The Original Sensational Showmen

The Original Sensational Showmen
National Guard Armory-Concordia - 1965

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Jerry Tammen, The Fabulous Flippers drummer, passes

LARNED – Bandmates of Jerry Tammen gave him the best send-off they could. Shutting the door to his room in the ICU unit at Wichita’s Via Christi St. Francis Hospital, they played a James Brown record. Brown’s rhythm-and-blues sound had inspired them a half-century before, when, as the Fabulous Flippers with Tammen on drums, they shot to stardom behind danceable hits such as “Harlem Shuffle.” Surrounding their buddy, who was more like a brother, they stood by his side as he left this world. “We’re Flippers, after all,” said Danny Hein, lead singer of the famous 1960s band, who now lives in Rogers, Arkansas. Tammen, 72, who lived alone in his Larned home, was found unresponsive on Wednesday by longtime friend Kathleen Foster. His parents and siblings all preceded him in death and he had no family except the Flippers and his friends. He had moved back to Larned from the West Coast, where he had resided for several decades selling real estate and continuing his music. Foster had been contacted by Hein, who, along with other close friends, had been trying to reach Tammen. She went to the house. When he didn’t answer the door, emergency help was called. He died March 30 at Via Christi St. Francis, never regaining consciousness.

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