The 50 Greatest Drummers

August 31, 2015

It’s that time again! It’s another uDiscover Poll of Polls. So just to remind everyone, this is not our choice of the 50 Greatest Drummers, this is us searching the web, and other sources, to see what other publications and tastemakers say are the best drummers in the world.

The Honeycombs (1964)

Now, for starters there’s no place for drumming legend, Dave Clark, nor the wonderfully named, Honey Lantree (above). But it’s great to see Ex-Toto drummer and one of the most in demand ses-sion drummers, the late, Jeff Porcaro make the list; similarly, Hal Blaine of the Wrecking Crew and Steve Gadd.

Almost inevitably it’s rock drummers that dominate, but there’s some jazz drummers including, Art Blakey, Max Roach and Gene Krupa that have made it, along with another who made the top ten… but he will be revealed later.

No doubt many of you will tell us that this list is completely stupid because we left off the drummer from The Throbbing Goats or Stumpy Pepys. But you can’t argue with the facts! This is what all the other polls out there, deem to be the Greatest Drummers. We’ve scientifically analysed it and these are the results.

If we’d have had our way Charlie Watts would be way higher, so would Benny Benjamin. To be honest some would be much lower… but we’ll keep our own council on that.

50. Jeff Porcaro
49. Gene Krupa
48. Steve Smith
47. Hal Blaine
46. Max Roach
45. Topper Headon
44. Steve Gadd
43. Art Blakey
42. Benny Banjamin
41. Travis Barker
40. Nicko McBain
39. Alan White
38. Simon Phillips
37. Billy Cobham
36. Josh Freese
35. Vinnie Paul
34. Chad Smith
33. Cozy Powell
32. Vinnie Colaiuta
31. Charlie Watts
30. ?uestlove
29. Ansley Dunbar
28. Janet Weiss
27. Carmine Appice
26. Clyde Stubblefield
25. Matt Cemeron
24. Michael Shrieve
23. Bill Ward
22. Roger Taylor
21. Sheila E
20. Lars Ulrich
19. Tommy Aldridge
18. Mike Portnoy
17. Alex Van Halen
16. Ian Paice
15. Bill Bruford
14. Carl Palmer
13. Mitch Mitchell
12. Phil Collins
11. Ringo Starr
10. Terry Bozzio
bozzio
9. Dave Grohl
dave-grohl
8. Dave Lombardo
Dave Lombardo
7. Stewart Copeland
The Police, Stewart Copeland
6. Danny Carey
Danny Carey
5. Buddy Rich
Buddy-Rich
4. Ginger Baker
Ginger_Baker_1980
3. Neil Peart
Neil-Peart
2. Keith Moon
Photo of Keith MOON and WHO
1. John Bonham
John-Bonham-Amber-Vistalite-Ludwig-Drum-Kit-Setup01

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475 comments

      1. dion

        your obviously not a drummer and know nothing about the mathematics of drumming nor the understanding of complex rhythms. just keep listening to your favorite 80`s metal bands and leave the complicated stuff to the experts.

        1. Barbara Innes

          Dion is right on with his comment, if it’s the Dion I think it is, he knew my husband, a first rate drummer who discussed this with him many times. Richard was a blues drummer, not R&R, and had magical technique, he played with many musicians and made many records and CD’s. He spent much of the beginning as a member of “The Hollywood Fats Band”, and most of the last 15 years as a member of “Kim Wilson’s Blues Review”. If unfamiliar with his style, check him out.

        1. Tim

          You need to remember, Pete Best was the Beatles first drummer, and he didn’t keep time well, that is why they got rid of him, even their produced George Martin has said that. Ringo had a style all of his own and it worked very well, I too feel that he should be #1.

          1. Billy Mieder

            … TIM !!! … SHUT UP !!! … YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU TALKING ABOUT !!! AND YES ! … I AM SHOUTING !!! LOL !!! …

          2. blankend

            I have to agree about Ringo’s ‘Style’ and ability to play to compliment the song, much like his great work on the song ‘Rain’. It was ironic that George Martin didn’t allow Ringo to play on the first recording sessions he made with the band, and used a replacement. If he thought so much of his style of playing, why did he not show any confidence in him during their first recording session? There have long been rumors of Paul going back after sessions and over-dubbing Ringo’s contributions. I had never fully believed them, but this kind of talk will continue to follow Starr. When you are considered by many to be the least talented in the most famous band in the world, this kind of thing is inevitable. I, personally love Ringo and think he is a great drummer.

      1. jan edvinsson

        According to my knowledge John Lennon never said that, it was a comedian who said it and then it took off and are repeated again and again. As Hitler said….tell a lie and repeat endlessly and people will think it´s the truth. John did not over estimated Ringo, he knew his weaknesses but also his strengths.

      2. Giorgio

        i think the top 3 are interchangeable in many ways . i i still think that Neil Peart is the best hands down he has one thing the others don’t longevity whether Keith Moon would have or could have lived what 1 or 2 more years he basically had ruined his body with all the drugs and booze he was done. now John Bonham was a very hard guy on his body as well. but i think had he not passed away so sadly i think he would have still been able to continue and perform as he always did like a clock and hard . but getting back to Neil Peart he has always changed learned different techniques maintained his speed and precision and he still keeps the beat like a clock ! as for Ringo a lot of things were said about each of the Beatles ok. my studied musician friends claim that Ringo is a clock the end . and when in a band you need a good clock ! ! thanks for your time

        1. Michael M

          Peart doesn’t belong in the top 10 let alone the top 5. Carl Palmer and Bill Bruford are better. Terry Bozzio is LIGHT YEARS better as is Vinnie Colaiuta and Chad Wackerman (another Frank Zappa drummer). Sheila E is not a top 50 drummer but her father and uncles are.

          1. Daveyboy816

            Michael agree with you bud. Where is Narada Michael Waldon on this list? A fantastic stick man-played with Beck and 19 year old bass prodigy Tal Wilkenfeld

      3. kluu

        This wasn’t him saying other currrent members were better drummers than Ringo, it was a play on the word, best, since Best was the last name of their first drummer.

      4. Denny Weaver

        I have been playing for 55 years now and he is right about John Lennon’s comment on Ringo. On a lot the more intricate and recorded songs, Paul played and showed Ringo how to play for live performances! Paul is such great musician and person. If you saw the show with Ringo and Paul uniting, they had a second drummer playing and Ringo played the basic beat while the other drummer played the more intricate parts and Ringo also was watching the other drummer all the time. You can learn a lot of things watching performances of real “live” shows, not some of those ones where they are playing to the recorded music being played. I learned how to teach left handed students, from watching an old “Wings” concert, how to play with mostly right handed drum set-up and now one can play left or right handed.

    1. FramusJack

      when I read through the list I thought how come Ringo is so high up the list, bearing in mind that in an interview with the other members of the Beatles they were asked if Ringo was the best drummer in the world they replied that he was not even the best drummer in the beatles!!!!!!!!!!

        1. Guy L'Hoste

          Not on the list is an exaggeration as is the top twenty let alone where he ended up. I know twenty jazz drummers off the top of my head who bury this list Colaiutta should have been higher Bozzio should have made the top five as should have Gadd and Weckl, so throw in at least Buddy Rich and it’s easy to see how wack this thing is. By the way, Sir Paul is a revisionist. Sad. Wants more than his fair share of The Beatles, John Lennon never wanted one song without McCartney’s name on it and Paul is going around talking smack about Lennon being a martyr. He’s a tool. If Ringo had played blues and jazz as was his intention the idiots who think he can’t play drums would just shut up. George Martin REAL QUOTE “with recordings we never needed a click track, we had RINGO.” A fukin metronome. Yea, that’s right, that’s why when they analyzed the time on the recordings they even asked that question, so of course the first track of everything from Rubber Souls forward Ringo was recorded and the rest played along. Yea. Paul is senile.

          1. Robert L.

            Since they did not specify rock drummers, I can’t understand why Buddy is the only “jazz” drummer. Where’s Elvin, Tony, DeJohnette, Roy Haynes, Philly Joe, etc.? Why isn’t Vinnie C. up at the top? I mean Vinnie Colaiuta would probably make everyone else’s jaw drop, they’d throw up their sticks laughing and leave the room.

    2. ken

      buddy rich 1 hands down bonham was a slower carbon copy even down to hi kit setup crossovers and the doubleing of a single bass he even says so himself where is mitch mitchell dave weckyll

      1. matt

        Rich could drum circles around everyone on this list, except maybe Krupa. The others may have been fine for their group’s style of music, but none have even close to the chops of Buddy Rich.

        1. jorgebuja

          Actually, Buddy Rich publicly praised one of the “rock drummers” in the list, and that was Keith Moon. He had the greatest respect and admiration for Moon for his “musical, not functional” style.

        2. TONY

          Man, you got that right about Buddy his chops were incredible his speed was extraordinary. Unless your a drummer you just wouldn’t know. I saw Buddy at the OLD BIRD LAND for the first in 1959 when if you were a union Musician local 802 you could sit in the musician section and see his phenomenal technique.

        3. Frank

          From Krupa/Rich on up until yesterday with Art Blakey and Max Roach is all
          good. But let’s talk about today:Antonio Sanchez,Terry Lynn Carrington,etc.

    3. Python

      Cant say I’ve seen Ringo or Charlie Watts show any real tecnical proficiency. Their music style either doesnt allow or call for it. Compare them with for example someone like Mike Mangini of Dream Theatre where enormous technical prowess is used or Tom Brechtlein from Robben Fords Blue Line. Ringo is a good drummer but is he worthy of being high on the list simply because he’s so famous? No. As for Charlie Watts? Is he even alive? Seriously watch him when he plays. He looks so damn bored and all he plays is a simple 2/4 beat. Occassionally he’ll appear to remember he has a tom tom.

        1. Terry

          Charlie’s abilities were rarely seen as he was stuck in a great garage band that hit it big for other than musical reasons. Hard to beat those great classic jazz drummers. Not sure why Jon Hiseman rarely makes these lists. Not enough stock is given to full spectrum musicians who can write musical scores and understand harmonies, writing and melodies.

    4. Travis

      When John Lennon was asked if Ringo Starr was the best drummer in the world he replied “He is not even the best drummer in the band” (He was implying McCartney was better.)

      1. Peter X

        That wasn’t John Lennon, it was British comedian Jasper Carrott parodying Lennon in 1983.
        Ringo is a better drummer than he sounds. There are things he played on those Beatles records that ae quite surprising.
        Keith Moon & John Bonham shouldn’t be top 2 and certainly not ahead of Ginger Baker. Neil Peart, Ian Paice & Mike Portnoy would be my top 3.

    5. Brian

      First off, ringo wasn’t that great, second, I would put terry bosio and Neil learnt up in number one and two. Just my opinion. Chester Thompson at least needs a mention.

    6. DrummerGuy

      If I were to rank the Greatest Drummers ELIMINATING the technical proficiency, Ringo would be NUMBER ONE on my list. But If I have to rank drummers WITH the technical proficiency, Ringo is NOT number One.

    7. Chris

      You guys are killin me……I’m howling at so many comments…..I think what matters most is that we’ve all enjoyed most if not all these drummers at some point….and I’m not only lucky enough to have been able to listen and appreciate thier music….but I grew up in the best musical decades….60’s and 70’s….. Even that will be challenged however, musical greats regardless of era……

    8. Michael M

      Ringo was and he wasn’t. Ringo wasn’t flashy and he wasn’t a soloist. All Ringo did was hold down the beat. You could have him on the deck of a steamship in the middle of a typhoon in middle of a battlezone in the middle of a nuclear was and he would never miss a beat. He does it flawlessly. That still does not make him equal to Keith Moon or John Bonham.

    9. Stu

      No. If he wasn’t a Beatle, it wouldn’t matter. As great as The Beatles were–and they were great–people–especially Beatles fans, must look at them objectively.

    10. Rickey

      Jeff, you’re either 16 years old and stupid or you’re just stupid. Ringo? Give me a friggin’ break. Famous…. Yes. Only because of the Beatles fame. Ringo wasn’t even used on most of their recordings. But since he’s even on this list tells me idiots put this waste of time list together. Not one, other than Buddy Rich, could hold a candle to Gene Krupa.

    11. Amo Green

      Ringo Was ” Ringo ” – Doin What HE Did ” Best “-(Pardon The ” Pun ” )- All oF These Great Drummers Had The Abilty To Play Well But We’re Part oF The Right Combination Of Band Members To Achieve That ” Greatness ” – RIP To All Those Who Are No Longer With Us & May All Still Here – Live Long & Keep On Keepin’ On !!!!

    1. Roy

      I agree! Apart from the top 2, a completely American (& Canadian) biased list. Dave Grohl is a pedestrian drummer at best. Lars Ulrich is allegedly better than Art Blakey? What a load of crap!

  1. Carlos Alberto Guglielmelli Viglioni

    TRATA-SE DE UMA LISTA TOTALMENTE MENTIROSA PARA OS ENTENDIDOS NA ÁREA DE BATERIA!
    OS MELHORES ESTÃO POR ÚLTIMO E OUTROS NEM APARECEM!!!!!!!!!
    VERGONHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. JohnR

    I always like to take a gander at these lists, but to me they’re worthless. I’ve never heard of most of the drummers in this list. That’s not to say they don’t deserve to be there. It simply points out the folly of these lists. How is it possible to rank people in a Top 50 list if you don’t even know the names of all the nominees or heard their body of work? And as the years go by you’ll continue to see more recent drummers included at the expense of truly gifted drummers of the past. I’m glad to see Jazz Age and Big Band Era drummers Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich included. They both deserve it, but if you’re going to include them you should include Chauncey Morehouse as well from that era.

  3. Allison Thrash

    You’ve serious credibility issues with me…stunned to see the omission of Hunt Sales (David Bowie/Tin Machine, Iggy Pop, Todd Rundgren, Sales Brothers). Hunt Sales has actually been named the greatest living drummer in the world.

    1. ed

      Chad Wackerman should be on the list. Buddy Rich, Clyde Stubblefield, Noel Redding, Ian Paste, much higher on the list.
      Drum players who also could play Ed Shaughnessy, Sandy Nelson, Dave Gaibaldi Got lessons from Buddy Rich when I was 19 and Clyde Stubblefield when I was 23. The Technician then the FUNK Master

  4. Craig

    Chris “Whipper” Layton, Double Trouble’s drummer – the backing band of one of the all time greats – Stevie Ray Vaughn. Beach Boys Drummer, Dennis Wilson, Phil Collins. These were also greats.

  5. Pablo

    Keeith Moon mejor que Neil Peart?????, Ginger Baker mejor que Terry Bozzio?????? El imbécil de Ringo Star mejor que Bill Brufford???????????? Ustedes están drogados o qué????

  6. Malcolm

    The late Tony Meehan, original drummer of The Shadows and his long-serving replacement Brian Bennett take a lot of [drum] beating. And Terry Williams formerly of Dire Straits would make practically all the rest of the rock drummers listed look and sound pretty silly. As for Stewart Copeland and Phil Collins – please! Who drew up this motley assortment of no-hopers?

  7. Bernice

    I’m surprised Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, drummers for the Grateful Dead didn’t make the list! Because they’ve blown the minds of countless fans!!! Love them!

    1. Paul Maxwell

      It’s about time someone recognizes Morello.
      His style sometimes overshadows his real talent.
      I was at a concert where he performed a solo lasting more than 24 minutes, with no goofs. The master of time changes!

  8. Dwayne Ernst

    I’m assuming this list is for popularity drummer and not necessarily skill drummer. If it is meant for skill, Charlie Watts and Ringo should be nowhere near this list. Where is Tony Williams? Love Bonham, but as a lifetime drummer I personally would put Buddy Rich at the very top. The greatest of the greats.

  9. Michael DesAulniers

    Please!!… Off the top of my head, Bryan Devendorf(The National) could drum circles around most on your list, and Micky Waller, Kenny Jones, Paul Thompson! All of them clearly, CLEARLY deserving of inclusion to such a list. You claim science was involved in the selection process, yet from what I can see, it appears that you simply scimmed your record collection.

  10. Mark

    Ian Paice at 16. Has whoever compiled this ilist heard him play???????
    Paice was/is the guvnor. The fastest most technically gifted rock drummer ever. Have a listen to Fireball. 16, I think not.

  11. Richard Balsam

    Michael Giles. Early King Crimson (21st Century Schizoid Man! Listen to him!) and esp McDonald & Giles LP. Incredible. Should be top 50 just for those performances alone!

  12. Todd

    I think this Poll should qualify that it is generally rock drummers that are profiled. Great jazz and jazz rock drummers are conspicuously absent with the exception of Buddy Rich. How about Billy Cobham, Tony Williams, Lenny White, Chester Thompson, to name a few?

  13. Paul

    I don’t see one of my favorites on the list. Edward Claude “Cass” Cassidy was an American jazz and rock drummer who was one of the founders of the rock group Spirit in 1967. Born: May 4, 1923, Harvey, IL
    Died: December 6, 2012, San Jose, CA
    Music groups: Spirit, Rising Sons (1964 – 1965) and numerous jazz bands , he kept playing almost up to the day he died.

  14. Debiruman

    Dave Grolh, seriously ?

    And where the f**k is Yoshiki (X Japan) ?

    And among the Metal dummers, Ingo Schwichtenberg (former Helloween drummer, who died in 1995, one of the greatest Metal drummer in the late 80’s), Les Binks (Judas Priest’s drummer in the late 70’s, almost developped modern Metal drumming), Scott Travis (actual Judas Priest’s drummer), Scott Colombus (former ManOwaR drummer, who died in 2011, he had a unique sound), Ricardo Confessori (former Angra, Shaaman) and Jason Rullo (Symphony X) are absolute beasts too.

  15. Breen Deegan

    I really mean this Ringo Starr is a much better drummer than Gene Krupa.
    Where’s Earl Palmer – Ever hear of DJ Fontana
    Oh yea . Sandy Nelson wasn’t as good as Ringo Yea right

  16. Bill Boyer

    Danny Serephine!!!!!!!! Ask any of those other of the living 50 on that list and see what they have to say about the original drummer from Chicago Transit Authority!!!! Truly paved the way for jazz drummers in rock!!

  17. Denis Version

    No problem with Ringo being high up in this list, but a greatest drummer list without Elvin Jones, Tony Williams and Jaki Liebezeit is not to be taken seriously.

  18. PunkAndrew

    Ringo Star, Phil Collins…. and Dave Grohl in #9? … WTF … how about Tim Herb Alexander? is it a list of best drummers or most popular drummers? remember be popular not means be good… Buddy Rich indisputably #1

  19. John

    They had #1 listed correctly. John Bonham was the right choice. The man was born to play drums. He had the energy and the timing along with great improvisation skills to fill gaps with amazing sounds.

  20. Michael

    The fact that the late Bruce Gary of the Knack isn’t on this list shows it’s more of a popularity contest than anything else. Sheila E? Good grief. Google “Your Number Or Your Name” and watch the live performance at Carnegie Hall. Ridiculous skill and personality to boot. Very respected session drummer. Why not go with only the opinion of drummers and who they find the best in their profession? The list is bunk.

  21. Darrell Parks

    Ginger Baker? It was the drugs playing, he had no talent. Gene Krupa should have been way higher. Sandy Nelson, even the drummer from the Surfaris. Of course, it just HAD TO BE a Led Zep at number one. Nerve wracking twerps. “The Song That Does Not End” describes a lot of their music.

  22. Jim C

    This list is a travesty. Bill Bruford should be #1. He can drum ANY style. Ringo shouldn’t even be on the list. Buddy Rich #2. I agree with most of the names that were omitted. There are many here that shouldn’t even be mentioned.

  23. Kay Heymer

    What about Sly Dunbar, the most influential Reggae drummer? And Style Scott? Jaki Liebezeit from Can? Philly Joe Jones, Kenny Clarke?? Chester Thompson? John Weathers from Gentle Giant was a great drummer., too. Christian Vander from Magma was unique and great, as was Mani Neumeier from Guru Guru. This clearly is a list of sales records, not of musical quality and innovation.

  24. H. Hart

    Not too many arguments. Keith Moon might not be the technician, but his gonzo style (both behind the set and elsewhere) is legendary. I would have probably put Josh Freese significantly higher… easily within the top 20. IMHO, he is phenomenal.

  25. LibraryMike

    Ringo, number 11? Shurely shome mishtake. He doesn’t even rate 111. In an interview, at the height of The Beatles fame, John Lennon was asked: “Is Ringo Starr the greatest drummer in the world?”
    His reply? “Ringo Starr isn’t even the greatest drummer in The Beatles!”

  26. Iron

    Lars is surrely not better than Nicko McBrain. Nicko is awesome drummer, keep in mind that he never uses double pedal, and you can hear some serious gallop kicks from him, he is the beast. Deserves much higher place.

    1. Skipper_a_il

      Yea! I was also looking for Jon Hiseman from Colosseum. I think he’s worth better than some of the list.
      And Brian Bennett from the Shadows (Big B and Little B for those who might have forgotten).

  27. Bobby

    Lots of great drummers on that list, but Lars Ulrich? Please. I can play circles around him. Moon is way overrated.Crazy character, great rock personality..sloppy drummer. I like Roger Taylor, original sound, perfect for his band. But he’s not #22. Ringo will always be a topic of debate, not impressive technically…but without his unique minimalist style the Beatles sound wouldn’t be the same…or nearly as cool.

  28. Clark

    Are you kidding me! Butch Miles is not even mentioned! And what about Carter Beauford? Yes Ringo- too much is not better! He fit his drumming into the song without standing out- a solid beat is everything.

  29. Mike

    Any list of drummers that has Neil Peart at number THREE and Mike Mangini omitted is a completely irrelevant list and the author of said list should be given a triple-drumstick enema.

    1. Kandee Riggio

      You obviously know nothing about drummers—- Rhythm and stamina —- not to mention some of the best personalities I’ve ever know. I’ll match anyone’s personality against Carl Palmer’s any day–

  30. Terry Mcgoldrick

    Todd Sucherman of Styx has been winning numerous awards lately….and, he is a sensational drummer, better than most of those on this list. If you don’t believe me, play any of the many Styx songs on YouTube especially One with Everything-with the contemporary youth Orchestra…he lights up the sky!

  31. Steve

    I would add Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard, English Electric) to the “Ya missed one” list. And, perhaps un-categorizable, is Dame Evelyn Glennie, drummer and percussionist extraordinaire. Drums, hand percussion, tuned percussion – nothing is off limits for her. I also second the gentlemen who brought up Joe Morello and Jack DeJohnette. In fact, there’s probably a “50 Drummers Who Deserve To Be Included in the ’50 Best Drummers’ But We Left Them Out” list that we could make. It’s a bit like “The Three Best Writers of the 20th Century” list – only 3, are there?

    Of course, the all-time glaring omission on this list is Chris Partridge. He could be explosive when he wanted (“I Think I Love You,” “I’ll Meet You Halfway”), or admirably restrained (“Echo Valley 2-6809.”) In fact, Hart and Kreutzmann took many of their cues from the P-Fam’s punitive pounders of Chris and Tracy. Such oversights are intolerable.

  32. Rich

    Wow. No Louie Bellson? No Charlie Benante? How is Travis Barker on this list and Louie and Charlie are not? No offense to Bonham and Moon, great drummers in their time, over 30 years ago! Just saying.

  33. Brad

    The best I ever saw live was Jerry Mercer of April Wine. A close 2nd would be Peter Criss of KISS. They belong on the list. Honorable mention: Johnnie Bolin of Black Oak Arkansas, The Tommy Bolin Band and DVC.

  34. Claire

    I’m very surprised that Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys & the current drummer for The Beach Boys John Cowsill is not on that list. Dennis was and John is an incredible drummer.

  35. Steve Heidelberg

    I don’t care what anybody else says or thinks but THOMAS LANG is the best drummer ever until somebody better comes along probably won’t be any time soon.

  36. warwick

    wow you all do get excited lol
    A drummer is no different to anything else…we all have our own preferences….no one is right nor wrong….but for me personally its Buddy Rich

  37. Billy Mieder

    … >>>> TO EVERYONE !!! … Who has commented on this LIST !!! … SHUT THE FUCK UP !!! … MUSIC is NOT a COMPETITION !!! … And NONE of you have the musical chops, to say ANYTHING about ANYONE !!!! …

  38. Joan

    Well-balanced list. Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann deserve a grateful nod. How many drummers have successfully complimented each other’s sounds and shared the stage and the road for decades? Unique drumming, no egos. Have a nice day. 🙂

  39. Roy

    Totally agree with the top three… but in reverse…. Love Moon and Bonzo ..both amazing drummers …BUT… I have never heard anyone with the versatility of Neil Peart…To my mind, I’d place him above all drummers, followed by Bonzo, then Moon, then you have to give props to the great Jazz drummers like Rich and Krupa….

    Ringo shouldnt be on the list…as a drummer, he is mediocre at best…

    R

  40. Billy Mieder

    … >>>> TO EVERYONE !!! … Who has commented on this LIST !!! … SHUT THE HELL UP !!! … NONE of you have the musical chops to say ANYTHING about ANYONE … Music is NOT a competition !!! … MUSIC, like LIFE, is RELATIVE PERCEPTION !!!! …

  41. Bruce darling

    This is why no list should be made.. out of all the great drummers out there, some not even famous, could be on this list!! its impossible to pick!! Different styles, different , music, different decades!! why not just enjoy all there is that these guys offered and leave it at that!!
    it turns into a battle no body wins!!

  42. ken.nelson

    What…no Art Taylor? He was on SO many great jazz albums in the 50s and 60s…don’t think I saw Philly Joe Jones’ name on the list either. As far as rock drummers go, how about Paul Hammond of Atomic Rooster? And a drummer for Rory Gallagher – Rod D’Ath?

  43. Mike

    I would have put don brewer on here and the one drummer that nobody seemed to mention at all was paul t riddle from the marshall tucker band his drum rolls are legend!!

  44. John Bean

    @Ian Paice, best lefthanded drummer ever, has been hittin’ that rimshot for 50 yrs.
    @Michael Tegza of 1st 2 HP Lovecraft studio and legacy released Live at Fillmore West lps, and 1st lp by Chicago band, Bangor Flying Circus. You will never hear a closer player to Keith Moon (saw him 5 times).
    Drummers of note) – for hittin’ a crash cymbal, from the bottom up – @Ross Salome, replaced Mr. Tegza BFC, see above, renamed Madura, check him out “Electra Glide in Blue” movie, @Mike Kellie, Spooky Tooth, Billy Mundi, Mothers of Invention, Rhinocerous (monster).

  45. Lou

    I would move Gene Krupa way up on the list. He was my earliest inspiration as a drummer. Also where is Dino Dinelli from the Young Rascals? Big inspiration for me. FYI love Keith, Ginger, and John. Plus BJ Wilson from Procol Harum?

  46. Lasmono Hadiatmadji

    Phil Erhart ( Kansas ), Don Brewer ( Grand Funk Railroad ), Lee Kerslake ( Uriah Heep ), Stu Cook ( Creedence Clearwater Revival ) are great drummers, must be on th list please

  47. Rocky Slaghurst

    If you have never heard Billy Cobham play One Word – try ‘er on for size and then revisit this list. As much as I dig listening to Cream and Led Zeppelin – seriously…..

  48. Roy Morales

    While I don’t agree with the order and the omission of some of my favorite drummers, I think Steve Gadd’s playing on Steely Dan’s “Aja” ranks as one of the best performances ever. And I should be on this list somewhere around # 1,999,998 I’m pretty awesome!

  49. Bob

    I don’t understand how the hell Ringo Starr gets a mention when the original drummer with the Beatles was Pete Best a much better drummer than Ringo could ever be. Also no mention of the drummer Sandy Nelson who had many hits with drum solo’s in the 50s and 60s he is a legend!

  50. Greg Leary

    There is someone missing from this list because she is first and foremost thought of as a vocalist although she considered herself a drummer first. Karen Carpenter was a phenomenal drummer!

  51. Bee Kay

    Not a single mention of John Densmore? Clearly the improvisational jazz and bosa nova beat would be missing in the Doors if not for his amazing and unique contribution.

  52. georgert

    I saw Iron Butterfly in concert back in the day and after Ron Bushy finished his five minute drum solo, or whatever it was, he was so wrecked that a couple of stage hands had to pick him up off the floor, give him some water and fan him off before he could get back on the stool to pound out the finale. Now he was a drummer.

  53. rod

    Cannot disagree with Bonham and Moon the top 2, only I would have Moon No.1. Another drummer was Fito De La Parra (spelling is probably wrong) from Canned heat. Their style didn’t allow him to show his skill/style. One song that he shined on was ‘Fried Hickey Boogie’ with a legendary 30 second solo.

  54. ian Crawford

    If you play and know drums, the list you have put forward is a joke and the order is all wrong. How could Jeff Porcaro be no 50. He has been incredibly influential in so many songs and with so many different artists. The same applies for Steve Gadd. I don”t dispute John Bonham listed as number one for innovation, but putting guys like David Grohl in the same company is ridiculous. He might be a great front man and pull out the chops on the drums but this doesn”t mean he has earn”t the respect from serious drummers and produced anything memorable.

  55. Johny S.

    Gene Kruppa, the greatest drummer of all time, at 49?? and all the jazz drummers low on the list. There is too much rock bias. A lot of people need to listen to more jazz, particularly from the 40’s, 50’s & 60’s.

  56. DrummerGuy

    Go ahead and spit on Ringo all you want Motherfuckers. Keep mentioning the Lennon quote that he’s “Not Even The Best Drummer In The Beatles”. GO FUCK YOURSELVES ALL OF YOU!

    1. John

      Dude, The Doors are my absolute favorite classic rock band by far, but i don’t see Densmore being on this list. He was fine, but not top 50 or anything. He knew how to blend with the other 3

  57. Ollie raisin

    Bonham at number one. What the fuck. Most overated drummer of all time. Yes he was good but Paice was better in a band setting and his solos were crap. Louis maholo had more talent in his penis than anyone mentioned here in there sticks.

  58. frank

    It’s too bad that people overlook some of the true greats. You guys will laugh but what about Karen Carpenter. Karen peat out Bonham for drummer of the year according to Drummers Mag. You can laugh all you want but just type in her and drumsolo on YOUTUBE and I’m betting she’ll put you all to shame. Then there is my personal favourite, Mr BJ Wilson. Who you ask, the guy who was approached to drum for Led Zep before they invited Bonham. BJ played for Procol Harum and Joe Cocker. He also played in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Those are two greats I don’t see listed.

  59. Steve

    John Bonham was a very good drummer, but come on, Keith Moon was hands down the best drummer in rock and roll with Ginger Baker a close second. Ringo? Nice drummer, but other session drummers were used over the years to supplement his work.

  60. Mikael

    I was attending The Who in Malmö 1966 and it is still my biggest moment seeing and hearing Keith Moon in action. HE was without doubt the most charismatic drummer I ever seen or heard.

  61. AZA

    Jon Hiseman could wipe the floor with a lot of these. I once saw Keith Moon and Aynsley Dunbar in a drum battle, and Dunbar just quietly sat behind his kit and blew Moon away. But put Keith Moon in the Who and he was perfect. Most great bands are far bigger than the sum of the individuals in them.

    1. Mikael

      Who is the best drummer or best musician it is all about taste and likes but still no drummer or a very very few left the same impression like Keith Moon did both live and in the studio. Maybe he wasnt the best and I never said that but I think he will stay in peoples minds longer than any other. And for those in doubt listen to the Ox from different live albums.

  62. debi drums pomeroy

    ya know, i’ve been around a long long time. playing drums and living every drum moment to break barriers for women drummers who never ever had a freakin’ chance for an audition with any of the name acts even when they/me were worthy. Drummers ARE the backbeat, timekeeper of thee band. We are thee most important member of the band because if we couldn’t keep time or count time or play a phenomenal fill the entire band would disintegrate into a million pieces. No guitar solo or any other solo instrument could make it work if the drummer couldn’t keep time. A good drummer knows when to put what where. Its also about the feel. I remember doing a solo with a phenomenal saxman. it was just me and him. me on the floor toms underneath his remarkable sax solo. It was mesmerizing. It was amazing. It is all about the feel and the timing. Even when a good musician plays ‘outa time’ if its in time it grooves. You all need to listen to some of thee greats before you make any ridiculous remarks about certain famous drummers that everyone knows. How about the thousands of drummers, men and women, who are unknown but love their instrument soo much that they make sacrifices every day to play their drums.

  63. peter

    No Jim Gordon (Layla) Its like leaving Patrick Roy off a list of top 50 Goaltenders. Yes he was insane, but a human metronome. This omission deeply damages the credibility of the list. F

  64. Peter

    No Jim Gordon on list (Layla) That is like picking the top 50 goaltenders and leaving Patrick Roy off, For those that are not sure who he was and what he did (an amazing career) I recommend you do a little research. Yes, he was insane, but a human metronome. Layla album to me is such good music, that quality standard was not met prior to or after that session by anyone, ever… I love a lot of music, but he was part of a ton of special stuff…

  65. spareme

    No words for how cringeworthy this whole page is — list and comments.

    Gregory Hutchinson, Elvin Jones, Brian Blade, Bill Stewart, Ari Hoenig, Art Blakey, Mark Guiliana, Antonio Sanchez… There’s a list that doesn’t look like a joke. But don’t go listening to them! There is no way that YOU are ignorant to the vast majority of music out there. After all, you’ve done extensive study of these drummers, spending 8 hours a day for years listening, transcribing, and practicing, and perhaps you’ve played gigs with a few of them too — right? Stand firm in your beliefs, and why not watch some Whiplash in the meantime?

    – a professional, working musician

  66. Brother vern

    Got a big problem with this list: Alan White at #39…really?!! Seen about 1000 concerts in my 55yrs, and he put on the best solos I ever witnessed…hands down, with respects to the all the greats, especially those I did not see…Alan White gets my vote for #1.

  67. PNWMUSICMAN

    of course this list is a bunch of bunk…. what about Bobby Caldwell, Mick Fleetwood, Buddy Miles, Mitch Mitchell, just to name a few who would blow any of these drummers out of the water but are not even on the list….

  68. Steve

    Ringo belongs on the list, pals. And high on the list. Do you really think John and Paul would have put up with a crap drummer for very long? What’s wrong with some of you? They were two of the greatest song writers of the 20th century, maybe THE best. Why in hell would they have had Ringo unless they thought he was great? He was great. Very confident, very creative. Very unusual. Perfect for the Beatles.

  69. indigofruit

    listen to steve gadd on “Aja” or Alan White on “Tales from Topographic Oceans” . Those two pieces of work alone place them way above anything roger taylor or dave grohl did.

  70. Pascal

    ‘The best..’ lists are always arguable and I will keep away from that but why just anglo american drummers? As if there are no good drummers outside USA and UK.

    1. Brett Stafford

      Where is Brian Downey?! Played drums faultlessly for Thin Lizzy for years. I always liked Clive Burr and he started me off loving drumming and was my inspiration. He should be ahead of the other Iron Maiden drummer here, Nicko McBrain. Clive locked into Steve Harris’ bass far better and night after night Nicko kept cocking up Clive’s rhythms till Steve just said, ‘okay play it your way’ lol. Even Bruce (who wanted to be a drummer himself) said that Clive was the better drummer for Maiden’s music. My teacher always would talk about Joe Morello as his fave along with Steve Gadd. I think we all are very lucky to even be having this discussion in this period of history. Appreciate them all, don’t bicker like schoolchildren over who has not been sharing the prize toy properly. 70 years ago, none of this existed, and perhaps in 70 years time, it won’t either …

  71. John

    Nice to see Terry Bozzio get the credit he deserves. That dude can play his BALLS OFF. I was never really into any of his projects, outside Missing Persons. but he blisters. Most of the top choices were obvious. Big Copeland fan here. I am very surprised to see Krupa and Porcaro so low. I think Tim Alexander of Primus should be on it as well

  72. lilej2

    Not a bad list. But even with your “factual research” it’s hard to believe there’s no room for drummers like Carter Beauford of DMB, Tim Alexander of Primus, Mick FREAKIN Fleatwood of Fleetwood Mac, or even Mickey and Bill of The Grateful Dead. Sure, maybe a top 100 list, but some of those guys would be in the top 50 of a top 100 list

  73. rdz

    only keith moon could do what he can do i am 62 treied for years to competed hi drummed come close but john boham is too easy for me he moves alot but his beat i find the simplist to copy on my set keith all the way

  74. Scott M

    I thought Keith Moon was crazy but a total genius on the drums.. he would change from a right foot lead to a left foot lead in the middle of a particularly hard part of the song which is like a guitarist spinning his guitar and swapping hands.. near impossible ..and he never practiced which in my mind makes him the best

  75. Celso

    Excuse me, but this list is completely distorted, not part of it names like Eric Carr (KISS), Mick Tucker (The Sweet), Chris Slade (AC / DC) and Eric Singer (KISS) and others is very strange.

  76. Peter Ross

    The only thing we should be arguing about is what fucking assholes at Rolling stone dared leave Keith Moon off of their list when they named the greatest drummer of all time. arguing about lesser drummers like Neil P, or Ringo is a waste of time. When Ringo and Bonham were asked who the greatest rock and roll drummer of all time was…They did not hesitate to say Keith Moon.

  77. G.J Williams

    Has everyone so easily forgotten a man considered the greatest swing drummer of them all…Chick Webb.
    He blew Gene Krupa off-stage in a very famous “battle of the swing bands” in NY in the 30’s.
    I am a Bonham and Moon man (re rock drumming) from way back….but folks do yourself a favour (if you are drummer) and get a hold of some Chick Webb..

  78. Stu

    Where are Buddy Saltzman and Gary Chester??? Both were first call New York session drummers and were probably more likely to have played on more sessions than Hal Blaine–believe it or not–despite his claims.

  79. Sid

    I find it hard to have Jazz drummers and rock drummers in the same.list. No Elvin Jones? I can’t believe Zac Starkey isn’t even.listed. For me rock wise it would be Ian Paice, followed by Starkey, Bonham, Phil Collins, Moon and Brian Downey. Also a shout for Roger Taylor. Additionally the drummer from Buzzcocks John Maher and Sterling Campbell.

  80. Stu

    How could anyone forget Al Jackson of Booker T & The MGs and Stax Records???

    If the list was a “Top 50”, I would have to say Rick Bucker would qualify somewhere among the ranks.

  81. Dave Oswald

    No Elvin Jones
    No Jack DeJohnrtte
    No Bill Stewart
    No Peter Erskine
    No Ed Blackwell
    No Pail Motian
    No John Marshall
    No Hohn Hiseman
    No Alex Cline
    Why did I look at this list – it is ludicrously stupid
    Compiled by people who know nothing about real music

  82. Drummer

    Most certainly not my top 50. And the order is a bit off too. Why do people vote due to myth and tinted glasses about how they remember that time when….. rather than judge on talent.

  83. Chuck AzEee

    Too bad such polls are trolled by a bunch of immature know it all geeks that truly do not know anything beyond their limited realm. These polls when comparing Jazz and Rock drummers can be as dumb as one can get, and as phenomenal as Buddy Rich was, many lose sight of being a musical drummer, a metronome and being speed demon.

    I’ll take a Ringo Starr and Charlie Watts 10 times out of 10 before any of the drummers outside of John Bonham in my Top 10. To me, it’s about the feel for the music, not how fast or how many notes you can play in a 3 minute song.

  84. andres

    mm what is really sad ,,see your ccomments about the list ,,bitchin anyone for this in that ,,,ey buddies is just a list nothing more ,,,and love it ,,a lot of good drummers in this list,, be prouds for what you see there and no bitchin ourselves and the must funniest part those drummers in this list looks your eggo or ?? comments and theys are like ,,,heuu wow we soupose to be brothers of drumming ,,,sad ,,,,

  85. winnili

    – I migliori 50 batteristi al mondo o solamente della musica angloamericana? Vorrei citare 2 batteristi italiani.
    Il primo, un certo Gegè Di Giacomo (nipote del poeta Salvatore Di Giacomo), della compagnia di Renato Carosone, che esordì al fianco di Peter Van Wood suonando bicchieri, tazze, sedie, barattoli con grande stupore e successo degli astanti. Era il 1949!
    Il secondo, Tullio De Piscopo, un eccellente batterista ex della formazione del defunto Pino Daniele, chitarrista portavoce della Naple’s Power.
    Un saluto.
    – The 50 best drummers in the world or only the Anglo-American music? I would mention two drummers Italians.
    The first, a certain Gege Di Giacomo (nephew of the poet Salvatore Di Giacomo), the company Renato Carosone, who debuted alongside Peter Van Wood ringing glasses, cups, chairs, jars with amazement and success of the onlookers. It was 1949!
    The second, Tullio De Piscopo, a former drummer of the excellent training of the deceased Pino Daniele, guitarist spokesman Naple’s Power.
    A greeting.

  86. Tom Martin

    This is such crap. John Bonham (and Keith Moon) were heavy handed bangers with no versatility or sensitivity. Could either of them swing? Of course not. At least Carl Palmer wasn’t on the list (was he?) Even the best rock drummers can’t hold a candle to average jazz drummers. Where’s Elvin Jones? Where’s Connie Kay or Joe Morello? Glad that Hal Blaine made it, but where’s his wrecking crew partner Earl Palmer? If you wan’t to call this the best Rock Drummers, then call it that and this list might make more sense, but to call it The 50 Greatest Drummers totally discredits it.

  87. Neil Powell

    Great to see Simon Phillips and Bill Bruford on there. And who’d argue with John Bonham? I’m not too fussed by the order these are in, just that they are all recognised.

  88. Jimmix

    This Can’t Be Real?
    This is really way too stupid to be real
    The List seems to be established by people who are into popular/Rock music…
    After viewing the Grammys over the past couple of years, I noticed most of the
    music was of very low quality and the instrumentals were worst. To any person
    that thinks even the first 10 selections are legitimate with regards to being
    great drummers MUST have a hearing problem… (exception to maybe Buddy Rich, but not in the first 10)
    Ringo Starr, what the f*ck is THAT all along with a MOST of these DRUM BEATERS

    about…

  89. Joachim

    You forgot John Hiseman from Colosseum. It’s a shame that he is not mentioned here.
    On the subject of Ringo: He’s a good drummer. His timing is outstanding. For the Beatles there was no better drummer than Ringo

  90. Jimmix

    No Tony Williams???
    The meek have inherited the earth or I think YOU, (who have compiled this list), are not exposed to enough music and this listing really addresses that issue. Jazz drummers are some of the greatest in the world and very poorly represented here. I did not mean to sound harsh toward Ringo Starr but there was and STILL IS a lot more going on in music than the Beetles then or some of the pop crap played on the airways today. This listing has a very narrow focus and looks like it could be a top 50 drummers from Billboard Publication, that would explain everything.

  91. Eleazar Antonio Quintero

    Excelente pagina, con toda la información importante de los artistas, músicos y géneros musicales…me encanto de sobremanera su estilo y diseño.

  92. Brett Stafford

    Where is Brian Downey?! Played drums faultlessly for Thin Lizzy for years. I always liked Clive Burr and he started me off loving drumming and was my inspiration. He should be ahead of the other Iron Maiden drummer here, Nicko McBrain. Clive locked into Steve Harris’ bass far better and night after night Nicko kept cocking up Clive’s rhythms till Steve just said, ‘okay play it your way’ lol. Even Bruce (who wanted to be a drummer himself) said that Clive was the better drummer for Maiden’s music. My teacher always would talk about Joe Morello as his fave along with Steve Gadd. I think we all are very lucky to even be having this discussion in this period of history. Appreciate them all, don’t bicker like schoolchildren over who has not been sharing the prize toy properly. 70 years ago, none of this existed, and perhaps in 70 years time, it won’t either. My fave is Neil Peart, because he is one of the few drummers that also wrote lyrics. Clive Burr also wrote. But not Nicko : (

  93. byronmoore@hotmail.com

    neil peart a better drummer than ginger baker? i don’t think so! in fact neither was keith moon nor john bonham. moon may have been the most fun and wild drummer, bonham was a hard hitter whose prowess was heightened by jimmy page’s production, but baker was easily the best of them all, he could play anything. you can’t say that about the 3 you’ve chosen ahead of him.

    1. Brian

      Phil Collins? Hahahahaha…. Songwriter, singer, producer… OK. But not drummer. He’s stale and machine-like. Nothing interesting ever came out of his drumming.

  94. jeff sarrow

    If the List is limited to Rock drummers, knock yourself out. Aside from Ginger Baker, Mitch Mitchell, Bonham and Mike Shrieve, the others can,’t be mentioned in the same breath as Max Roach, Philly Jo Jones, Krupa, Tony Williams, Joe Morello, Jack DeJohnette, and , of course , Buddy Rich , one of the most amazing talents on any instrument. Touch, speed, sense of time and taste, incredibly exciting and explosive.

  95. fraz

    Keith Moon is #1.
    There are two types of drummers – those that came before Keith Moon and those that came after him. Moon changed everything about drummers and their role in a band, transitioning them from background timekeepers to lead instrumentalists. John Bonham and Neil Peart are outstanding, but they are the product of Moon’s pioneering work. Each of these three musicians could do things the others couldn’t, but Moon earns the top spot for being the originator of the modern rock drummer.

  96. Geoff

    There is one drummer that didn’t get a mention at all and in my book should be right up there in the top 5 or so and that is the late, great Ritchie Hayward from Little Feat. He was the man! If you are not familiar with his work, do yourself a favour……

  97. Brian

    This list is not based on technical skill as a drummer, or even musicality. Otherwise the studio champs like Colaiuta and Gadd would be #1 and #2. Phil Collins over these two?? In what alternative universe?

  98. Patrick Longworth

    So…the drummer from Triumph is not on the list nor is the main drummer from Survivor’s peak? Matt from Loverboy? The drummer from Chilliwack?
    The drummer from Jeff Healey’s band?
    What is this prejudice against Canadian musicians?

  99. Daveyboy816

    What about Narada Michael Waldon? A big time stickster-played for Jeff Beck. And don’t laugh: Mel Torme. I saw a drum-off between Krupa Torme and Buddy Rich and Torme blew both of them off the stage. I couldn’t believe it.

  100. G.F.Woolley

    I remember back when there were Big Bands = 1940’S = 1950’S I heard Eric Delaney play LET THERE BE DRUMS ‘ NOW THAT ‘S DRUMMING FOLKS’ also WIPE OUT’ AND AVAN AGEELA WILL TEST ANY GOOD DRUMMER TOO’

  101. chris

    I cant believe mick Fleetwood or nick mason is not on the list ..watch pink Floyd live at Pompeii 1971 track one of these days .nick breaks he’s drum sticks & still makes the track

  102. Patvyn

    (too) often forgotten:
    – Brian Downey
    – Barriemore Barlow
    – Jon Hiseman
    – Aynsley Dunbar
    – Ralph Humphrey
    – Billy Mundi
    – Chester Thompson
    – Christian Vander
    – Pierre Moerlen

  103. Jennifer

    Mixing genres is a dumbass idea. If I wanted to pick a piano player, I wouldn’t compare classical and jazz as a basis of ability. Frankly I’m disappointed that on two greatest lists Queen was placed in the middle.

  104. Jeff G.

    I must say,that best this, best that, is nothing more than BS. One thing though, how many on this list are dead from being stupid from drugs & drinking. How many can read and write music?
    Harvey Mason is not listed WTF, Bill Buford not listed Dave Weckel Peter Erskine.
    Bottom line its a B S list.

  105. Erland Eikestad

    A Very Interesting discussion on Ringo here.
    I’ll shamefully have to admit that I once upon a time, had the idea that Ringo was a crappy drummer.

    After re-approaching The Beatles at more seasoned adult age (I never really “left” them as such. But didn’t play their records myself for quite some time.)
    Buying the Albums that I’d actually never explored as ALBUMS until now “Beatles For Sale” and the previous “Mop-Top”- Period-Albums (In my teens I’d prefer the Albums from “Revolver” and forward.) which I’d for the most were familiar with the Singles from in my pre-10-years through my older sister.

    And one clear day, I recalled how I used to stack up My mums Cookie tins and Casserole-Lids and stuffed them with various size Pillows and play along Ringo’s Tom-tom Solo on “Abbey Road”, and how FOND I was of Ringo as a Drummer.
    And what a Fantastic Rock’n Roll Drummer he was as “Fab”, and not to forget his Drumming on George Harrisons (And the other Beatles’s ) Solo-albums.
    And what an Important and Iconic Drummer that he IS!

    As for the Poll- list as such:
    Elvin Jones should so Definitely have been there.
    Stomu Yamash’ta as well.
    And Jon Christensen.
    The Norwegian Jazz-drummer alongside Modern Jazz Icons such as Jan Garbarek and Guitar-Icon Terje Rypdal and other International renown Jazz Stars at the German”ECM”-Label.
    Check out on YouTube: Terje Rypdal Trio in a Televised (French television) Outdoor-Concert from 1973, and You’ll see what i mean!

  106. Scott

    By what or whose standards,fame or skill?? I don’t recognize all of them but sure know who shouldn’t be on this list if it’s based on talent: Alex Van Halen,Keith Moon,Charlie Watts,Ringo Starr,Bill Ward,especially.Keith Moon at # 2.I love all these dudes and their in but c’mon!!

  107. Steve

    Hands down…the most misguided laughable top drummer list Ive seen in all my years. Soon as I saw the likes of Trevor Barker and Vinnie Paul over Steve Smith I discarded. Thanks for the laugh though…maybe some day guys like Dave Weckl and Dennis Chambers will be good enough to make the list…ha ha….what a joke.

  108. dana mcdonald

    too bad we all missed Steve Mitchell from San Francisco from back in the day…truly a monster…
    Rick Quintanal, from Don Ellis days…kicked double bass like a beast…still playin back east…Ralph”Buddy” Humphreys from Frank Zappa….top drummers….

  109. wendell f

    NO Simon kirke BAD COMPANY ? Robbie Dinsmor DOORS ? mick Avery KINKS ? lot more good ones out there . some of them of your top 50 should not be there !!!

  110. Jenny Baron

    what a joke, No DJ Fontana great drummer who played for Elvis in the 50’s
    or the great Ronnie Tutt from the 70’s..
    Maybe some day these guys like will be good enough to make the list…
    what a joke….

  111. Darren England

    I believe that Mark Rogers should be on that list.

    Mark Rogers is the model of versatility, both musically and professionally. Along with full-time gigs anchoring the award winning Gospel Soul of Newworldson AND seasoned funkateers LMT Connection, he also finds time to maintain a busy recording schedule and operate his own production company New Century Productions. Life moves fast for the in-demand drummer and producer and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

  112. Richard B

    People. First things first. My thought is what is the criteria? Is it technique or style? Billy Cobham is mind blowing,however, Ringo and Charlie have s style and feel that can not be duplicated. As Mick would say, no Charlie, no Rolling Stones.
    What about the one and only Kenny Aronoff? He’s won so many times he’s not allowed to be considered. Congrats for John in the number one spot, not to mention Neil Peart ( Canadian) for being in top ten.

    Cheers

  113. Al Childs

    Look, I love Ringo, but he is not better than Carl Palmer, who was the best that I ever saw. Also, Gene Krupa and Billy Cobham should have been much higher on the list.

  114. vern

    As for Ringo’s drumming, remember in the earlier 60’s pop music was geared for 3 minute songs at most and groups were going for ‘hit’ songs with hopefully ‘catchy’ phrases. They were looking for the next ‘number one song on the hit parade’. So technically drumming wasn’t what they were going for. When ‘rock’ started in the ‘late 60’s’ music changed.

  115. Danden Jensen

    Joe Morello.
    Played with Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and Gene Wright.
    Listen to Catsalian Drums and just lean back.
    For me, anyway, he is one of the best I´ve ever heard.

  116. Ed Howe

    Without a doubt, Buddy Rich should be #1. He used a fairly basic drum kit, and did things that the others who are surrounded by drums could never dream of. And Ringo should be ranked higher, not because of his technical prowess, or his fame. He created unique parts on his instrument that fit the songs to perfection. Really, what more can be asked of a drummer?

  117. 6164817

    This list is such a joke, it should have been titled “50 popular drummers”. Seriously, how could Joe Morello be omitted? Ringo at 11? In the words of John Lennon, “he isn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles”…

  118. Al Collins

    Many comments here already, so very good, others from people 1 neuron short of a synapse.
    First, Ginger is most deserving of his rank, if not higher. No, he’ll never win a popularity contest, which sadly is what many poles end up being.
    I’ve Never appreciated Alex Van Halen’s drumming. He’s as exciting as a metronome in a shoe box. No depth to his play. I’m obviously not a drum player, and do not have the technical vocabulary to describe what I hear, or do not hear when various percussionists play.
    I’d have to agree with Bill Ward when he says he is not a drummer, he’s a percussionist. Bill, Ginger, Neil and John Bonham ALL had the ability to make their bands sound like FAR MORE than two guitar players and a drummer. They all filled the songs with complimentary sounds, Without being over bearing. Truly talented men.

  119. Al Collins

    Forgot to mention EdCassidy. The long time jazz drummer who switched to rock in order to play with his Step Son, Randy California in the group SPIRIT. Ed passed away a few years ago. Having seen him live a few times, as well as listening to him on vinyl countless times, Rather than listen to one of Spirit ‘s better known tracks, go to utube , etc and give a listen to “Mr. Skin” to get the flavor of his style.

  120. Jim C

    These lists are always subjective but this one is one of the worst I have ever seen. Ringo Starr shouldn’t be anywhere near the top of this list. Laughable. Bill Bruford should be higher due to his wide range and incredibly different feel. He is the best ever in my opinion. Phill Collins should be higher due to his incredible work with Brand X. Not enough space here to point out all the other errors

  121. Scott Bloom

    After a while you just scroll down past all the ludicrous comments about who should or should not be on the list, the loudmouth know-nothing who keeps telling everybody else to shut up, the same stupid debunked quote by Lennon and the insistence that McCartney was really a better drummer than Ringo, (Who cares? He wasn’t the drummer.) No list is going to be complete, and no list will please everyone. Debate all you want you aren’t going to change this list. For my money Carl Palmer – Playboy’s Music Poll picked him 3 times I think, but I couldn’t count the number of times they picked Buddy Rich. Be careful not to confuse flashy and fast with real musicality, and most drummers would definitely vote Ringo somewhere on their list. Keith Moon and Ginger Baker were insane drummers who probably expended more energy than anyone else, but were they really that good? Doesn’t matter – they were both impossible to imitate. And if you’re talking about technical prowess, there are half a dozen teenage girls in Japan that blow most of these out of the water. (Do a YouTube search on female drummers and see if you don’t agree.) Most of the metal and hard rock drummers want to come up with their own style rather than debate technical skill, so why try to compare them? In any case, it isn’t your list, you don’t have to agree, and you’re free to endlessly debate, but your opinions probably aren’t any better than anyone else, so at least keep it civil and respectful.

  122. Chris

    ANy list of great drummers that doesn’t have Elvin Jones on it is meaningless.

    And the only reason everyone makes such a big deal about Buddy Rich was because he did a lot of television. I’ve yet to meet anyone who can actually name any of the “great” records that Buddy played on.

  123. John R

    Can’t believe Bobby Colomby of Blood Sweat and Tears fame is not only not in the top 50 list, but not even mentioned by anyone in this long thread! One of the best ever!

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