What are more songs that start off with (or feature) the stereotypical Native American "tom tom" beat?
January 27, 2010 8:29 PM   Subscribe

What are more songs that start off with (or feature) what I can best describe as the Native American "tom tom" beat?

Hard to explain and loosely interpreted, but examples include Radiohead's There There and Neil Youngs Fuckin' Up.
posted by jeremias to Media & Arts (37 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Hank Williams' "Kawliga," and every one of its ten thousand covers (including several by Native bands).

Tim McGraw's "Indian Outlaw," an odd hit from the 90s.

Bob Wills' "Cherokee Maiden" (early 1940s)

Ernest Tubb's "Tennesee Saturday Night"

There are many more examples in country music.

On the other hand, country is beloved in Native America, and has very strong performance traditions in several Native communities.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:37 PM on January 27, 2010

Poor Old Kaw-Liga springs to mind.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:39 PM on January 27, 2010

Night and Day by Cole Porter
posted by hortense at 8:51 PM on January 27, 2010

No No Keshagesh by Buffy Ste Marie which is awesome
posted by asockpuppet at 9:06 PM on January 27, 2010

Cherokee: a jazz standard by Ray Noble, as performed by Clifford Brown and Max Roach in the link.
posted by The Potate at 9:22 PM on January 27, 2010

Van Halen: Everybody Wants Some
posted by smcameron at 9:23 PM on January 27, 2010

The Eagles' Witchy Woman seems like a (maybe too obvious) example. And it's more uptempo, but Fleetwood Mac's Tusk?

And there's some rock song that comes to mind that starts with a slow prominent bassline, but I can't think of it. Now it'll haunt me all day tomorrow... I think it goes EFEFC.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 9:44 PM on January 27, 2010

The recording I have of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons' Rag Doll kind of has that. (Link should go to Lala. Youtube versions don't seem to have the same beginning.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:54 PM on January 27, 2010

Adam and the Ants - Kings of the Wild Frontier

On purely musical grounds, that's far more 'burundi beat' than 'tom tom,' but ironically, on the same album is "The Human Beings," which features the proper beat and even appropriate lyrical content.

I'm surprised no one's mentioned "Indian Reservation" by the Raiders, or its original incarnation by John Loudermilk, "The Lament Of The Cherokee Reservation Indian."

And there's "Witchi Tai To," by Jim Pepper, Harpers Bizarre and Everything Is Everything - all three versions are great,
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 9:57 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding The Human Beings by Adam and the Ants (sorry that I can only find the live "Prince Charming Revue" version; the album version's drums are much heavier and clearer). Dog Eat Dog and Stand and Deliver also have it.

I cannot possibly tell you how exciting it was to see that entire concert on MTV when I was 12 or 13. My best friend and I -- decked out with white bands of greasepaint across our noses -- basically shrieked through the entire thing. Bless you and your perfect cheekbones, Adam Ant.
posted by scody at 10:10 PM on January 27, 2010

The song "Indian Cars" (or "NDN Kars," I'm not sure how the title is spelled) by Keith Secola.
posted by christinetheslp at 10:18 PM on January 27, 2010

I got it... "Big Bottom" by Spinal Tap. No wonder it wasn't coming to mind right away.

How could he leave that behind?
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:18 PM on January 27, 2010

Oh Leo by The Sugarplastic.
posted by tss at 11:06 PM on January 27, 2010

The Cars You're All I've Got Tonight
posted by mrmarley at 12:04 AM on January 28, 2010

Godsmack's Voodoo.
posted by contrariwise at 3:03 AM on January 28, 2010

Apache by The Shadows. That's archetypal.

Flowers of Romance by PiL. This whole album has a lot of heavy drumming on it.

The Hanging Garden by The Cure, who nicked it from . . .

Atrocity Exhibition by Joy Division.

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun by The Pink Floyd.
posted by supremefiction at 3:39 AM on January 28, 2010

Running Bear by Johnny Preston.
posted by JanetLand at 5:38 AM on January 28, 2010

My wild love - the doors SLYT
posted by mearls at 5:46 AM on January 28, 2010

Half Breed by Cher.
posted by Oriole Adams at 6:38 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Witch Queen of New Orleans by Redbone. Sort of, but that is the first song that came to me.
posted by chocolatetiara at 6:53 AM on January 28, 2010

The Indians - King Missile (though it is less of a song and more of a spoken word piece).
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 7:06 AM on January 28, 2010

Does Nightwish's "Creek Mary's Blood" fit the bill? If the intro doesn't work, check out the bridge / solo section.
posted by Lifeson at 7:33 AM on January 28, 2010

Ramones "Pinhead."
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:49 AM on January 28, 2010

Freedom of Choice by Devo.
posted by oozy rat in a sanitary zoo at 8:18 AM on January 28, 2010

Fleetwood Mac - Tusk

And I can't resist adding in this one, which I guess is sort of tom tommy in the opening seconds. Poison - Cry Tough. You know you love it!
posted by Askr at 8:45 AM on January 28, 2010

Blue Swede - Hooked On A Feeling

They use vocals to simulate the tom tom drum beat.
posted by orme at 9:58 AM on January 28, 2010

Tears For Fears - Mad World
posted by sub-culture at 11:11 AM on January 28, 2010

How about Ween's Exactly Where I'm At?
posted by mintcake! at 12:07 PM on January 28, 2010

This may be a little off-course but in a book by Ian Whitcomb he mentioned BAION music, featuring "a repeated boom-pause-pah-boom figure" which I hear in
Rag Doll by the Four Seasons
Be My Baby by the Ronettes
Foxy Foxy by Mott the Hoople and
Don't Touch Me There by the Tubes
posted by Rash at 1:43 PM on January 28, 2010

Peter Gabriel loves interesting drum beats, and whilst wikipedia (on a quick check) tells me it is about Carl Jung in Africa, The Rhythm of the Heat has always seemed like it matches your criteria to me. As a bonus it has a mass drumming finish which blows my mind!
posted by fizban at 2:37 PM on January 28, 2010

In the early 1970's there was a Native American rock band called XIT. They sometimes used traditional drumming styles with a rock framework. The lyrics address cultural issues. Recent Reunion projects.
posted by ovvl at 3:09 PM on January 28, 2010

"I Want Candy" - The Strangeloves or Bow Wow Wow or Melanie C: take your pick.

"Iko Iko" - The Belle Stars
posted by SisterHavana at 10:45 PM on January 28, 2010

Freedom of Choice by Devo.

That sounds so much like Cream's N.S.U in the beginning.
posted by Rash at 1:15 PM on January 29, 2010

Late note: there was a deleted comment in this thread addressing cultural appropriation.

This comment did not strictly adhere to the guidelines for ask-me, but it did provide some useful insight in the context of the question.
posted by ovvl at 6:59 PM on February 25, 2010

One more I think matches the OP's criteria exactly, but who'd have guessed? Mothra by the Peanuts.
posted by Rash at 9:49 AM on March 5, 2010

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