James Lee "Jim" Keltner has gained the respect and admiration of his peers, the critics and his numerous fans with solid, unpretentious playing. He has played with some of the biggest names in rock history including Carly Simon, Joe Cocker, Ry Cooder and JJ Cole.
Jim Keltner is also known for his session work on solo recordings by three of The Beatles, working often with George Harrison, John Lennon (including Lennon solo albums, as well as albums released both by the Plastic Ono Band and Yoko Ono), and Ringo Starr.
Jim Keltner was born on April 27, 1942 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He played as a session drummer on many records, including John Lennon's Imagine. In the early 90s, he formed Little Village, composed also of guitarist Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, and the English bassist Nick Lowe.
As a percussionist, Jim Keltner started out in jazz. Some of his early work was with Gary Lewis and the Playboys. As a free-lance studio session drummer, he has worked with Jerry Garcia, the Plastic Ono Band, Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr, Joe Cocker, George Harrison, the Rolling Stones, Ron Wood, Bill Wyman, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Brian Wilson, Bill Frisell, Neil Young, Crowded House, Fiona Apple and many others.
He specialized in R&B, and is said to have influenced Jeff Porcaro, and Danny Seraphine of Chicago.
Jim Keltner's collaboration with Mick Jagger on his 1993 album "Wandering Spirit" led him to play with the Stones in 1997 when they arrived in LA to record "Bridges to Babylon" Keltner contributed percussion to many of the album's tracks, in a way few drummers usually do on Stones albums.
Jim Keltner's work with Charlie Watts on that album also led them to simultaneous studio recordings that laid the groundwork for an experimental album, finished in 1998, and released in 2000 as the Charlie Watts/Jim Keltner Project. Keltner is also featured on Mick Jagger's "Goddess in the Doorway" album.
On November 4, 2002, Jim Keltner joined the Stones onstage at their L.A. theater concert, performing on Can't You Hear Me Knocking.