Sun Records Drummer Dies at 86

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Pioneering rock ‘n’ roll drummer J.M. “Jimmy” Van Eaton, who played with musicians such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Billy Lee Riley at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee, has passed away at age 86. Van Eaton, a Memphis native, was known for his bluesy playing style that powered early rock hits at Sun Records like “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” by Lewis and “Red Hot” by Riley. He initially began with trumpet in a school band, but quickly switched to drums. Van Eaton had his own rock ‘n’ roll band, The Echoes, which led to his work at Sun Records. After a break from music in the 1960s, he resumed playing in the 1970s and retained involvement in the music industry alongside a career in the municipal bond business from the 1980s.

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