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Nigel Olsson
Born 10 February 1949 (1949-02-10) (age 60)
Wallasey, Merseyside, England
Occupations Drummer, musician, singer
Instruments Drums, vocals, tambourine, congas
Years active 1967–present
Associated acts Plastic Penny, Elton John, Uriah Heep,Spencer Davis Group

Nigel Olsson (born 10 February 1949, Wallasey, Merseyside, England) is an English rock drummer, who is best known for his work with Elton John.


Olsson's first album appearance was in the band, Plastic Penny, which released Two Sides of a Penny on Page One Records in 1968. Olsson sang on one song on that album; "I Want You". Subsequently, he played drums and sang backing vocals on Elton John's early 1970s albums, teaming with guitarist Davey Johnstone, bassist Dee Murray, and percussionist Ray Cooper to form John's backing band.

In 1971, Olsson produced and released his solo album Nigel Olsson's Drum Orchestra and Chorus on Uni Records; featuring Murray and early 1970s John guitarist, Caleb Quaye. Olsson also teamed up with the Liverpool trio, The Big Three, for their reunion album, Resurrection (1973).

By 1975, Olsson, and Murray, were released from the John's band. Olsson's second solo album, Nigel Olsson, appeared that year on John's Rocket Records label, and featured a cover of the Bee Gees' penned "Only One Woman", which featured the combination of Johnstone, Murray and Cooper. The album was produced by Robert Appere.

Olsson continued working as a studio musician, releasing another self-titled album that was produced by Paul Davis on Columbia in 1978. Although that album brought no Top 40 recognition, in 1979, he released the album Nigel and enjoyed some mild success as a solo artist, scoring a pair of Top 40 hits on the U.S. pop chart with "A Little Bit of Soap" and "Dancin' Shoes", the latter of which cracked the Top 20 at #18. "Dancin' Shoes" was originally written by Carl Storie, and first recorded by his Faith Band.

In 1980, he released the album Changing Tides on CBS's Bang Records, but the album failed to achieve chart success. That same year, Olsson returned to Elton John's band to begin a four year tenure, working with John for sessions on albums such as 21 at 33 and The Fox. He rejoined former bandmates Murray and Johnstone for the tour behind John's 1982 album Jump Up!, and stayed with the reformed band through the next two albums and tours for Too Low for Zero (1983) and Breaking Hearts (1984). Following another line-up change, they would rejoin only once more in 1988 for backing vocals on Reg Strikes Back prior to Murray's death in January 1992.

Later, in 1991, Olsson reunited with Johnstone to form 'Warpipes', although this group disbanded shortly after cutting its debut album. Olsson then spent the next few years relaxing in California with his wife Schanda and son Justin, and racing vintage cars for fun. He still lives in Los Angeles.

Olsson returned to John's band in 2000 as part of his touring band, alternating between drums and backing vocals on certain songs. (The songs Olsson did not play drums on, typically the newer songs, were handled by Curt Bisquera). Olsson took over the full-time touring drumming chores when Bisquera left to pursue other projects. Olsson, never seen on stage without his trademark headphones and gloves, has been said to have a soulful singing voice.

In the studio, he played and sang backing vocals on several tracks on John's Songs from the West Coast (2001). He then played all drums on Peachtree Road (2004) and The Captain & the Kid (2006), as well as continuing in the touring band, along with Johnstone, Bob Birch (bass), Kim Bullard (keyboards) and John Mahon (percussion).

Olsson also served a brief time with the English hard rock band Uriah Heep, playing drums for some songs on its 1970 debut LP, Very 'eavy... Very 'umble.


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