On this day in 1965, The Supremes recorded “My World Is Empty Without You,” which features the dynamic drumming of popular session man Benny Benjamin. Also known as Papa Zita, Benjamin was best known as the drummer for the Motown studio band The Funk Brothers, and he kept the beat on some of the most recognizable hits of the era.
“He had a pulse, a steadiness, that kept the tempo better than a metronome,” said Motown founder Berry Gordy, who often refused to record with any other session drummer.
Here are some of Papa Zita’s most well-known songs.
“Money (That’s What I Want),” Barrett Strong
“My Girl,” The Temptations
“Do You Love Me,” The Contours
“I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” Gladys Knight & The Pips
And, “Uptight (Everything’s Alright),” Stevie Wonder
Fun fact: Benjamin mentored Stevie Wonder, who said, “I learned from just listening to him. Man, he was one of the major forces in the Motown sound. Benny could’ve very well been the baddest.”