Buddy Rich Gets Face Bashed In (1940)

rich_buddy_1940SKF NOTE: Down Beat editors published in their July 15, 1976 issue, A Collection of Lunacy, Prophecy, Controversy, and Commentary From 42 Years of the Contemporary Music Magazine. Forty years ago, when I was starting my career as a music writer, DB‘s special “scrapbook,” loaded with jazz factoids otherwise unavailable, was a treasured resource. It’s still fun reading.

The pros-and-cons of Buddy Rich‘s personality, as far as I can remember, have always drifted in-and-out of discussions about the great drummer. DB‘s 1940 Buddy Rich news item precedes my birth by more than a decade.


Buddy Rich Gets Face Bashed In
September 1, 1940

New York – Buddy Rich’s face looked as if it had been smashed in with a shovel last week as Buddy sat behind the drums in the Tom (sic) Dorsey band at the Astor Hotel. No one was real sure what happened, except that Buddy had met up with someone who could use his dukes better than Rich.

Members of the band — several of them apparently “tickled” about the whole thing — say that Buddy “went out and asked for it.”

It is no secret among musicians that Rich’s behavior at times has been open to criticism. Only a few weeks back Frank Sinatra, Tommy’s vocalist, belted Buddy around as if he were a punching bag. Sinatra is smaller than Rich. It was not Frank who gave Buddy his latest beating, however.

Source: Down Beat IN REVIEW, Down Beat, July 15, 1976
Photo credit for Buddy Rich with Tommy Dorsey


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