IRRMA Hall of Fame Inductees
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John Jr Robinson
John JR Robinson was born in Creston, Iowa on Dec. 29, 1954. He is the son of the late Dr. Jack Robinson and the late Helen Sloan. Both parents, through music, had a strong effect on John.
He started on piano at the age of five and on drums at 8. John turned pro when he started his first band at the ripe old age of 10. After attending many music camps throughout junior and senior high school, John chose to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. At Berklee he was introduced to a whole world variety of culture through music.
While touring with his own band in early 1978, John got his break. Rufus and Chaka Khan came into the club where he was playing and by the third set, the band Rufus was sitting in with John! Within a few weeks, John had moved to Lost Angeles to finish the 1978 Rufus World Tour.
In late 1978, John was introduced to Quincy Jones. “Q” asked if he did sessions outside Rufus. Of course he said “yes” and found himself in the studio recording ‘Off The Wall’ for Michael Jackson. Ever since that record, JR’s phone has been ringing off the wall.
JR has become the most recorded drummer in history, even surpassing the great Hal Blaine. Some of the hits are: “We Are The World, All Night Long” by Lionel Richie, “I’m So Excited” and “Slow Hand” by the Pointer Sisters, “I’m Just a Gigolo” and “California Girls” by David Lee Roth, “Higher Love” and “Back In The Highlife” by Steve Winwood, “Express Yourself” by Madonna, “Off The Wall” and “Bad” by Michael Jackson, the new Natalie Cole CD “Stardust”, “Change The World” by Eric Clapton, Quincy Jones’ “Jook Joint” and “From Q With Love’, and Ray Charles’ “Genius Loves Company” to name a few. JR won a Grammy in 1983 with Rufus and Chaka Khan for “Ain’t Nobody.”
John has been the drummer for Quincy Jones since 1979 and for Barbra Streisand since 1993. He just finished Barbra’s “Timeless” world tour of Australia and the United States. His drumming talents have enhanced many motion pictures including: My Cousin Vinny, Grand Canyon, Pure Country, Phenomenon, The Body Guard, First Wives Club, Celtic Pride, Dave, Evening Star, Father’s Day, Free Willy, Hercules, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Independence Day, Jerry McGuire, The Mirror Has Two Faces, Little Rascals, Nothing To Lose, Nutty Professor, The Preacher’s Wife, Quest For Camelot, South Park, Space Jam, Tin Cup, The Waterboy, Dinosaur, America’ Sweethearts, Rush Hour 2 and That Thing That You Do, Hollywood Homicide, Raising Helen, Starsky & Hutch, Mr. 3000, Garfield, Ladder 49, 13 Going On 30, Dodgeball, Collateral and Team America.
JR also has his two signature series snare drums out with Yamaha and his own signature sticks with the Zildjian Company. Robinson just released his solo CD “Funkshui” and is producing several projects. He maintains a recording studio in Thousand Oaks, CA., and will continue to add his magic to many hits to come with his recognized sound employing great timing and a great groove.
For John JR Robinson’s countless contributions to the music industry and for making drumming a consummate art, he is inducted into the Iowa RockNRoll Music Association Hall of Fame in 2005!