Biff Adam, Longtime Drummer for Merle Haggard’s Strangers, Dies at 83
Drummer Biff Adam, who was a longtime fixture in Merle Haggard’s backing band the Strangers, died on Saturday (Mar. 7) as a result of congestive heart failure. He was 83.
"It is with a heavy heart that I inform all of you on behalf of Connie Ishman and Debi Stalder Biff's daughters that our beloved father passed away peacefully in his sleep this evening," read a post on Adam's Facebook account. "You all were very special in many ways to him! Cherish the memories you had with him and remember him with a smile!"
The post added that a celebration of life and of country music, "his passion," would be scheduled at a later date this year.
Adam (born Clair Adam) grew up in Pennsylvania, spending time in an orphanage after both his parents died. He took up drums early on, and earned the nickname "Beef" for his large size, which he'd later change to "Biff" while serving in the Navy.
Following his service he ended up in southern California, where he met such luminaries as Bobby Bare and Roger Miller. Prior to meeting Haggard and joining the Strangers in 1970, he was the session drummer on the soundtrack for the 1967 animated Disney film The Jungle Book and also played with surf-music legends the Ventures. In addition to playing drums in the Strangers, he also served a stint as Haggard's bus driver and publicist.
Adam's daughter Stalder noted on her own Facebook account that her dad had had the honor of playing for five U.S. presidents. "He had a wonderful life," she observed.
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