Who was the first female drummer in a rock band?

Written by on November 12, 2020

RJ Holland· Former Professional Drummer Session/studio and Bands:

I’m not sure who the first one was but one of the earliest was the drummer for The Honeycombs who had the hit song Have I the Right in 1964.

I had just started drumming and was used to seeing Ringo Starr, Charlie Watts, Dave Clark and so on behind the drums. Guys.

There was a song on the radio that I liked because it had these nice little tight rolls done on the drums. It was the band called The Honeycombs and the song was Have I the Right.

Then, I saw them on TV. WHAT! A girl drummer was doing that snappy beat and tight little rolls. I loved it. I called my older sisters in to watch with me.

“So, you actually thought only guys could drum RJ?” said Lori matter of factly. Anyway, I liked the song even more now when I heard it because now I knew it was a female drummer. Awesome. Oddly enough, the following year I was going out with one.

Honey Lantree was the drummers name. What a great name. Worthy of a movie star but she was a drummer and a good one. She was born in the UK in 1943 and passed in 2018.

Her life changed after a chance encounter with a drum kit in 1963.

She was working in a hair salon in London owned by her friend Martin Murray. Mr. Murray moonlighted as the rhythm guitarist in an amateur rock ’n’ roll band called the Sheratons, whose drummer had recently quit. His drum kit was still set up at the group’s rehearsal space, and Ms. Lantree, who was there for a guitar lesson, asked if she could try it.

Mr. Murray acquiesced, not giving any thought that she would jump on these drums and play like she had her whole life.

“She was just a born, natural drummer; she hadn’t played before and just went for it,” Mr. Murray continued. “I was aghast, staring at her, and said, ‘All right, you’re our new drummer.’ ”

From there the Sheraton’s changed their name to The Honeycombs and came out with the hit song Have I the Right with the weird guitar sound and nifty drums. The group also featured Dennis D’Ell as lead singer, Allan Ward on lead guitar and John Lantree, her brother, on bass. They performed nightly at a local pub that quickly became swamped with admirers. The band broke up in 1967 with no other follow up hits

Anne Margot Lantree, or Honey Lantree passed away at age 75 from cancer. Will there ever be a cure for that insidious disease?

She paved the way for the great female drummers who would follow her footsteps or should I say drum beats in the future.

Karen Carpenter had said that Honey was her inspiration for taking up the drums.

A very big drummer salute to you Honey, and thank you.

:: Some of the above was taken from a story by The New York Times.

Honey Lantree

Above Honey Lantree behind her Carlton drums.

Above, The Honeycombs singing Have I the Right. You Tube.


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