Mike Gardner

Mike Gardner

Death 18 May 1991 (aged 44)
Burial Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, USA
Memorial ID 46764325 · View Source
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Mike Gardner, "a mainstay of Memphis music" who played drums for such acts as The Gentrys and Jimmy Buffett, died Saturday of complications resulting from dental problems. Gardner, 44, died at Eastwood Hospital. Family members said he had a massive bacterial infection caused by an abscessed tooth. Services will be at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Memphis Funeral Home Poplar Chapel with burial in Memorial Park. Gardner, a Memphis native who graduated from Kingsbury High School, had played with various bands around town for almost 30 years, dating to the early days of Randy and The Radiants and The Gentrys. Knox Phillips, longtime local record producer, said Gardner was the catalyst for the success of those groups and said musicians such as the drummer gave Memphis music its feel. "There are people in Memphis that have made a difference in the world, as far as culture go, and I think Michael is one of the people who should be recognized in this way," Phillips said. Randy Haspel, namesake of Randy and The Radiants, said he had played with Gardner since 1962. The group, which recently played backup for The Impressions, recorded its first album last fall, scheduled for release next month. Haspel said he saw Gardner two weeks ago and was shocked that the infection could lead to his death. "He was a stalwart; a mainstay of Memphis music," said Haspel, who now lives in Nashville. "He played with everybody. He played on a ton of sessions." Gardner spent parts of his career playing with some of the bigger names in the music industry. He went on a European tour with John Mayall, played with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Ronnie Milsap, and toured with B. B. King and Buffett. He played drums on Buffett's 'Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes' album. Family members said Gardner spent the last two years doing work at Sun Studio on albums by Randy and The Radiants, Rufus Thomas and Billy Swan. Phillips said Gardner represented what makes the local music famous: "If Memphis has a claim to fame, it's the behind-the-scenes people who make the forefront artists look good. Those behind-the-scenes people are those that don't get any recognition, like Mike Gardner."
Gardner leaves his wife, Mrs. Julia Fyfe Gardner; his parents, William E. Gardner of Enid, Miss., and Mr. and Mrs. Ed O'Fallin of Memphis, and a brother, William E. Gardner Jr. of Memphis. The family requests that any memorials be sent to the Memphis Zoological Society. (By Clay Bailey, published in The Commercial Appeal 5/20/1991)

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  • Created by: Carole McCaig
  • Added: 16 Jan 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 46764325
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Mike Gardner (20 Jul 1946–18 May 1991), Find a Grave Memorial no. 46764325, citing Memorial Park Cemetery, Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, USA ; Maintained by Carole McCaig (contributor 46785778) .