Carl Palmer Gretsch Identity Crisis Ad (1979)


SKF NOTE: World class drums (Gretsch) and a world class drummer (Carl Palmer). The first time I saw this magazine ad (1979) I was puzzled. Gretsch set the advertising photo bar very, very high with the company’s 1960s black-and-white ads with Chuck Stewart photos of all the great Gretsch jazz pioneers, i.e. Max Roach, Art Blakey, Mel Lewis, Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones, Don Lamond.

Thirty-nine years after this ad was published I still can’t figure out why this passed muster at Gretsch. I doubt Carl Palmer had to sign off on the ad, but if he did? Yikes. This was a transition period for this class American drum company. This Carl Palmer ad, so uncharacteristic of Gretsch ads, probably reflects the company’s identity crisis at the time.

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