George Harrison: Why Be the 501st Greatest Rock Drummer?

SKF NOTE: Great advice from George Harrison to Zakir Hussain: Be yourself. And Zakir had the wisdom and maturity to take Harrison’s advice to heart. As a side note, the drummers are Harrison’s “Living in the Material World” are: Jim Keltner, Ringo Starr, and Jim Gordon.


Zakir Hussain leaps borders with all-star jazz & Indian music band Crosscurrents
George Varga, Contact Reporter
October 21, 2017

George Harrison offered some life-changing advice when a young Zakir Hussain told the former Beatle he wanted to become the world’s first great rock drummer from India.

…Harrison told him simply: Forget it.

Hussain had been hired in 1972 to perform on Harrison’s “Living in the Material World” album.

“George said: ‘If I open the doors to this recording studio, there are 500 of the greatest rock drummers who will lay down what I need. But what I really need is a tabla player who understands both worlds of rhythm, Indian and Western. So why do you want to be the 501st-greatest rock drummer?’

“What was brought home to me by George and — a few years later — by John McLaughlin, with whom I co-founded the band Shakti, is that the reason I was sitting with them making music is because I had something to offer they craved, something that was not part of their musical worlds.”

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