Biff Adam, Longtime Drummer for Merle Haggard’s Band, Dead at 83
Biff Adam, a longtime member of Merle Haggard's backing band the Strangers, died on Saturday (March 7) after suffering from congestive heart failure. He was 83 years old.
In his work with Haggard, Adam wore many hats, Rolling Stone reports. He was also the country legend's bus driver and publicist for a period of time, and was the drummer for the Strangers for four decades beginning in 1970.
A Reading, Penn. native, the drummer was born Clair Adam in 1936, but picked up the nickname "Beef" as a high school football player on account of his size. After high school, he joined the Navy, and it was during this time in his life that he met Roger Miller and Bobby Bare in a Long Beach, Calif. night club. Those singers suggested he change his nickname to its current iteration, Biff.
Prior to joining the Strangers, Adam was a mainstay of the West Coast country music scene, regularly playing at famed North Hollywood club the Palomino. It was there that he met Haggard and signed on as the Strangers' drummer.
He's credited as a pioneer of the "double shuffle beat" style of drumming, and quickly gained icon status both on the West Coast and in the country music community of Nashville. Adam and the rest of the band recorded a series of albums as the Strangers in addition to their work with Haggard, and the drummer himself was the inspiration behind an instrumental tune called "Biff Bam Boom."
At the time of his death, Adam resided in Auburn, Calif., according to his Facebook page. His daughters announced his death on social media, saying that "later in the year a celebration of his life will be held with a get together and lots of country music, which was his passion."
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