Rest in Peace, Renowned Jazz Drummer/Music Educator Joe Porcaro: 1930-2020

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Rock Cellar Magazine

Joe Porcaro, a world-famous jazz drummer with an incredible resume of career accomplishments, has passed away at the age of 90.

The news was announced early Tuesday morning by his son, Steve Porcaro, in a message on Facebook:

The Porcaro Family is heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Patriarch, Joe Porcaro. Surrounded by his wife Eileen and his family, Joe passed peacefully in his sleep on July 6 at 11:37 PM
Please allow a few days before reaching out with phone calls and texts. Given the enormous amount of people who Joe considered family and whose lives Joe has impacted, it would be overwhelming to respond just now. Please know that we so appreciate your love, thoughts, friendship and can’t wait to celebrate his amazing life with all of you.


Among his many career accomplishments, Joe Porcaro was one of the founders of the Los Angeles Music Academy, which is now known as Los Angeles College of Music (LACM). The institution issued a heartfelt remembrance of its own:

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Today, the entire LACM community mourns the loss of one of our own – legendary drummer and educator Joe Porcaro. Joe was one of the original founders of LACM in 1996 – we would not be here today without his influence and passion for music and music education. Joe left a remarkable impact on every student he worked with, shaping today’s new generation of young drummers. Even those who have not met him or worked with him know his name and his extraordinary talents. Please keep the Porcaro family in your hearts and in your thoughts today. Although we are heartbroken by this loss, we will continue to celebrate Joe’s life and legacy every day at LACM – his profound impact on our industry and on our campus will never be forgotten. In honor of Joe Porcaro, his work, and his love for education, LACM is proud to announce the Joe Porcaro Memorial Scholarship. Please feel free to visit the link in our bio for a video highlighting memories from Joe's life and career.

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Joe Porcaro was the father of Jeff, Mike and Steve Porcaro, all members of the band Toto.

Joe and his family moved to Los Angeles in 1966, and he started playing with Chet Baker. Porcaro’s versatility with various percussion instruments led to a prolific stint as a session musician, often working as part of orchestras contracted for TV shows like Mission Impossible, Hawaii Five-0 and Daktari.

He worked with a multitude of jazz, pop, and rock musicians and vocalists including Sarah Vaughan, Frank Sinatra, Quincy Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Stan Getz, Natalie Cole, Gladys Knights, Nancy Sinatra, Madonna, the Rolling Stones, the Monkees, Glen Campbell, Boz Scaggs, Joe Cocker and Bonnie Raitt. His snare drum work can be heard on “Bring the Boys Back Home” from Pink Floyd‘s The Wall.

Joe was one of the founders of the Los Angeles Music Academy (LAMA) in Pasadena, CA, which is not called the Los Angeles College of Music (LACM). Porcaro also led a group with his lifelong friend vibraphonist Emil Richards, both natives of Hartford, CT.

May Joe Porcaro rest in peace.


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