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The Incredible Bongo Band - Who Were They?


The Incredible Bongo Band is a group shrouded in mystery. They released two albums and their cover of the track ‘Apache’ was to become one of the musical cornerstones of Hip-Hop.

Their performances are perhaps the most sampled of all time and the musicians in this group were up there with the best in the world, but how many people know anything about this group and who comprised it?

Combining the excellent research from the recently released movie ‘Sample This’ and our own digging here is a run-down of the key players in The Incredible Bongo Band. As you will see, there have been some amazing musicians playing under the IBB banner but there are also plenty of rumours that point to others that are unaccredited here (John Lennon anyone?). It's a fascinating story...

 The single 'Bongo Rock' featured the following artists:

- Bobbye Hall - Percussion

- Ed Green - Drums

- WIlton Felder - Bass

- Joseph L Sample - Piano

- Dean Weldon Parks - Guitar

- David T Walker - Guitar

The album ‘Bongo Rock’ (1973) featured the following artists

- King Errisson - Percussion

- Jim Gordon - Drums

- Steve Douglas - Saxaphone

- Jerry Scheff - Bass

- Robbie King - Organs

- Mike Deasy - Guitar

- Kat Hendrikse - Drums

This is perhaps the most notable line-up as it was the one that spawned the hit 'Apache'. The combination of Jim Gordon and King Errisson is a drummer's dream. The inclusion of Kat Hendrikse is vital to the story, he played on sessions with the band and it is still disputed whether or not it is his session or Jim Gordon's that made the final version of 'Apache'.

Live band touring ‘Bongo Rock’ (1973) 

1st line-up notable players 

- Keg Johnson

- Harvey Mason

- Wayne Douglas

- Dean Parks

- Jerry Tivers


2nd line-up notable players

- Hiram Thomas

- Ray Brown

- Carlos Pueblo

- Terry Chambers

- Larry McCrae

- Kojo 

The album ‘Return of Bongo Band’ (1974), featured these notable players

- King Errison - Percussion

- Harvey Mason - Drums

- Hal Blane - Drums

- Mike Melovin - Clavinet

- Ringo Starr – Drums 

Note: For this piece we have not covered the producers and songwriters but their input was essential. We will be featuring them too at a later date.