Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

Tom Ardolino’s Ferocious Backbeat

Around the 7:55 mark in this heartfelt video tribute to ‘Q drummer, Tom Ardolino (who left us in 2012), there is powerful testimony from one of rock & pop’s most storied session drummers, Earl Palmer, who remarks on Ardolino’s prodigious wallop [“playing that backbeat!”] and inimitable playing style [“twirling that drumstick, will you look at that guy – how does he do that?!”], as a result of witnessing Ardolino drive the band from backstage, along with Max Weinberg, at Conan O’Brien’s NBC show, while the ‘Q kicked into high gear with “Over Your Head:

NRBQ Plays The Conan O’Brien Show in 1994 –

Check out the drummer’s technique

This much-beloved band once enjoyed a radio hit in 1980 with “Me and the Boys” – one of three key contributions to rock’s great canon of songs that celebrate the joy and wonder of the automobile (the other two being “Ridin’ in My Car‘ from 1978’s At Yankee Stadium and “Little Floater” from 1989’s Wild Weekend on Virgin).

“People” [B-side]

Recorded live 9/27/78 at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art

NRBQ 45-x

“Me and the Boys” was also released as a 45 by Bonnie Raitt, as well as Dave Edmunds and The Inmates.



The Year of NRBQ

NRBQ would also record a version of “Baby Let’s Play House” with Michael Hutchence of INXS (4 letters, too!) that very same year – 1994 – on an Elvis Presley tribute entitled, It’s Now or Never.

Drums:  Tom Ardolino
Bass:  Joey Spampinato
Guitar:  Johnny Spampinato
Keyboards:  Terry Adams
Saxophone:  Jim Hoke
Trombone:  Tyrone Hill
Trumpet:  Dave Gordon
Clarinet:  Jim Hoke

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