Nigel Olsson

Born 10 February 1949 (age 68)
Wallasey, Cheshire
England, United Kingdom
Genres Rock and roll
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments Drums, vocals, percussion, tambourine, congas

Nigel Olsson & Elton John – Showdown (1980) – YouTube

Drummerworld: Nigel Olsson

Elton Johon’s Nigel Olsson: That Classic Feel | Modern Drummer …

Nigel Olsson (born 10 February 1949) is an English rock drummer and singer best known for his long-time affiliation with Elton John.

A dynamic drummer and backing vocalist, Olsson helped establish the Elton John sound as a member of John’s original power trio alongside bassist Dee Murray. When not working with John, Olsson has taken up the role of a session musician. Olsson has composed, recorded, and produced albums for his own solo career.

Olsson was born in Wallasey, Cheshire, England, the second of five boys of John and Elsa Olsson. He began his musical career playing the guitar in small bands, and took up the drums at a gig where the drummer did not show up. His first appearance on a record album was in the band Plastic Penny, which released Two Sides of a Penny on Page One Records in 1968. Olsson was spotlighted on one song on that album, “I Want You,” performing both lead vocals and a drum solo. In 1969 he played drums on the “flower power” pop single “Mr. Boyd” b/w “Imagine” by Argosy, a one-off group which also included Reginald Dwight (later known as Elton John), Caleb Quaye, and Roger Hodgson. Olsson also served a brief time with the English hard rock band Uriah Heep, playing drums on one song on their 1970 debut LP, Very ‘eavy… Very ‘umble. Subsequently, he played drums on one track on Elton John’s debut album, Empty Sky, and then became a member of The Spencer Davis Group with bassist Dee Murray. The pair joined John on the road as his touring band in April 1970, and played with John during his debut tour in the United States at the Troubadour Club on 25 August 1970. Only permitted at first to play on one track of John’s studio albums, Olsson and Murray were added, along with guitarist Davey Johnstone, who was newest to the band, and all teamed up to play and sing backing vocals on Elton John’s early 1970s albums.

With Johnstone, Olsson, and Murray on board, John enjoyed a string of critically acclaimed albums and hit singles. The albums include Honky Chateau, Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and Caribou. Shortly before the Captain Fantastic studio sessions, percussionist Ray Cooper toured as a sideman in what was billed as The Elton John Band. Olsson played during all of John’s original American tours and confesses that he still gets nervous before going on stage.

On 9 November 2014, Olsson played his 2000th concert with Elton John at the Ice Hall Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

On his 68th birthday, 10 February 2017, Olsson played his 2,267th concert with Elton John at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Personal life

Olsson has two children: Justin, who lives with his wife Angela in the United States, and Annette, who lives with her husband Barry and children Ashley and Katie in England.[1] He married Schanda Butler in June 1989[1], and resides in Los Angeles.

Olsson is a longtime car and racing fanatic, and has been associated with VARA and HMSA as both a racecar driver and a pace car driver.

Olsson endorses DW drums, pedals & hardware, Paiste cymbals, Remo drumheads, Vic Firth drumsticks, Sony headphones and FootJoy golf gloves. According to the FAQ on his official website, the reasons he wears gloves is to protect his hands from splinters and calluses, to maintain a better grip on his sticks, and “because they’re flash”.



Year Album Billboard 200 Record label

1971 Nigel Olsson’s Drum Orchestra and Chorus — DJM Records
1975 Nigel Olsson — The Rocket Record Company
1978 Nigel Olsson (second self-titled) — Columbia Records
1979 Nigel 140 Bang Records
1980 Changing Tides —
2001 Move The Universe — 81 Records


Year Title Peak chart

positions Record Label B-side Album

1971 “Some Sweet Day” — — Uni Records “Weirdhouse” Nigel Olsson’s Drum Orchestra and Chorus
“Sunshine Looks Like Rain” — — “And I Know in My Heart”
1972 “Alabama” — — DJM Records “Sunshine Looks Like Rain”
1974 “Something Lacking in Me” — — The Rocket Record Company “Songs I Sing” Nigel Olsson
“Only One Woman” 91 — “In Good Time”
1976 “Get It up for Love” — — “Can’t You See”
“Girl We’ve Got to Keep On” — — “A Girl Like You” (US #107)
1978 “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” — — CBS Records International “Living in a Fantasy” Nigel
“Dancin’ Shoes” 18 8 Bang Records “Living in a Fantasy”
1979 “Little Bit of Soap” 34 9 “Thinking of You”
“Part of the Chosen Few” — — “All It Takes”
1980 “Saturday Night” — — “Trapeze” Changing Tides