James Blades OBE (September 9, 1901 - May 19, 1999) was one of the most distinguished percussionists in Western music, having had a long and varied career. His book Percussion Instruments and their History (1971) is a standard reference work on percussion instruments. Jimmy (as he was known to all) was born in Peterborough, England in 1901. He was a long-time associate of Benjamin Britten, with whom he conceived many of the composer's unusual percussion effects. In 1954, Blades was appointed Professor of Percussion in the Royal Academy of Music. As a chamber musician he played with the Melos Ensemble and with the English Chamber Orchestra Jimmy's pupils included the rock drummers Carl Palmer and Richard James Burgess as well as percussionist Evelyn Glennie.