A pillar of Californian rock passes away, John Barbata dies at 79

A pillar of Californian rock passes away, John Barbata dies at 79
A pillar of Californian rock passes away, John Barbata dies at 79

John Barbata, legendary drummer for the Turtles and Jefferson Starship, dies at 79

The world of rock music is in mourning. John Barbata, iconic drummer for the Turtles and Jefferson Starship, died on May 8, 2024 at the age of 79.

Barbata was a talented and charismatic musician who helped shape the sound of California rock in the ’60s and ’70s. His powerful, precise playing style scored unforgettable hits like “Happy Together” and “White Rabbit,” propelling the Turtles and Jefferson Starship at the top of the charts.

A career full of success

Born in Los Angeles in 1945, John Barbata began playing drums at a young age. He joined the Turtles in 1965, when the group was still in its infancy. His contribution was essential to the group’s success, and he participated in the recording of their biggest hits.

After leaving the Turtles in 1970, Barbata joined Jefferson Starship, a band that emerged from the ashes of Jefferson Airplane. With this new group, he experienced new success, participating in cult albums like “Red Octopus” and “Spitfire”.

A respected and appreciated musician

John Barbata was a musician respected and appreciated by his peers. His impeccable technique and sense of rhythm have made him an essential drummer on the Californian rock scene.

“John was an incredible drummer,” said Jefferson Starship singer Grace Slick. “He had a unique groove that brought our music to life.”

A lasting musical legacy

John Barbata left a lasting musical legacy. His influence can be felt in the work of many drummers who have followed in his footsteps. His music continues to inspire and entertain fans around the world.


  • A unique style of play: John Barbata was known for his powerful and precise playing style, which incorporated elements of jazz and rockabilly.
  • A versatile musician: In addition to drums, Barbata also played piano and guitar.
  • A sought-after collaborator: He has performed with many famous artists, including David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash.

John Barbata was a talented and influential musician who left his mark on rock history. His passing is a great loss to the music world, but his musical legacy will live on.

About Author


Editor, columnist, tyrant: If Lords of Rock were a castle, we could say that Anthony was one of the artisans who laid the first stones. If the building is now finished, that doesn’t stop him from polishing up a few details and putting up two or three garlands to brighten it up. Now editor-in-chief, he motivates the troops and hits you when things aren’t going well (but the editors love it). Passionate about big guitars but also great classics of French-speaking music like Céline Dion and Bézu, Anthony has one of the most beautiful discographies in the canton of Vaud. But to see it you must first find its cave, lost in the middle of the Swiss mountains. Yes, Anthony has lived isolated from the world since the Forbans separated in 1995.



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