Rich died on Apr 2, 1987 (age 69).


Height Weight Hair Colour Eye Colour Blood Type Tattoo(s)

Before Fame

He was playing professionally in Vaudeville at eighteen months. He worked as a bandleader at as early as eleven years old.


Biography Timeline


His jazz career began in 1937 with clarinetist Joe Marsala. He became a member of big bands led by Bunny Berigan and Artie Shaw. When he was home from touring with Shaw, he gave drum lessons to a 14-year-old Mel Brooks for six months. At 21, he participated in his first major recording with the Vic Schoen Orchestra who backed the Andrews Sisters.


In 1942, Rich left the Dorsey band to join the United States Marine Corps, in which he served as a judo instructor and never saw combat. He was discharged in 1944 for medical reasons. After leaving the Marines, he returned to the Dorsey band. In 1946, with financial support from Frank Sinatra, he formed a band and continued to lead bands intermittently until the early 1950s.

In 1942, Rich and Henry Adler wrote Buddy Rich's Modern Interpretation of Snare Drum Rudiments, which is regarded as one of the more popular snare drum rudiment books. Adler met Rich through a former student. Adler said, "The kid told me he played better than Krupa. Buddy was only in his teens at the time and his friend was my first pupil. Buddy played and I watched his hands. Well, he knocked me right out. He did everything I wanted to do, and he did it with such ease. When I met his folks, I asked them who his teacher was. 'He never studied', they told me. That made me feel very good. I realized that it was something physical, not only mental, that you had to have." Adler denied the rumor that he taught Rich how to play. "Sure, he studied with me, but he didn't come to me to learn how to hold the drumsticks. I set out to teach Buddy to read. He'd take six lessons, go on the road for six weeks and come back. He didn't practice. He couldn't, because wherever the guy went, he was followed around by admiring drummers. He didn't have time to practice...Tommy Dorsey wanted Buddy to write a book and he told him to get in touch with me. I did the book and Tommy wrote the foreword. Technically, I was Buddy's teacher, but I came along after he had already acquired his technique."


Rich was married to Marie Allison, a dancer and showgirl, on April 24, 1953, until his death in 1987. They had a daughter in 1954, Cathy, who later became a vocalist and carried on her father's band. Rich was also cousin of actor Jonathan Haze.


In 1955, Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich recorded the collaboration album titled, "Krupa and Rich," which featured the song "Bernie's Tune," where they traded drum solos for a total of six minutes.


According to bassist Bill Crow, Rich reacted strongly to Max Roach's increasing popularity when he was the drummer for Charlie Parker, especially when a jazz critic stated Roach had topped Rich as the world's greatest drummer. Drummer John JR Robinson told Crow he was with Roach when Rich drove by with a beautiful woman seated next to him and yelled: "Hey, Max! Top this!". Nonetheless, the two worked together on the 1959 album Rich Versus Roach, and Roach appeared on the 1994 Rich tribute album Burning for Buddy.


From 1966 until his death, he led successful big bands in an era when their popularity had waned. He continued to play clubs but stated in interviews that the majority of his band's performances were at high schools, colleges, and universities rather than clubs. He was a session drummer for many recordings, where his playing was often less prominent than in his big-band performances. Especially notable were sessions for Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, and the Oscar Peterson trio with bassist Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis. In 1968, Rich collaborated with the Indian tabla player Ustad Alla Rakha on the album Rich à la Rakha.

He performed a big-band arrangement of a medley from West Side Story that was released on the 1966 album Swingin' New Big Band. The "West Side Story Medley," arranged by Bill Reddie, highlighted Rich's ability to blend his drumming into the band. Rich received the West Side Story arrangement of Leonard Bernstein's melodies from the musical in the mid-1960s; he found the music quite challenging and it took him almost a month of constant rehearsal to perfect. It later became a staple of his live performances. A six-minute performance of "Prologue/Jet Song" from the suite, performed during Frank Sinatra's portion of the Concert for the Americas on August 20, 1982 is on the DVD "Frank Sinatra: Concert for the Americas". In 2002, a DVD was released called The Lost West Side Story Tapes that captured a 1985 performance of this along with other numbers.


A live recording of the "Channel One Suite" is on the album Mercy, Mercy recorded at Caesars Palace in 1968. The album was acclaimed as the "finest all-round recording by Buddy Rich's big band".


In 1973 PBS broadcast and syndicated Rich's February 6, 1973, performance at the Top of the Plaza in Rochester, New York. It was the first time thousands of drummers were exposed to Buddy in a full-length concert setting, and many drummers continue to name this program as a prime influence on their own playing. One of his most widely seen television performances was in a 1981 episode of The Muppet Show in which he engaged Muppet drummer "Animal" (performed by Frank Oz, drums played by Ronnie Verrell) in a drum battle. Rich's famous televised drum battles also included Gene Krupa, Ed Shaughnessy and Louie Bellson.


In 1980, Rich was awarded an honorary doctorate of music from Berklee College of Music.


Rich was known as a performer and endorser of Ludwig, Slingerland, and Rogers drums. While endorsing Slingerland in the '60s and '70s, Rich sometimes used a Fibes snare drum together with a Slingerland drum kit. He switched exclusively to Ludwig in the late 1970s through the early 1980s. While recovering from a heart attack in 1983, Rich was presented with a 1940s-vintage Slingerland Radio King set, refurbished by Joe MacSweeney of Eames Drums, which he used until his death in 1987. Rich's typical setup included a 14"×24" bass drum, a 9"×13" mounted tom, two 16"×16" floor toms (with the second tom usually serving as a towel holder), and a 5.5"×14" snare drum. His cymbals were typically Avedis Zildjian: 14" New Beat hi-hats, 20" medium ride, 8" splash, two 18" crashes (thin and medium-thin). Sometimes a 6" splash and later a 22" swish. He also used Remo drumheads and Slingerland drumsticks.


In 1986, a year before his death, Rich was elected into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in the category of bandleader, and drum set player.


Rich was notoriously short-tempered. Singer Dusty Springfield slapped him after several days of "putting up with Rich's insults and show-biz sabotage." He held a rivalry with Frank Sinatra which sometimes ended in brawls when both were members of Tommy Dorsey's band. Nevertheless, they remained lifelong friends, and Sinatra delivered a eulogy at Rich's funeral in 1987. In 1983, Rich underwent quadruple bypass surgery, and was often visited by Sinatra in hospital. Billy Cobham said that he met Rich in a club and asked him to sign his snare drum, but Rich “dropped it down the stairs”.

Rich continued touring and performing until the end of his life. In early March 1987, he was touring in New York when he was hospitalized after suffering a paralysis on his left side that physicians believed had been caused by a stroke. He was transferred to California to UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles for tests, where doctors discovered and removed a brain tumor on March 16. He was discharged a week later, but continued to receive daily chemotherapy treatments at the hospital. On April 2, 1987, he died of unexpected respiratory and cardiac failure after a treatment related to the malignant brain tumor. His wife Marie and daughter Cathy buried him in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. He was 69.


Since Rich's death, a number of memorial concerts have been held. In 1994, the Rich tribute album Burning for Buddy: A Tribute to the Music of Buddy Rich was released. Produced by Rush drummer/lyricist Neil Peart, the album features performances of Rich staples by a number of jazz and rock drummers such as Joe Morello, Steve Gadd, Max Roach, Billy Cobham, Dave Weckl, Simon Phillips, Steve Smith, and Peart himself, accompanied by the Buddy Rich Big Band. A second volume was issued in 1997. Phil Collins was featured in a DVD tribute organized by Rich's daughter, A Salute to Buddy Rich, which included Steve Smith and Dennis Chambers.


Buddy Rich was among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.


In 2016, readers of Rolling Stone magazine ranked Rich No. 15 in their list of the 100 Greatest Drummers of all time. In a readers' poll in 2011, he ranked No. 6.


On September 30, 2017, Rich was honored with a Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Buddy Rich is 103 years, 8 months and 23 days old. Buddy Rich will celebrate 104th birthday on a Thursday 30th of September 2021.

Find out about Buddy Rich birthday activities in timeline view here.

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