Graham Morgan’s life has been dedicated to the art of drumming, earning him the well-deserved title of Australia’s ‘Most Recorded Drummer.’ His extensive discography speaks volumes about his talent and versatility, but behind the accolades, Graham remains a down-to-earth gentleman, always willing to share his wisdom and offer support to aspiring musicians. Continually on a quest for musical knowledge and mastery of the drum set, Graham’s passion and dedication are unrivaled.
Graham’s drumming journey began at the age of nine when he started playing the snare drum with the Melbourne Grammar School Cadet Corps Band. Encouraged by his parents, he quickly immersed himself in the world of music, landing gigs at prominent venues like the Savoy Plaza and Scotts Hotels upon leaving school. In 1956, Graham participated in the inaugural television transmissions, marking the beginning of his television and recording studio career. At just fifteen years old, he recorded his first record on a wire recorder at Coppin Hall, an experience that fueled his passion for studio work.
At seventeen, Graham attended a live performance by the legendary Buddy Rich with the Artie Shaw Orchestra, an event that solidified his commitment to honing his skills and establishing disciplined study habits. By the time he turned twenty, Graham became the staff drummer at GTV-9 in Melbourne, backing esteemed artists such as Mel Torme, Harry Belafonte, Andre Segovia, Mickey Rooney, and Nancy Wilson from 1957 to 1961.
In 1962, Graham ventured to the United States to perform with a show group in Lake Tahoe and Reno while studying under the tutelage of renowned drummers Joe Morello, Jim Chapin, and Murray Spivak. Upon his return to Sydney in 1963, he assumed the role of band leader at the ‘Latin Quarter’ club, where he would often perform with multiple bands per night, captivating audiences until the early hours of the morning. Concurrently, Graham began his teaching career, mentoring aspiring drummers at prestigious institutions like the Victorian College of the Arts, Grafton Conservatory, and Drumtek in Melbourne, where he continues to inspire and guide the next generation of musicians.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Graham’s drumming prowess was in high demand for television variety programs, jingles, and studio recordings. His drumming can be heard on notable shows like The Don Lane Show, Young Talent Time, and the iconic Marlboro commercials. As a highly sought-after session drummer, Graham lent his rhythmic expertise to numerous chart-topping albums and singles by renowned Australian artists, including John Farnham, Johnny Young, Normie Rowe, Ross D. Wylie, Bobby and Laurie, Allison Durbin, Debbie Byrne, and Ronnie Burns.
In recognition of his unparalleled contributions to Australian music, Graham was honored with the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Frank Corniola. Today, Graham continues to perform regularly in Melbourne, often accompanying his wife, Jan, a talented vocalist in her own right.
Despite his impressive achievements, Graham remains modest and continuously seeks improvement. He avoids listening to his own recordings, preferring to push himself forward, striving to refine his cymbal patterns and play with greater precision. He acknowledges that during the 1960s and 1970s, some sessions led by wealthy individuals with questionable musical tastes resulted in less-than-stellar outcomes. Yet, Graham’s professionalism and dedication to his craft shone through, elevating the quality