Jimmy Van Eaton was born and bred in Memphis and saved his paper-round pocket money to buy his first set of drums. He wound up with a music scholarship to the University of Memphis - Memphis State. He formed his first band, The Jivin' Five while still in high school. They played a Dixieland style but it was with a rock 'n' roll band, The Echoes, that he cut a demo at Sun studios. Jack Clement engineered the session and was impressed enough to point him and the bands bass player, Marvin Pepper in the direction of Riley, whose debut single had been released and was ready to take a band on the road.
There's some drummers from the 50's that became legendary like Earl Palmer and Jerry Allison as well as some great ones who seem to have been forgotten, Roy Harte for example who worked at Capitol (listen to Shotgun Boogie by Tennessee Ernie Ford). But to me, nothing enters my ears quite like the backbeat provided by Jimmy (J.M.) Van Eaton. He played on countless sessions for Sun records in Memphis and helped give many recordings that little bit extra. His work with Jerry Lee Lewis was stunning, they played in complete syncopation. Jerry Lee usually only did one take of a song, so it's not as if Jimmy could have a think about what drumming might fit the song. He had to adlib on the same channel as the Killer - and they didn't miss the mark very often. Jerry Lee has said that he was "...THE creative rock'n'roll drummer....". I'm not one to argue with the Killer, so I won't start here.