Boulder City Magazine is a monthly publication full of information about Boulder City and Southern Nevada. Boulder City Magazine features the Boulder City Home Guide, a real estate guide to Boulder City and Southern Nevada.

Boulder City History
by Roseanne Shoaff, Manager
Boulder Dam Hotel

And The Beat Goes On
It is rare that an instrumental would make Billboard Music’s Top Ten, but Boulder City resident drummer, Sandy Nelson, managed it twice: first in 1959 with “Teen Beat,” then again in 1961 with “Let There Be Drums.” He followed these with “Drums Are My Beat,” another Top Forty Hit released in 1962.

Although Sandy was not considered a highly technical drummer, his innovative style has been identified as influential in the surf beat that dominated the early sixties and later in the sounds of such rock and roll legends as Keith Moon of The Who.

Sandy formed a band in the late fifties that included future Beach Boy, Bruce Johnson. Sandy also starred as a session drummer on such hits as the Teddy Bears’ “To Know Him Is To Love Him” and the Hollywood Argyles’ chart topper, “Alley Oop.” It would not surprise many who know him to discover that some of the screams in, “Alley Oop” are Sandy’s as well.

Actually, the list of Sandy Nelson’s accomplishments as a solo, session, or collaboration artist is quite extensive. Perhaps a review written upon the 1968 release of Sandy’s 25th album (yes, 25th), Boogaloo Beat, says it best:

“Now Sandy has come up with a personal kind of big boogaloo beat. And it sounds great. But what’s so surprising - this young drummer has been on top of the music scene since he stopped beating his knife and fork on his dinner plate, and started channeling his ability into a snare and bass drum. Sandy Nelson will always be around - his beat will always tell the story of today. So if you’re ever in doubt as to where it’s happening musically, get Sandy’s newest LP - it’ll put you where it’s at.”

Today, Sandy likes to spend time in the Boulder Dam Hotel lobby playing piano for hotel guests, locals, and tourists alike. Self-taught (and still learning), Sandy’s piano playing demonstrates the same musicality and originality that characterized his drumming a half century ago. Sandy’s diverse piano selections include show tunes, ragtime, jazz, and many of the old standards we have come to love. Visit the Hotel and enjoy his music.


On behalf of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association.



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