Residents look back on the life of WS “Fluke” Holland

JACKSON, Tenn. — Famed drummer W.S. “Fluke” Holland died Wednesday at the age of 85.

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He died at his Jackson area home, leaving behind a long legacy of music. Have you have heard Johnny Cash’s “Walk the line?”

That famous beat — built on a catchy drumming in the background — was made possible by Holland.

“Basically when rockabilly got its start, he was right there at the home plate,” said Dr. Alan Kinningham, Associate Professor of Music at Freed-Hardeman University.

Holland was born in Saltillo and graduated from high school in Bemis.

His career took off shortly after graduating high school, when he toured with the Carl Perkins Brothers Band. Eventually, that led him to Cash.

“Johnny Cash had never had a drummer before. W.S. was Johnny Cash’s only drummer. He’s as much of Johnny’s history as Johnny is himself,” Kinningham said.

Kinningham knew Holland, and he even convinced him to play in the Million Dollar Quartet musical at FHU in 2018.

It was a musical based on a famous meeting between Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. Holland was a part of that real life session.

“We have so many incredible stars and giants in the music industry right here, around here,” Kinningham said. “People don’t realize and walk past them.”

Dawn and Jason Bramblett also got to meet Holland during the 2018 musical.

“Everybody had a memory,” said Dawn Bramlett.

“Everybody had a story about W.S.,” Jason Bramlett said.

Despite his national fame, Holland was down to the earth, and he always willing to sit down and speak about his life and the area that raised him.

“Those are the people who come. They come for the rockabilly tours, just learning about our music history from Europe and around the world. It’s because of people like W.S.,” Dawn Bramlett said.

Now, Holland will take his place on the list of legends of West Tennessee.

Holland’s funeral services are scheduled for Saturday at West Jackson Baptist Church.

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