Howard Grimes Death : Beloved Memphis Drummer Passed Away at 80

By | June 14, 2022

(Market News) Memphis.

Drummer Howard Grimes, one of the pillars of the Memphis sound, has died.

The legendary Stax and Hi Records drummer died Saturday at the age of 80.

As a drummer for Hi Records’ house band the Hi Rhythm Section in the 1970s, Grimes worked closely with artists including Al Green, Ann Peebles and Otis Clay.


Howard Lee Grimes was an American drummer, best known as a member of the Hi Rhythm Section on records by Al Green, Ann Peebles and others in the 1970s.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee on August 22, 1941, Grimes first performed in public at the age of 12, with Rufus Thomas. By his late teens he recorded regularly on sessions for Satellite Records, which later became Stax, where he was tutored by Al Jackson, Jr..

He also began working with bandleader and record producer Willie Mitchell at Hi Records, taking over as Mitchell’s main drummer after Jackson’s death. As a key member of the house band at Mitchell’s Royal Studios in Memphis, Grimes was instrumental in creating some of the most memorable songs and soul grooves of the 1970s. According to his profile on Wikipedia.


We have no information at the moment on the cause of  Howard Grimes death . This publication will be updated as soon as we have that information.


The following are some tributes posted on social media to honor the life and the legacy of the Howard Grimes.


Reacting to Howard Grimes’s death, Scott Sharrard , a Grammy nominated guitarist/singer and songwriter and member of Little Feat wrote the following statements on Facebook.

We have lost an American treasure, his name is Howard Grimes, and he has been the heartbeat to the soundtrack of our lives. Perhaps you had your first dance at your wedding to Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” or you’re a musician who endlessly looped the intro to “So Glad You’re mine” and marveled at the grace and melodic precision that can come from a drum set.
Or maybe like me, you smoked a joint at your older friends house for the first time (Patrick King, Milwaukee 1991) while spinning that record and ended up down a rabbit hole of vinyl bins. HI Records revelations. OV Wright, Ann Peebles, Otis Clay, The Detroit Emeralds, Don Bryant. It was indeed Howard at the kit.
Hell Howard was also on some of those early Willie Mitchell and STAX Records as well. “Another Saturday Night” by Eddie Floyd was a life defining groove in my teens. Thats Howard, called in last minute to sub for the great Al Jackson, Howard was about 16 years old.
He was a year or two older than my young ears that were captivated by the pure finesse and swing of this young man. After years of searching for the mystery and the hypnotic revery of the HI Rhythm groove and sound in session after session, I finally crossed paths with Howard in 2015.
And THERE it was, that SOUND. The Hi Hat pulsing away like a deep soul dervish. Howards right hand and his whole body leaned into the Hi Hat stand, two crash symbols and their weight socked together and careening on the brink of collapsing.
This man was pushing the entire dance floor with his right hand. Cowboy boots on his feet, the right foot blasting out the downbeat. This man himself was the elusive sound. Buy the gear, get the mics, even use the same studio? Good luck.
This mans hands were that sound. More magic has left us and the challenge mounts. I will be forever grateful to have made a joyful noise with such a great man. RIP Howard Grimes.
May be an image of 1 person, cymbal and indoor

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