W.S. “Fluke” Holland/drums
Recognized around the world as a true music pioneer and legendary performer, W.S. “Fluke” Holland started his career in 1954 as a member of the Carl Perkins Band. Carl, along with his two brothers, Clayton and Jay, and W.S. made rock and roll history by driving the 80 mile trip from their hometown in Jackson, TN to Memphis’ Sun Recording Studio where they started recording with iconic record producer Sam Phillips.
Over the next few years the band released some of the most famous recordings in the history of rock and roll including Blue Suede Shoes, Matchbox, Honey Don’t, True Love and many other Carl Perkins songs that remain as classics today. It was these songs, and the band’s way of playing music, that inspired the Beatles, Eric Clapton and scores of other legendary performers for the next several decades.
In 1960 W.S. received a call from fellow Sun Records artist Johnny Cash and a two-week tour turned into nearly 40 years performing with Johnny’s Tennessee 3. “Fluke”, as W.S. is known by his fans around the world, is the only Tennessee 3 band member to remain with the Cash organization every year after starting until Johnny’s retirement in 1997.
Over the years with Cash W.S. played on dozens of his hit records including Ring of Fire, I Walk the Line, Sunday Morning Coming Down, Man in Black, Get Rhythm and more. He is the drummer heard on the famous “Johnny Cash Live at Folsom Prison” and “Live at San Quentin” recordings and appeared weekly on ABC TV’s “The Johnny Cash Show”.
Few backup artists in the music industry have reached the level of career achievements and accomplishments that W.S. Holland has. These achievements include playing for 4 American presidents, the Queen of England, playing the first country music show in Carnegie Hall, and the first drummer to ever play a full set of drums on the stage of the famed Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN.
Known by many as the world’s first Rock & Roll drummer, W.S. toured with Elvis, Jerry Lee Jewis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and other Sun Records artists during the formative years of American Rock & Roll music. He has backed up and/or recorded with artists such as The Highwaymen (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson), The Statler Brothers, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry and numerous others of American music royalty.
He is a true American music legend due to his integral contributions and innovative style of playing drums countless others have emulated and been influenced by for over 50 years. He was there when Rock & Roll and Rockabilly was born and provided the back-beat for it’s delivery. Johnny Cash called him, The Father of the Drums”, a title well-deserved and one that stands today as a testimony to W.S.’s love for and dedication to the music he continues to play well into the 21st Century.