Gene Krupa: The World’s First Jazz Drummer Superstar

Gene Krupa playing the drums
Hooper! Oh, sorry. It’s not Jaws.

This chap was one of jazz drumming’s top superstars, going on to influence the likes of Keith Moon with his showmanship. Let’s have a gander.

Gene Krupa

Krupa (1909-1973) was an energetic bloke with a natural sense of entertainment value. And that ensured he became a superstar in the drumming community.

His skin whacking abilities (particularly his drum solo) on Sing, Sing, Sing in 1937 catapulted the drums into a different musical world.

We’ve invariably seen Ginger Baker or Keith Moon as making the drums a central instrument in music.

But jazz drummers nailed it in the 1930s, led by Krupa. He ensured the drums became much more than a basic time keeping instrument.

And that led to fame, with him appearing in high production stuff such as below.

He started drumming in 1927 and quickly gained a reputation for his timing skills. Plus, natural showmanship.

Watching the clips, it’s pretty obvious where Keith Moon got some of his inspiration from.

It’s the impish sense of mischievous fun. He’s about to pull some moves out and you’ve got to wait and see what he’s capable of.

In his later years, during the 1960s, Krupa maintained his fame with legendary drumming battles.

These were usually against Buddy Rich—a more skillful drummer. But one who had riffed on Krupa’s inspiration.

One of the most famous was on the Sammy Davis Jr. Show. The host also gets to show off his impressive dancing skills whilst they’re at it.

But that’s one of things about this era of music. No nonsense, just fun. You dance to it, you have fun, and the jazz drumming greats are brilliant.

The likes of Keith Carlock have since taken over, but the very nature of modern drumming harks back to what Krupa did from 1927 onward.

He ensured drummers were seen as more than just a time keeper.

And that led to the likes of Moon, Baker, John Bonham, Reni, and many others. For which we must be thankful.

All it takes is one good egg, eh?


  1. I know you are the moron, but this was a wonderful post about a really amazing drummer. Kudos.
    I loved it all. Who was that woman singing in the compilation vid. Was that Barbara Stanwyck?

    Liked by 1 person

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