And The Greatest Drummer Of All Time Is…

Published on

Rolling Stone has published another of its “100 Greatest” lists, and one which is sure to start conversations and indeed arguments around the world. Its new survey of the 100 Greatest Drummers Of All Time is just out, and the name that lands at No. 1 is…the late Led Zeppelin sticksman John Bonham.

Rolling Stone stipulates in its editorial that “we used rock and pop as our rubric, so a drummer’s work needed to directly impact that world to make the list.” In spite of this, the top ten of the list does include nods to drummers best known for their work in soul and jazz as well as rock and pop.

Bonham came out on top ahead of Keith Moon of The Who at No. 2 and Ginger Baker, widely travelled as a drummer but best known for his work with Cream, at No. 3. Neil Peart of Rush landed in fourth place, with “Wrecking Crew” session drummer Hal Blaine at No. 5.

Unusually, the No. 6 spot was shared, between two drummers who shared their heritage behind the kit for Godfather of Soul: James Brown studio sidemen Clyde Stubblefield and John “Jabo” Starks. Jazz giant Gene Krupa was at No. 7, with  Mitch Mitchell of the Jimi Hendrix Experience at No. 8 and Al Jackson, drummer with Booker T and the MGs and on many other great soul tracks, at No. 9.

The top ten was completed by Stewart Copeland of the Police, with Motown’s “Funk Brothers” stalwart Benny Benjamin just outside at No. 11. Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones came in at No. 12.

Format: Union Jack flagUK English


  1. joseph shepherd

    April 4, 2016 at 10:25 am

    sure that picture is ginger baker doesnt look like Charlie Watts

    • hans

      April 4, 2016 at 11:12 am

      The 3 pictures are of the Top 3 Drummers

      • Joel Antkowiak

        May 21, 2016 at 4:57 pm

        No, none of them is Neil Peart (#3).

        • Greg

          May 22, 2016 at 8:49 pm

          Neil Peart is rated 4 not 3. The photo is Ginger Baker. He looks like Charlie Watts in that they are both white guys, but thats about it.

          • Rockstar babysitter

            January 14, 2018 at 6:36 pm

            Read it again.

        • Julie Barrows

          June 13, 2018 at 11:28 pm

          I don’t see Ronnie Tutt (Elvis) listed anywhere. To play with The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll you had to be the best. RT played drums on a level that none of these guys do.

          • Michael Olivieri

            February 28, 2021 at 11:35 pm

            I wholeheartedly agree !

        • Christopher Nowak BFA MLIS

          March 16, 2020 at 11:45 pm

          NEIL PEART RIP

    • paul

      April 6, 2016 at 3:13 pm

      Yes of course, is Ginger Baker, now he looks just like that, maybe a little bit older

      check this picture, maybe looks like Linconl too jajaja just a joke…

    • Lee

      April 7, 2016 at 12:29 am

      its charlie, hes just bummed that he finished 9 spots below ginger

  2. slade wilson

    April 4, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    If your giving a nod you need to give it to the BOSS Buddy Rich, He was jazz, fusion , swing , but No one can hold a candle to him .

    • Evets

      April 4, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      No doubt, he’s the best ever.

      • William perez

        August 5, 2016 at 3:35 pm

        Dumb ass the best ever only One The Greatest Ever Mr Neil Pert ROCKS and RULES the world

        • Dan L

          November 19, 2016 at 10:22 pm

          A good drummer is not based on the size of his drum kit, but rather how well he utilizes what he has!! Sorry but John Bonham was the BEST ever PERIOD !!

    • Badlands

      April 5, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      Buddy Rich gets the nod. I may be in the minority, but I always found Bonham over-rated. More than adequate, good drummer….but “best” ? Eh.

      • Dennis Thomas

        April 6, 2016 at 6:05 pm

        Reading your article on the greatest 100 drummers was a total waste of my time. Where you placed Billy Cobham and Buddy Rich was ludicrous!
        Did you torally forget about Danny Seraphin with Chicago?
        Harvey Mason? Ron Brunner, Jr.?
        Anyone can play circles around Ringo Starr and Quest Love – both grossly overrated. Next time, get some real drummers to conduct your survey. Glad that I didn’t buy your magazine for such nonsensical journalism

      • michael

        November 18, 2016 at 4:33 pm

        Buddy is awesome, but they stated at the beginning, rock drummers. and Bonham was the best. just listen to some of his stuff, Page would actually write some of his riffs to the beat and Bonzo would do some incredible drum fills to his riffs

    • Colin zeta

      April 21, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      Was just going to say the same thing.

    • Rock

      April 28, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      Only 2 drummers for modern history. I could care less about the rest. John bonham for rock n roll, Buddy Rich for jazz etc. End of story. All others are just good professional drummer, from mitch to moon, they aren’t is the same room

    • Oleh Brezden

      May 20, 2016 at 10:44 am

      This is an odd list; rankings are just fun because drummers come in all packages, but to omit Carl Palmer (ELP) from the top ten is a disgrace. I caught up to Carl Palmer recently and still at his age he was doing a one person show (with two session musicians) promoting his drummer skills. I would also have special mention in for Terry Chimes (Clash), I would rank him in the teens. If you are going to rank Charlie Watts at 11 how about Ringo?

    • jack

      May 22, 2016 at 12:45 am

      buddy rich lived in my nieborhood. Yonkers ny. The best damn drummer ever.

  3. Stealer

    April 4, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    what`s about Billi Cobham, Bill Bruford, Alan White, Carl Palmer……Which ranking ?

    • rob

      April 4, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      And don’t forget Steve Gadd. What about Jeff Pocaro from Toto

  4. David A.

    April 4, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    This is why I stopped reading it 10 years ago. It’s irrelevant to reality. Rock isn’t the only genre and Gene Krupa; Buddy Rich; and certainly, Ginger Baker among others were better. Being flashy doesn’t not mean being a master. John Bonham was fine for what he did, but the greatest drummer . . . even solely rock . . . I dunno. Next, RS will list Zepplin as the greatest rock band. Any mag that puts Zack Effron on the cover is highly suspect. -73s

    • RobertoMysterioso

      April 4, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      Rolling Stone hasn’t been interesting since Hunter S. Thompson left. It’s just another mainstream lifestyle magazine.

    • Ronald Werner

      April 4, 2016 at 7:07 pm

      Not only better,they were the greatest,how do you get to symphony hall…..practice practice practice,Buddy Rich

      • Bob W.

        April 6, 2016 at 1:18 am

        I wouldn’t rate Bonham in the top 50……..

        • Rock

          April 28, 2016 at 1:19 pm

          Well you’re an idiot. Please troll on down the road

    • steve sivetts

      April 5, 2016 at 2:33 am

      ….all I know is, for a band of Led Zeppelins stripe, you’d best have a person that has the ability to drive it to it’s very best… the footage from the 1970 Royal Albert Hall concert clearly shows, these guys had it together all the way around….and you gotta have THE BEAT to start with….that’s where Bonzo came in…..they decided they couldn’t have Led Zeppelin anymore when he passed away….think about that a little bit…..

      • Michael Olivieri

        February 28, 2021 at 11:41 pm

        Good point

    • DeJordy

      April 21, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      It’s Rolling Stone! They acknowledge this is about rock drummers.

  5. Gabe

    April 4, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Where is Bill Bruford? Including King Crimson!

  6. Gary

    April 4, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Baker,Rich,Krupa nuff said !

  7. J Wills

    April 4, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    I say, where is Ringo?

    • Russell

      April 4, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      Yeah right :-/

    • John Playle

      April 4, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      Where’s Ringo? It’s obvious, they only listed the top 100 so why would he be there?

      • Graham wing

        May 22, 2016 at 12:51 pm

        Brian Downey, Simon Phillips & Cozy Cole

    • Mick

      April 4, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      Ringo wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles !!

      • B

        December 26, 2016 at 3:21 pm

        wasn’t Bernard Purdie the best Beatles drummer? ;/

    • Richard

      April 21, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      Of course! Where IS Ringo? Unbelievable he is not #1.

  8. Paul

    April 4, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Longevity?! Max Wienberg? And clean!

  9. Jon Yoffa

    April 4, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Many greats are missing. Where is Jon Fishman?

  10. John Lennon

    April 4, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Rolling Stone is a joke. Come to think of it, so are The Rolling Stones. Nobody in that group deserves to be on any list of greatest artists. Ringo should have made the top ten. But I’m surprised RS didn’t thrust Don Henley on there, as their usual m.o.

  11. Brock

    April 4, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    I think it’s clear that Rolling Stone is a pop culture tabloid and although many most, maybe all of the drummers listed are great, from a the standpoint of musical virtuosity and know-how; versatility and innovation in percussion, their list is truly a joke.
    Marco Minneman, Dennis Chambers, Steve Gadd, Simon Phillips, Kenny Aronoff, Vinnie Collaiuta (sp? Plays with Jeff Beck frequently), Keith Garlock…and, OF COURSE Buddy Rich…just to name a few that would supersede most mentioned I the top 20 here…
    Art is subjective, yes, but no don’t believe that is the spirit of what’s being “sold” here.
    Maybe these are th top 100 influential players (in line with their pop culture approach)???
    Marco Minneman is DEFINITELY a huge oversight from the top 3.

    • stephen

      May 21, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      you are dead on with your observation rolling stone is a pop tabloid its about popularity contests. The vast majority are there for that reason as well as your stated reasons. I wont debate Bonham in top spot but like you where is buddy rich you would think in any case he would at least be in top 10 if not more realistically top 5.

  12. paul gast

    April 4, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    you have excluded the great mick Fleetwood?

    • Debbie Hamblen

      April 5, 2016 at 6:27 pm

      no kidding – the fact that Ringo and Mick Fleetwood are excluded is a testimony to how lame this list is.

    • Colin

      April 5, 2016 at 11:32 pm


  13. Peter Allen

    April 4, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    John Bonham! They must be joking…

  14. Tom

    April 4, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Little Feats drummer, Richie Haywood.

    • Geoff Brown

      April 5, 2016 at 12:04 am

      Ritchie should be right up there in the top 5 or so. What a brilliant Drummer.

    • Mark Zimmerman

      April 5, 2016 at 1:40 am

      Yes I agree, Richie Hayward was awesome.

  15. Ray N. Buelna

    April 4, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    First off,Neil Peart should be #1 ! I think the only real reason why he’s number 1 is because he’s dead! Ringo and Charlie watts suck ass. They are good for the bands they play in but that’s it!

    • Carmful

      April 4, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      These listings are always garbage. Neither Bonham nor Moon should be mentioned alongside Neil Peart. Dead drummers always get preference it seems.

  16. Jeff

    April 4, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Don Brewer. Grand Funk Railroad. Always overlooked.

    • Alex

      May 21, 2016 at 5:26 pm

      Homer Simpson would agree.

    • Leonardo

      August 5, 2016 at 7:57 pm


  17. Steve

    April 4, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Ian Pace should be top 3,,,,,and Ringo was the back bone of the greatest band of all time

    • RobertoMysterioso

      April 4, 2016 at 5:09 pm

      Ringo was also a very creative drummer…lots of the stuff we ended up taking for granted from the 70s on were patterns he cooked up.

    • Stewart

      April 5, 2016 at 11:57 am

      totall agree….Ian Gillan, Cosy Powel, Chester Thompson even Phil Collins, who does make up these lists.

      • Jim

        April 8, 2016 at 1:42 am

        Ian Gillan sings for Deep Purple. I think you mean Ian Paice. Yes, he was really good but I agree with Bonham as #1

    • Colin

      April 5, 2016 at 11:33 pm

      Yes, he was.

    • Jett

      April 6, 2016 at 1:42 pm

      I’m with ya


    April 4, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Not saying their the best, but they should mention greats such as Shelly Mann and Joe Morello.

    • Smiley Anders

      April 6, 2016 at 9:55 pm

      Joe Morello, of course. His work with Brubeck and Marian McPartland was superb.

    • Al Smith

      May 24, 2016 at 10:24 pm

      Joe Morello was astounding… practice for those that he taught included the non-dominant hand single stick roll!

  19. Darren Winter

    April 4, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Herehere we go ; Max Roach , Papa Jo Jones, Tony Williams, Art Blakely, & Elvin Jones.
    These are the most talented drummers ever. The next 20 listed would all be jazz cats as well, sorry but they are far better drummers than 90% of rock drummers.

    • B

      December 26, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      Jim Gordon belongs on any list, time to “bury the hatchet” no pun intended. The man was a musical chameleon who could pretty much do it all, superman on drums.

  20. Vic Weber

    April 4, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Neil Peart…..absolutely #1 of all time.


    April 4, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Shit.., they should have separated the drumers (or any other musicians) by musical genre; but anyway one must consider both creativity and technique as well to judge the best it and best that..! In my point of view, the one who gathers the most outstanding virtuosism in both qualities, without any doubt, is Ginger Baker

  22. RobertoMysterioso

    April 4, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    These lists are usually jokes, and this one is no exception. Charlie Watts at 12 is a good example of why — he’s steady, reliable, and unflappable, but really a very average drummer. Ginger Baker shouldn’t come after Bonham & Moon; he is much more diverse and interesting. Frankly, I could round up twenty guys from the clubs in Toronto & Montreal better than most of this list.

    • Steve Weidert

      April 20, 2016 at 10:13 pm

      Are J Hale of Halestorm is an intense, and outstanding drummer…..forget Charlie Watts. As stated before…..average.

  23. michael

    April 4, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Where is Rob Reiner? Double Bass bad azz MF from Anvil. Don’t like him? Then you don’t like Rock Drummers. )

  24. Daniel S

    April 4, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Sad not to see Levon Helm on the list.

    • mark schwartz

      May 20, 2016 at 3:00 pm

      Agree.Levon very dependable and always smiling.Perfect for what the Band needed.

  25. Nanuq Nordin

    April 4, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    Terry Bozzio, is forgotten !!

  26. Jack Spencer

    April 4, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    You got it right for rock drummers yes, but none could match the skill of buddy Rich, or Gene Krupa.

  27. Stosh

    April 4, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Where is Lou Reed on this list? After all, this Rolling Stone…

  28. Sound blast

    April 4, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    For those of you who trash John Bonham, you should be ashamed.

    Nobody on this list possessed the unique qualities in one package like Bonham had and THAT is why he’s recognized!

    He had finesse, dynamics, power, control, speed, musicality, never under or overplaying, insatiable groove, technique, swing, and right foot like nobody else, signatures triplets and the best drum sound in rock and roll. He was a bass players dream and his work with Zeppelin is unmatched.
    That is why people- like it or not he is admired worldwide for his contribution and he set the blueprint.

    It’s not about who’s more technical or fastest. It’s about ability and influences.

    Neil Peart is great, but he lacks the ” let the music breathe” quality and most of his contributions to songs are totally over the top.
    Flash is great but at the end of the day he lacks much of the qualities that matter in an “all around drummer” category.

    It’s not about being dead.
    Bonham is respected because of what he layed down on the skins.

  29. john phillip coakley

    April 4, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    I had to trawl all the way through these comments until I found someone mention Terry Bozzio, Zappa always had the best.

  30. Aggelos Toplikiotis

    April 4, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Best Drummer for me is Art Blakey.

  31. Dave Greatrix

    April 4, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    When John Lennon was asked if Ringo was the best drummer in the world he replied with, “he’s not even the best drummer in the Beatles!”

    • mark schwartz

      May 20, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      I remember reading way back when the Beatles were recording,that Sir Paul McCartney would sneak into studio and overide the drumming of Ringo and perform himself on drums.Any truth to this?.

  32. Shiri

    April 4, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    Sandy Nelson was a great drummer. Not mentioned though….

    • Phil

      April 6, 2016 at 9:30 pm

      I wonder why no one mentioned Sandy Nelson except Shiri . ‘Let there be drums’ came out in 1961 a top record, top drummer, is it to long ago for them to remember him? Phil.

  33. Donovan

    April 4, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Gavin Harrison ranks right with Neil Peart. I don’t even see him on the list. Typical RS BS!

  34. dennis allen

    April 4, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    What about Dennis Allen – famous drummer with the Avalons and Vince G. and the Allusions of St. Louis fame from the 70s? Damn, 101st again.

  35. Joe

    April 4, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Mostly fan boys doing the trashing. Bonham, Moon and Baker were great! Ringo Starr, Tommy Aldridge, Cozy Powell, Buddy Rich, Jeff Porcaro, Vinny and Carmine Appice, Jeff Campitelli……..just to name a few………need the top 5000 list!!!!

  36. Mike

    April 4, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Bobby Caldwell and Bill Ward…Alphonse Mouzon.

    • Jayell

      May 21, 2016 at 12:32 am

      Bill Ward……. L E G E N D

  37. Rick

    April 4, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    All of these guys are great….but Ginger should be the far-and-above #1.

  38. Mark

    April 4, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    There are many many that should be near the top. Bill Bruford, lan Paice, Bobby Caldwell. But Charlie Watts?! Gimmie a break.

  39. greg schofield

    April 4, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    I am

  40. James Chriss

    April 4, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Jerry Edmonton of Steppenwolf was the best. Two others deserving of mention are Mick Tucker and Dino Danelli.

  41. Dick

    April 4, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    What about Cesar Zuiderwijk of the Golden Earring?

  42. vincent lalicata

    April 4, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    1. keith moon 2.neil peart 3.vinnie colauta 4. stewart copeland 5.jon bohnham

  43. Mark

    April 4, 2016 at 10:27 pm


  44. Dorrie

    April 4, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Buddy Miles!!! I saw Ginger Baker and Buddy Miles in concert together at Meriwather Pavillion in the early 70’s. They are the best!

    • Wild

      April 21, 2016 at 8:31 pm

      Thank you. ‘Bout time someone shook the cobwebs loose and remembered what a great drummer buddy Miles was.

  45. David Ritman

    April 4, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    Best pop/rock drummer by a street, Keith Moon. Best prog rock drummer, Ginger Baker, best jazz drummer, Joe Morello

  46. Marty Roseberry

    April 4, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    Tommy Aldridge he drummed for many great rock bands 1st Black Oak Arkansas

  47. Karen E.

    April 5, 2016 at 12:33 am

    I don’t know his name, and I don’t think he achieved much fame, and he also may not have had a large body of work, but whoever played drums on Iron Butterfly’s “In a Gadda Da Vida” was an exceptional drummer. That was an unforgettable solo.
    I did see Buddy Rich in concert once, and he was without a doubt one of the greats.

    • BrianM

      April 5, 2016 at 6:03 am

      Ron Bushy – In a Gadda da vida. Should be up there for that single effort. Also the guy who drummed for Herbie Mann. His effort on Comin Home always left me emotional drained after listening to it.

  48. Mark Zimmerman

    April 5, 2016 at 1:33 am


  49. Steve

    April 5, 2016 at 1:47 am

    Where the hell is Phil Collins………????? Rolling Stone is a Joke

    • Rob.Tattersall

      April 6, 2016 at 8:38 am


  50. Bill

    April 5, 2016 at 2:16 am

    John Densmore

  51. Ellis Gitomer

    April 5, 2016 at 2:17 am

    Harry Wilkinson, Vinnie Colaiuta? Where are those 2 cats on this list?

  52. Brian

    April 5, 2016 at 2:35 am

    But what is really “best of all time?’ In years to come the whole list will be changed. But of all time does include past and present. And often where any musician is concerned, the best of the best is arguably unheard of, possibly playing with a small group somewhere, or even almost unheard of but the backbone of a well known orchestra. look at the guy in boston pops. can’t think of his name but brilliant drummer. Then we have Ralph Salmins in England and also rian Bennett. Not to mention two of the best in the world and both from Holland, Arno van Nuienhuize, (ex Metropole Orchestra).. Along with Ralph Salmins and the late great Ronnie Verrell from UK, one of the best sight readers in the business. The other Dutchman is Metropole,s main jazz drummer Martin Vink. Not only great jazz drummer but like Arno van Nuenhuize, can play and sight read any genre brilliantly. The late Jack Parnell from UK should also rate a mention, given that he won drummer of the year many times decades ago.

  53. John tavary

    April 5, 2016 at 2:49 am

    I could be totally off beat here, but there was a drummer in a band that to me was one that should be mentioned among one of the best and that is Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad. In fact as a band they seem to be overlooked in many categories. Each band member in his own right were excellent musicians. Mel Schaker on bass and Mark Farner on lead guitar and vocals. Together they were spectacular. Their live performances were crazy good and their albums sold millions. Should they be considered for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Of course they should, but they will always be overlooked because they were a blue collar band from a blue collar town.

    • Obrez

      April 5, 2016 at 1:16 pm

      Right on why are they not in the hall of fame!!! Shame shame shame!!!

      • Obrez

        April 5, 2016 at 1:21 pm

        Right on why are they not in the hall of fame!!! Shame shame shame!!! Grand Funk Railroad!!! This response to the GFR response. I don’t always agree with the rankings Keith Moon was fantastic in the studio but very sloppy live. He still should be in the top 5. But where is Palmer from ELP?

  54. Dan

    April 5, 2016 at 4:46 am

    What about Jim Gordon? Vinny Collauta? Roger Hawkins?

  55. GESmith

    April 5, 2016 at 4:49 am

    NO Jim Gordon ?? who put this together, Clapton says he was the best by a clear mile that he had seen so surely thats a starting point

    • GESmith

      April 5, 2016 at 4:50 am

      I cannot believe no JimGordon

  56. Len Robinson

    April 5, 2016 at 5:18 am

    No mention of Karen Carpenter, Tony Meehan (The Shadows),the female drummer from “The Honeycombs” (can’t remember her name). Heaps more out there better than some that were mentioned above.

  57. Benny Bollockbasher

    April 5, 2016 at 5:57 am

    I can’t believe Harry Judd from McFly isn’t in the mix. What crazy nonsense is this.

  58. Jim Walker

    April 5, 2016 at 6:02 am

    Ian Paice I think should have been in there somewhere….slipped thru the cracks, one of the tightest ,hottest, fastest most dynamic drummers I’ve ever heard!

  59. clay

    April 5, 2016 at 6:09 am

    man ..john bonham ginger baker and the mad hatter mick fleetwood top the list

  60. Neil Bower

    April 5, 2016 at 6:14 am

    We’ve seen some very accomplished drummers mentioned. One would have to admit that, when comparing sheer talent, jazz drummers are far more superior. Aside from Rich, Krupa, & Blakey (who’ve all been mentioned), it’s only fair we recognize two more drumming “Giants”. For me, they are Max Roach and my favorite Roy Haynes. Who I regard as the tastiest drummer ever.

  61. Timmy

    April 5, 2016 at 6:25 am

    They moved Buddy Rich back 100 spaces because as well as being an outstanding drummer, he was an even better douchebag…

  62. Oleg

    April 5, 2016 at 6:55 am

    Ian Paice of Deep Purple is the drummer of the drummers at all times.

  63. ray

    April 5, 2016 at 8:29 am

    brian downey, andy parker, lee kerslake, alan gratzer, artimus pyle, and jerry shirley respectively.

  64. Ian Alexander

    April 5, 2016 at 9:40 am

    …and Maureen Tucker. She showed what can be done with just a snare.


    April 5, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Agree re Arnie from the Metropole Orkest, he’s now with the N.N.O. by the way. Just thought Id also mention Prairie Prince..

  66. Dave

    April 5, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Sorry Rolling Stone it’s Ian Paice. Still doing it!!

  67. Allan G.

    April 5, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    No mention of Carl Palmer? One of the drummers that always inspired me was Richie Morales from Spyro Gyra.

  68. Michael Whitson

    April 5, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Where is Ronnie Tutt.Elvis Presley’s drummer from 1969-1977 or his original drummer D.J. Fontana?

  69. CJH

    April 5, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    Brian Bennett of the Shadows. A master percussionist. Listen to Little B if you need convincing

  70. Kenny Lee

    April 5, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    I was a pro drummer for 40 years and used to listen to lots of drummers for ideas. By far Buddy Rich was the best ever! May good ones but nobody could surpass Buddy….

  71. Harry Lags

    April 5, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Where is the great Ronnie Tutt or D.J. Fontana or Larry London?
    Elvis Presley’s drummers.
    Who makes these crap lists up.

  72. Dave

    April 5, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Agree with Kruppa & Rich, but hopefully Road Bushy of Iron Butterfly made the list. In a gada da vidal was a pretty good drum solo.

  73. carlos eduardo

    April 5, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    Buddy Rich is like Jimmy Hendrix. No comparizon.

  74. Jim

    April 5, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    What about Jim Keltner?

  75. Jeff Steinkey

    April 5, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    Peart should’ve been #1!! Way better than Bonham.

  76. scott

    April 6, 2016 at 1:17 am

    From 75 till their plain crash in 77 Atimus Pyle of Skynyrd was a good as any of them. Listen to the live stuff that is available of the band. Ive heard several bands do CROSSROADS. Even one of the best Neil Peart doesnt come close to Artimus (in that song) and im a very big fan of Neil. Not saying that Art was the best, but pound for pound he should be in there somewhere. Jeez who picks this list? Not too impressed with there decision on top 100.

    • scott

      April 6, 2016 at 1:22 am

      Forggive me for the my spelling Especially ARTIMUS’ S NAME

  77. Peregrine Singh

    April 6, 2016 at 4:47 am

    ROFL Rolling Stoned out of their senses. Hahahahaha the smoker you drink . . .
    Celebrity is all that matters any more. LOL I need to go vomit now.

  78. Mike J

    April 6, 2016 at 5:16 am

    How about the legendary Hal Blaine?? Those killer fills on all the Wall Of Sound recordings and his performances on countless other recordings!! Buddy Rich was great, of course, but always looked businesslike. I much preferred watching and listening to Gene Krupa- my dad played drums and idolized him – took me to see him when I was young. In every piece of footage I’ve ever seen Gene just looks like he’s having the time of his life behind his kit.

  79. Mike J

    April 6, 2016 at 5:23 am

    Almost forgot another Jazz great- Louis Bellson

  80. starcloud

    April 6, 2016 at 6:33 am

    I think mitch mitchell was the most exciting drummer.looked like he had the most fun playing too.

  81. Kirk

    April 6, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    I think Dave Clark from DC5 should be in there also.

  82. Jeff

    April 6, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Where is Ronnie Tutt probably the best drummer of all time! And they list DJ Fontana, watch a concert of Elvis with Ronnie Tutt!

  83. James Barr

    April 6, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Krupa, Rich both great drummers, but if you listen too Duke Ellingtons Skin Deep featuring Louie Belson, then you will have heard a truly great drummer. It’s on you tube

  84. Tom Nolan

    April 6, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    What about Mick Fleetwood? Jason Bonham ? Zack Starkey ?

  85. Kenny Anderson

    April 6, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    There is no best drummer in the world same as there is no best guitarist or bass player there are hundreds of brilliant drummers out there but who you personally think is the best is incredibly subjective just rejoice that we have so much choice!

  86. jan edvinsson

    April 6, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Among guitarists Rplling Stone magazine have Buddy Holly at number 80, and Tommy Emmanuel is not even among the 100….well that says it all….I am out on these greatest polls! they are at something els than music in itself! There are many good musicians out there really, but this greatest polls are not for them…what is this polls for…enjoy music, we don´t need a number one or two or three: i am out!!!

  87. Doug Wild

    April 7, 2016 at 12:02 am

    I question the need for a “rubric” here. Talent and technique transcend genres. I also question how “white” a top ten list Rolling Stone wanted to maintain by making their selections from Rock and Pop music. That automatically eliminates Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, and Max Roach. Watch the “duel” between Ginger Baker and Art Blakey on YouTube and you just might be watching the two greatest drummers ever to play that instrument.

    • Darren Winter

      April 20, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      Yoy said it. Lot a folks here giving B.Rich the nod , and yes he was great but he was primarily a big band cat and guys like Max Roach and Elvin Jones just had way better feel and musicality.

  88. Robert Ruel

    April 20, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    Hal Blaine or Jim Keltner should be right up there as well .

    They can play anything

  89. Bob Thompson

    April 20, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Peart, Bruford and Paice should easily have been 1-2-3, respectively. Love Zep and Bonzo, but c’mon – he could hit the drums hard and had great groove, but there’s a lot more than that needed to be #1. As with all RS things, this is basically a joke.

  90. James Chriss

    April 20, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    Jerry Edmonton of Steppenwolf hands down. Everyone else takes a backseat.

  91. John

    April 20, 2016 at 9:14 pm


  92. Jorgen

    April 21, 2016 at 6:07 am

    Aynsley Dunbar.

  93. Robert Weston

    April 21, 2016 at 8:17 am

    There was no riff that Bonzo could play that Buddy Rich couldn’t , but there were thousands of Buddy’s riffs that John Bonham couldn’t touch in his wildest dreams.Bonham was the most powerful,Rich the most amazing,how about Billy Cobham,fantastic.Keith Moon,I’m not so sure,he was pretty sloppy live,not the others,Charlie Watts,great time,not much else…..Thank You………………..

  94. Les Long

    April 21, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Don Brewer Grand Funk Railroad and Steve Smith Journey should of made the list.

  95. Carlos Villamater

    April 21, 2016 at 10:33 am

    How about Steve Gadd.

  96. Jose tortajada millan

    April 21, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Y Carl Palmer, Allan Witte y Bill Bruford, no tienen la suficiente calidad por proceder del sinfónico.
    Y Nick Mason, el primero en utilizar la batería pasada por sintetizador.
    No me parece objetiva esta lista.
    Palmer en los cinco primeros vinilos de EL&P está a la altura del mejor y muy superior al batería de la Crema…!!

  97. Adrian Persaud

    April 21, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    My Lord! …..John Bonham?….. I love Led Zep but i feel Bonham drums were always out of tune (all of his drums pieces sound alike) except on the Presence Album where he played very good on Achilles Last Stand..It is the same thing with Billy Cobham when he goes into a ROLL all the drums sound alike.How about Alphonse Mouzon? For classic rock drumming I would recommend Deep Purple COME TASTE THE BAND album for having some of the best technical drumming ever.

  98. Michael

    April 21, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    A few of these made it because of who they worked with. Danny Serraphine of Chicago, and Bobby Colomby of Glood Sweat, and Tears, and Billy Cobham of Mahavishnu, Buddy Rich, Ed Shaughnessy,The Drummers for the AlmanBros, and Mike Shrieve with Santana, just to name a few that shold have been in the top ten

  99. Michael Boelte

    April 21, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Billy Cobham is a favorite of mine. Listen to “Spectrum” a great example.

  100. Frank

    April 21, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    It is a tough call to pick 1 top drummer much less 100. Keith Moons should rank at the top, along with Buddy Rich, Carl Palmer Mitch Mitchell, Ron Bushey and names I can’t remember right now. I personally would not place Ringo Starr or Charlie Watts even close to the top.
    Remember, this is only my opinion and am not interested in getting into a urination contest.
    Enjoy the drummers of your choice.

  101. Stuart Wiley

    April 21, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    The best drummers in the UK today are, Charlie Watts, Ray Laidlaw, Roy Wyke & Tom Townsend.

  102. Darbs

    April 21, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Hi all….Don’t want to be biest …so no knockers please… drumers and they are all great…..but us ozzies have a couple of good ones… in particular is Rob Hurst form Midnight Oil……I think he would match it with the best of them ….cheers !!!!

  103. Steve Meyer

    April 21, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    What about Richie Hayward? The late great drummer for Little Feat. Ask the great drummers and they will tell you he was one of the greatest.

  104. ed.wilson

    April 21, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Ted Mckenna from The Alex Harvey Band and Ginger Baker

  105. bob prebble

    April 21, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    Just watching the pure skill, technique, artistry, speed, and flair of the late great Buddy Rich puts him head and shoulders above all. Bonham, Grohl, Krupa, Baker certainly in the top 10, but Watts, Moon, Starr are all average.

  106. Frank B

    April 21, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    It has to be Baker. No one comes close, despite what the poll says.

  107. Darrell Parks

    April 21, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich. Ginger Baker is famous only because he backed up a great musician. Baker was all about the drugs. Automaton drumming. At one concert, he had to be practically carried on stage,his hands already going up and down, sat down behind his drums, sticks placed in his hands, and he starts pounding.

  108. Steve

    April 22, 2016 at 2:08 am

    Butch Trucks of the Allman Brothers Band was pretty darn good!

  109. Dee Reilly

    April 22, 2016 at 2:18 am

    Who cares who’s the “best”? It’s more fun to mention names that no-one seems to know or remember. Clive Bunker, Barriemore Barlow{Jethro Tull} , Simon Phillips {Jeff Beck 1980}, Mick Tucker{Sweet} Garry McCracken {Max Webster}, Pierre Van Der Linden {Focus, Trace},Michael Shrieve{Santana, Automatic Man, Novo Combo}, Michael Derosier{Heart}, Steve Upton,{Wishbone Ash}, Albert Bouchard{Blue Oyster Cult}.Nicko McBrain {Pat Travers, Iron Maiden}, Corky Laing{Mountain}, Jerry Shirley{Humble Pie}.Did I leave anybody out? Probably.

  110. shawn

    April 22, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    These are the most popular, definitely not the greatest!

  111. Dave Oswald

    April 22, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Preposterous list
    Overloaded with rock drummers cos its way more commercial than jazz.
    Here are some great drummers
    Elvin Jones
    Jack DeJohnette
    Ginger Baker
    Ed Blackwell
    Bill Stewart
    Tony Oxley
    Tony Williams
    John Marshall
    Peter Erskine
    Bob Moses
    Alex Cline
    to name but a few

    Most of your top picks nowhere near in the same league

    • Dennis khare

      May 20, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      You forgot Grame Edge of the moody blues and the drummer of Iron Butterfly just to name a few..

  112. wayne

    April 22, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    i think its impossible to name the greatest drummer,all mentioned were great drummers.personally i am a buddy rich fan but love the sound of david garibaldi of tower of power

  113. Dean

    April 22, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    Get high then listen to Billy Cobham. NUFF SAID!!!

  114. Al Orsini

    May 20, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Was Spencer Dryden of the Jefferson Airplane ever considered???

  115. Johnny Panic

    May 20, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    What, no Clem Burke?!

  116. graham godfrey

    May 20, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    BJ Wilson and mitch Michel would be very near number one gene krupa also closer than 7
    yep BJ has been well described as “octopus in a bathtub” but I never listen to self styled critics

  117. Mia

    May 20, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    Michael Schriver (Santana)??

  118. Paul

    May 20, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    What about George Glynos, Joey Kramer, Johnny Carson, Bob Crane, Radar on Mash,

  119. ken

    May 21, 2016 at 3:15 am

    What about Art Taylor (amongst jazz drummers), Gene Krupa (amongst big band drummers), and my own personal favorite rock drummer Paul Hammond (of Atomic Rooster)! With an honorable mention to Olivia “Liver” Favela the drummer from Birtha – she was absolutely awesome as both a drummer and vocalist!! But where is she NOW, I wonder. 🙂

  120. Dave

    May 21, 2016 at 3:23 am

    All of the drummers mentioned where good. But remember that the where playing songs that they made the drum parts for so they all are not playing on a equal level. I’ve played for 50 years and some songs are so easy to play like Ginger Baker but some drummers are impossible to play that aren’t on the list. The only fair way would be to have John, Ginger,Ringo, Keith etc to play jazz and Buddy or Gene to play Rock.

  121. David

    May 21, 2016 at 11:44 am

    What about Mick Fleetwood?

  122. greg

    May 21, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    I agree with many of these posts as to the glaring omissions…but NO ONE mentioned ROD MORGENSTEIN ….a glaring omission to the top 100 …the list as it sits is a freaking joke anyway …put together by ROLLING STONE …I would love to see a list put together by real musicians or just drummers . any way MY list would have Cobham , Bonham , Morgenstein, ,Purdie and others at the top

  123. Michael Cavanagh

    May 21, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    max roach

    • Malcolm Jazzbeau

      May 21, 2016 at 11:04 pm

      Max Roach, good selection for jazz!

  124. Sam

    May 21, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    Mel Taylor, you don’t have to be in a huge rock band to be able to play any style! With ease listen to his effortless power on the skins.

  125. Denise Nobile

    May 21, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    Seems like there is a lot of drummers mentioned. In truth many of these drummers did a half dozen hits, but on-going masterpieces? I have to say I am disappointed that Chet Forest – Big Band Drummer – blows them out the door with his masterful percussion on “What’s Going On” – Marvin Gaye. The truly great drummers do not stay with just one or two bands. They are called upon by the best singers and entertainers in the business. When they want YOU, and there are many THEYS, you are then a truly great drummer!

  126. Denise Nobile

    May 22, 2016 at 12:17 am

    One more thing…Chet Forest recorded with many Motown performers, On tour with Peggy Lee – recorded “is That All There Is?”, On tour and recorded several albums with Paul Anka, On tour and recorded Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”, as well as recorded with Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrel, House drummer in many Orchestras on the Las Vegas Strip…. I think this is what makes a truly great musician. He was also my Father.

  127. Err Friedrichs

    May 22, 2016 at 1:48 am

    I really liked Bonham, but for me the best was Jimmie Fox of the James Gang. Another one that should be considered is Carmen Appice of Vanilla Fudge, who did a great solo for Rod Stewart.

  128. Ed Kraft

    May 22, 2016 at 2:19 am

    Sandy Nelson !!!

  129. Jimmy

    May 22, 2016 at 5:28 am

    How did Charlie Watts get in there, every time i seen him he looked asleep. What about Roger Taylor, John Bonham had more of a rep for destroying hotels than his playing lol. I think this has got more to do with the group than the drummer.

  130. william neaves

    May 22, 2016 at 11:02 am

    what ? they had a play off ? or are you judging what they were given to play ?

  131. Martin

    May 22, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    In my opinion, #1 John Bonham, #2 Neil Peart

  132. jeff sarrow

    May 23, 2016 at 1:36 am

    You either have a Rock drummer list or a jazz drummer list. You can’t combine them. If you do, The first 20 or so are jazz, Starting with Buddy Rich , and then include guys like Joe Morello, Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, Roy Hanes, Jack DeJohnette, etc

    For Rock, I like Ginger Baker, Bonham and Mike Shreve

    • Paul Stevenson

      August 6, 2016 at 2:57 pm

      and Max Roach 😉

  133. Ernie Santella

    August 5, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    What, no love for Carl Palmer? He was flippin’ amazing.

  134. Russ

    August 5, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    What about Danny Seraphine? And Keith Carlock is amazing.

  135. Earl Joy

    August 5, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Two that should be in the top 10 at least, Michael Shrieve and Ian Paice. Also I have to say that all of these people putting Ringo Starr down just don’t understand the role of a drummer in rock and just how innovative he is as a drummer. His fills are always right on.

  136. Steve Ronay

    August 6, 2016 at 9:15 am

    The most inspiring drummer I ever knew was Phil Seamen,a mentor for Ginger Baker.
    A great innovator and musician but hardly known outside the British Jazz world partly because of a crippling drug habit and passing away too young.

  137. Paul Stevenson

    August 6, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Barrie Barlowe of mid-70’s Jethro Tull, best to sit behind a kit from 1972-1980 at least. Your darling Bonham has even been quoted as calling him the greatest drummer England ever produced. He was just being gracious though, right? No need to actually check it out and know what you’re talking about. What a laugh.

  138. phillysub1

    August 6, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    For my money, Buddy Rich is the all-time greatest! No one worked harder at drumming than Buddy.

  139. Ed

    August 7, 2016 at 4:13 am

    Kind of surprised Carl Palmer wasn’t there, ELP one of the most progressive, and difficult bands to set a beat for!

  140. Armando Lomagistro

    August 10, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad is the best …

  141. John Ackerman

    November 18, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    You have the top 4 Correct. They were all number one in their own unique ways.

  142. David Zalokar

    November 18, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    These top 10’s are so subjective! You put up ten names and people can list off 15 more off the top of their heads. You can’t take away from any of those RS named to their list. All get and respected drummers. Maybe a ‘Top 50’ would be more in order. After all, not including any of the drummers who played with Frank Zappa is criminal. LOL!

  143. Lasmono Hadiatmadji

    November 18, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    Phil Collins & Phil Erhart should be on top 10 of the list !

  144. Rob Whitelock

    January 14, 2018 at 11:29 pm

    The only thing this shows you is that Rolling Stone doesn’t know a damn thing about drummers.

  145. Jim Nicks

    February 1, 2018 at 3:49 am

    Keith Moon’s hero was Buddy Rich ( Nobody out did his antics & had to play LOUD-Moon the Loon), John Bonham was an animal on the drums and had to also play Loud to be heard as did Ginger Baker took on Hard Rock (for it’s time ) to new heights, Neil Preart had all the equipment and the talent to use it together, Carl Palmer could create sounds that no one even thought of (Classical & Rock) Carman Appice, Mitch Mitchell, Buddy Miles had to keep up with the greatest Guitarist–all great and the best drummer for their type of music–but all started with Buddy Rich–it’s a matter of personal choice who you think is the best, and you can add others to the list as well.

  146. Christopher Nowak BFA MLIS

    March 16, 2020 at 11:50 pm


  147. John Stobart

    March 23, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    The best drummers are those who play modern jazz. Among my favourites are Philly Jo Jones, Max Roach and Jo Morello. Of pop drummers my vote has to go to Clive Bunker, the first drummer of Jethro Tull. Listen to “Dharma for One”. He also played jazz and knew how to hold the sticks.

  148. Gary Pharis

    January 20, 2023 at 1:49 am

    Why was Ron Bushy, the drummer for Iron Butterfly, that produced the iconic drum solo in the song, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,not included in the top 100 drummers of all time? I would have thought Ron Bushy would have been up in the top 10 drummers of all time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

uDiscover Music - Back To Top
uDiscover Music - Back To Top