Steve Gadd

Steve Gadd (born April 9, 1945) is an American drummer and session musician widely recognized for his exceptional technique and versatility. Throughout his career, Gadd has worked with a vast array of artists across multiple genres, solidifying his reputation as one of the most influential drummers in contemporary music.

Timeline of Career Highlights

1968 Graduates from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

1972 Moves to New York City and begins his career as a session drummer.

1975 Gains widespread recognition for his work on Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover."

1976 Plays on Steely Dan's album "Aja," particularly noted for the drum solo on "Aja."

1981 Forms the group Stuff with Richard Tee, Cornell Dupree, Eric Gale, and Gordon Edwards.

1997 Releases his first solo album, "Gadd Gang."

2003 Inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame.

2013 Tours with Eric Clapton and releases more solo work.

2016 Wins Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for "Way Back Home: Live from Rochester, NY."

Bands He Has Played With

Paul Simon Notable work on "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover."

Steely Dan Contributions to albums like "Aja" and "Gaucho."

Eric Clapton Longtime collaborator and touring drummer.

Stuff Jazz-funk band formed in the mid-1970s.

James Taylor Regular touring and recording partner.


Solo and with Gadd Gang

1. Gadd Gang (1986)

2. Here & Now (1991)

3. Gadditude (2013)

4. 70 Strong (2015)

Notable Albums with Other Artists

1. Paul Simon – Still Crazy After All These Years (1975)

2. Steely Dan – Aja (1977)

3. James Taylor – JT (1977)

4. Eric Clapton – Journeyman (1989)

5. Chick Corea – The Leprechaun (1976)


Drums Yamaha Recording Custom series

Cymbals Zildjian (various models)

Heads Remo

Sticks Vic Firth Steve Gadd Signature sticks

Hardware Yamaha


Steve Gadd's sound is characterized by his precision, groove, and the ability to adapt to any musical context. He is known for his creative use of rudiments, his crisp and clean technique, and his signature grooves, such as the distinctive pattern in "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover." His drumming often features sophisticated, subtle touches that enhance the music without overwhelming it.

Solo Albums

1. Gadd Gang (1986)

2. Here & Now (1991)

3. Gadditude (2013)

4. 70 Strong (2015)

Grammy Awards

2016 Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for "Way Back Home: Live from Rochester, NY."

Famous Songs or Compositions

"50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" (Paul Simon)

"Aja" (Steely Dan)

"Late in the Evening" (Paul Simon)

"Nite Sprite" (Chick Corea)

"Just the Two of Us" (Grover Washington Jr. featuring Bill Withers)

Collaborations and Cover Versions

Collaborated with Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, Chick Corea, Grover Washington Jr., Al Jarreau, and many others.

Covered by Numerous drummers have studied and covered Gadd’s signature grooves and solos, particularly his work on "Aja" and "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover."


I just try to play what feels right for the song. It's about making the music feel good.

Eric Clapton…

Steve is the master. He's the kind of drummer that makes everything sound better.

Gossip and Trivia

Military Service Gadd served in the U.S. Army as a drummer in the Army band before starting his session career.

Influence His work has influenced countless drummers, including Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, and many others.

Unique Approach Known for using brushes and sticks in unconventional ways to create unique textures and sounds.


Steve Gadd’s contributions to music, his innovative drumming techniques, and his ability to seamlessly blend into various musical styles have made him a legendary figure in the drumming world. His work continues to inspire musicians across genres, solidifying his legacy as one of the greatest drummers of all time.

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