Nigel Olsson was born in 1949 in Wallasey, England. As true fans of Elton's music will know, Nigel was the drummer and third member of the original Elton John band that formed in 1970, playing alongside Elton and the late Dee Murray. During the 1970s and 1980s Nigel Olsson was a mainstay of Elton's touring and recording band, playing on all his classic recordings.
With guitarist Davey Johnstone and bassist Dee Murray, Nigel played on all the classic Elton albums: Honky Chateau, Don't Shoot Me..., Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Caribou, and Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. The three also provided very distinctive backing vocals; their sound is now considered legendary among rock aficionados.
Elton replaced Nigel and Dee in 1975 after releasing the straight-to-#1 album Captain Fantastic, and Nigel proceeded to make a name for himself as a studio musician as well as record several albums as a solo artist. In 1980, Nigel and Dee re-joined Elton on tour and in the studio for 4 more years.
Then came another break with Elton, this time for good...or was it? In 1991, Nigel and Davey briefly joined forces in Davey's band Warpipes. Their wonderful album Holes in the Heavens won critical raves, but Artful Balance records went bankrupt and the band was forced to throw in the towel.
Fellow drummers and fans alike laud Nigel Olsson for his tasteful, restrained style of drumming, which he says arose from wanting to make sure Bernie Taupin's lyrics remained at the forefront. Also much admired by fans was Nigel's glossy, waist-length black hair - indeed in recent years Nigel Olsson has been heard to wish he had known more about sponsorship in those early days, as he could probably have made a fortune endorsing hair conditioner!
As a solo artist, Nigel Olsson has seen four of his singles hit the pop music charts, and he has also made a name for himself in the world of vintage auto racing. In 2000 Elton invited Nigel to rejoin the band for the One Night Only concerts, and to universal delight he has remained in the band since then. Nigel Olssonl is a huge favourite with the fans and is always guaranteed one of the biggest cheers when Elton introduces the band onstage during the live concerts.