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Cultural Percussionist

Sandy Nelson Day

Sander L. “Sandy” Nelson (born December 1, 1938) is an American drummer. Nelson, one of the best-known rock drummers of the early 1960s, had several solo instrumental Top 40 hits and was a session drummer on many other well-known hits, and released over 30 albums. He lives in Boulder City, Nevada, and continues to experiment with music on keyboards and piano.

His first recording, with a band called the Renegades (Richard Podolor, Bruce Johnston, and Nick Venet), was “Geronimo”, written by Venet, produced by Kim Fowley, and released on the Original Sound Records label. Although it flopped on the national charts, it charted in some of the Mid West markets. The song, along with “Charge”, is part of the soundtrack of 1959 film Ghost of Dragstrip Hollowreleased by American International Pictures.

Nelson attended high school with Jan Berry, Dean Torrence (who became Jan and Dean), and Kim Fowley. After gaining respect as a session drummer, he played on such songs as “To Know Him Is To Love Him” (Phil Spector‘s Teddy Bears, 1958), “Alley-Oop” (The Hollywood Argyles, 1960), and “A Thousand Stars” (Kathy Young and the Innocents, 1960).

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