Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Celebrate Enarc Week: Happy Birthday, Bob Crane!

Drum Battle: Bob Crane vs. Gene Krupa

Bob Crane was born on this day in Waterbury, CT, in 1928. He spent less than two years in Waterbury before his parents moved the family south to Stamford, CT, where Bob and his older brother, Al, grew up. Bob graduated from Stamford High School in 1946, and having become an avid musician and drummer, he had played in the school's orchestra and marching band throughout his years in school. During that time, he also helped form and would occasionally lead the Crane-Catino Jazz Band, composed of musicians from school, as well as perform with the Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra.

Countless musicians of the Big Band Era caught Bob Crane's attention during his youth, and at the top of his list were Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa, two of the world's greatest drummers. Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich would often perform concerts together, during which time they would engage in "drum battles."

Bob idolized both Krupa and Rich, and as a kid growing up and playing drums in Stamford, he longed for the chance to play along side them. He carried his dreams and his drums with him into adulthood, into radio, and out to LA. "During my 10-year span of my early morning radio show in Hollywood," he said. "I kept a drum and cymbal at mikeside and constantly drummed accompaniment to the records I played. During 16 years in radio, I never gave up my drumming ambitions" (Crane, 1967).

At KNX in Los Angeles, Crane proved himself as a skilled celebrity interviewer. It was only a matter of time before Gene Krupa would be a guest on The Bob Crane Show, and Bob interviewed Krupa several times. During at least one of these interviews, Bob challenged Gene to a drum battle of his own.

In honor of what would have been Bob's 83rd birthday today, we present a special treat - a drum battle between Bob Crane and Gene Krupa.

Bob Crane vs. Gene Krupa Drum Battle
Bob Crane Show / KNX-CBS Radio
Circa 1960
Crane, B. (1967, July 21). "Bob Crane's true love is drumming." Associated Press.