Kenny Aronoff

Kenny Aronoff.

Kenny Aronoff’s first highly visible gig was with John Cougar Mellencamp. It was not his last. Over his 17 years with Mellencamp, he began a studio recording career on the side that eventually became far more important, stretching to hundreds of recordings with the most popular artists in music.

I know, I know. I’ve already introduced too many drummers who have played on dozens of number-one records. The fact is, Kenny belongs at or near the top of this list: it’s not just the recordings with Melissa Etheridge, Smashing Pumpkins, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, Santana, Vince Gill, Ricky Martin, John Fogerty and a million more—it’s the way he crushes the session, a lot like someone driving a tack with a sledgehammer.

Kenny is classically trained, can read any chart and writes his own, but he also has the feel that makes a recording come alive. The same thing happens when he tours with a live show, and this is where the musicians have found something special in Kenny—the tours and shows with Smashing Pumpkins, Sting, Ringo, and Chickenfoot, multiple concerts at the Kennedy Center Honors and shows like it—those all-star benefits and compilations, where an enormous amount of attention is going to fall on the drummer who has to accommodate dozens of styles and add in something extra— Kenny is the drummer of choice.

I should point out that few people have time to both record AND tour at the elite level. Fact is, the musicians won’t give Kenny a day off because they know there is something special here. Our aim tonight is to listen with him to the music that he finds special.

Listen to the Kenny Aronoff Podcast

Kenny Aronoff Playlist

Straight No Chaser — Excerpt from Buddy Rich Big Band

Album: Burning for Buddy: A Tribute to the Music of Buddy Rich
Drums: Kenny Aronoff

What’d I Say — Ray Charles

Album: What’d I Say, 1959
Drums: Milt Turner

She Loves You — The Beatles

Single: 1963
Drums: Ringo Starr

Love and Happiness — Al Green

Album: I’m Still in Love With You, 1972
Drums: Al Jackson, Jr.

Some Kind of Wonderful — Grand Funk Railroad

Album: All the Girls in the World Beware, 1974
Drums: Don Brewer

When the Levee Breaks — Led Zeppelin

Album: Led Zeppelin IV, 1971
Drums: John Bonham

Skin Deep — Duke Ellington

Album: Ellington Uptown, 1952
Drums: Louie Bellson

Channel One Suite — Buddy Rich Big Band

Album: Mercy, Mercy, 1968
Drums: Buddy Rich

Toad — Cream

Album: Fresh Cream, 1966
Drums: Ginger Baker

Hurts So Good — John Cougar

Album: American Fool, 1982
Drums: Kenny Aronoff

Jack and Diane — John Cougar

Album: American Fool, 1982
Drums: Kenny Aronoff

Mahavishnu Orchestra — Vital Transformation

Album: Inner Mounting Flame, 1971
Drums: Billy Cobham

Authority Song — John Mellencamp

Album: Uh-Huh, 1983
Drums: Kenny Aronoff

Blaze of Glory — Jon Bon Jovi

Album: Blaze of Glory, 1990
Drums: Kenny Aronoff

What are You Living For? — Tommy Iommi

Album: Fused, 2005
Drums: Kenny Aronoff

Kenny’s Website