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One of the hippest drum fills to come out of the 1980s appears on the Simple Minds hit single, "Don't You (Forget About Me)" performed by drummer, Mel Gaynor. The tune, which is best known for its appearance in the opening and closing credits of 1985 film, The Breakfast Club, actually has two versions. The short version (4:23) appeared on the single and the original motion picture soundtrack album of The Breakfast Club. A longer version (6:32) was released as a 12" single and contains longer breakdowns and drum fills, a second appearance of the bridge and a longer ending.

Throughout the song we hear the drummer (Mel Gaynor) play some funkified kick drum patterns under a standard snare backbeat (2 & 4) and straight eighth-notes on the hi-hat. There is a breakdown section towards the end of the tune where the drums go to sixteenth-notes on the hi-hat and "4 on the Floor" with the kick drum. The drum fill — around the 3:42 mark — bridges the breakdown section and final chorus of the tune, as heard in the short version of Don't You (Forget About Me). Below is my drum fill transcription notaton along with a short audio clip.

Simple Minds - Don't You (Forget About Me)


As you can see/hear in the first measure of drum fill, the sixteenth-notes continue on the hi-hat with the kick drum marking the pulse. Notice that Beat 3 is accented on the hi-hat, followed by thirty-second-notes on the snare begining on the AND of 3 (played RRLL) — essentially a 5-Stroke Roll — leading into four sixteenth-notes on the snare beginning on Beat Four. In the second measure, the sixteenths on the snare continue, releasing with an open hi-hat on the AND of Two. Hi-Hat is closed on Beat Three (with foot) as the snare plays two more sixteenths followed by an accented hi-hat (not open) on the And of Three. The last four sixteenth-notes is straight forward; snare, high tom, low tom, left crash cymbal (notice no kick drum). A second crash cymbal sets the downbeat for the groove again; notice the open hi-hat on the AND of One.

Here is the Simple Minds "Don't You (Forget About Me)" music video, directed by Daniel Kleinman, which includes from The Breakfast Club. You'll also see a portion of the drum fill being played (3:42) by Mel Gaynor.

Bart Elliott

Bart Elliott is a degreed professional musician with a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance, and Master of Music post-graduate work. His 40+ years in the music and entertainment industry, over 100 album recordings to his credit, as well as an exhaustive understanding of contemporary and classical music makes him a complete and skilled master musician.

Bart continues to work as an active drummer, percussionist, composer, producer, music arranger, director, comedian, MC, educator, writer and visual artist. He is the owner and creator of DrummerCafe.com, which he founded in December of 1996.