Influential D.C. Drummer Woody Woodson Wants a New Leg for a Chance to Play Again

A native Washingtonian who played drums for some of the greatest singers in history needs a prosthetic leg to play the way he used to play.

Woody Woodson lives in the same Northeast home he’s been in for more than 50 years, most of which he spent playing for artists like the Temptations, the Four Tops, the Supremes and Steve Wonder. He spent years on the road with Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye. One of the biggest hits he collaborated on was the Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing.”

Grammy-winning musician Steve Jordan, who plays for Eric Clapton and Keith Richards, says Woodson’s drumming on that song inspired him.

“He’s one of the greatest of all time and a deep influence on me,” Jordan said.

That was before Woodson lost one of his legs to diabetes.

He’s able to get himself around his two-story home, but it’s not easy. Unable to work for years, Woodson gets by on the few royalty checks he does get but says he gets nothing from his work on two of Redding’s biggest records.

“I recorded with Otis and got two albums at the Whisky a Go Go,” he said. “I should get some money somewhere.”

Without a decent prosthetic leg, Woodson is unable to play the drums like he once did. Friends like Jordan are trying to help.

“He is a guy that nobody knows about,” Jordan said. “And he is just super bad. He’s totally incredible. Anyway, he needs a leg.”

What Woodson really wants is just to play.

“I want to do this,” he said. “It would tickle me to death to not play a gig, but just to be able to play a couple of songs. If I play a couple of songs, ain’t no telling, man.”

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