Earl Young (drummer)  

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Earl Young is a Philadelphia-based drummer who rose to prominence in the early 1970s as part of the Philly Soul sound and who played drums for such diverse groups as The Intruders, The O'Jays, Barbara Mason, Teddy Pendergrass, Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, The Three Degrees and The Village People.

In the early 1960s, Young began his professional recording career with the Volcanos. The group's 1965 R&B hit "Storm Warning" peaked at number 33. They were the house band for the Uptown Theater in Philadelphia. The Uptown was similar to New York's Apollo Theater, a obligatory stop for R&B/pop acts of the 1960s. There, Young backed such stars as Jackie Wilson. In his early twenties, Young joined Stevie Wonder on a tour of Japan.

He also worked with Ronnie Baker and Norman Harris in Baker/Harris/Young productions who were an intregal part of MFSB, the studio aggregation that was the house band for Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff's Philadelphia International Records (PIR). The trio also performed and recorded as The Trammps and had a hit record with "Disco Inferno". Young is seen as the inventor of the disco style of rock drumming, as he was the first to make extensive and distinctive use of the Hi Hat cymbal throughout the playing time of an R & B recording. This is turn led to DJ's favoring his recordings because they could hear the cymbal quite easily in their headphones as they "cued up" records to be mixed. Young would feature prominently on many Gamble and Huff recordings before moving on to Salsoul Records as part of the house band for the label. He recorded extensively at Philadelphia's Sigma Sound Studios.

In 1989, newcomers Ten City would seek out Young to work on their debut album for the House Music scene, and even commissioned Young for remixing of some of the material as well as session drumming.

Maurice Bottomley remarked on Earl Young that he "changed the whole industry's approach to percussion, rejecting both the 4/4 Motown bombs and the Southern backbeat of Al Jackson in favour of more fluid, cymbal-driven patterns. The results were similar to Kenny Clark and Max Roach's experiments in the '40s and Philly thus stands as Modernist to Motown's Classical style in the same way bebop stands against swing."


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