Sandy Nelson was the biggest -- and one of the few -- star drummers of the late '50s and early '60s era in which instrumental rock was at its peak. He landed two Top Ten hits, "Teen Beat" (1959) and "Let There Be Drums" (1961), which surrounded his Gene Krupa-inspired solos with cool, mean guitar licks that were forerunners of the surf sound. Nelson had only one other Top 40 hit, "Drums Are My Beat" (1962). He ground out a quick series of instrumental albums in the early '60s -- eight within 18 months, as a matter of fact -- with several other top Hollywood rock and pop session musicians. Nelson was not that great a drummer, although he was good. His principal importance is that he found a place for drum rock solos in hit instrumental singles, and the more reckless elements of his style no doubt influenced other musicians, such as surf drummers and, later, Keith Moon.