Legendary drummer and founder of the band Toto, Jeff Porcaro also played with Steely Dan and many other great musicians. He was born in Hatford on April 1, 1954. And died in Los Angeles in 1992, when he was only 38.
When he was a kid he became interested in drums due to the influence of his father, Joe Porcaro. He started playing at the age of seven and the first lessons were given to him by his father. That were followed by classes with Bob Zimmitti and Rich Lapore.
At 28, Jeff reached the pinnacle of experience and recognition granted to a few drummers. He left school to accompany Sonny & Cher in Las Vegas when he was young and has also toured and recorded with Seals & Crofts, Boz Scaggs and Steely Dan.
One of the most important drummers in history
Since the beginning of his career, Jeff Porcaro was seen as one of the most important drummers in the industry. He had a sense of rhythm, as well as a versatility that extended to virtually every style.
Among many albums he has participated are “Silk Degrees” by Boz Scaggs (for which he wrote “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle”), “On Every Street” by Dire Straits. He also played in the mega hit “Thriller” by Michael Jackson and “Jump Up” by Elton John. The great “End Of The Innocence” by Don Henley, “Excitable Boy” by Warren Zevon and “Human Touch” by Bruce Springsteen.
A partial list of other artists he has played with includes Bonnie Raitt, Bee Gees, Jackson Browne, Michael McDonald, Lowell George, Hall & Oates, Etta James, Joe Cocker, Nils Lofgren, Manhattan Transfer, Greg Lake, George Benson, Larry Carlton, Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Peter Frampton, Airplay, Peter Allen, America, and Stanley Clarke.
Richard Marx dedicated the song “One Man” to Porcaro and said that he was the best drummer he worked with. Porcaro was one of the most recorded drummers in history, working on hundreds of albums and thousands of sessions.
The tragic Jeff Porcaro death
Jeff Porcaro suffered a heart attack and died on August 5, 1992 in Los Angeles. He was using a pesticide in his garden and an allergic reaction to the substance caused the attack. An autopsy revealed a serious heart problem that had not been previously diagnosed. He was only 38 years old.
The Los Angeles police also mentioned a small trace of cocaine found on his body. Despite traces of cocaine remaining in the body for years, the media clung to the drug reference and widely reported that cocaine abuse was the cause of death.
This rumor persists. Despite repeated statements by those who knew him that he had not used the drug in many years.
Jeff Porcaro’s funeral had an estimated 1500 people, was held on August 10 at the Hall of Liberty in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park. Jeff Porcaro Memorial Fund was created to benefit the music and art departments of Grant High School in Los Angeles.