As Queen begins its year long 50th anniversary celebrations, co-founding drummer Roger Taylor name-checked some of his biggest inspirations. During a new chat with The London Express, he listed Mitch Mitchell from the Jimi Hendrix ExperienceLed Zeppelin‘s John Bonham, and the Who‘s Keith Moon.

Taylor said of Mitch Mitchell: “I was blown away by his playing, everything was tight and so perfect and he always played for the song. . . His fills were just fantastic and he was so fast with those jazz chops that you barely saw his hands. ‘Fire’ and ‘Manic Depression’ — from Are You Experienced — are still two of my favorite drum tracks.”

Taylor also sang the praises of the mighty John Bonham, recalling, “Another drummer that blew me away when Freddie (Mercury) and I first saw (Led) Zeppelin play live was John Bonham. . . He sounded like thunder! He was pure rock — he had speed, power and wonderful technique. Then there was his drum sound — massive and natural — and that became the benchmark that so many drummers strived for. He hit hard but he knew how to hit right. I loved his drumming and that big sound of his was a big influence on me.”

He went on to talk about rock’s ultimate madman, the great Keith Moon: “Keith Moon was another big influence on me, He was just phenomenal at what he did, and he was another drummer with a great sound. Those tympanic toms were quite revolutionary and his phrasing was just so natural, untutored and brilliant.”

FAST FACTS

  • Keith Moon died on September 7th, 1978 at age 32. Moon’s death, which was ruled accidental, was caused by an overdose of Heminevrin, a medication prescribed to help alleviate alcohol withdrawals, mixed with alcohol.
  • According to police reports there were 32 pills found in Moon’s system, some of which were not yet dissolved.
  • John Bonham died on September 25th, 1980 at age 32, due to a pulmonary edema, which is fluid accumulation in the lungs. The clinical cause of death was asphyxiation from vomit and an autopsy found no other drugs in his body.
  • Mitch Mitchell died on November 12th, 2008 at age 62, while on the road as part of the annual “Experience Hendrix Tour.” Mitchell, who had been suffering from various alcohol-related issues, died of natural causes.

DID YOU KNOW???

  • In 1974, Mitch Mitchell unsuccessfully auditioned to become Paul McCartney‘s second drummer in Wings.
  • Mitchell ultimately lost the gig to the relatively unknown Geoff Britton, who was soon replaced by Joe English.
  • Geoff Britton holds the distinction of being the only Wings drummer not to record a full album with McCartney, tour with Wings, or perform on a Number One single.

CHECK IT OUT: Mitch Mitchell taking a solo turn during a January 9th, 1969 appearance with the Jimi Hendrix Experience live in Sweden:

CHECK IT OUT: John Bonham soloing on July 17th, 1977 during Led Zeppelin’s Seattle Kingdome show:

CHECKIT OUT: The Who on October 28th, 1964 performing “I Gotta Dance To Keep From Crying” live at London’s Railway Hotel: