The 100 Best Drummers Of All Time
From kit-bludgeoning belters to dependable backbeat-riders and technically gifted geniuses, these are the best drummers the world has ever known.
What makes a great drummer is a subject that divides musicians and fans alike: there will always be arguments over whether technical skill should preside over feel, or whether a classy sense of restraint is more desirable than flashy showmanship. As such, it’s nigh-on impossible to construct a definitive list of the best drummers in the world… but we have tried.
Almost inevitably, rock drummers dominate our 100 best drummers of all time, but some jazz musicians, including, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Shelly Manne and Gene Krupa, have been included, while another important jazz drummer even made it into our Top 10. (Their identity will be revealed later.)
While you’re reading, listen to our Best Drummers playlist here.
As well as iconic names from some of the biggest bands in the world, we’ve made way for some of the most in-demand session drummers of all time, among them Steve Gadd and the late legends Jeff Porcaro and Hal Blaine. But there will, no doubt, be omissions. (“How could they ignore ‘Stumpy’ Pepys!?’”) If you think there are, you can always suggest your best drummers of all time in the comments section below.
For now, however, cue drum roll… Here is our guide to the 100 best drummers in music history.
100: Les Binks
Northern Ireland-born drummer Les Binks is best known for his time with Judas Priest, after he joined them on their 1977 world tour, following a spell with Eric Burdon. He brought a complicated, jazz-tinged style to the band and starred on their studio albums Stained Class (co-writing the song “Beyond The Realms Of Death”) and Killing Machine, as well as a live album from Japan, Unleashed In The East. Binks was still going strong in his late 60s. In 2018, the drummer performed classic Judas Priest songs live with a new band called Les Binks’ Priesthood.
Check out: “Beyond The Realms Of Death”
99: Roy Haynes
Roy Haynes’s nickname, Snap Crackle, was supposedly an onomatopoeic approximation of his snare drum sound. Haynes began as a hard bop drummer in the early 50s before demonstrating that he could play any kind of jazz, even avant-garde, with panache. His collaborations read like a Who’s Who of modern jazz and include albums with Art Farmer, Sonny Stitt, Michel Petrucciani and Freddie Hubbard. He was still playing in his 90s.
Check out: “Snap Crackle”
98: Karen Carpenter
Though Karen Carpenter is known as the sweet-voiced singer of Carpenters hits such as “Please Mr Postman,” her first musical career was playing jazz drums, the instrument she played in the original Richard Carpenter Trio. In a 1975 Playboy magazine readers’ poll, Carpenter was voted the best rock drummer of the year – edging out Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham, The Who’s Keith Moon and The Beatles’ Ringo Starr. “I am both humbled and embarrassed at this tremendous recognition,” she said during a TV interview. “I heard that John Bonham is quite upset. I hope he is not mad at me, as I had nothing to do with the poll.” She then played the drums and sang a fine version of Zeppelin’s “Babe, I’m Going To Leave You.”
Check out: “All Of My Life”
97: Meg White
Meg White, who has won four Grammys, got into professional drumming almost by accident in the mid-90s when she stepped behind a drum kit and started thumping out a primal beat behind her husband Jack White’s guitar playing. White quickly sensed that the combination of his talent and his wife’s primitive style was a winning formula. The White Stripes were born, and Meg was acclaimed as one of rock music’s most compelling stickswoman.
Check out: “Suzy Lee”
96: Tony Allen
Self-taught Nigerian native Tony Allen’s driving, polyrhythmic style formed the bedrock of ‘Afrobeat’: the breathtaking fusion of funk, calypso, traditional Nigerian rhythms and the bebop of American drummer Art Blakey he pioneered alongside visionary multi-instrumentalist Fela Kuti in Africa ’70. This forward-thinking West African outfit recorded a wealth of material, including landmark titles such as Gentlemen and Zombie during the ’60s and ’70s, while in his latter days, Allen occupied the drum stool for Damon Albarn’s The Good, The Bad & The Queen and recorded several highly-regarded titles for Blue Note.
Check out: “Zombie”
95: Kenny Clarke
Pittsburgh-born Kenny Clarke, who was nicknamed Klook, was a founding member of The Modern Jazz Quartet, and one of the musicians who could have claimed to have helped start bebop in the mid-40s. His hallmark was introducing syncopated accents on the bass drum while beating out a propulsive cymbal beat to maintain a swing groove. Clarke helped lay down the template for modern jazz drumming.
Check out: “The Golden Eight”
94: Christian Vander
French drummer Christian Vander is renowned for his intense, idiosyncratic style, developed in the 70s as the leader of the prog rock band Magma. He has cited John Coltrane’s drummer Elvin Jones as a formative influence. Vander was also known for his piano playing and his falsetto scat singing. In recent years he has played with his own trio and quartet.
Check out: “Zombies (Ghost Dance)”
93: Giovanni Hidalgo
Salsa-style drumming is sometimes overlooked, but one of the best rhythmic technicians is Puerto Rican drummer Giovanni Hidalgo. His speed is remarkable, whether playing numerous conga drums or sharp-toned timbales. In 1992, Hidalgo was hired as an adjunct professor at Berklee College Of Music, in Boston, teaching rhythm methods in Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, reggae, African and jazz styles. Hidalgo, who has played with Art Blakey, Paul Simon and Steve Gadd, won a Grammy for his contribution to the album Planet Drum.
Check out: “Island Groove”
92: Brian Blade
Brian Blade, who is highly respected by modern jazz musicians, came to prominence with albums for Kenny Garrett and Joshua Redman. His own band, The Brian Blade Fellowship, has released a couple of impressive albums on Blue Note Records, each with a distinct country music atmosphere due to the unusual use of pedal steel guitar. Blade has also recorded for Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, and has worked with Wayne Shorter’s quartet.
Check out: “Red River Revel”
91: Dave Clark
London-born Dave Clark started work as a stuntman – appearing in more than 100 films – before buying himself a drum kit and learning to play. After playing in a few skiffle bands, he formed his own unit, The Dave Clark Five. The band had a succession of hit singles between 1964 and 1970, sold more than 100 million records and starred in a hit film. Though he wasn’t technically brilliant, his energetic style influenced pop music. “If The Beatles ever looked over their shoulders, it was not the Stones they saw. They saw The Dave Clark Five,” said Andrew Loog Oldham, manager of The Rolling Stones.
Check out: “Glad All Over”
90: Dave Weckl
As well as being an important educator, Missouri-born drummer Dave Weckl, who was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall Of Fame in 2000, has appeared with numerous top stars, including Madonna, George Benson and Paul Simon. Some of his finest work was with Chick Corea Elektric Band, with whom he played from 1985 to 1991. Weckl was also a key part of the GRP All-Star Big Band. In recent years he has released records as The Dave Weckl Band.
Check out: “Festival De Ritmo”
89: James Gadson
James Gadson first came to notice with The Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band in the 60s. He was later snapped up by Bill Withers, before becoming one of the West Coast’s most prolific session players. His superb steady tempo and feel for the music is evident on his work with Jackson 5, The Temptations and Marvin Gaye.
Check out: “Let’s Get It On”
88: Phil Rudd
Eric Singer of KISS praised Phil Rudd as “the heart and soul of AC/DC”. Rudd learned his trade with Melbourne bands such as Buster Brown And The Coloured Balls, before joining up with the Australian hard rock giants in 1975. In his first spell, he played with AC/DC until 1983, and again from 1994 to 2015. His life was sometimes controversial off stage, but in live shows and in his studio work, his consistency and unshakeable backbeat was a major feature of classics such as “It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Want To Rock’n’Roll),” “TNT,” and “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.”
Check out: “Let There Be Rock”
87: Tony Thompson
Tony Thompson made his name laying down some memorable disco grooves for Chic in the 70s, on brilliant hits such as “We Are Family” and “Le Freak.” The New York musician, whose mother was from Trinidad, was only 48 when he died of cancer in 2003. He leaves a legacy of great drumming, including playing on Robert Palmer’s “Addicted To Love” and Madonna’s “Like A Virgin.”
Check out: “Good Times”
86: Greg Errico
Drummer and record producer Greg Errico had a varied career, playing with musicians as diverse as jazz-fusion group Weather Report, David Bowie, Santana and Grateful Dead. He made his lasting reputation, though, as the drummer for Sly & The Family Stone, helping the band create their superb blend of soul, funk and psychedelic rock. He’s a drummer known for his flawless syncopation and dance-friendly grooves.
Check out: “Dance To The Music”
85: Harvey Mason
Harvey Mason is one of the most highly-prized modern session drummers. His skilful use of tumbling tom-tom fills, hi-hat cymbals, snare and bass drums earned him the respect of his peers, and he has won the Modern Drummer magazine’s studio poll four times. He has featured on recordings by Barbra Streisand, James Brown, Mary J Blige, Herbie Hancock, Frank Sinatra and John Legend, and played with the London Symphony Orchestra. His versatility is such that he is equally at home appearing on country music albums with Chet Atkins and jazz albums with Blue Note greats such as Bobby Hutcherson or Donald Byrd.
Check out: “Chameleon”
84: Max Weinberg
After the massive success of Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA album, the singer and guitarist paid tribute to drummer Max Weinberg. “Max was the best thing on the record,” The Boss said. The snare drum on the title track is a good example of the skill of the New Jersey musician’s inventiveness. Weinberg later became the bandleader for The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien. He is also the father of Slipknot drummer Jay Weinberg.
Check out: “Thunder Road”
83: Chico Hamilton
Chico Hamilton took part in the first recordings by The Gerry Mulligan Quartet, representative of a career of experimentation. The Chico Hamilton Quintet released their first album in 1955 and it was an instant success. Two years later, the band played a pivotal role in the plot of the movie The Sweet Smell Of Success, in which one of the main characters is supposedly the quintet’s guitarist. In 1965, Hamilton composed and conducted the music for Roman Polanski’s film Repulsion. Hamilton continued to lead bands of varying styles and instrumentation into the 21st Century; only Art Blakey surpassed his record for discovering and nurturing young talent. Hamilton’s own playing was notable for his ability to colour his music with different tonal shades.
Check out: “Mr Jo Jones”
82: Alan Wren
Another significant modern drummer is Manchester-born Alan “Reni” Wren. His complex, off-beat rhythms were influential in creating the blend of indie and dance music which formed much of the Madchester sound of the early 90s, and his virtuoso drumming was a key factor in the popularity of The Stone Roses. After leaving the band in 1995, he fronted The Rub from 1998 to 2001. He returned to The Stone Roses for a reunion in 2012.
Check out: “I Am The Resurrection”
81: Joe Morello
Drummer Joe Morello helped Dave Brubeck’s band reach new heights as they experimented with odd and uneven metres. Morello became well-versed in playing unusual time signatures, and his drum solo on Brubeck’s signature track, “Take Five,” is a masterclass in playing in 5/4 time. Morello, who suffered from partial vision since childhood, also excelled on “Blue Rondo À La Turk.” In later life, Morello became an in-demand teacher whose students included Danny Gottlieb, one of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band members.
Check out: “Take Five”
80: Eric Carr
Eric Carr, who was born Paul Charles Caravello, was only 41 when he died of cancer in 1991. Carr joined KISS in 1980, after founding member Peter Criss left the group, and established his reputation as one of the first hard-hitting drummers to adopt a highly reverberated and low-tuned snare drum sound. He made a significant contribution to the band, recording eight albums with them, starting with The Elders, in 1981, and finishing with Hot In The Shade, in 1989.
Check out: “War Machine”
79: Dennis Davis
Dennis Davis, who died in April 2016, was known for his versatility, which was no surprise given that he was tutored by bebop legends Max Roach and Elvin Jones. As well as shining with jazz outfits such as Clark Terry’s Big Band and Roy Ayers, he also made his mark in the rock world, including his iconic work on David Bowie’s “Heroes” album. “Listen to the drum breaks on ‘Blackout’… he had a conga drum as part of his set up and he made it sound like two musicians were playing drums and congas,” said producer Tony Visconti. As well as working regularly with Bowie, who praised the drummer for his “subtle tempo”, Davis also played on several Stevie Wonder albums, including Hotter Than July and the double-album soundtrack Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants.
Check out: “Master Blaster (Jammin’)”
78: Glenn Kotche
Illinois-born drummer Glenn Kotche is highly regarded as an energetic, imaginative percussionist, the rhythmic anchor for popular rock band Wilco. As well as his work with the Grammy-winning band from Chicago, Kotche had also appeared on recordings by Andrew Bird, Edith Frost, Neil Finn and Radiohead’s Phil Selway. His solo career has been experimental. On Next (2002), he explored improvised rhythms on prepared drum kit installations. “When I play with Wilco, it’s more than just laying down a beat,” he said. “I’m thinking in terms of colours and textures.”
Check out: “Wishful Thinking”
77: Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste
Zigaboo Modeliste’s style was steeped in the second-line tradition of his native New Orleans. He is best known as a founding member of The Meters and helped create a new style of funk drumming on records such as “Cissy Strut” and “Just Kissed My Baby.” He had a big influence on rock band Little Feat and worked with artists as varied as Prince, Dr John, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood (The Meters sometimes opened for The Rolling Stones). Modeliste has been called “The Godfather Of Groove” and his grooves appear in hundreds of hip-hop samples.
Check out: “Cissy Strut”
76: John Densmore
As a teenager, John Densmore became enamoured with jazz and tried to play in the style of the great Elvin Jones. The Los Angeles-born musician, who studied under Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar, moved towards rock and is now best known as the drummer of The Doors, appearing on every recording made by the Jim Morrison-fronted band. In 2010, Modern Drummer magazine hailed Densmore’s ride cymbal work as some of the most distinctive in classic rock. After The Doors, he continued working with rock bands for a time but later concentrated on dance, acting and on writing film scores.
Check out: “LA Woman”
75: Russ Kunkel
Pittsburgh-born Russ Kunkel’s subtle drumming has made him a go-to musician for leading stars of acoustic-based music, including Crosby, Stills & Nash, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Jackson Browne and James Taylor. Kunkel’s lyrical playing and relaxed groove has been a key part of albums such as Taylor’s Sweet Baby James and Mitchell’s Blue. He has also played with Bob Dylan, Bee Gees, Linda Ronstadt and Simon & Garfunkel. “I listen. I try to understand the singer’s point of view and see if I can enhance it, as opposed to thinking, I’m the drummer, so I play a beat and everyone follows,” said Kunkel. “Sometimes I don’t even hear a place for drums on a song. Maybe it just needs some motion, but not necessarily a whole kit. Joni Mitchell’s ‘Carey’ was like that – just a simple conga part.”
Check out: “Running On Empty”
74: Bernard Purdie
When you create a move that other drummers copy – as Bernard Purdie did with “The Purdie Shuffle” – then you know you are influential. The American drummer, who was nicknamed Pretty Purdie, created his move on Steely Dan’s “Home At Last,” from their 1977 album, Aja. Purdie, one of 15 children, started playing drums by banging on his mother’s pots and pans as a toddler, and said he knew he wanted to be a drummer. “He always had some unique stylistic thing that you would never imagine in advance and that nobody else would do,” said Steely Dan’s Walter Becker. He toured and recorded with the greats of 60s soul, funk and jazz, including James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Louis Armstrong. In all, Purdie can be heard on more than 4,000 records.
Check out: “Home At Last”
73: Fred Below
Former army recruit Fred Below learned jazz drumming in Chicago at The Roy C Knapp School Of Percussion. But he became a major player in the electrified Chicago blues movement of the 50s and 60s as the staff drummer at Chess Records, where he recorded with Elmore James, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Etta James and Bo Diddley. His style became hugely imitated. Below said that touring Africa with Junior Wells in 1967 for the State Department was the best experience of his career. “I was in drumming country,” Below said, “and I had my eyes, ears and fingers all ready to learn any kind of thing I could pick up.”
Check out: “(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man”
72: Sonny Payne
Sonny Payne had drumming in his blood – his father was Wild Bill Davis’ drummer – and he played with Erskine Hawkins’ big band before getting his break in 1954, when he joined Count Basie’s band. He stayed with Basie for more than ten years of constant touring and recording. He was admired by Frank Sinatra, who requested that Payne sit in on drums whenever he sang with Basie in the 60s. Payne, who died in 1979, brought a profound sense of rhythmic swagger and panache to his playing.
Check out: “One O’Clock Jump”
71: Roger Hawkins
Roger Hawkins was a key member of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, who were affectionately known as The Swampers. Hawkins was a superb technician, with no ego, and he adapted his personal style to the needs of different musicians. Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and Percy Sledge (Hawkins played on “When A Man Loves A Woman”) were among those who benefitted. When Paul Simon wanted something special for “Kodachrome,” Hawkins found the right sound by beating on a tape box.
Check out: “Chain Of Fools”
70: Jimmy Cobb
Jimmy Cobb had stints with John Coltrane and was an in-demand jazz session musician, working for Cannonball Adderley, Wes Montgomery and Joe Henderson. Cobb also famously drummed for Miles Davis, appearing on the trumpeter’s groundbreaking 1959 album, Kind Of Blue. Cobb’s drumming was powerful and sensitive, and he knew how to swing with style.
Check out: “Tribute To Brownie”
69: Bobby Elliott
The English drummer Robert Hartley Elliott was born in Burnley on December 8, 1941. Best known for his work with The Hollies, he is considered one of the finest pop drummers of that era and particularly inspired Charlie Watts. Elliott, who was known for his flamboyant playing and use of clever snare rolls, said the drummer that he hero-worshipped was jazz great Gene Krupa.
Check out: “Just One Look”
68: Tony Royster Jr
Though German-born Tony Royster, Jr, is largely known for some of his work as a session musician for hip-hop stars – among them stadium-filling artists such as Jay Z – he is a talented and versatile drummer. Royster has played R&B, pop, rock, Latin and jazz, and backed musicians as diverse as Norah Jones and Eminem. He broke on to the music scene aged 12 with an attention-grabbing drum solo at the 1997 Modern Drummer Festival and is known for his speedy hand- and foot-work. He played at President Barack Obama’s inaugural ball in 2009 and has also received the prestigious Louis Armstrong Jazz Award.
Check out: “Caravan”
67: Al Jackson, Jr
As the drummer in Booker T And The MGs, the house band of the Memphis-based Stax/Volt record label, Al Jackson, Jr, was the man behind the impressive steady beats that underlay some of the best soul recordings of the 60s, including Eddie Floyd’s “Knock On Wood,” Otis Redding’s “Shake,” Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man,” and Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour.” Jackson died in 1975, when he was shot in the chest during a fracas with his wife in their Memphis home.
Check out: “Green Onions”
66: Art Taylor
New Yorker Arthur S Taylor, Jr, was one of the finest jazz drummers of the 50s. He worked with saxophonist Jackie McLean and then started recording with Coleman Hawkins in 1950, before working steadily with pianist Bud Powell in 1952. By the end of the decade he had become one of the great masters of accompaniment. After working for Prestige and Blue Note Records, including on sessions with Donald Byrd, he moved to Europe and wrote a book about drumming, Notes And Tones.
Check out: “Giant Steps”
65: Maureen Tucker
New York drummer Maureen Ann “Moe” Tucker, who was born on August 26, 1944, made her name with the cutting-edge rock band The Velvet Underground. As well as being a pioneering female rock drummer, she broke ground with her standing position, minimalist kit and preference for mallets over sticks. At some early gigs, she even used metal garbage cans after her drum kit was stolen. Tucker also sang and played guitar, saying once of her solo career: “When I do shows, I prefer to be playing guitar. I started trying to play guitar way before I started to play drums.” She influenced a generation of young drummers, including Caroline McKay, former member of Mercury Prize-nominated group Glasvegas.
Check out: “I’m Waiting For The Man”
64: Honey Lantree
Another drummer who could also play guitar and sing was Honey Lantree, who made her name in the 60s with The Honeycombs, playing alongside elder brother John (bass guitar). The pulsating 4/4 rhythm that Lantree, who died in December 2018, laid down on “Have I The Right?” helped make the song one of the big hits of the decade.
Check out: “Have I the Right?”
63: Gavin Harrison
For Gavin Harrison, drumming is all about the groove. The English musician, who first toured as a 19-year-old with progressive rock band Renaissance, has written three books on drumming: Rhythmic Illusions, Rhythmic Perspectives and Rhythmic Designs. Harrison has played with Iggy Pop, Dave Stewart, Tom Robinson and jazz and folk bassist Danny Thompson, the former musical partner of John Martyn. He is, however, best known for playing with the British prog rock bands Porcupine Tree and King Crimson.
Check out: “Start Of Something Beautiful”
62: Buddy Miles
Buddy Miles was a member of Jimi Hendrix’s Band Of Gypsys from 1969 until Hendrix’s death in 1970 (he also played on two tracks on Hendrix’s influential Electric Ladyland album in 1968). He learned to play drums in his father’s jazz band, The Bebops (George Miles, Sr, had played upright bass with Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Charlie Parker and Dexter Gordon). During his career, Miles played on more than 70 albums, and played with Stevie Wonder, David Bowie and Muddy Waters. The Nebraska-born drummer was a flamboyant personality on stage, holding audiences spellbound with his stars-and-stripes shirts, high-brushed Afro hairstyle, large frame and wide smile. In a troubled later life, he was sent to San Quentin prison. With characteristic style, he started a jailhouse band.
Check out: “Them Changes”
61: Levon Helm
As a six-year-old, Mark Lavon Helm saw Bill Monroe And His Bluegrass Boys and decided right then that he wanted to be a musician. The Arkansas-born (and renamed) Levon Helm achieved worldwide fame as drummer and singer for The Band. As well as his soulful voice, Helm’s creative drumming style was a strong point on many of their great recordings, including “The Weight” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” The Grammy-winning musician has also had a successful acting career that included playing Loretta Lynn’s father in Coal Miner’s Daughter.
Check out: “Up On Cripple Creek”
60: Tony Meehan
Tony Meehan, who died in 2005, was a founding member and the original drummer of The Shadows, who were a popular instrumental group in their own right, as well as backing band for Cliff Richard. Meehan’s distinctive drumming formed the backbone of The Shadows’ style and influenced a generation of younger musicians. Their 1960 hit “Apache” was No.1 in the UK charts for six weeks and helped established the group as one of the most important bands of the early 60s. Meehan’s powerful and disciplined drumming can be heard on several other Shadows hits, including “Kon Tiki.” In 1961, he left the band and went to work at Decca Records in their A&R department. His replacement was the excellent Brian Bennett.
Check out: “Apache”
59: DJ Fontana
DJ Fontana was a rock’n’roll pioneer and Elvis Presley’s first – and longtime – drummer. He met Presley on Louisiana Hayride, a popular and influential radio and TV country-music programme. “Presley wasn’t playing rock’n’roll until DJ put the backbeat into it,” said Levon Helm in 2004. Fontana admired big-band drummers such as Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa, but he himself went on to influence other drummers that came after him, including Ringo Starr. Fontana was renowned for his power, speed and steadiness. He played on early Presley Sun Records hits such as “Hound Dog” and also appeared on the “comeback” Christmas TV special of 1968. In 2000, he played on Paul McCartney’s cover of an early Presley hit, “That’s All Right.”
Check out: “Jailhouse Rock”
58: Papa Jo Jones
Papa Jo Jones was renowned as an innovative drummer in the swing era and was a core member of Count Basie’s band from 1935-48. Jones was ahead of his time in using a steady four-beat rhythm on cymbal, and during the 50s he performed with Lester Young and was part of the Jazz At The Philharmonic touring jam sessions. Later, he led his own small groups. He made regular appearances in films of the time, including Jammin’ The Blues (1944) and Born To Swing (1973).
Check out: “Jumpin’ At The Woodside”
57: Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones was a renowned member of The John Coltrane Quartet. His powerful, complex playing helped changed the role of the drummer in jazz groups and influenced a generation of rockers, including The Doors, Grateful Dead and Santana.
Check out: “Mr Jones”
56: Carlton Barrett
Carlton Barrett, who was murdered in 1987, at the age of 36, remains an influential figure in the world of drumming, for his work with reggae star Bob Marley from 1970 to 1981. Barrett, who built his first set of drums from empty paint tins, helped popularise Jamaican beats, such as steppers and one-drop. His laidback grooves were an essential part of Marley’s sound.
Check out: “Jammin’”
55: Shelly Manne
Shelly Manne was 64 when he died of a heart attack at his ranch. At that point, he had been at the forefront of jazz for more than 40 years and played on more than 1,000 records. Manne played with the Stan Kenton and Woody Herman bands and went on to play at his own influential Hollywood nightclub (Shelly’s Manne Hole) and with several small combos. As a composer, he wrote the score for the Daktari TV series and the films Young Billy Young and Trial Of The Catonsville Nine. Manne also advised Frank Sinatra on drumming technique for his role in the movie The Man With The Golden Arm.
Check out: “Flip”
54: Buddy Harmon
After establishing his reputation as the house drummer for The Grand Old Opry, Buddy Harmon helped define the Nashville sound, becoming one of the most influential country music musicians of the 20th Century. His rhythmic signature can be heard on thousands of recordings by stars such as Elvis Presley (“Little Sister”), Johnny Cash (“Ring Of Fire”) and Simon & Garfunkel (“The Boxer”). He played on an estimated 18,000 recordings, many of them major hits, such as Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man.” Harmon, who admired jazz drummer Gene Krupa, showed versatility and imagination, and his powerful 4/4 drumming helped make Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman” memorable, as did his deft brushwork on Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.” He was a talented bass player, too, and played that instrument on Ringo Starr’s 1970 country album, Beaucoups Of Blues.
Check out: “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”
53: Earl Palmer
In 2000, Earl Palmer became one of the first session musicians to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. The New Orleans-born musician’s powerful and creative drumming helped partially define the sound of early rock’n’roll; between 1949 and 1956 he played on hit records by Fats Domino (“The Fat Man”), Lloyd Price (“Lawdy Miss Clawdy”), Smiley Lewis (“I Hear You Knocking”) and Little Richard (“Tutti Frutti,” “Long Tall Sally”). After moving to Los Angeles, Palmer worked on movies. His distinctive backbeat can be heard on iconic records such as Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” and Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba.”
Check out: “Tutti Frutti”
52: Jim Keltner
Jim Keltner is one of the most in-demand session drummers of the modern era. The Oklahoma-born musician started out as a jazz drummer but went on to play on thousands of records of all types, including John Lennon’s Imagine and both Traveling Wilburys albums. He’s played on records by Tom Petty, Harry Nilsson, Bee Gees, Pink Floyd, Randy Newman, Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, Pretenders and Oasis, and was hailed by Ry Cooder as a master of interpreting subtle music. “He reacts to everything that’s going on in the music,” said Leon Russell. Keltner also played on Bob Dylan’s album Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid, which includes the song “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.” “That session was a monumental one for me because it was such a touching song, it was the first time I actually cried when I was playing,” said Keltner.
Check out: “Jealous Guy”
51: Louie Bellson
Duke Ellington once described Louie Bellson (who was sometimes credited on albums as “Louis Bellson”) as “the world’s greatest drummer”. In a career that began when he was 18, Bellson moved from big bands to small groups and back again, and served as musical director for his first wife, the singer Pearl Bailey. His drumming was one of the driving forces in the orchestras of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Duke Ellington and (briefly) Count Basie. He was a showman who displayed finesse in his playing style.
Check out: “Sunshine Swing”
50: Jeff Porcaro
Jeff Porcaro, who was only 38 when he died, on August 5, 1992, was a founder member of Toto and an in-demand session musician. Drumming was in the blood of the son of the acclaimed Hollywood percussionist. He left school at 17 to tour with Sonny And Cher, and went on to play on records by dozens of leading stars, including Diana Ross, Etta James, Elton John, Robert Palmer and Bruce Springsteen. His work with Toto shows why he was considered one of the best 20th-century American “groove” players – able to create excitement while playing a simple beat. He was always modest and when asked about drumming technique used to tell fans to listen to Jim Keltner.
Check out: “Rosanna”
49: Gene Krupa
When he was part of Benny Goodman’s orchestra in the 30s, Gene Krupa changed the status of the jazz drummer, elevating him from being a timekeeper to a soloist. His flamboyant performances in concerts, as he flailed away at his snare drum, tom‐toms and cymbals, made him a star. His showmanship reached its peak with “Sing, Sing, Sing,” a tune by Louis Prima, which the Goodman band began playing early in 1936. Krupa later led his own successful band with Anita O’Day as a vocalist and Roy Eldridge on trumpet. He was 64 when he died in New York in 1973.
Check out: “Sing, Sing, Sing”
48: Steve Smith
Steve Smith, who was born on August 21, 1954, in Whitman, Massachusetts, is best known as a member of the rock band Journey. Smith studied music in Boston at Berklee College Of Music from 1972-76 and began life as a professional musician in the Lin Biviano Big Band. He played with jazz-fusion bands until he joined Journey in 1978, leaving eight years later to pursue his original passion, jazz, and develop his career as a session player. Over the past 40 years, Smith has played with such diverse artists as Michael Brecker, Ahmad Jamal, Bryan Adams, Mariah Carey and Savage Garden. Smith is known for his explosive solos and intricate timekeeping. In 2016, Steve re-joined Journey, touring with the band for the first time in 32 years.
Check out: “Any Way You Want It”
47: Hal Blaine
Massachusetts was also the state where Hal Blaine was born, on February 5, 1929. Grammy-winning Blaine can lay claim to being one of the most prolific drummers in rock’n’roll history and a member of the famed Wrecking Crew studio musicians. He guested on 35,000 tracks, including 150 singles that made the Billboard Top 10. He drummed on many Elvis Presley film soundtracks during the 60s, and was also a key component of Phil Spector’s “Wall Of Sound” production, which yielded classics such as “Be My Baby” and “Da Doo Ron Ron.” He also played on some classic Beach Boys hits, including “Good Vibrations,” and on a number of sessions with Glen Campbell (watch him discuss his friendship with Glen in this uDiscover interview). Blaine was an innovative musician – “My set always had 12 drums, which no one had ever heard of, and it really was a major change,” he said, and it enabled him to achieve a bigger spectrum of sound. Unlike most drummers of the time, Blaine said he tuned his drums down to normal, mid-range, rather than keeping them at a high range. He passed away on March 11, 2019, at the age of 90, leaving behind a legacy that will be impossible to beat.
Check out: “Good Vibrations”
46: Max Roach
When Max Roach died in August 2007, at the age of 83, he was saluted as one of the most creative and influential percussionists in the history of jazz. Roach, who started out on the piano, changed instruments when his father bought him a drum kit at 12. He made his recording debut at 19, in a band led by Coleman Hawkins, and his groundbreaking work with Charlie Parker in the 40s showed off his amazing sense of form, allied to an impeccable technique and mastery of tempo. Roach was also the drummer in Dizzy Gillespie’s first big band and went on to make his own career as bandleader, forming a quintet with the young trumpeter Clifford Brown which is regarded as one of the finest small bands of the 20th Century. He was active in the civil-rights movement of the 60s and later held a teaching post at the University Of Massachusetts.
Check out: “I’ll Remember April”
45: Topper Headon
Nicholas Headon, who was known as Topper because of his resemblance to the cartoon character Mickey Monkey from Topper, was born in Bromley, Kent, on 30 May 1955. He made his name as the drummer of the punk rock band The Clash, joining them in 1977 and staying for five years, until drug problems forced him out. The energy in his playing helped songs such as “I Fought The Law” became hugely popular, and his style, which emphasised a simple bass-snare up-down beat, accompanied by hi-hat flourishes, was highly distinctive. After leaving The Clash, he played with Big Audio Dynamite and, in 1985, released a cover version of the Gene Krupa instrumental “Drumming Man” as a single.
Check out: “Train In Vain”
44: Steve Gadd
Steve Gadd has laid down some iconic drum tracks, including “Aja,” “Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover,” and “Nite Sprite,” and has influenced a generation of drummers. Born in Rochester, New York, on April 9, 1945, Gadd started drumming at the age of seven and sat in with Dizzy Gillespie by the time he was 11. He is so popular in Japan that they still sell transcriptions of his drum solos. He has played regularly with Chick Corea, who said, “Every drummer wants to play like Gadd because he plays perfect. He has brought orchestral and compositional thinking to the drum kit while at the same time having a great imagination and a great ability to swing.”
Check out: “Chick’s Chums”
43: Art Blakey
Drummer and bandleader Art Blakey, who was 71 when he died, on October 16, 1990, was one of the most influential figures in jazz for more than four decades. He was known for his epic solos, layering on textures while controlling the dynamics and showing a true ability to improvise. “Art was an original,” said Max Roach. “He’s the only drummer whose time I recognize immediately. And his signature style was amazing; we used to call him ‘Thunder.’ Art was the perhaps the best at maintaining independence with all four limbs. He was doing it before anybody was.”
As a bandleader, Blakey hired and nurtured a huge cast of great jazz musicians, including the trumpeters Kenny Dorham, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard and Wynton Marsalis; the saxophonists Jackie McLean, Hank Mobley and Wayne Shorter; and the pianists Horace Silver and Bobby Timmons. Marsalis said Blakey was influential in the way he integrated the drums into small-group arrangements “of building the ensemble, where the drums were more orchestrated”.
Check out: “The Drum Thunder Suite”
42: Bill Bruford
Bill Bruford, who was born on May 17, 1949, in Sevenoaks, Kent, gained a reputation as a skillful and sensitive drummer as part of the rock band Yes in the late 60s. He later played in King Crimson and toured with Genesis. Bruford retired from performing in 2009 but went on to run record labels and gain a PhD in music from the University Of Surrey. He once said that it was jazz drummers who had shaped his development, including the “elegant style of Max Roach”. He paid special tribute to Art Blakey’s ability to “make a drum kit sound so personal”.
Check out: “I’ve Seen All Good People”
41: Travis Barker
Californian Travis Barker, who was born on November 14, 1975, is a producer and songwriter best known as the drummer for rock band blink-182. He has also played with Transplants, Box Car Racer, DJ-AM and TRV$DJam, and was described by Rolling Stone magazine as “punk’s first superstar drummer”. Praised for his power and versatility as a drummer, Barker also founded a clothing company. In October 2018, he was cleared to perform again after blood clots in both arms had caused him to temporarily stop playing the drums.
Check out: “Let’s Go”
40: Nicko McBrain
Londoner Michael “Nicko” McBrain, who was born on June 5, 1952, decided he wanted to be a drummer as a boy after watching Joe Morello perform on television with the Dave Brubeck Quartet. McBrain’s drumming has been a vital element of Iron Maiden’s sound since 1983’s Piece Of Mind album, writing the drum parts for the band’s songs. “Nicko always had the chops and the technique, but in Maiden he really exploded, to the point where a lot of stuff we did after he joined was then founded on his playing, all those busy patterns he does, displaying tremendous technique,” said guitarist Adrian Smith. One of his quirks is that he sometimes plays barefoot. In 1991, McBrain made an instructional drum video called “Rhythms Of The Beast.”
Check out: “Where Eagles Dare”
39: Alan White
Not to be confused with the Oasis drummer of the same name, Alan White was born on June 14, 1949 and was one of the mainstays of the progressive rock band Yes, after joining them in 1972. He had earlier played with Plastic Ono Band after John Lennon invited him to join; White played on the song “Imagine”. His varied career has seen him play with George Harrison, Ginger Baker and Joe Cocker, and he was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. White was an excellent timekeeper as drummer and good at giving direction to a song’s arrangement. “Louie Bellson’s bass drum always turned me on; the control and technique. I don’t think any of the others mastered it as well as he did,” said White. “I concentrate on bass drum work a lot. I went to two bass drums just for a while and I realized that I can nearly do as much with one as the effect you can get with two.” White is also an accomplished pianist.
Check out: “The Gates Of Delirium”
38: Simon Phillips
Londoner Simon Phillips, who was born on February 6, 1957, became Toto’s drummer in 1992 after the death of Jeff Porcaro (who sits at No.50 on our list). Phillips is a technically gifted drummer who was introduced to music by his musician father, Sid Phillips. He has toured and recorded with some of the leading rock musicians of the modern era, including Mick Jagger, The Who, Jeff Beck, Roxy Music and The Pretenders. He moved to America in 1992 to play with Toto and later recorded his own albums, including Protocol in 1988. He has also worked as arranger, producer and engineer.
Check out: “Manganese”
37: Billy Cobham
Billy Cobham, who was born on May 16, 1944, is a Panamanian jazz musician who started playing with pianist Horace Silver and then came to prominence in the 60s with trumpeter Miles Davis and then the New York jazz-fusion outfit The Mahavishnu Orchestra. He was one of the first drummers to combine jazz, funk and rock. In recent years, he began teaching drums online at the Billy Cobham School Of Drums.
Check out: “Feio”
36: Josh Freese
Josh Freese, born on Christmas Day in 1972, is one of the modern era’s most popular session drummers, as well as being a permanent member of The Vandals and Devo. He was the drummer for Guns N’ Roses from 1997 to 2000 and has also played saxophone on some recordings. After 2016 he began playing with Sting. “My drum set up never gets that crazy or out of the ordinary,” said Freese. “In the studio my drums are usually something really basic: a four-, five- or six-piece kit with lots of snare and cymbal choices.”
Check out: “Blood On Your Knuckles”
35: Vinnie Paul
Vinnie Paul, co-founder and drummer of the metal band Pantera, died of a heart condition on June 22, 2018 at the age of 54. The Texas-born musician started Pantera in 1981 with his brother, and the heavy metal band earned four Grammy nominations before disbanding in 2003 amid rumours of a rift. He was known for using triggered samples mixed with live-miked drums during shows on a kit that had a custom dragon finish modelled on the design of his hat.
Check out: “13 Steps To Nowhere”
34: Chad Smith
Chad Smith is the drummer with Red Hot Chili Peppers. Smith, who was born on October 25, 1961, joined the band in 1988. He said he learned his trade playing lots of clubs in Detroit. “Six nights a week, three sets a night. That was my schooling instead of going to university,” he said. He has also worked regularly with hard rock band Chickenfoot. Smith, who is known for the infectious beats in his playing, has also been an in-demand session musician, playing with The Dixie Chicks, Johnny Cash and The Avett Brothers.
Check out: “Give It Away”
33: Cozy Powell
The man born Colin Trevor Flooks, but known professionally as Cozy Powell, was only 50 when he died in a tragic car crash in April 1998. In a glittering career, he played with rock heavyweights Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Queen’s Brian May and Peter Green’s Splinter Group. In the mid-70s, he also scored three hits with tracks featuring his trademark thumping style. “Dance With the Devil,” “The Man In Black,” and “Na Na Na” all featured his tour de force drum solos.
Check out: “Dance With The Devil”
32: Vinnie Colaiuta
Vincent Colaiuta, who was born in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, on February 5, 1956, attended Berklee College Of Music. His first big break came when he auditioned for Frank Zappa, joining his band in 1978 and becoming a key player on Zappa’s albums of that era. As a session musician he has worked with Joni Mitchell, Barbra Streisand, Chaka Khan and Jeff Beck. His is considered a versatile drummer and has worked in the jazz arena with stars such as Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. In 1994, Colaiuta released a self-titled solo album.
Check out: “Joe’s Garage”
31: Amir “?uestlove” Thompson
Ahmir Khalib Thompson, who was born on January 20, 1971, in Philadelphia, is known professionally as Questlove (which he styles as ?uestlove). As well as his Grammy-winning drum work on records with The Roots, he is also known for his appearances with the band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where they are the regular in-house group. In recent years he has been a producer on the hit Broadway musical Hamilton.
Check out: “Thought @ Work”
30: Aynsley Dunbar
Aynsley Dunbar, who was born on January 10, 1946, in Liverpool, England, is a drummer who is confident working across a host of genres, including jazz, blues, fusion, rock and progressive rock. The records he has played on include 30 that have gone gold or platinum. His early work was with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and he has played with an incredible range of musicians, including Jeff Beck, blues musician Champion Jack Dupree, jazz musician Herbie Mann, John Lennon and Rod Stewart. In 2017, he was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.
Check out: “Roadhouse Blues”
29: Janet Weiss
Janet Weiss, who was born on September 24, 1965, in Los Angeles, is best known as a member of Sleater-Kinney. She has also played with Quasi and cult indie band The Shins. Weiss is a powerful, inventive drummer who has helped break down some of the traditional barriers against female drummers. “Society traditionally doesn’t encourage women to be loud, primitive, aggressive. These properties are crucial in the drummer’s world – they cannot, and should not, be avoided,” she said.
Check out: “Mole City”
28: Carmine Appice
New Yorker Carmine Appice was born on December 15, 1946 and started out with psychedelic band Vanilla Fudge in the late 60s. He later joined Jeff Beck and Tim Bogert in the band Beck, Bogert & Appice. Appice, who said he was heavily influenced by Gene Krupa, worked with Rod Stewart and co-wrote the song “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” He later formed King Kobra for two Capitol albums in the 80s, a decade in which he played on the Pink Floyd record Momentary Lapse Of Reason. Appice also wrote the acclaimed book The Realistic Rock Drum Method, which sold nearly half a million copies.
Check out: “Young Turks”
27: Clyde Stubblefield
Clyde Stubblefield, who was 73 when he died, on February 18, 2017, had a huge influence on two eras of music – as the drummer in James Brown’s band and in the formative records of hip-hop. He joined Brown when he was just 17 and played on key tracks such as “Cold Sweat” and “Sex Machine.” He also played in the concert that Brown gave after the assassination of Martin Luther King. He was known for his rolling breakbeats, and his instrumental single “Funky Drummer” was influential in the early 80s, when producers began to create hip-hop by looping copied fragments of music from other records. His solo features in “Fight The Power” by Public Enemy and is believed to have been sampled on more than 1,400 different records. In 2014 he had to have a thumb amputated but he adapted a drumstick by fitting it with a thick handle from a maraca.
Check out: “Funky Drummer”
26: Matt Cameron
Matt Cameron was born on November 28, 1962 in San Diego. After an early career with Soundgarden (a band he later re-joined), he was invited on tour by Pearl Jam and became a permanent fixture in their band. He is a technically gifted player, known for his fast solos during live shows. In 2017, the year in which he cut his debut solo LP, Cavedweller, he was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
Check out: “Time Can’t Wait”
25: Michael Shrieve
San Francisco-born Michael Shrieve was chosen by Rolling Stone magazine’s readers as one of the Top 10 Drummers of All Time in 2017. Shrieve, born on July 6, 1949, was the original drummer for Santana and played on the first eight albums by the seminal group. This sophisticated drummer has played alongside artists in such diverse genres as rock, jazz, electronic, dance and world music, and was saluted for his groundbreaking use of electronic percussion when it was a new medium in the 70s. For the past 10 years he has been working on a personal project called Drums Of Compassion, on which he is composer, producer and drummer. Carlos Santana described him as “a visionary”.
Check out: “Aye Aye Aye”
24: Bill Ward
Bill Ward, who was born in Birmingham, England, on May 5, 1948, said that he was self-taught, learning about drumming from sitting on the stage next to Jim Capaldi of Deep Feeling. He said he also loved jazz and based his tuning on the model of Gene Krupa. He is best known as the original drummer of heavy metal band Black Sabbath and was noted for his innovative use of floor toms. “Without the jazz influence, the Black Sabbath drumming would be very different. The feels and jazz feels and rock feels were exactly, to me, what we needed,” said Ward. In recent years, after playing with a new band called Day Of Errors, he was forced to take a break from music because of heart problems.
Check out: “Fairies Wear Boots”
23: Roger Taylor
Celebrated Queen drummer Roger Taylor is played by X-Men actor Ben Hardy in the Bohemian Rhapsody biopic. Taylor – not to be confused with the Duran Duran drummer of the same name – was born on July 26, 1949 in King’s Lynn, Norfolk. As well as being a talented, powerhouse drummer, he is a singer and instrumentalist, and wrote Queen’s landmark hits “Radio Ga Ga” and “A Kind Of Magic.” He has also made five solo albums, starting with 1981’s Fun In Space. “Drumming came naturally to me – I always found it sublimely easy,” said Taylor.
Check out: “Radio Ga Ga”
22: Sheila E
Sheila Escovedo was inspired by her percussionist father, Pete Escovedo, and godfather Tito Puente, and said in her memoir, The Beat Of My Own Drum, that she was taught from childhood how to keep good time on a drum set. Born in Oakland, California, on 12 December 1957, she is known as “The Queen Of Percussion”. She started out with The George Duke Band and, as well as her solo albums, has played with Ringo Starr, Marvin Gaye, Lionel Ritchie, Diana Ross and Herbie Hancock. She also worked closely with Prince.
Check out: “The Glamorous Life”
21: Lars Ulrich
Denmark’s Lars Ulrich, who was born on Boxing Day in 1963, became a drummer after giving up a promising career as a professional tennis player. He is best known as the drummer and co-founder of the heavy metal band Metallica, a band he joined after answering an advert in a magazine. He was acclaimed as a pioneer of fast thrash drum beats, a sound that featured on many of Metallica’s early songs, such as “Metal Militia,” and his thunderous, complex drum patterns set the template for hard rock in the 80s. He has been knighted by the Danish government.
Check out: “Battery”
20: Tommy Aldridge
Tommy Aldridge, who was born on August 15, 1950, in Pearl, Mississippi, taught himself to play the drums after listening to albums by Cream, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. After working with Pat Travers, he made his name with bands such as Whitesnake and Thin Lizzy in the 70s. Aldridge is considered to have set the standard for double-bass rock drumming and has continued playing with Whitesnake into the 21st Century. He is a perfectionist who said, “I’m not a big fan of my own stuff. Once I have recorded something and then I go back and listen to it, I’m rarely pleased with it. That’s probably the way it is with most musicians. Give me 15 takes and I will want 30.”
Check out: “Burn”
19: Mike Portnoy
Mike Portnoy, who was born on April 20, 1967, and raised in Long Beach, New York, grew up immersed in music. “My father was a rock’n’roll disc jockey, so I was always surrounded by music constantly. I had this huge record collection when I was real young and loved The Beatles, and then, later on, KISS. It was inevitable that I’d become a musician.” He taught himself to play the drums and was later awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee College Of Music. He said his biggest influence was Rush drummer Neil Peart. The co-founder of the progressive rock band Dream Theater, Portnoy was particularly pleased to become the second youngest musician, after Peart, to be inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall Of Fame in 2004.
Check out: “The Mirror”
18: Alex Van Halen
Alex Van Halen, who was born in Amsterdam on May 8, 1953, was the son of Jan and Eugenia, both of whom were trained as classical pianists. After moving to America, he started a band with brother Eddie. After meeting David Lee Roth, they formed Mammoth. In 1974, the band’s name was changed to Van Halen and they released their debut album in 1978. The two brothers are the only members of Van Halen who have been in the band for its entire duration. Alex is a master of the snare drum and at live shows is known for his aggressive solos and stage pyrotechnics. He has cited jazz drummer Buddy Rich as a big influence on his playing.
Check out: “Respect The Wind”
17: Ian Paice
Ian Paice, who was born on June 29, 1948, in Nottingham, England, learned to play the drums by imitating the styles of jazz legends such as Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, which he heard on the radio. He got his first drum kit at 15 and decided that, being left handed, he needed to devise techniques that would fit the right-handed drum kits. After playing with various dance bands, he got his big break in 1968 when he helped form Deep Purple, and his brilliant playing has shone on songs such as “Stormbringer” and on the live album Made In Japan. From 1979 to 1982, Paice worked with Whitesnake before joining The Gary Moore Band. He later returned to Deep Purple.
Check out: “The Mule”
16: Benny Benjamin
Benny Benjamin, one of Motown’s great drummers, was just 43 when he died of a stroke in April 1969. A key member of the collective of session musicians known as The Funk Brothers, he was known for his deft brushwork and explosive drum fills. Benjamin, who had a background in big-band jazz, was an essential part of Motown hits by The Temptations, The Miracles, Four Tops, The Supremes, Gladys Knight And The Pips, Martha And The Vandellas, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. “He had a distinctive knack for executing various rhythms all at the same time. He had a pulse, a steadiness, that kept the tempo better than a metronome,” said Motown founder Berry Gordy.
Check out: “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)”
15: Carl Palmer
Carl Palmer has been described as “the consummate drummer’s drummer”. A brilliant technician, he was born in Birmingham, England, on March 20, 1950. He came from a musical family: his grandfather played the drums, his grandmother was a symphony violinist and his father had a dance band. He said his main influence was Gene Krupa. During a long career he has played with Atomic Rooster, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Asia and Emerson, Lake And Palmer. In the 21st Century he started his own Carl Palmer Band.
Check out: “Toccata”
14: Mitch Mitchell
Roger Taylor has described the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Mitch Mitchell as his early role model. “Listening to Mitch Mitchell, especially the early stuff with Jimi Hendrix, is just fantastic,” said the Queen drummer. Mitchell, who at first modelled his style on Max Roach, melded jazz and rock styles into what was to become known as “fusion.” His free and explosive technique made the drums a force in their own right. Mitchell unsuccessfully auditioned for Paul McCartney’s band Wings in 1974, but he went on to perform with various artists, including Jack Bruce and Jeff Beck, as well as undertaking lots of session work. In his last years, he was part of the Gypsy Sun Experience band, along with former Hendrix bassist Billy Cox and guitarist Gary Serkin. He died of natural causes, aged 61, on November 12, 2008.
Check out: “Are You Experienced?”
13: Phil Collins
Phil Collins’ work as the drummer of Genesis has earned him the status as one of rock’s greatest drummers. Collins, who was born on January 30, 1951, in the London suburb of Chiswick, is also a popular singer, songwriter and record producer. He had a string of US Top 40 hits in the 80s, including “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now),” and would sometimes play drums on records by musician friends, including on some by folk musician John Martyn. He said he was given his first drum when he was three. “I always remember drumming as being easy, but I did nothing else,” he said. “When other kids were out playing I was on the drums. I just wanted to make a career out of being a drummer.”
Check out: “Behind The Lines”
12: Ringo Starr
Ringo Starr, who was born Richard Starkey in Liverpool, on July 7, 1940, has had one of the most successful careers in music, gaining worldwide fame as the drummer for The Beatles. He occasionally sang on their albums, too, including on the song “Yellow Submarine,” and was a key part of their success. When he was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Dave Grohl said: “Define ‘best drummer in the world’. Is it someone that’s technically proficient? Or is it someone that sits in the song with their own feel? Ringo was the king of feel.” After The Beatles broke up, Starr embarked upon a successful solo career, including his acclaimed third album, Ringo.
Check out: “Ticket To Ride”
11: Charlie Watts
Charlie Watts brought the sensibilities of a jazz drummer to rock music, and as The Rolling Stones’ drummer he is one of the most respected musicians in the world. Watts, who was born on June 2, 1941, in London, grew up loving Miles Davis and John Coltrane, and started out as a graphic artist. He combined his love of art and jazz by writing a book about Charlie Parker. After working with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, he was persuaded to join the fledgling Rolling Stones and played his first gig with the band at Ealing Blues Club. He has remained a key member of the Stones for over five decades, taking occasional breaks to work with his own jazz orchestra.
Check out: “Honky Tonk Women”
10: Terry Bozzio
Terry Bozzio, who was born on December 27, 1950, in San Francisco, said that after seeing Ringo Starr and The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show he begged his father for drum lessons. He said that many of the techniques he used throughout his career, including his snare hand technique, were learned from his first teacher, Chuck Brown. Bozzio started his career in garage bands and became famous for his work with the band Missing Persons and as a drummer for Frank Zappa, with whom he appeared on 26 albums. In 2014, Bozzio toured America playing solo dates with what he called “the world’s largest tuned drum and percussion set.”
Check out: “Baby Snakes”
9: Dave Grohl
Dave Grohl is widely credited with giving alt.rock its driving beat. Born on January 14, 1969 in Warren, Ohio, Grohl dropped out of high school to play with the group Scream before auditioning for Nirvana. After singer Kurt Cobain’s death, Grohl formed Foo Fighters. His drumming has been praised for his fills, using unexpected accents, breaks and syncopation in the snare. “The drums have to propel everything,” he said. Grohl once paid tribute to Melvins drummer Dale Crover, saying, “I still say to this day that he’s the best drummer in the world. There is no one who does what he does, and there’s no one who could. I get goosebumps when I hear his playing. He’s turned drumming on its side, and if I’d never heard Melvins, I probably would not be playing the drums, because he made me realize that there’s a lot more to drumming than most people hear.”
Check out: “Song For The Dead”
8: Dave Lombardo
Dave Lombardo, who was born in Havana, Cuba, on February 16, 1965, is best known as a founding member of thrash metal band Slayer. A powerhouse drummer, his innovative playing led DRUMMERWORLD magazine to describe him as “The Godfather Of Double Bass.” “Early Slayer albums such as Show No Mercy were all written for drums that needed to be heavy. The drums needed to be heavy and played hard and fast on those records,” said Lombardo. After leaving Slayer in 2013, he performed with a variety of bands, including Grip Inc, Testament, Suicidal Tendencies and Misfits.
Check out: “Haunting the Chapel”
7: Stewart Copeland
Stewart Copeland has been an accomplished producer and composer of soundtracks for movies and television, but he will always be remembered as the drummer for The Police, who achieved worldwide fame and chart-topping albums through the mid-80s (watch him talk to uDiscover about his time with the band). Copeland, who was born in Alexandria, Virginia, on July 16, 1952, began drum lessons at the age of 12 and got his start in the music business as a road manager for Curved Air, assuming drumming duties for the band in 1975. In 1977, Copeland founded The Police with Strontium 90 bandmate Sting. After the band separated, Copeland went on to win a Golden Globe for his score for the Francis Ford Coppola film Rumble Fish. His work with The Police was famed for its reggae-tinged rhythms and seemingly effortless cymbal work. “Arabic music is in my DNA, informed by Buddy Rich, Mitch Mitchell, Joe Morello,” said Copeland. “I love the sound of Joe Morello and ‘Take Five’… that sound of the drums, full, relaxed. Just letting the drums sing.”
Check out: “Message In A Bottle”
6: Danny Carey
Danny Carey, who was born on May 10, 1961, in Lawrence, Kansas, gained fame as the drummer for Grammy-winning progressive metal band Tool. He said he grew up on “jazz and crazy prog stuff”. As well as his work with Tool, he has also played on albums by ZAUM, Green Jellÿ, Pigface, Skinny Puppy, Adrian Belew of King Crimson, Carole King, Collide, The Wild Blue Yonder, Lusk and Melvins. Carey, who says he loved the jazz drumming of Steve Gadd, is a texturally and harmonically accomplished drummer. “Most drummers are quite content, I guess, to be a metronome, even though I know a lot of music doesn’t call for much more. It’s lucky for me that I can express myself however I want, and it’s a healthy position for me to be in,” he said.
Check out: “The Grudge”
5: Buddy Rich
Buddy Rich, who was 69 when he died in April 1987, was a self-taught drummer who played with Artie Shaw and Tommy Dorsey before starting his own band. He had an enormous, forceful, crisp energy in his playing and his powerful beat propelled any band he sat in with. “The whole music world owes something to Buddy Rich,” said Frank Sinatra. Rich played with many of the great jazz stars of the 20th Century and toured extensively with Jazz At The Philharmonic in the 40s and 50s, before forming his own band in the 60s. “When I was coming up in the 60s, Buddy was regarded as the greatest living drummer of the time,” Steve Smith said. “He has this perpetual place as the greatest drum-set virtuoso who ever lived, and that still stands up today. There’s something about Buddy’s visceral energy and natural technique, his swing, his feel, his musicianship, his high intensity and the way he could drive a band, the way he would play the music and raise the level of musicians around him.”
Check out: “9.20 Special”
4: Ginger Baker
Londoner Ginger Baker, who helped invent the rock power trio and reluctantly became the genre’s first star drummer, during a multi-faceted and always eventful career, was born on August 19, 1936. After some studio recordings with The Graham Bond Organisation, Baker joined Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton in Cream, in what would become known as rock’s first supergroup. He later played with Blind Faith. In more recent years, his band Ginger Baker’s Jazz Confusion, featuring James Brown’s and Van Morrison’s saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis, has toured the UK and Europe. Baker, who said you had to be made to be a drummer, claimed that the secret of his drum work with Cream – and his skillful use of the hi-hats, tom-toms and cymbals – was the jazz-like improvisation he brought to their sound.
Check out: “Toad”
3: Neil Peart
Canadian drummer and songwriter Neil Peart was born on September 12, 1952 and, like so many of the drummers on this list, was inspired after watching The Gene Krupa Story. Following a spell working in his father’s business, Dalziel Equipment, and playing music part-time in local Ontario bands, he joined Rush in 1974, two weeks before the group’s first tour of America. The drummer was a major factor in their success. Rush have sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and his sculptured drum solos have been a celebrated feature of their live shows. “To me, drum soloing is like doing a marathon and solving equations at the same time,” he said.
Check out: “Tom Sawyer”
2: Keith Moon
Londoner Keith Moon was only 31 when he died, of an overdose, in September 1978. The Who drummer, who also worked with Jimmy Page and John Lennon, had a reputation for wild behaviour, but was one of the most distinctive and influential drummers in the history of rock. Roger Daltrey said that Moon “just instinctively put drum fills in places that other people would never have thought of putting them”. Unlike most drummers, however, Moon didn’t like playing solos in concert. Asked once whether he was one of the world’s best drummers, he quipped: “I’m the greatest Keith Moon-type drummer in the world.”
Check out: “My Generation”
1: John Bonham
John Bonham, who died aged just 32, in September 1980, following a night of ferocious drinking, was another drummer in awe of the jazz masters. The English musician taught himself how to play by looking to greats such as Gene Krupa, Max Roach, and Buddy Rich as inspirations. He was a magnificent drummer for Led Zeppelin, acclaimed for his speed, power, distinctive sound and touch, and his fast bass drumming. “John Bonham played the drums like someone who didn’t know what was going to happen next – like he was teetering on the edge of a cliff,” said Dave Grohl. “No one has come close to that since, and I don’t think anybody ever will. I think he will forever be the greatest drummer of all time.”
Check out: “When The Levee Breaks”
Looking for more? Discover the best female drummers of all time.
August 31, 2015 at 11:32 am
BS. Ringo should be # 1 hands down. His style. Longevity. Fame.
August 31, 2015 at 4:36 pm
Ringo was a crap drummer. so was Dave Clarke.
August 31, 2015 at 5:00 pm
Ringo has a signature style, and plays the drum instrumentally, not to overpower melody.
August 31, 2015 at 11:30 pm
… >>> BANTERON !!! … SHUT UP !!! … YOU ARE AN IDIOT !!! … LOL !!! …
September 1, 2015 at 11:39 am
Billy Mieder eats dicks! Lol!
April 9, 2016 at 8:15 pm
Billy how many cocks did you suck today?
April 19, 2018 at 5:19 am
Billy Mieder ! Rock & Roll !
April 19, 2018 at 11:15 pm
Billy Mieder is a great Drummer !!
April 21, 2018 at 3:32 am
Wade Rave eats crap !
April 26, 2018 at 1:59 am
Drumming is a form of artistic expression. Just enjoy it !!
June 20, 2018 at 11:22 am
Let’s just ROCK & ROLL !!!!
April 26, 2018 at 1:54 am
Music should not be a competition. Just enjoy it.
August 31, 2015 at 5:10 pm
You are wrong about Ringo
I heard drummers talk about how he played and what sound came out of 4 drums.
Again you are 100% wrong
August 31, 2015 at 11:31 pm
>>>> MATT !!! … SHUT UP !!! … YOU ARE A NUT JOB !!! … LOL !!!!
January 5, 2018 at 4:49 am
Hey idiot you seem to have a lot to say about nothing so my question to you what about Nick Mason?? ( pink Floyd. )
April 19, 2018 at 5:04 am
Rock & Roll !!!
April 19, 2018 at 5:21 am
Billy Mieder ! Rock & Roll !
August 31, 2015 at 11:16 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 11:33 pm
>>>> DION !!! … LOL !!! … SHUT UP !!! … YOU ARE A JACK ASS !!! …
April 19, 2018 at 5:06 am
Rock & Roll !!!!
August 31, 2015 at 11:43 pm
>>> DION !!! … SHUT UP !!! … YOU ARE A JACK ASS !!!! … LOL !!! …
December 7, 2016 at 11:10 pm
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.
August 9, 2019 at 12:29 am
You should check out this drummers progress. Here she’s 15 years old and she just keeps getting better. https://youtu.be/ujrHJH3yovc
October 24, 2015 at 5:58 pm
You obviously don’t play drums.
January 6, 2017 at 9:09 pm
Ringo Starr wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles!!!!
February 15, 2018 at 12:49 am
That is a quote by John Lennon when asked if Ringo was the best drummer in the world.
February 24, 2018 at 10:36 pm
No it wasn’t. It was actually a joke by Jasper Carrott. It has been erroniously attributed to Lennon.
February 23, 2018 at 2:55 pm
Pete Best was & should be on this list
February 25, 2018 at 3:55 am
April 19, 2018 at 4:50 am
I agree !
HOWARD ALEXANDER STAFFORD
August 13, 2017 at 2:30 am
Cliff, you obviously know nothing about drumming as both Ringo and Dave Clark have been highly praised by real drummers. You are a moron so please shut the hell up!
April 19, 2018 at 4:51 am
I agree …
April 19, 2018 at 5:03 am
Rock & Roll !!!
February 21, 2019 at 12:35 pm
August 31, 2015 at 5:53 pm
John lennon was asked if Ringo was he best drummer in the world – his reply was “Ringo isn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles” !!
August 31, 2015 at 7:58 pm
August 31, 2015 at 8:41 pm
You obviously don’t know when John Lennon is joking.
When he was asked, he jokingly said that “Ringo isn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles”, because before Ringo, there was actually a time when The Beatles was a 3-piece band, and Paul played the drums for a bit.
If that helps.
August 31, 2015 at 9:48 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 11:47 pm
… TIM !!! … SHUT UP !!! … YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU TALKING ABOUT !!! AND YES ! … I AM SHOUTING !!! LOL !!! …
November 10, 2016 at 8:41 am
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.
August 31, 2015 at 11:31 pm
urban myth. John never said that.
November 30, 2017 at 7:02 pm
Paul *is* known for his mildly exagerated mumblings – harmless, but what can lead to wrong imprsssions and people reading more into them than is actually valid. The Beatles were *never* as three piece, they simply were forced to play that way on about er, one occasion, when Pete Best had a sprained wrist from moving beer barrels at his Mum’s club. Also, it’s fantasy that John Lennon ever said that about Ringo – a fantasy that Paul seems to have found amusing and gone and run with. The originator of the ‘Ringo isn’t even the best drummer in The Beatles’ was a British (Welsh) stand up comedian called Jasper Carrot in the eighties – well after John Lennon had been killed. Stay off the fantasy!
September 1, 2015 at 1:43 am
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.
September 1, 2015 at 3:26 pm
That’s very true!
September 1, 2015 at 5:34 am
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
October 23, 2015 at 9:24 am
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.
April 4, 2016 at 4:17 am
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
February 22, 2018 at 4:04 pm
Keith Moon was a very influential drummer BUT IMO does not belong in the top 20 and Lars Ulrich does not belong in the top 1,000 however Barry James Wilson should be in this list ! Speaking about timing Carl Palmer can’t keep time but in a band like ELP he was a perfect fit.
April 19, 2018 at 5:08 am
Rock & Roll !!!!
September 1, 2015 at 9:27 am
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.
March 15, 2016 at 4:54 pm
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.
November 30, 2017 at 7:23 pm
You need to change your name to Dream Weaver from Denny Weaver as you are an absolute fantasist. McCartney? Phhh….
November 30, 2017 at 6:50 pm
That isn’t actually true. It’s a ruse that was started by a British (Welsh) comedian called Jasper Carrot. The ruse didn’t even start till the eighties – long afterLennon had been killed. Get a life, bro’.
April 19, 2018 at 4:55 am
LOL ! I LOVE IT !
May 15, 2018 at 1:24 pm
He never said that MORON
August 31, 2015 at 6:13 pm
Ringo #1. Yeah sure.
August 31, 2015 at 6:26 pm
Billy Cobham should be much higher, And Danny Seraphine way up there.
April 9, 2021 at 5:08 am
How do you snub Danny Seraphine?
August 31, 2015 at 6:52 pm
And Dave Weckl, Thomas Lang, Jojo Mayer, Mike Mangini???? I really can’t understand how did you miss those guys?
August 31, 2015 at 6:57 pm
And Dave Weckl, Thomas Lang, Jojo Mayer, Mike Mangini???? I really can’t understand how did you miss those guys?
August 31, 2015 at 8:24 pm
No Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad? She can take Shelia E. place. GEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZZZZZZZZZ
September 9, 2016 at 6:40 pm
Poor guys, they didn’t listen to GFR at all!
October 23, 2015 at 10:19 am
WHO THE FUCK ARE THOSE GUYS????? WHO ? HO?????
August 31, 2015 at 7:01 pm
Obviously you don’t know much about music. Ringo shouldn’t have even made this list.
August 31, 2015 at 8:08 pm
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!!!!!!!!!!
August 31, 2015 at 8:44 pm
They were making a joke. There was a time where the Beatles were a 3-piece band and Paul picked up the slack on drums.
If that helps.
September 3, 2015 at 1:32 am
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.
October 24, 2015 at 12:41 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 8:35 pm
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
August 31, 2015 at 10:36 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 10:51 pm
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.
September 1, 2015 at 5:35 am
You nailed that one . . . Krupa and Rich should be at the very top of that list!
January 8, 2018 at 12:09 am
Joe Morello didn’t even make the list, so I don’t give the list much credibility. Also, Krupa confined hisself to a room for hours and listened to tribal drum beats to hone his craft.
September 20, 2015 at 1:05 am
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.
May 24, 2016 at 4:30 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 11:51 pm
>>> HEY ! … KEN !!! … FUCK YOU !!! … YOU ARE AN IDIOT !!! …
August 31, 2015 at 9:22 pm
Style, longevity, fame do not a good drummer make!
August 31, 2015 at 10:11 pm
August 31, 2015 at 10:12 pm
Come of it buddy; Ringo couldn’t hit a teacup if he wanted to. He’s a total zero, just allowed in ‘The Beatles’ becaus of his looks.
September 1, 2015 at 3:24 pm
No. Ringo was allowed in the Beatles because of Pete Best’s isolation from the rest of the band and Ringo is a better drummer.
February 15, 2018 at 12:56 am
Time to get off the meth Obomski
August 31, 2015 at 10:21 pm
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.
January 9, 2016 at 11:48 pm
thats bs, Charlie Watts was like clockwork, the drums on the old Stones songs sounded great.
March 25, 2016 at 10:09 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 11:19 pm
… CLIFF !!! … YOU ARE A NUT JOB !!! … SHUT THE FUCK UP !!! … LOL !!! …
August 31, 2015 at 11:26 pm
… >>>> JEFF MURT !!! … You are an IDIOT !!! … LOL !!! …
August 31, 2015 at 11:38 pm
>>>> JEFF MURT !!! … YOU ARE A DOUCHE BAG !!! LOL !!!
September 1, 2015 at 12:47 am
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.)
October 22, 2015 at 2:06 pm
I always thought that Pete was the Best drummer in the Beatles..
November 26, 2016 at 6:07 am
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.
September 1, 2015 at 1:45 am
I totally agree with the top three drummers, In my opinion the list can stop there.
Eolo Nizzi II
September 1, 2015 at 2:23 am
Buddy Rich has all of those guys beat, Buddy was the best, hands down!!
September 1, 2015 at 11:04 am
Agree with you Eolo. Buddy was a great drummer live. Also think Cozy Powell and Roger Taylor should be higher. Only my opinion.
September 1, 2015 at 3:14 am
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.
September 1, 2015 at 7:57 am
Who is this Neil Learnt? Do you mean Neil PEART?
September 1, 2015 at 5:15 am
Lenny White, Chester Thompson, Narada Michael Walden…Ringo…I dunno…
September 1, 2015 at 3:29 pm
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.
September 1, 2015 at 4:28 pm
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……
September 2, 2015 at 12:07 am
One of the best I ever watched was Ed Cassidy from Spirit!
October 21, 2015 at 10:36 pm
Ringo fucking sucks and if u think he is number 1 then u definitely don’t shit about music.
October 23, 2015 at 9:06 am
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.
October 23, 2015 at 3:55 pm
Lol. Another “he should be #1 because he was the drummer in my favorite band” commenter. Ringo rarely stood out. He was a timekeeper
October 23, 2015 at 6:46 pm
John Lennon was once asked if Ringo was the best drummer in the world. He replied, “he is not even the best drummer in the Beatles.”
October 24, 2015 at 7:49 am
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.
October 24, 2015 at 1:42 pm
Ringo very unique drummer ..Very different style not a drummer i would put in top 11 ..top 50 yes..
October 25, 2015 at 2:52 am
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.
August 17, 2016 at 6:48 am
Fame? How does Fame constitute ‘good drumming?’
August 17, 2016 at 6:52 am
Fame? How does Fame constitute ‘good drumming?”
October 1, 2016 at 7:21 am
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 !!!!
HOWARD ALEXANDER STAFFORD
August 13, 2017 at 2:39 am
Sorry Jeff, I didn’t see any other way to leave a comment other than reply. I want to say that this list is definitely missing SANDY WEST, the amazing drummer and founder if the Runaways. Also for female drummers, ROXY PETRUCCI of Vixen should be on this list.
January 25, 2018 at 11:39 pm
How does Carl Palmer not rank in the top ten? I love Bonham (Jason is pretty good too) but seriously, Palmer isn’t in the top ten? And Gene Krupa at 49? And Dingo Starr ahead of both of them? What criteria were you using for this? (Or what drugs?)
February 22, 2018 at 3:14 pm
YES that’s why the Beatles had to also use a session drummer at times
April 19, 2018 at 4:57 am
I totally disagree.
April 19, 2018 at 5:02 am
Rock & Roll !!!!!!!
April 19, 2018 at 5:20 am
Billy Mieder ! Rock & Roll !
April 19, 2018 at 11:09 pm
Billy Mieder says … I disagree …
April 19, 2018 at 11:19 pm
Billy Mieder says … No way !! …
William A Mieder
April 21, 2018 at 12:20 am
Billy Mieder eats food
William A Mieder
April 21, 2018 at 3:09 am
Wade Rave eats shit ! LOL !
April 26, 2018 at 1:37 am
Music should not be a competition. Just enjoy it.
May 15, 2018 at 6:43 pm
What about Bartholomew Smith Frost (“Frosty”). Played with Lee Michaels…
December 17, 2018 at 6:10 pm
Find me a drummer who is more inspired by Ringo Starr than John Bonham, Keith Moon, Neil Peart, Mike Portnoy, or Buddy Rich.
January 21, 2019 at 1:17 am
when a reporter asked if Ringo was the best drummer in the world john Lennon replied he’s not even the best drummer in the Beatles dont believe me google it
June 20, 2019 at 8:39 pm
As a drummer for many many years I have to say other than John Bonham being #1, this list is a joke and a travesty to all drummers. Where is Don Brewer? Peter Criss? Bill Ward just to name a few. Let musicians pick who are the top 100 and not some overweight office staff that works part time for some lame magazine
February 20, 2020 at 10:32 pm
I can’t find B.J. Wilson! Check Power Failure on youtube so you’ll understand!
“He declined an offer by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant to be the original drummer for Led Zeppelin, so John Bonham got that gig instead.”
So, honestly, who should be number ONE?
February 22, 2020 at 2:29 pm
Ringo was good at what he did but are you kidding me no Tony Williams in the top 100.What a joke.
October 22, 2020 at 5:38 pm
the best drummer is GABRIEL PARRA
March 9, 2021 at 1:38 am
They on put Ringo on the list because he was a Beetle.
August 31, 2015 at 11:37 am
Is this for the comedy awards lmfao!!!!
August 31, 2015 at 3:47 pm
yeah mate.. Karen Carpenter isn’t even on the list, who made this list up, roger taylor above Charlie, you are having a laugh…
August 31, 2015 at 11:37 am
Never heard off Dave Weckl ????? The best drummer in the world !!!
Not even in the list !???
August 31, 2015 at 11:42 am
Tony Williams…who could outplay everyone on this list. He played with Miles Davis at age 17.
September 1, 2015 at 1:28 pm
Couldn’t outplay Buddy Rich…sorry!
October 23, 2015 at 9:48 am
I just heard a Tony Williams/Billy Cobham duet that was absolutely GENIUS!
Kevin Wayne Hudson
December 30, 2018 at 3:30 pm
… thank you so much for that comment!! Who made up this list?? Too many current drummers phenomenal drummers missing; Antonio Sanchez, Kendrick Scott,Brian Blade, Eric Harland, Lenny White!! WTF???
August 31, 2015 at 11:50 am
WHAT NO JOHN HISEMAN OF COLOSSEUM
August 31, 2015 at 5:40 pm
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!
October 24, 2015 at 10:21 pm
Travis fucking barker….he aint shit and Sheila e is far above lars
August 31, 2015 at 11:51 am
Tony Williams…how could you leave off Tony Williams? He was so good he played with Miles Davis at age 17.
August 31, 2015 at 6:24 pm
August 31, 2015 at 11:53 am
how could you leave Viv Prince off this list?
Carlos Alberto Guglielmelli Viglioni
August 31, 2015 at 11:54 am
TRATA-SE DE UMA LISTA TOTALMENTE MENTIROSA PARA OS ENTENDIDOS NA ÁREA DE BATERIA!
OS MELHORES ESTÃO POR ÚLTIMO E OUTROS NEM APARECEM!!!!!!!!!
August 31, 2015 at 2:09 pm
August 31, 2015 at 11:56 am
No Al Jackson Jr (Stax/Hi)? No Fred Below (Chess)?
August 31, 2015 at 12:05 pm
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.
September 30, 2015 at 12:44 am
What about louis bellson.his track skin deep from the 50’s was a classic.
August 31, 2015 at 12:23 pm
Like there are no fabulous good drummers outside the UK and USA! And where is Carter Beauford?
August 31, 2015 at 12:25 pm
This is shit. where is Joey Jordison?
August 31, 2015 at 5:46 pm
Totally concur re: Jordison. Stevie Wonder is an amazing drummer. He should be there.
August 31, 2015 at 12:28 pm
No mark brzezicki??
August 31, 2015 at 12:29 pm
Where’s Tony Williams ???
August 31, 2015 at 12:35 pm
This is a laugh…. Ringo Strarr???? yeah right… And where is Mat Abts?? Steve Gadd should also be in the top 10…. and so on….
August 31, 2015 at 12:51 pm
What about Tony Royster jr and Kenny Aronoff?
August 31, 2015 at 12:52 pm
Buddy Rich is only at #5
What are you smoking?
August 31, 2015 at 5:40 pm
Gene Krupa should also be in there.
August 31, 2015 at 11:21 pm
Gene Krupa was criminally listed as #49.
August 31, 2015 at 1:04 pm
Ansley Dunbar was the best I’ve seen.
August 31, 2015 at 1:05 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 1:05 pm
omg, i dont see “Gavin Harrison” for me one of the best 5 drummer worldwide – a “real” drummer!!!
Theater of Dreams
May 15, 2020 at 4:43 am
he was listed #69
Theater of Dreams
May 15, 2020 at 4:50 am
he was listed #63
August 31, 2015 at 1:09 pm
John Bonham over Ginger Baker Keith Moon or Neil Peart? what a joke.
August 31, 2015 at 3:32 pm
I agree with ya Brother
February 22, 2018 at 3:12 pm
of course your list is the joke – Keith Moon & Ginger Baker LMAO
August 31, 2015 at 1:18 pm
Chad Wackerman? Dennis Chambers?
August 31, 2015 at 10:56 pm
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
August 31, 2015 at 1:36 pm
Looks more like a popularity contest than a ranking of actual skill.
September 1, 2015 at 3:17 pm
That’s what I was thinking. Hard to believe someone like Carter Bueford isn’t a top 50 drummer?! Really?!
August 31, 2015 at 1:53 pm
Where is the great drummers from the east? Like Rishad Shafi of Turkmenistan, Wojtek Szadkowski of Poland, Stomu Yamashta of Japan…
August 31, 2015 at 4:55 pm
Stomu Yamashta, wow a great drummer and percussionist, I have so many of his albums.
August 31, 2015 at 2:03 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 2:11 pm
What about Don Brewer from Grand Funk? His drum solo from the song T.N.U.C. should’ve put him somewhere in the top 15.
August 31, 2015 at 2:36 pm
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????
August 31, 2015 at 2:52 pm
Without Jon Hiseman( Colosseum & Tempest etc.) is this list pure shit!!
August 31, 2015 at 3:01 pm
C’mon, no Mick Fleetwood???
August 31, 2015 at 8:53 pm
Yes Mick Fleetwood should be on that list as should Clem Burke.
August 31, 2015 at 3:02 pm
August 31, 2015 at 3:06 pm
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?
ANDREW ROBINSON REDMAN
September 24, 2017 at 9:27 pm
Saw Tony Meehan with Jet Harris at Cheltenham Town Hall in early 60’s. Lights went down and just sticks flashed!
August 31, 2015 at 3:10 pm
No Earl Palmer? A truly worthless list.
August 31, 2015 at 3:14 pm
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!
August 31, 2015 at 3:20 pm
Holy hell!! Joe Morello….Brubecks drummer?
May 21, 2016 at 12:32 am
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!
August 31, 2015 at 3:21 pm
What, no Rod Morgenstein?!
August 31, 2015 at 3:21 pm
Were-s SANDY NELSON. LET THERE BE DRUMS..The Only Drum Record In The Pop Charts..
August 31, 2015 at 10:28 pm
“Let There Be Drums”? was a fun tune for its time but lets be honest, none of the drumming in there was all that amazing.
May 12, 2018 at 10:07 pm
Sandy Nelson was the best at 74 I still enjoy playing his l.p. record
August 31, 2015 at 3:32 pm
HOLYY $^#&$N” HELL!!! NO BUTCH TRUCKS??? DAS BULLSHIITE!
August 31, 2015 at 3:46 pm
buddy rich is #1…you people are trippin’…
August 31, 2015 at 3:49 pm
Why can’t Dave Clark of the Dave Clark five be on this list? Ringo Starr should have been number one hands down!!!
September 12, 2020 at 6:32 am
Yeah, sure. Ringo, better than Mike Portnoy, Buddy Rich, Tony Williams? You clearly haven’t touched a drum kit in your life and are just picking him because he was in the Beatles.
August 31, 2015 at 3:54 pm
No Paul Wertico or Dave Mattacks? Disappointed
August 31, 2015 at 3:58 pm
No Peter Erskine? Ridiculous!!
August 31, 2015 at 4:00 pm
Ringo must be in the first 10.
August 31, 2015 at 4:01 pm
Truly great drummer from The Tubes, Prairie was a founding member of Journey.
August 31, 2015 at 4:12 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 4:15 pm
Where is Sandy Nelson?
August 31, 2015 at 4:17 pm
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.
June 4, 2016 at 3:04 pm
Paul Thompson. Yes. Thank you.
August 31, 2015 at 4:18 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 4:19 pm
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!
September 11, 2017 at 3:17 pm
Agree!! Michael Giles. And where is Pierre Moerlen of Gong? two of the best!
August 31, 2015 at 4:22 pm
sandy nelson and mick fleetwood and dave clark should be on this list and be rated high.
August 31, 2015 at 4:39 pm
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?
August 31, 2015 at 6:18 pm
Cobham is on the list at no 37
August 31, 2015 at 4:52 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 4:52 pm
Personalmente Buddy Rich es el numero -1.
August 31, 2015 at 5:02 pm
Say this out loud and with sincerity: Ringo… is a greater drummer… than Carl Palmer and Bill Bruford.
August 31, 2015 at 5:16 pm
August 31, 2015 at 5:22 pm
Insanity! Any list of the greatest drummers of all time should include Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree at the top. Or its not a list!
August 31, 2015 at 5:27 pm
No Praire Prince or Lee Pierson?
August 31, 2015 at 5:28 pm
Buddy Rich at 5?!!! Neil Peart at 3?!!! No Jo Jones or Levon Helm?!!!!
August 31, 2015 at 5:40 pm
RINGO at #11!!!!! that puts the whole list in question
August 31, 2015 at 5:46 pm
Jimmy Chamberlain. He’s unreal. Smashing Pumpkins owe him everything
August 31, 2015 at 5:52 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 5:53 pm
Mick Fleetwood one of the all time great drummers not in the top 50 really.
August 31, 2015 at 5:54 pm
I loved Keith Moon, but would be the first to admit that technically he wasn’t in the same league as Ginger Baker. Ask Eric Clapton!
August 31, 2015 at 5:55 pm
Clem Cattini, played on 45 UK Number one hits. Bobby Elliott of the Hollies, probably the best ‘Pop’ drummer of the ’60s.
August 31, 2015 at 5:56 pm
Oh, look, another excuse to argue about our opinions!! Let’s settle nothing!!
August 31, 2015 at 5:56 pm
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
August 31, 2015 at 5:58 pm
Art Blakey #43 Phil Collins #12 what a joke!!!!!!
August 31, 2015 at 6:00 pm
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!!
August 31, 2015 at 6:04 pm
August 31, 2015 at 6:06 pm
This list is completely bogus. Cesar Zuiderwijk (Golden Earing) isn’t even on it.
August 31, 2015 at 6:11 pm
No Larry Mullen Jnr. of U2?!
September 1, 2015 at 3:28 pm
Larry is a fine drummer for U2 but he’s not really the best drummer in the world
August 31, 2015 at 6:20 pm
Robert Wyatt is a staggering omission.
August 31, 2015 at 6:20 pm
Anyone ahead of Neil Peart means the list is a joke.
August 31, 2015 at 6:21 pm
What no michael Shrieve of Santana, he had Woodstock in the plalm of his hand one afternoon with Soul Sacrifice………and on 4 drums!!
August 31, 2015 at 8:00 pm
True that, he is on 24, should be way higher than that.
September 11, 2017 at 3:19 pm
Outstanding Shrieve was!!
August 31, 2015 at 6:21 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 6:23 pm
Music didn’t begin in September 1962. Where’s Earl Palmer? Where’s Buddy Harmon?
August 31, 2015 at 6:23 pm
No Ronnie tutt ? One of the best rock drummers ever
August 31, 2015 at 6:27 pm
Where’s Joe Morello ??? Oh yeah, that’s right: In heaven, kickin’ every drummer’s ASS !!!! 😉
September 1, 2015 at 2:06 am
Agree….Morelo played incredible time signatures!
August 31, 2015 at 6:30 pm
What about Butch Trucks and Jaimoe?
August 31, 2015 at 6:32 pm
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
August 31, 2015 at 6:36 pm
What! No harvey bartswonkle ? That’s total bs .he is hands down the best drummer in the universe im quitting this page as of now kma people!!!
August 31, 2015 at 6:37 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 6:40 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 6:46 pm
Clapton has been quoted as saying Jamie Oldacre was part of the best rhythm section and best band he was in … that’s Clapton …
August 31, 2015 at 6:49 pm
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.
January 9, 2016 at 11:42 pm
boy, you couldn’t be more wrong about Ginger Baker, at least the part about no talent.
August 31, 2015 at 6:50 pm
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.
Edgar Islas Barajas
August 31, 2015 at 6:54 pm
Ringo Starr no. 1 y Jim Keltner cerca de el!!!
August 31, 2015 at 6:59 pm
Barrett Deems was the worlds fastest
August 31, 2015 at 7:00 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 7:04 pm
I think moon should have taken the cake he was a Mitch better performer than bonham it also feels like moon had a tighter sound
August 31, 2015 at 7:08 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 7:08 pm
And where, I ask, is Dave Mackintosh?!
August 31, 2015 at 7:09 pm
Dave Mattacks anyone?
August 31, 2015 at 7:33 pm
August 31, 2015 at 7:13 pm
falto THE REV SULLIVAN EL ANTIGUO BATERISTA DE AVENGED SEVENFOLD
August 31, 2015 at 7:18 pm
All I can say is Ginger Baker should be #1!
August 31, 2015 at 7:25 pm
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!”
August 31, 2015 at 7:26 pm
Where the hell is Richie Hayward……….??????????????
September 1, 2015 at 1:19 pm
Ritchie Hayward came to mind immediately! Should of been on list. Buddy Rich #1 is spot on.
August 31, 2015 at 7:30 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 7:31 pm
And where’s Jon Hiseman?
April 16, 2016 at 10:20 pm
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).
August 31, 2015 at 7:31 pm
For goodness sake no John Coghlan and no Dave Mattacks, you’re kidding.
August 31, 2015 at 7:32 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 7:41 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 7:49 pm
WHAT? No Little Drummer Boy?!!?
YOU People are IN-SANE!!!!
August 31, 2015 at 7:56 pm
Man, Mitch Mitchell is damn too low at 13, he was damn good to be in top 10. Also Michael Shreive should be above 24 certainly.
August 31, 2015 at 7:57 pm
um……as long as Buddy Rich is on the list, along with Art Blakley and Max Roach….what about:
Too Old To Be Cool
August 31, 2015 at 8:00 pm
And, of course, Animal.
August 31, 2015 at 8:04 pm
Surprised at no Gavin Harrison or Marco Minnemann. Bonham better than Rich mmmmm? Not sure. But Rich better than both Moon and Baker.
August 31, 2015 at 8:11 pm
Sheila E ahead of Charlie Watts?!? Ahead of anybody?!? Bogus list. Gene Krupa would be spinning in his grave if he read this list.
August 31, 2015 at 8:13 pm
What about Barrymore Barlow (Jethro Tull) and Mattias Olsson (Anglagard) ?
August 31, 2015 at 8:15 pm
I don’t know who made this but he or she needs to make his homework.
August 31, 2015 at 8:18 pm
BJ Wilson from Procol Harum – overlooked…again.
August 31, 2015 at 8:20 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 8:23 pm
Mick Fleetwood. Kramer from ASmith…..
August 31, 2015 at 8:27 pm
Gene Krupa was as good if not better than Buddy Rich. So Gene Krupa should be much higher than 49
August 31, 2015 at 9:24 pm
and Chick Webb was better than both of them….
August 31, 2015 at 8:28 pm
What does a drummer use for contraception?
August 31, 2015 at 8:33 pm
What do you call a drummer that breaks up with his girlfriend?
August 31, 2015 at 8:35 pm
How do you get a drummer off of your porch?
Pay him 10 bucks for the pizza.
August 31, 2015 at 8:42 pm
How many drummers does it take to wallpaper a room?
Three, if you slice them thin enough!
August 31, 2015 at 10:24 pm
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–
August 31, 2015 at 8:33 pm
Where’s Dave Mackintosh from DragonForce?
August 31, 2015 at 8:36 pm
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!
August 31, 2015 at 8:43 pm
Ringo, No. 1 and Jeff Porcaro No. 2. Ringo started the whole thing.
August 31, 2015 at 8:51 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 9:12 pm
Jimmy Chamberlain left off tells me this isn’t a serious list of top drummers.
October 23, 2015 at 10:03 pm
Tre cool was missing as well – I would put him in the 40s somewhere. Jimmy should be somewhere in the top 20.
August 31, 2015 at 9:19 pm
No Levon Helm, Liberty DeVito….really????
August 31, 2015 at 9:26 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 9:28 pm
John bohnham number 1 is spot on nuff said
August 31, 2015 at 9:31 pm
Look up a drummer called Lois Bellson
August 31, 2015 at 9:36 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 9:41 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 9:45 pm
Three Brits in the top five including first and second.Get in!
August 31, 2015 at 9:52 pm
Max Weinberg an Ginger Baker
August 31, 2015 at 9:58 pm
where the hell is Jim Gordon???
January 7, 2017 at 8:22 am
Jim Gordon is in Gotham City!
August 31, 2015 at 10:04 pm
I’d add Russ Kunkel, Jim Keltner and Buddy Miles
August 31, 2015 at 10:10 pm
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.
August 31, 2015 at 10:11 pm
Chester Thompson isn’t too shabby.
August 31, 2015 at 10:55 pm
No love for LEVON HELM????…take out Sheila E… and slide in Levon
August 31, 2015 at 10:56 pm
Gene Krupa is better than all of this skin bashers – get real and understand talent at the highest level.
September 1, 2015 at 1:41 pm
Krupa isn’t better than Rich. Rich had speed, control, and style.
August 31, 2015 at 11:02 pm
Artimus Pyle of Lynyrd Skynyrd #10. Neil Peart #1.
August 31, 2015 at 11:04 pm
Bill Bruford should be high on list. Don Brewer should be on the list. Dino Danelli should have made the list.
August 31, 2015 at 11:09 pm
Likes 3 of the 4 especially Keith and Ginger. I did not see John Densmore of the Doors who I think is better then Ringo and Charlie.
August 31, 2015 at 11:10 pm
Were is Joey Kramer of Aerosmith
August 31, 2015 at 11:32 pm
Lars Ulrich? Seriously?
August 31, 2015 at 11:47 pm
…….any compilation of this nature , that doesn’t include Tony Williams, Joe Morello, and Brian Blade…is valueless!!!!!
August 31, 2015 at 11:51 pm
Come on people, stop getting so emotional, this list is obviously in order of popularity and not technical ability (as these lists most often are).
August 31, 2015 at 11:52 pm
Where the hell is Francky Costanza of Dagoba ?!
August 31, 2015 at 11:54 pm
The Canned Heat. Refried Boogie. Drummer Adolfo Fito . 1968
September 1, 2015 at 12:03 am
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
September 1, 2015 at 12:03 am
… >>>> 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 !!!! …
April 19, 2018 at 11:35 pm
Yes ! Billy Mieder is correct !
September 1, 2015 at 12:13 am
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. 🙂
September 1, 2015 at 12:20 am
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…
September 1, 2015 at 12:22 am
… >>>> 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 !!!! …
December 9, 2015 at 3:21 am
And everyone here perceives you to be a total bigmouth douchebag.
September 1, 2015 at 12:35 am
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!!
April 19, 2018 at 6:44 am
… I totally agree !!! …
September 1, 2015 at 12:51 am
They all SUCK. And so do YOU, Billy Mieder.
September 1, 2015 at 12:52 am
Levon Helm should’ve been on this list!!
September 1, 2015 at 12:53 am
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?
September 1, 2015 at 12:59 am
Ginger Baker isnthe best
September 1, 2015 at 1:32 am
Mick Avory of the KinK’s was far better than most in the Brit Invasion. He should be on the list.
September 1, 2015 at 1:32 am
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!!
September 1, 2015 at 1:55 am
@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).
September 1, 2015 at 2:10 am
neil peart is the greatest drummer ever hands down
September 1, 2015 at 3:20 am
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?
September 1, 2015 at 3:25 am
Although maybe not tops, but certainly Levon Helm should be in the top 50…
September 1, 2015 at 3:46 am
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
September 1, 2015 at 3:49 am
Corection I should say Doug Clifford ( Creedence Clearwater Revival )
September 1, 2015 at 4:12 am
Jerry Edmonton of Steppenwolf Listen to his diverse style
September 1, 2015 at 4:23 am
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…..
September 1, 2015 at 4:34 am
No Steve Gadd or B.J. Wilson? Someone messed up.
September 1, 2015 at 4:44 am
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!
September 1, 2015 at 4:50 am
Why not Carl Palmer- Steve Jordon- Clive Bunker- Neil Smith- Carmen Appice-Simon Phillips-can’t think of his name but the drummer for The Young Rascals….
September 1, 2015 at 8:53 am
Neal Smith — a long time favorite of mine.
September 2, 2015 at 6:23 pm
SO glad you mentioned Neal. Truly one of a kind, and underrated talent!
September 2, 2015 at 6:25 pm
I would add Corky Laing and Cindy Blackman Santana…and move Steve Gadd up!
January 12, 2017 at 11:18 pm
I too would have liked to have seen Corky Laing on this list.
September 1, 2015 at 4:57 am
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!
September 1, 2015 at 5:11 am
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!
September 1, 2015 at 5:23 am
1.KIETH MOON 2.NIEL PEART 3. VINNIE COLAIUTA 4. STEWART COPELAND 5. JOHN BONHAM Y’ALL CAN ARGUE ABOUT THE REST
September 1, 2015 at 5:33 am
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.
September 1, 2015 at 6:33 am
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.
September 1, 2015 at 6:41 am
really not a place for John Densmore from the doors???????
September 1, 2015 at 6:45 am
Where is Rick Allen the one arm drummer? He should be on the list right ?
September 1, 2015 at 8:26 am
John Lennon was absolutely right when he said Ringo was not even the best drummer in the band
September 1, 2015 at 9:34 am
No Andy Ward of Camel??
September 1, 2015 at 9:47 am
Also…why they forget Phil Collins?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hne5B6nBKhg …that’s a drummer!
September 1, 2015 at 10:05 am
Ummm… 2 names left out…
Chester Thompson & Barimore Barlow (Jethro Tull)
September 1, 2015 at 10:38 am
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.
September 1, 2015 at 11:25 am
Buena lista, ¿pero donde está Richard Christy? para mi de los mejores.
September 1, 2015 at 11:41 am
Graham Lear!!!! Hello????
September 1, 2015 at 11:42 am
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.
September 1, 2015 at 11:43 am
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.
September 1, 2015 at 11:58 am
What about Joey Jordison ?
September 1, 2015 at 1:23 pm
Buddy Rich is by far the best drummer. Ringo Starr wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles; Paul was. Sheila E and Charlie Watts…gimme a break.
September 1, 2015 at 1:54 pm
Clem Burke is at least in the Top 50. Check this out:
September 1, 2015 at 2:04 pm
Why would Max Roach and Art Blakey be so low on this list? Also notably missing: George Hurley from Minutemen/fIREHOSE.
September 1, 2015 at 3:04 pm
Where the f**ck is Jojo Mayer and Daniel Gerendas?
September 1, 2015 at 3:22 pm
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!
September 1, 2015 at 4:15 pm
Tim Alexander, Harvey Mason, Glenn Kotche, Steve Jansen
September 1, 2015 at 4:26 pm
This list is meaningless! No John Densmore and Topper and Charlie Watts should be much higher placed!As for Ringo……I think it’s all been said!
October 23, 2015 at 4:03 pm
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
September 1, 2015 at 5:00 pm
September 1, 2015 at 5:00 pm
September 1, 2015 at 5:01 pm
Come on!!!!! No ‘Animal’ from the muppets band. This list is total shit.
September 1, 2015 at 5:28 pm
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.
September 1, 2015 at 6:31 pm
Ringo ranged as 11. Chalie Watts 31. What is wrong With the People who made this list, they cant understand music
September 1, 2015 at 7:22 pm
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.
September 1, 2015 at 7:36 pm
Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor should’ve made the Top10 . His drum solo on the ‘live’ version of Brighton Rock is by far one of the greatest ever.
September 1, 2015 at 8:04 pm
Real drummers do it in a tuxedo. Buddy Rich is the fastest, he goes nuts at about 3:30. see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9esWG6A6g-k
September 1, 2015 at 8:34 pm
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.
September 1, 2015 at 10:41 pm
Really? You’ve got Dave Grohl and Ringo but no Nick Mason?
September 1, 2015 at 11:09 pm
What no Danny Serephine from Chicago. This list sucks.
September 1, 2015 at 11:42 pm
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.
September 1, 2015 at 11:55 pm
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.
September 2, 2015 at 12:41 am
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.
September 2, 2015 at 12:40 am
Maureen Tucker of Velvet Underground? What about her?
September 2, 2015 at 2:28 am
WHERE’S TOMMY LEE FUCK YOU
September 2, 2015 at 5:17 am
I think Krupa and Rich should be in the top 5.
More important….how is Carter Beuford left off of this list? The dude is a BEAST
September 2, 2015 at 5:33 am
No Chris Adler?? smh
debi drums pomeroy
September 2, 2015 at 6:39 am
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.
September 2, 2015 at 1:34 pm
Moon. Bargain. End of story.
September 2, 2015 at 2:45 pm
Any top drummer list that does not include Elvin Jones loses all credibility.
Jim the Pinko
September 2, 2015 at 6:03 pm
I feel strongly both ways.
September 2, 2015 at 6:46 pm
I would add Corky Laing and Cindy Blackman Santana…and move Steve Gadd up!
September 2, 2015 at 8:08 pm
Doesn’t singing ability count?? What about Micky Dolenz? Where would the monkees be without him? He is the best singing drummer of all-time
September 3, 2015 at 11:50 am
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
September 3, 2015 at 11:56 am
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…
September 5, 2015 at 11:01 pm
Barriemore Barlow “He was called “the greatest rock drummer England ever produced” by John Bonham (wiki).
October 21, 2015 at 4:10 pm
Amen to the mention Of Barriemore Barlow Mr.Gerry, indeed worthy of a top ten spot in my list as well. Excellent mention.
September 23, 2015 at 6:42 pm
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
October 21, 2015 at 4:03 pm
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.
October 22, 2015 at 4:46 pm
load o shite no buddy rich ?
Gary Lee Twissell
October 22, 2015 at 7:20 pm
Peart is number one…..we all know that. Phil Collins should have been second. Shit list.
October 22, 2015 at 11:55 pm
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….
October 23, 2015 at 2:05 am
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.
October 23, 2015 at 10:14 am
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.
October 23, 2015 at 11:39 am
KEITH MOON BETTER THAN NEIL PEART? HAHA!! YEAH RIGHT.
October 23, 2015 at 12:15 pm
Jeff Porcaro at #50 ?
…this must be a joke…
October 23, 2015 at 1:03 pm
How can you have Phil Collins on the list and NOT Chester Thompson? And Ringo Starr…R E A L L Y…smh
October 23, 2015 at 1:56 pm
‘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.
October 23, 2015 at 2:23 pm
How could anyone leave out Gil Moore of Triumph?
October 23, 2015 at 2:28 pm
This list is incomplete without Elvin Jones. Questlove would be the first to say it…along with most of the drummers on this list.
October 23, 2015 at 2:34 pm
I can’t believe that Earl Palmer is not there. The sad part is most don’t even know who he is.
Also, where is Bernie Purdie?
October 23, 2015 at 2:37 pm
Keith is #1
October 23, 2015 at 3:08 pm
I personally feel that Neil peart is the world’s best drummer
November 7, 2015 at 12:50 am
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 …
October 23, 2015 at 3:17 pm
Ringo? Lars? Where is Carl Palmer… Naná Vasconcelos…
October 23, 2015 at 4:00 pm
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
October 23, 2015 at 4:06 pm
no Mick Fleetwood, Nick Mason or John Densmore ?
October 23, 2015 at 4:26 pm
Where’s Jim Keltner?
October 23, 2015 at 4:32 pm
No Bun E. Carlos? This has no merit. Sheila E.? Are you kidding me?
Leroy Jethro Gibbs
October 23, 2015 at 4:52 pm
I like Nirvana and Foo Fighters but Dave Grohl is way too high on this list. Put him back at 34 and bring Chad Smith of RHCP up to 9.
October 23, 2015 at 5:02 pm
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
October 23, 2015 at 6:06 pm
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
October 23, 2015 at 6:49 pm
What, no love for Portnoy?
October 23, 2015 at 7:26 pm
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
October 23, 2015 at 8:02 pm
Crappy list,anybody ever hear of Bernard Purdie and David Garibaldi, not to mention Rod Morgenstein !!!!
October 29, 2015 at 6:12 pm
Well said Bernard “pretty” purdy the most recorded drummer ever
October 23, 2015 at 10:06 pm
Where’s A. J. Hale of Halestorm?
October 23, 2015 at 10:37 pm
I agree that this is an incomplete list. Clem Burke should be here as well as “Ziggy” Modeliste of the Meters.
October 23, 2015 at 10:48 pm
Wilcos drummer Glenn Kotche without a moments doubt one of the top five ever im old enough to have seen all the legends even Keith, Buddy , Jon RIP
October 23, 2015 at 11:42 pm
October 23, 2015 at 11:46 pm
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.
October 23, 2015 at 11:55 pm
Where is Alan Wren and Dolpin Taylor? Kak list.
October 23, 2015 at 11:56 pm
#1 Buddy Rich #2 Neil Pert #3 is the drummer for carlos Santana at Woodstock!!!Everyone has forgot about him!!!!Michael Shrieve…1969 -1974
October 24, 2015 at 12:15 am
I believe that Liberty Devito was the greatest rock & roll drummer of all time. From Elvis to Billie Joel. Period!
October 24, 2015 at 12:17 am
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.
October 24, 2015 at 12:46 am
Terry Bozzio doesn’t deserve to be on the list.
October 24, 2015 at 1:32 am
*RINGO* others dare to compare,….history is set in stone….
October 24, 2015 at 1:37 am
So where was Chik Webb of the Apollo!?
October 24, 2015 at 2:13 am
Listen to Cream and you’ll know hands down it’s Ginger Baker. He can p,at so many styles and is knowledgeable about them.
October 24, 2015 at 8:16 am
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..
October 24, 2015 at 8:20 am
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.
October 24, 2015 at 9:51 am
Elvin Jones ?
October 24, 2015 at 11:22 am
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.
October 24, 2015 at 1:20 pm
What about Dickie Harrall From Gene Vincents Blue Caps? one of the best drummers of the 50s and still working today….!!
October 24, 2015 at 1:57 pm
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.
October 24, 2015 at 2:36 pm
Where’s Sandy Nelson whys he not on the list?
October 24, 2015 at 3:04 pm
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
October 24, 2015 at 4:20 pm
so where is Robert Wyatt,at least he’s still alive and kicking?
October 24, 2015 at 5:20 pm
bill bruford 1
carl palmer 2
phil collins 3
October 24, 2015 at 6:04 pm
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.
October 24, 2015 at 7:15 pm
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.
October 24, 2015 at 9:59 pm
As usual, the person or persons who do these ratings, I firmly disagree with. This one is no exception.
October 24, 2015 at 10:24 pm
October 24, 2015 at 10:27 pm
Levon Helm is really missing here…
October 25, 2015 at 1:40 pm
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 ,,,,
October 25, 2015 at 4:40 pm
– 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.
– 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.
October 25, 2015 at 5:01 pm
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.
October 26, 2015 at 1:46 am
Omissions: Pip Pyle, Guy Evans, Furio Chirico..never heard of ’em? Look ’em up..
October 26, 2015 at 11:43 am
Where the F*** is Drum God ; JoJo Meyer !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
October 26, 2015 at 11:45 am
Where the F*** is Drum God ; JoJo Mayer, Stanton Moore and Benny Greb !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
October 27, 2015 at 7:44 am
Barriemore Barlow Better quality and better drummer of John Bonham
October 27, 2015 at 11:26 am
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.
October 27, 2015 at 3:04 pm
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
October 27, 2015 at 11:25 pm
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
April 16, 2016 at 10:27 pm
I agree on Jon Hiseman. A pity he was omitted.
October 28, 2015 at 1:21 pm
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.
Eleazar Antonio Quintero
October 30, 2015 at 12:11 am
Excelente pagina, con toda la información importante de los artistas, músicos y géneros musicales…me encanto de sobremanera su estilo y diseño.
November 7, 2015 at 12:52 am
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 : (
November 7, 2015 at 5:11 am
This is one of those trolling articles right? I mean this can’t be a serious list of the greatest drummers.
December 21, 2017 at 10:47 pm
Not without Dino Daneli it can’t.
December 12, 2015 at 10:08 pm
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.
December 15, 2015 at 7:20 pm
THE 3 BEST IS
March 10, 2016 at 4:28 pm
Phil Collins? Hahahahaha…. Songwriter, singer, producer… OK. But not drummer. He’s stale and machine-like. Nothing interesting ever came out of his drumming.
January 9, 2018 at 2:08 pm
Not drummer? Machine like? Did you listen to Brand X? No? Check it out on YT.
December 27, 2015 at 10:16 pm
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.
January 14, 2016 at 8:50 pm
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.
January 28, 2016 at 12:51 pm
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……
February 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm
damn ;_; where is joey jordison
February 25, 2016 at 10:00 am
This is a popularity drummer list. Not a talented drummer list. Where’s Dave Weckl? JoJo Meyer? Barriemore Barlow? Clive Bunker? Eddie Bayers?
March 10, 2016 at 4:26 pm
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?
March 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm
Nice to see Stewart Copeland (personal Favorite) And Buddy Rich up there.
March 19, 2016 at 8:45 pm
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?
March 31, 2016 at 9:06 pm
Unbelievable, I’m missing “John Weathers” of Gentle Giant the man with the best performance.
For me the number one.
April 4, 2016 at 4:46 am
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.
April 16, 2016 at 10:29 pm
Jon Hiseman of Colosseum and Brian Bennett of The Shadows, Two poles but Great drummers who should be on this list.
April 21, 2016 at 2:39 pm
What, no Earl Palmer!
May 12, 2016 at 9:05 pm
Did somebody heard of Huub Jansen from the Netherlands.
He was a famous jazz drummer .You must have heard AND you must have seen him!
June 20, 2016 at 10:10 pm
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’
September 1, 2016 at 9:16 am
Keith Moon would be the First
September 6, 2016 at 2:03 pm
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
September 9, 2016 at 1:57 pm
(too) often forgotten:
– Brian Downey
– Barriemore Barlow
– Jon Hiseman
– Aynsley Dunbar
– Ralph Humphrey
– Billy Mundi
– Chester Thompson
– Christian Vander
– Pierre Moerlen
September 13, 2017 at 12:09 am
Frankly, a very important pre-British Invasion and R&R drummer, that took the USA in popularity in his own right in the late 50’s and early 60’s and had several Top Ten Bill Board Hits, and sold many vinyl albums: Sandy Nelson !!
September 24, 2016 at 9:53 am
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.
September 27, 2016 at 6:35 pm
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.
October 2, 2016 at 4:31 pm
And what’s about Billy Kilson? A monster…
December 24, 2016 at 4:24 am
Steve Gadd anyone?
January 4, 2017 at 6:00 pm
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!
January 5, 2017 at 7:11 am
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!!
January 5, 2017 at 7:18 am
By what standard skill or fame? If it’s skill then way too many omissions/admissions.Alex Van Halen,Ringo?? C’mon gimme a break!
January 5, 2017 at 3:59 pm
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.
January 6, 2017 at 1:33 am
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….
January 6, 2017 at 5:42 pm
where is mick fleetwood?
January 6, 2017 at 7:05 pm
Stewart Copeland 7th?? The dullest of all……, and where is Jon Hiseman?
January 6, 2017 at 7:43 pm
Where are Kenny Aranoff ?
January 7, 2017 at 2:48 am
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 !!!
January 7, 2017 at 5:26 am
January 7, 2017 at 7:57 am
This is rubbish, where is DJ Fontana or the great Ronnie Tutt
from Elvis Presley’s band in the 70’s..
January 7, 2017 at 8:14 am
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….
January 7, 2017 at 8:33 am
What about Guy Patterson from The Wonders?
January 7, 2017 at 11:39 am
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.
January 7, 2017 at 1:07 pm
Lars Ulrich at #20 makes this list idiotic.He’s not worthy to wipe the ass of anyone on this list.
January 7, 2017 at 6:48 pm
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.
January 8, 2017 at 12:38 am
No Bill Bruford or Danny Seraphine? This list is a popularity list, not a talent list
January 9, 2017 at 11:34 pm
Gene Krupa no. 49? Fuck off. Who voted?Radio one listeners who always vote Eric Clapton as the greatest guitarist ever?
January 10, 2017 at 4:11 pm
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.
January 9, 2018 at 2:04 pm
I like Palmer a lot, though he’s quite irregular on tempo. I like Krupa and Cobham too. But check Gavin Harrison, I’m sure you’ll love it..
January 10, 2017 at 10:49 pm
What about Michael Giles, Steve Upton and Billy Cobham. Ringo? Paleassee!
September 10, 2017 at 5:34 pm
Steve Upton should be on this list by all means, but I think the others You mentioned should take place either
January 11, 2017 at 9:57 pm
Can’t believe Jim Gordon not on the list, best and most musical player of the 20th century!
January 12, 2017 at 12:58 am
Hal Blaine. #1 by a mile! World’s most recorded musician, for starters.
January 12, 2017 at 12:58 am
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.
January 12, 2017 at 7:15 pm
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.
January 12, 2017 at 8:09 pm
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?
January 12, 2017 at 9:12 pm
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”…
January 13, 2017 at 8:34 pm
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.
January 13, 2017 at 8:46 pm
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.
January 13, 2017 at 10:27 pm
Ginger at number1 and where’s jim keltner ??…ry cooder band and travelling wilburys think he s ace
January 26, 2017 at 3:48 am
No Tony Williams in the top ten, make this list invalid.
February 28, 2017 at 8:36 pm
Where is Billy Kilson?
March 21, 2017 at 1:41 pm
April 11, 2017 at 4:14 am
Where is Ron Bushy?? I don’t understand why Iron Butterfly gets no respect in the classic rock genre!!!
April 25, 2017 at 4:53 pm
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
May 10, 2017 at 1:50 am
No Clem Burke from Blondie? I know he’s a bit of a Moonie clone but excellent none the less.
May 31, 2017 at 4:15 pm
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.
June 5, 2017 at 10:59 pm
I vote for Louis Nelson ,Kenny Clare and Ronnie Stephenson.
June 16, 2017 at 6:55 pm
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.
June 22, 2017 at 12:45 am
Ever hear of the Japanese girl Senri Kawaguchi? She’d kick most of these drummers arses!
June 24, 2017 at 5:00 am
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!
June 24, 2017 at 8:16 pm
I’m sure Charlie Watts is a nice guy, but…
June 25, 2017 at 12:43 pm
It’s a crying shame that very few have heard Robert Wyatt (before his tragic back-breaking accident) play drums on the first 4 Soft Machine albums – his audacity is liberating; whimsical yet profound IMHO…
January 9, 2018 at 2:00 pm
June 25, 2017 at 3:41 pm
Buddy Rich was a drummers drummer, from which all the others are measured.
June 29, 2017 at 7:46 am
Canterbury seems to stink : No Robert Wyatt, no Chris Cutler.
No french guys like Christian Vander, Philippe Gleizes.
Such a shame.
And Dave Grohl… are you kidding ?
June 30, 2017 at 10:23 pm
A list obviously compiled by kindergarten drummers!
Larry D Peek
July 1, 2017 at 2:16 am
Gene Krupa was Number 1, Buddy Rich Number 2………………..the others NOT EVEN in the same league.
July 1, 2017 at 4:19 am
With no Gene Krupa there would have been no Buddy Rich. This list, although it does have some drummers that deserve to be on it, is poorly compiled. Ralph Salmins, arguably the best session drummer in UK should be there, as well as Charlie Adams who plays with Yanni, (would kill Rich in any drum battle if Rich was still around), Arno van Nuienhuize also, great Dutch session drummer , ex Metropole Orchestra, and even current Metropole Orchestra drummer Martin Vjink, plays jazz better than Rich ever did.
July 2, 2017 at 3:58 am
This list is obviously just a matter of opinion. IMO Danny Carey is underrated on this list. He is at least top 3 all time if not #1
July 2, 2017 at 5:19 am
Well dudes it seems to me those that are being so smart with their answers are good with the beat….that is their dicks…that’s all they can beat…you morons wouldn’t know a real drummer if you screwed one….its a shame you knock Ringo as as you say he is a bad drummer…oh wait..he’s a millionaire…must be cos hes so lousy…get a life you meat beaters
July 15, 2017 at 7:36 pm
To those who say Ringo wasn’t a great drummer just listen carefully to his crumming on “Strawberry Fields”. I love it!!
July 15, 2017 at 8:30 pm
Congratulations Gary Lee & Sid for their mention of the fabulous drumming of Phil Collins. It’s glaring obvious in postings that most others have no clue of Mr. Collins’s ability as a wonderfully gifted musician. Suggested is that those who criticise Phil Collins take note of JIM C’s mention of BRAND X, where Phil Collins portrays incredible drumming talent. Yes Jim, I have that BRAND X CD as you probably do as well, we one of few I imagine, if comments above are worthy of consideration. All said, we all appreciate our favored. Some of the correspondents in this forum are totally disgusting in comment, blithering idiots they are destined to remain for the rest of their pathetic lives.
July 16, 2017 at 2:07 am
Pretty good list but you forgot Lenny White, Carmine Appice, Michael Shrieve, Chapita Areas, Wayne Evans, Edgar Winter and a few others.
July 16, 2017 at 6:44 pm
You have to add Tony Brock. The Babys (then and now), Rod Stewart (12 years) Jimmy Barnes and Bernie Taupin.
Checkout his drum solo with Rod in Rio. Unbelievable
July 16, 2017 at 11:24 pm
I just saw GFR a week ago and Don Brewer did a fantastic solo. No Ron Bushy? WTF
August 8, 2017 at 2:26 am
If anyone of you heard the drummer of the Band “Spring Fever”, from Minnesota, You would know that he (Beater) was one of the best drummers of his time. R.I.P. Beater
August 25, 2017 at 8:39 pm
why is josh dun not number one
September 10, 2017 at 12:28 pm
Chester Thompson, Phil Collins…
September 11, 2017 at 5:59 pm
…miss Pat Mastelotto!!!
September 12, 2017 at 11:58 pm
Well it appears that these Drummers are in general R & R venues….most of these top 10 drummers likely learned from a ‘master’ drummer of the late 50’s and early 60’s who had many, many, albums, like the Birth of the Beat, Teen Beat….at the time it was very unusual to have a VINYL album with almost 90% drumming contents ! The likes of Ringo, Phil Collins etc were just starting out and likely learning from the very popular…..the one and only- ‘SANDY NELSON’. Check it out…do an internet enquiry….I rest my case 🙂
September 13, 2017 at 7:02 am
Does anyone remember Sandy Nelson?
Surely he should be included
September 22, 2017 at 9:19 pm
Here’s something i just learned,he just passed away recently character actor Frank Vincent (known for
his roles as a mob henchmen (or goon),was a top session drummer before hi acting career took of.Some of the artists he drummed for were,Paul Anka,Del Shannon,Trini Lopez,The Belmonts and
others artists. Also how about Cesar Zuiderwijk (Golden Earring),Phil Taylor (Motorhead),ahd a few
others to list. Now complain about that.
October 18, 2017 at 4:02 am
Buddy Rich #1
November 22, 2017 at 9:32 pm
Where’s Max Weinberg? And Graham Millington?
November 30, 2017 at 7:04 pm
Vinnie Colaiuta #32….?????
I gots to stop reading these idiot bullshit lists.
December 1, 2017 at 10:54 am
Lars Ulrich, Ringo Starr, but no Jojo Mayer ? How can you be serious ?
January 5, 2018 at 3:08 am
When you omit Barbara Borden your list is faulty/ I’m 86 and remember names not even thought of like Olatunji Glenn Walters. bil
January 9, 2018 at 6:37 am
where is Robert Wyatt?he shouldbe number one
January 9, 2018 at 1:57 pm
I don’t know if number one, but he should be for sure!
January 9, 2018 at 1:56 pm
No Steve Jansen, no Pat Mastelotto, and over all, not the best drummer I’ve ever seen (and I’ve worked in more than 1.500 international concerts as stage manager): Gavin Harrison???
February 22, 2018 at 4:52 pm
Barriemore Barlow was called “the greatest rock drummer England ever produced” by John Bonham.
February 22, 2018 at 6:36 pm
Philly Joe Jones
February 22, 2018 at 6:45 pm
Philly Joe Jones
February 25, 2018 at 7:45 am
Where in the hell is Richie Haywood? Little Feats drummer. The rest of the list couldn’t carry his sticks.
February 25, 2018 at 5:50 pm
Cesar Zuiderwijk from the Golden Earing isn’t even there ……ten times better then Ringo Starr
February 26, 2018 at 9:51 pm
Where is Joe Morello?
March 11, 2018 at 4:04 pm
FYI, the late great BJ Wilson of Procol Harum was the 1st choice for drummer by Jimmy Page when forming Led Zeppelin.. So maybe he should be listed as #1 here. The best rock drummer I’ve ever heard. I believe Buddy Rich also praised him as the best in rock at that time.
March 29, 2018 at 6:05 pm
Mitch mitchell isn’t on this list?? OR TONY WILLIAMS?? Your list belongs in the garbage!! (excuse me I never wrote.. so its not printing the comments even correctly!) This is so stupid and all these TOTAL UNKNOWNS!! Must be friends with the guy making up this list LOL!! This is a “corrected comment from above misprint!!
April 19, 2018 at 5:16 am
Rock & Roll !!!!!!!
April 19, 2018 at 5:27 am
Music should not be a competition. Just enjoy it.
May 16, 2018 at 5:30 am
Where is Dj Fontana and Ronnie Tutt..
May 22, 2018 at 9:34 pm
Dave Grohl? You are crazy. After the hundredth number, maybe.
December 8, 2018 at 1:19 pm
This list lost all credibility when you put Travis Barker ABOVE Steve Smith.
June 19, 2019 at 3:49 pm
Pretty much agree with the list, although the omission of Nick Mason (Pink Floyd) and Richie Hayward (Little Feat) is reprehensible. It also appears the list does not reflect the “ranking” of the drummers. I mean, seriously, Sheila E ranked ahead of Billy Cobham??? Wow!!!
June 19, 2019 at 8:12 pm
How about some love for Tom Hunting of Exodus and Jen Ledger of Skillet?
June 20, 2019 at 12:10 am
We can all argue subjective things about who is best, who should be on the list, etc etc. But objective factual errors are a different story. Number 81, Joe Morello: “In later life, Morello became an in-demand teacher whose students included Danny Gottlieb, one of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band members.” I would like the authors of this list to show me any album, any concert review, or any mention by Bruce of Danny Gottleib as relates to the E Street Band. Sloppy writing, never happened.
June 20, 2019 at 12:38 am
Nick Mason??? Did I miss him somewhere?
June 21, 2019 at 10:50 pm
Don’t know who does your research but you need a new researcher ‘cos this one’s rubbish at it. Peter York is unarguably better than 80% of those listed. Treat yourselves to an education and check out some of his stuff on You Tube. He was great when he was with Spencer Davis, he was better still with Hardin and York, and out of the stratosphere in the “Superdrumming” events.
While on the subject of crap research, didn’t see Jon Hiseman on the list either. Someone really does need to go looking for alternative employment.
July 4, 2019 at 11:20 pm
July 7, 2019 at 12:49 pm
Wow! Two YES drummers.
Eric B Underwood
July 8, 2019 at 11:50 pm
Why didn’t drummer Eddie Bayers make the list, one of the best drummers in Nashville.
August 3, 2019 at 10:21 pm
If “best drummers of all time” list includes drummers like Lars Ulrich and Meg White and omits drummers like Chester Thompson and Tomas Haake, and puts Ringo Starr to the top 20, the list is nothing but complete BS. Seriously – Lars Ulrich? Meg White?
August 5, 2019 at 10:00 pm
Some phenomenal names on this list, to be sure…but man – are they *way* in the wrong order! Any such ranking that puts Dave Grohl in the top ten, with Charlie Watts, Roger Hawkins, and Levon Helm behind him is immediately suspect and frankly, a joke. Further proof: a list that includes Meg White, but no Jim Gordon, Kenney Jones, Bun E. Carlos, Dave Mattacks, Liberty DeVitto, Vinny Appice, Prairie Prince, Ricky Fataar, Mick Fleetwood, Eddie Bayers, Mickey Curry, even Prince…for the Love!!! This list is an ultra-flawed starting point. The ‘uDiscover team’ needs to get schooled.
August 6, 2019 at 8:46 pm
Danny Seraphine, Barriemore Barlow, Pick Withers, Pete Thomas…
August 19, 2019 at 9:07 pm
carter beauford!!!! Where is he????
October 5, 2019 at 9:57 pm
Mick Avory and Kenny Jones left off list?
October 6, 2019 at 1:19 am
Barrie James (BJ) Wilson. The list starts here (look him up)
October 6, 2019 at 9:52 am
Keith Moon IS THE BEST EVER
November 7, 2019 at 11:24 pm
JOHN WEATHERS from GENTLE GIANT?!!!
Anyone who can drum intelligently to that type of music has to be EXCEPTIONAL!!!
Professor BeeB HôPô
January 4, 2020 at 3:17 pm
You forget Andy Arrow, one of the greatest.
And what about Simon House of Hawkwind ?
Christopher Nowak BFA MLIS
May 5, 2020 at 6:49 pm
I just listened to Andy Arrow on your link and I think I would have given him a higher grade if he took a solo!:
THE GUITARIST: B+
Christopher Nowak BFA MLIS
May 8, 2020 at 12:12 pm
I think that you have your names mixed up.
Simon House plays VIOLIN and KEYBOARDS!!
Christopher Nowak BFA MLIS
May 8, 2020 at 12:23 pm
I believe that you meant SIMON KING.
You call yourself a professor?
It surely is not of music!
Christopher Nowak BFA MLIS
February 15, 2020 at 12:58 pm
He is especially good on this hit by ELTON JOHN:
April 18, 2020 at 6:24 pm
Obviously you missed Cesar Zuiderwijk from Golden Earring. The Who even wanted him after Keith died. He decided to stay with his friends in Earring.
May 26, 2020 at 10:26 pm
oh yes and there are a few left out who have and are paying dues……..How about Toss Panos!!!!!
September 21, 2020 at 10:15 am
Where is Mountain Drummer Corky Laing.
Rick W Murray
December 9, 2020 at 11:59 pm
This is just a mass of pathetic greatest drum lists, none are accurate, if they were,Buddy Rich would be at the top John Bonham and Pace would agree, simply untouchable . I have been a drummer for over 40 years been in jazz bands, rock bands country and blues bands, strictly small time I have a full time job. Bonham , moon and baker couldn’t perform half the feats Buddy did in his lifetime they would get lost in the shuffle. Jazz is the hardest music to drum next to heavy metal. Hal Roach would. Be a close second. Here’s my list. No way on this earth have I ever seen or heard a better drummer.
10) Anton Figg
8) Neil Peart
7) John Bonham
6) Jeff Polaro
5) Earl Palmer
3)Hal Blaine. Best session drummer of all time
2) Hal Roach
1) Buddy Rich
August 16, 2021 at 10:43 am
Absolutely the biggest omission:
Barrie “Barriemore” Barlow (Jethro Tull, 1971-1979).
Considered by Page and Plant to replace Bonham, who called him “the greatest rock drummer England ever produced”.
– – –
There are several jazz drummers who deserve a spot in a top 100 (jazz drummers are the best drummers). Leaving out Tony Williams is certainly odd.
August 22, 2021 at 2:22 pm
Subjective….I’m talking rock n roll…just keep time and bang the s**t out of the skins like punks three greatest drummers : Rat Scabies,Clem Burke and Martin Chambers.Can you tell that Keith Moon is my favorite rock drummer?Where is Mason,Fleetwood,Kramer,Bun E.,Capaldi,K Jones, Slade,Henley,Beard,Kramer, and many more I’d rather listen to than Ulrich,Grohl,Travis Barker,Meg White and on principle Phil Collins !!! Roger Taylor should be higher.Purdie and Gadd are better players than Dave Lombardo.It”s all a matter of taste to me.So i’m quite sure that Steve White(TSC,P Weller,Who) is the best drummer of his generation and he’s not even on the list !!! Maybe Chad Smith is ? Maybe Mike Portnoy is ?Who cares! Another thing i gotta spew- Charlie Watts Is tight !!! One of my all-time favorites.Like him better than Joey Kramer. I would have Joe Vitale(Walsh,Nugent,CSN) on my list.D.H. Peligro too.Rick Allen makes my list of greatest drummers of all time ! He maybe no.1 cause i couldn’t image what he had to do. I am not a drummer. Just a fan…
September 24, 2021 at 3:01 pm
Chester Thompson, Chad Wackerman should definitely have been on this list. Vinnie Colaiuta and Steve Gadd should have been top 10.
October 14, 2021 at 3:02 pm
No Chad Hugo (Neptunes) and Sly Dunbar (Sly and Robbie the Jamaican production duo)? Neptunes literally reinvented hip hop and r and B and pop beats with Chad on drums. Sly Dunbar has drummed for Bob Dylan, Black Uhuru, Fugees, No Doubt, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Cliff, Madonna, Mick Jagger, Peter Tosh, Simply Red… seriously?
December 20, 2021 at 6:45 pm
this list has no credibility with me because you forgot to put Phil Ehart’s name
from Kansas in the hat before you drew out names at random
February 20, 2022 at 3:03 am
How about Steppenwolf’s Jerry Edmonton?
February 21, 2022 at 9:47 pm
Mark Herndon, of Alabama fame, should be in the Top 5. His entry drums on “She and I” sets the tone of the song and his drum beats on “Reckless” are perfection — IMHO. He has been given credit for making Alabama the great band of all times and in any music genre.
March 12, 2022 at 4:54 am
I would have thought Clive Bunker from Tull would have made the list.
April 15, 2022 at 7:51 pm
Mark Herndon of Alabama.
September 26, 2022 at 7:49 pm
LOL – Dave Grohl admits that Dale Crover is the greatest drummer in the world and he didn’t even make the list. They probably just should have asked the drummers who they think is the greatest and make that list.
October 5, 2022 at 11:58 am
Jerry Mercer, April Wine.
October 5, 2022 at 12:04 pm
Follow up to Jerry Mercer of April Wine. On Youtube, bring up April Wine Live in London 1981. Go to the 55 minute mark and just watch the drum solo.
December 8, 2022 at 7:10 pm
Thank you for putting Carl Palmer on the list. Rolling Stone omitted him for some stupid reason. Carl Palmer is up there with Phil Collins, Bill Bruford, Stewart Copeland and Neil Peart. How in the world could they leave him off and put Meg White in front of him???
Calvin R Lakin III
February 11, 2023 at 11:02 pm
I think the majority of people commenting here are not drummers. There’s no such thing as a “Best” musician on any instrument. It’s too subjective. I think “Best At” could be more fitting, but even then, that can be parsed out by different criteria. Not to mention separated by musical style! In the art of drumming, combining technique with difficulty, rock drummers can’t hold a candle to Jazz drummers. So I think you have to separate the “Best” into “Best At” in different styles of music too: Jazz, Jazz-Fusion, Rock, Metal, Progressive Rock, Funk, Hip-Hop, Blues, Country, etc. Buddy Rich couldn’t play Rock! And Keith Moon couldn’t play Big Band Jazz! So the whole notion of the “Best” is ridiculous!
BEST TECHNIQUE: Buddy Rich, Colaiuta, Weckl, Gadd, Cobham for sure! Joe Morello, Matt Garstka! (And probably others I’m forgetting!) All are at the top. All have some of the best technique in the history of drumming. But to say one is “best” is to miss so much of what the art of drumming is all about. It’s too vast an art form to pin it down to one guy in one aspect; much less, one guy overall is really absurd.
BEST FEEL: Ringo, Steve Gadd, Bonham, Copeland for sure. The thing about all 4 of these guys is, no one has ever been able to emulate their “feel.” You can play the same notes, but you can’t imitate their Touch, sound & Feel, at all. And Ringo’s feel in the latter recordings from Magical Mystery Tour on, is virtually impossible to reproduce, even though the notes, his parts, are pretty simple.
MOST INNOVATIVE: Ringo, Bonham, Tony Williams, Cobham, Gadd, Krupa, the early Be-Bop players, Weckl & OMG, Matt Garstka!! These guys were game changers, innovators; first in their art at changing the way to approach the drum set and music. How about the guy from Meshuggah, Tomas Haake!? My God, he took Independence to a level no-one else can come close to! And Matt Garstka, from Animals As Leaders – HOLY SHIT!!! He’s easily one of the greatest to ever play the instrument! Absolutely the best at Syncopation, Odd Time Signatures. He took the instrument in a TOTALLY new direction!
So that’s my take on this discussion – Much of it is subjective; but there are definite metrics than can be measured logically and artistically to determine a small, select group of players who are at the top of the list at the art of drumming.
February 14, 2023 at 6:20 am
Calvin, I agree that we really should separate out Jazz and Progressive Rock into their own categories–the two types of music where you see the most talent/innovation but still so very different from each other and the others on the list…then maybe rock, metal and funk together…blues and country together. Otherwise it is like apples and oranges and blueberries…just too different to rank together. Maybe this is just the Jazz and Prog rock lover in me! Danny Carey is my personal favorite, but Bill Bruford, Neal Peart, Alan White, Carl Palmer, Phil Collins, etc etc. The jazz list would be twice as long…
March 18, 2023 at 3:27 am
A list of the “100 best drummers” is instantly discredited Dave Grohl in the top 10,Keith Moon is at #2 while the legendary Buddy Rich is at #5 and the innovative technical geniuses Max Roach, Louie Bellson and Art Blakey aren’t even close to the top 10.