Who is Gary Chester?
Scott K. Fish, Special to the Piscataquis Observer • October 29, 2018
Gary Chester, starting in the 1960s, was a top New York studio drummer. One of a special breed of musicians who music producers and artists counted on to make hit records. Mostly these musicians worked inside recording studios in places like New York City, Los Angeles, Muscle Shoals, and New Orleans.
When Gary Chester retired after 20 years as a studio musician, he had chalked up 14,000 recording sessions. If you listen to classic rock and pop music, it’s hard to go through a day without hearing Gary Chester’s drumming.
Van Morrison’s “Brown-Eyed Girl,” Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” The Monkees’ “I’m a Believer,” Dionne Warwick’s “What the World Needs Now,” The Chiffons, “He’s So Fine,” Petula Clark, “Downtown,” Jim Croce, “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” John Denver’s, “Rocky Mountain High,” and The Drifters’ “Up On the Roof.” These hits barely scratch the surface of Mr. Chester’s body of work.
The first time I heard about Gary was in a letter sent in response to my 1982 five-part Modern Drummer magazine series, “A History of Rock Drumming.” The letter, signed “Gary Chester,” patted me on the back, but wondered why I hadn’t included Gary Chester.