Drum & Percussion Lessons
Drummer Cafe 20th Anniversary
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"Honky Tonk Women", by The Rolling Stones, was a 1969 hit song released as a single on July 4, 1969 in the UK and a week later in the USA. The song topped the music charts in both nations. The band actually recorded two versions of the song; I'll be explaining and transcribing drum/percussion parts from the popular 45 single version.

Upon listening to the original recording, notice that the song begins with an eight-bar introduction — the cowbell and drums start, NOT the guitar riff (for all of your crazed guitarist friends). The first measure of the intro is cowbell, which was performed by producer Jimmy Miller, followed by a short drum fill in the second, played by Charlie Watts. The cowbell and drums groove for an additional two measures before the guitars enter.

Before I go further, let me discuss the cowbell sound, technique employed and written notation.


Bart Elliott

Bart Elliott is a degreed professional musician currently residing in Nashville, Tennessee. His 39+ years in the music industry, over 100 albums to his credit, as well as his understanding of contemporary and classical music, makes him a complete and skilled master musician. A highly sought after drummer and percussionist, both live and in the studio, Bart is widely known as a top music educator, consultant and gifted teacher, appearing as a guest artist and clinician throughout the USA and abroad.

Bart Elliott is the founder and sole proprietor of DrummerCafe.com (f/k/a Drum Ring International) — established in December 1996.