May 27, 2021 Rock & Roll, Entertainment, Sports and Americana
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/27/2021

Offered is Johnny Cash's stage-worn Patek Philippe reference 3553 18K yellow gold watch gifted to his longtime drummer WS "Fluke" Holland for his birthday. The photo at right shows Cash on stage playing his harmonica wearing this offered watch! The watch is accompanied by a letter from Fluke that he signed prior to his passing which reads simply "While on the road the Johnny Cash had a birthday party for his drummer, WS "Fluke" Holland. During the party Johnny removed his gold Patek Philippe watch from his wrist and gave it to Fluke as a birthday gift. WS still has this watch." The date of the party is unclear, but the accompanying "Extract from the Archives" direct from the Patek Philippe research department indicates the watch was produced and sold in 1974, so it was after this date. Similiar Patek Philippe watches of this vintage (NOT worn by Johnny Cash!) are regularly priced at more than $5,000. The elegant and impressive timepiece presents in working condition, but may require minor servicing. Near Mint condition.

The Collection of WS "Fluke" Holland

The watch, as well as the rest of the WS "Fluke" Holland collection offered in this auction, emanates directly from Holland's estate. It is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from the Holland's family, signed by his daughter Kim Lovelace, that reads in part:

My father, WS Holland, had a career that spanned more than 60 years. He played drums at Sun Records for Carl Perkins in the mid-1950s, including on the legendary track "Blue Suede Shoes." He also performed on the "Million Dollar Quartet" session that featured Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Perkins, and Johnny Cash, as well as with the Carl Perkins band in the 1957 rock and roll movie Jamboree, performing "Glad All Over". WS spent more than 35 years playing drums for Johnny Cash, and he was a founding member of Johnny's band The Tennessee Three, as well as drummer for The Great Eighties Eight, and The Johnny Cash Show Band.

Country music legend Marty Stuart wrote the forward to Fluke's 2018 autobiography, Behind the Man in Black: The WS Holland Story, and it's as fitting a summation of the life and impact of WS Holland as anyone could write. It reads in part:

W.S. (Fluke) Holland is an American original. I consider Fluke to be one of the greatest natural musicians that I have ever known. I cherish the times that we've played music and traveled together. Fluke remains one of my all time musical heroes. If he had stopped playing after recording "Blue Suede Shoes" with Carl Perkins or "Ring of Fire" with Johnny Cash, his legacy would have been forever sealed. However, those songs are only two of the legendary drum parts he's contributed in a recording and performing career that has spanned over six decades and counting.

Fluke was on the front lines playing his drums at Sun Records in Memphis as rock & roll was being born in American in the 1950s. From the early 1960s on, he spent forty plus years playing behind Johnny Cash as a member of Cash's original Tennessee Three. From the first note they played together., Luther Perkins, Fluke Holland, Marshall Grant and John R. Cash created history by making the rules, breaking the rules, and then defying them all over again. They laid waste to any musical boundaries that had nerve enough to cross their path. Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three created a staggering body of work that gave universal appeal to country music, all the while creating a chapter for themselves as major twentieth century contributors to the great American songbook. 

One of the key ingredients of the Tennessee Three was the sound of Fluke Holland's drums. Fluke has a style and feel all his own. It is his sonic signature, a signature that comes from his heart. Listen to Fluke's playing on Johny Cash's original recordings of "The Legend of John Henry's Hammer" or "Folsom Prison Blues" then "Orange Blossom Special" from the Live at Folsom record. Any drummer will tell those parts cannot be duplicated, only imitated and anyone's imitation will pale in comparison to the original. 

Back in the mid 1950s at a little country juke joint on the outskirts of Fluke's hometown of Jackson, Tennessee, Fluke found his groove. He began his musical career by slapping his hands bongo-style, keeping time on the side of Clayton Perkins' bass fiddle. He simply followed the feeling of the songs and played along with the rocking beat that Carl, J.B. and Clayton Perkins were laying down for the folks in the room to dance to. Not long afterwards, Fluke bought some drums and joined the Perkins band. That little quartet of southern boys went on to become internationally famous and made music that inspired the whole world to dance. People called their music rockabilly. The truth of the matter is, it was just homegrown, country, feel good music from Jackson, Tennessee. The lives that beat has since touched and inspired is incalculable. One of those lives is mine. Flukes beat and the sound of his drums is an essential part of my musical DNA. I can close my eyes at any point and hear that clattering train sound that only Fluke can play. It sounds like some old, black, steamer rattling through the southern darkness, headed straight for my heart. It's a beautiful sound; so pretty that it sometimes makes me cry. It's Fluke's groove, eternally fixed, smiled upon by the hands of time. 

I smile when I think of Fluke. There's not another soul in the world like him. God made only one. 

We could not have said it better ourselves, Marty.

Johnny Cash Owned and Stage-Worn 1970 Patek-Philippe 18K Gold Model 3553 Watch – Gifted to His Drummer WS “Fluke” Holland
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $5,000
Final prices include buyers premium: $8,625
Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000
Number Bids: 7
Auction closed on Thursday, May 27, 2021.
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