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Johny Barbata: TURTLES, CSNY, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE/STARFISH – Crafting Rock Classics

  1. Johny Barbata: TURTLES, CSNY, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE/STARFISH - Crafting Rock Classics Sandy Kaye 52:00

Guess who was behind hits like the Turtles’ “Happy Together” or CSN&Y’s “Ohio?”

It was renowned drummer Johny Barbata who sadly passed away unexpectedly last month.

Johny’s extraordinary talent and versatility made him a pivotal figure in rock and pop music. Starting his career in the 1960s, Johny first gained prominence as a member of The Turtles, where his dynamic drumming powered hits like “Happy Together” and “She’d Rather Be With Me.” His innovative style and rhythmic precision caught the attention of major bands and artists, leading him to join Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, where he contributed to their classic live album “4 Way Street.”

In the 70s, Johny’s career soared even higher when he became the drummer for Jefferson Airplane, later transitioning to Jefferson Starship. His powerful beats and creative percussion were instrumental in shaping the band’s sound on iconic tracks like “Volunteers” and “Miracles.” Throughout his career, Johny Barbata’s drumming was characterised by its technical proficiency, adaptability across genres, and ability to enhance the music’s emotional impact.

John’s influence extended beyond his performances; he was also a mentor and inspiration to countless drummers. His autobiography, “The Legendary Life of a Rock Star Drummer,” offers an in-depth look at his journey through the highs and lows of the music industry. Despite facing numerous challenges, including a serious car accident, Barbata’s Resilience and passion for music kept him active in the industry until the day he died.

Johny Barbata continues to be celebrated as one of rock’s greatest drummers, known for his contributions to some of the most memorable songs in music history. His legacy is marked by his unique ability to blend technical skill with expressive artistry, leaving an indelible mark on every band he ever played with.

This week, I’m honouring the late Johny Barbata by featuring a recent interview we did together. During our conversation he sheds light on what it was like to be a famous rock star and how in demand he constantly was as a session drummer. Artists like Jackson Browne, Linda Rondstadt and Neil Young couldn’t get enough of him.

Find out why by listening to him tell his story.

If you’d like to know more about the life and times of Johny Barbata, pick yourself up a copy of his book Johnt Barbata- The Legendary Life of a Rock Star Drummer – available from Amazon

I hope you enjoy the celebration of John’s life and music.

Send in a voice message:

Hello, I’m Sandy Kaye. A freelance broadcaster, journalist and producer who has spent more than 35 years on both sides of radio and television microphones. I’ve worked with every TV network in Australia, have produced and presented for countless radio stations around the country and have hosted my own commercial radio talk-back show. I’ve even held the distinction of being Sydney’s first female newsreader on radio – way back when!

Today my passion is A Breath of Fresh Air which allows me to immerse myself in one of my favourite things – music. I just love all kinds of music and am fascinated by the people who make it. In particular, it’s the music of the '60s '70s and '80s that takes me back to my youth and means so much to me.

As a journalist, I’m all about digging deep into the classic hits of our time.
I bring you intimate, warm, fireside chats with the artists who tell us about their lives both then and now.
We learn about what makes them tick, who they are in their professional and private lives and how they went about making the soundtrack to our lives.

'A Breath of Fresh Air’ is exceptional - exceptional not because of me, but rather because of the stories that some of the best-known musical artists choose to share with me.

I created this podcast to honour them. It’s all about THEIR lives, THEIR stories, THEIR music, told now, in THEIR voices, before they’re lost forever.

I see my podcast as a personal labour of love, but also as an archival legacy for music fans and practitioners alike, both current and future, who otherwise might never know of the amazing people who helped build the industry.

I really hope you enjoy each and every episode of A Breath of Fresh Air.

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