Famous Gretsch Recordings?

DrummerJustLikeDad

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No matter which drummer historically endorsed which brand, there’s that legend that, behind closed doors, Gretsch drums figured into many song recordings as a favorite of producers. Everybody from Metallica to who knows who.

As authentically undocumented as this may be (I suppose Black Beauties and Recording Customs face the same challenge of hard proof), can anyone help substantiate actual documented uses? It's a great reputation to have, it just helps if it's true. :)

Contributions to the list?
 

BennyK

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I've heard that Simon Kirke played Gretsch on the Fire and Water album by Free .

Joe English when he was with McCartney and Wings .

Charlie Watts , especially Exile on Main Street .
 

DanRH

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Jeff Porcaro used his Gretsch kit with Toto and others from what I've heard.
 

Pimp-a-diddle

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I'm not surprised if true. Thin shells and close miking are like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and I'm sure there are plenty of producers/engineers who figured that out along the way and passed the information down.
 

multijd

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Any of the 1960’s Miles Davis recordings with Tony Williams are Gretsch. Also any Blue Note records from the 60 & 70’s with Tony. Tony’s classic Lifetime recordings. Max Roach and Art Blakey recordings from the 1950’s. Elvin Jones’ recordings until the 1980’s (?).
 

charlesm

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- Vinnie on Sting's Ten Summoners' Tales...I believe he was back to Gretsch on that album after the Yamaha era.

- Chuck Ruff on all the Edgar Winter stuff...all Gretsch, I believe.

- Probably anything with Carlos Vega on it in the '80s. Great examples are James Taylor's Never Die Young album and the GRP All Stars Live stuff. Check out the clips on YouTube with Dave Grusin.

- Don Heffington on Vic Chesnutt's Ghetto Bells album. I actually had a brief email conversation with him about his playing and what he used because I love the sonics on that album.

- Some debate, but Simon Kirke has also said he played Gretsch 18-12-14 on a lot of the Bad Company recordings.
 

old_K_ride

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I've heard that Simon Kirke played Gretsch on the Fire and Water album by Free .

Joe English when he was with McCartney and Wings .

Charlie Watts , especially Exile on Main Street .
Joe played Slingerland on tour.
honorable mention...Charlie Watts Rolling Stones "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out"
 

Gunnellett

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This is an interesting thread as you always see the stickers or hear "That Great Gretsch Sound" but yet I don't really know when I may be hearing "That Great Gretsch Sound" when listening to the radio. I've just assumed Gretsch when listening to the Stones or Phil Collins but I wouldn't be able to pick any others out just by listening.
 

charlesm

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Billy Cobham on the Mahavishnu Orchestra debut, “Inner Mounting Flame”.
Wow...really? I'd always assumed that was the clear Fibes kit.

I know BC played a small Gretsch kit on most of the more bop-oriented work he did prior to Mahavishnu, but I figured he was with Fibes after that.

The kit on Inner Mounting Flame sounds an awful lot like the Fibes kit seen in the 1972 live footage. Definitely Gretsch on the recording?
 

jtpaistegeist

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I seem to recall that Lars played Gretsch drums on the Black album per Bob Rocks request. Brad Wilk played a vintage Gretsch kit on the Sabbath album 13.
 

RIDDIM

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Billy Cobham on the Mahavishnu Orchestra debut, “Inner Mounting Flame”.
- I thought so too - looked walnut - from the album photos, but he told Johnathan Mover in a Drumhead interview that he used some Leedy drums that he scrounged from the attic at Frank Ippolito's and a Black Beauty that once belonged to Papa Jo. Footage of him from Hunter College and Syracuse in 1972 shows him with a white cortex Gretsch kit.
 

RIDDIM

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Wow...really? I'd always assumed that was the clear Fibes kit.

I know BC played a small Gretsch kit on most of the more bop-oriented work he did prior to Mahavishnu, but I figured he was with Fibes after that.

The kit on Inner Mounting Flame sounds an awful lot like the Fibes kit seen in the 1972 live footage. Definitely Gretsch on the recording?
- I thought it was Gretsch kit with coated Ambassadors. It didn't have the same sound one gets from cranked single ply clear heads, let alone acrylic shells. Plus, he didn't get the acrylic kit until Spring of 1972 - Miami, I think. I know this because I caught them in Dallas in June and asked him how long he'd been playing double bass: "Oh, maybe 2 weeks." I then asked him when he found time to practice: "Oh, in about 10 minutes."
 
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charlesm

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- I thought it was Gretsch kit with coated Ambassadors. It didn't have the same sound one gets from cranked single ply clear heads, let alone acrylic shells. PLus, he didn't get the acrylic kit until Spring of 1972 - Miami, I think. I know this because I caught them in Dallas in June and asked him how long he'd been playing double bass: "Oh, maybe 2 weeks." I then asked him when he found time to practice: "Oh, in about 10 minutes."
The cranked, lively tone always sounded plausible to me as being acrylic shells, but apparently not.

Part of the problem is that the back-cover photos on my cd (and old cassette) copy are too small to see in detail!

Interesting stuff.
 

DrummerJustLikeDad

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"Eye Of The Tiger" was a famous song.
I appreciate Steven’s distinction. I actually didn’t mean to rule out less mainstream references, but I began with the idea of the more “celebrated” examples like Toto and Metallica where Porcaro and Ulrich endorsed one brand, yet were reputed to use Gretsch discreetly on specific recordings.

The fact that this thread begins to garner references of everybody from Survivor’s Mark Droubay to Billy Cobham not only enriches the thread with a more fulfilled cataloging, but speaks again to the huge encyclopedic collective that is DFO.

Thanks guys, keep ‘em coming!
 

multijd

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Wow...really? I'd always assumed that was the clear Fibes kit.

I know BC played a small Gretsch kit on most of the more bop-oriented work he did prior to Mahavishnu, but I figured he was with Fibes after that.

The kit on Inner Mounting Flame sounds an awful lot like the Fibes kit seen in the 1972 live footage. Definitely Gretsch on the recording?
Ed Soph mentions it in that Drummers Resource podcast (which is fantastic by the way) that someone posted in the last couple of days. The album (vinyl) cover photo shows the gretsch set and an old snare that others have described as Leedy.
 

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