Greatest Drummers of All TimeAKPickin A hard category, due to the number of drumming styles, but selected are the most complete and versatile drummers. These drummers should be able to play more than one style. In addition, their impact and influence in music should be felt on a global scale. Not just suburban America.
The Top Ten
Neil Peart is the best! He can play Jazz. He plays for Rush and he plays really hard music. Nobody else could play Rush music in the hole list. I have went to other best drummer web sites and they all said that Neil Peart is 1. Neil Peart is the best! Go Rush! 1974-2112
Several guys on other sites are dissing Peart in favor of Portnoy and Mangini. Hey... They're skilled but please, those two guys are top ten... MAYBE, but in all honesty they couldn't carry Neil's pissbucket. I spent 35 years seeing concerts, was even a roadie for the Stampeders, Randy Bachmann, and Red Rider several times. I saw Pink Floyd in 79 & 80 do their Wall tour and I think I'm still there, but nobody, and I mean NOBODY, can touch Neil Peart with a pair of hickorys. He could use stale licorice and use his eyelids to hold them and they still couldn't come close... And Snortboy, I mean Portnoy, knew he was substandard to Neil. Get real people, use your grey matter (or what's left of it, and accept the facts. Neil Peart is the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. (Thanks for that Bret Hart)
Danny Carey is laughing somewhere... while playing 4 Peart solos at the same time - KwPaul
Neil is so technically proficient and imaginative when it comes to drumming (and indeed lyric writing) that, like others have previously said putting him at number 4 isn't really giving him anywhere near the amount of credit he deserves.
One word. Amazing.V 192 Comments
Shannon Leto at number one? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Shannon doesn't have the talent that Bonham had in his LITTLE FINGER. He shouldn't even be in the top 100 drummers, it's absolutely ridiculous. Bonham was the most influential drummer of all time, all modern drummers would have studied Bonham like their life depended on it. He's influenced the likes of Dave Grohl (Who should be on this list anyway) Joey Kramer, Lee Kerslake, Tony Thompson, Tommy Lee, Peter Criss, Stewart Copeland, Chad Smith, Dave Lombardo and Brad Wilk... Some of the greatest drummers of today who quite frankly would outplay Shannon Leto blindfolded and with a single hand.
Here is my opinion on the top 10 best drummers. I will be judging them each by their skill level, creativity, and showmanship. I will also give the reasons for why I put them in each spot.
10. Phil Collins (Phil Collins, many know him as the drummer of the 70s rock band, Genesis, however, where he shined the most was when he became a solo artist in the early 80s. As a solo artist, he showed the world his magnificent ability to sing while drumming which is a rare skill to say the least and shows that he has some major skill. When it comes to his creativity and showmanship, he is very solid, if you listen to any of his drum fills, you will see the creativity he put into writing them).
9. Dave Grohl (The nicest guy in rock, lead singer of the Foo Fighters, and the drummer of many grunge/rock bands, Dave Grohl makes the number 9 spot due to his exceptional skill on the drums, creative drum fills, and top notch showmanship while on the drum set and off. Songs like Smells Like ...more
Why isn't Bonham #1? Also is it just me or are their about 7 names in the top ten I've never heard of? This list is a terrible representative of the best drummer of all time. Have you ever listened to one of Bonham's drum solos? He does so much with such a small set and can continue like 4 different rhythms at the same time. He is the best.
Danny Carey can play 4 different John Bonham SONGS at the same time. 4 rhythms, lol... - KwPaul
I've gotta say that bonzo is the best drummer of all time, mostly because he is animal locked up in a cage until he gets a hold of those sticks and then he's a waild animalV 161 Comments
The Loon at 11th? You blokes realize that this is a list of DRUMMERS, right? Not people smashing sticks on surfaces and calling it art. As for Peart, the current #2 guy, he was inspired by the Master of Exploding Toilets himself. (For you kids that think music is just WUB WUB WEOOW that are voting for other drummers, that means Keith). Listen to Love, Reign O'er Me. That crashing sound you hear at the end is Moon flipping over and destroying his drumset, because he's just that badass. Fully improvised, for no other reason other than destroying something.
Keith does it without even thinking about it as he was a pure natural talent when it came to playing the drums.
Keith was and still is the master of Rock and Roll drummers.
We can all have our opinions and who we think is best and there are many, many fine drummers in this world. So enjoy them all and remember keith was the best of his time on this planet.
Keith should be at #1. I think people really don't know because he hasn't been with us for so long. I pretty much stopped listening to The Who after he was gone... not mourning or whatever, the music just wasn't GREAT anymore... just "okay". Keith Moon made it look easy! Check any footage you can find. He BECAME the drums! No effort at all, just FUN! To see and hear someone truly in their element, doing what they were "born" to do... it was a bloody marvel! I mean "awesome" in the sense of truly inspiring awe! The other drummers, good, great, or other could never do this.
He is dopest craziest drummer also his drums exploxded on performance,do I have to say anything else?V 65 Comments
Buddy Rich is in a league of his own and easily surpasses every other drummer on the list.
His rolls were as smooth as milk and his dynamic range
And amazing stick control were awesome. Hearing Buddy play p diminuendo all the way to the edge of his snare drum with a sudden rimshot and heavy accent
Bomb on his bass drum was a mesmerizing thrill.
To those who write him off as a mere technical
Wizard, I suggest that you listen to his treatment
Of the lighter passages on 'Channel One Suite'
'I Can't Get Started' and 'Wave' and you'll be treated
To some of the most impeccably tasteful subtle musicianship possible. I recall hearing Buddy play
An extended duo with pianist Teddy Wilson at Ravinia
Park on Chicago's North Shore in which he used wire
Brushes exclusively. The delicate light touch of his playing was true poetic artistry.
I offer up the brilliant 'West Side Story Medley'
And the aforementioned 'Channel One Suite'
As examples of ...more
Buddy Rich was the Holy Grail of drummers. Any one who attempts to put a drummer ahead of Buddy Rich is insane. You can sum it up this way before Buddy died he said in an interview this his Music will Sustain forever. Buddy Rich was Right on time when he said that. You listen to Buddy Rich today at this time and all of his drumming sounds just as fresh and unbelievalbe as it did when he once performed it. What We are hearing today in drumming is just the same as a Washing Machine stuck in the Rinse Cycle. Same thing over and over no Creativity just pure noise. Buddy Rich just take a listen if or when he did take a drum solo. The Buddy Rich drum solo was like a GOOD BOOK it had a beginning a middle to it that kept you reading and staying with that solo and of course Buddy would give you a breathtaking finish. Today the drum solos you are hearing are just like the GRAND FINALE of a Fireworks Show. All noise and all loud loud louder FIREWORKS. No beginning just the END and a lot of ...more
What is there to say about Buddy that hasn't already been said a million times over? He was the greatest rhythmic prodigy to have ever hit the skins. He almost single-handedly defined the way the instrument should be played: with graceful intensity. His technical prowess, showmanship, soloing ability, speed (that left hand! ), and sound are yet to be matched by any drummer. And his drive. Oh man, his drive. I've never heard someone kick and drive a band as hard as Buddy EVER. Papa Joe Jones, Sonny Payne, and Gene Krupa (who, by the way, should also be in the top 10) come close. Buddy was the king, and most drummers on this list would agree.
RIP Traps. You've inspired millions of drummers (myself included) to work ourselves to the absolute apex of our abilities.
Go ask every other guy on this list and they will agree with me!V 171 Comments
mike is the second best drummer in HISTORY. Only Neil Peart comes first. Anyone who disagrees is not a rock fan and you should keep your pathetic opinions to yourself. This genre is personified by Mike. I give Neil first place ONLY cause he did similar first. Mike took it to the next level and is the BEST nodern drummer. Im a big fan of death metal drummers like Origin and Pete Sandoval but overall no one can stand up to Mike Portnoy. Thanks Mike for the years of inspiration! - chriscrim74
Mike certainly is one of the top drummers of all time. Neil Peart and John Bonham are the only drummers that could compare to Portnoy. Peart because of his overall talent and Bonham because of his style and how he revolutionized drumming (not to mention he was in Led Zeppelin and used only a single kick drum to play complex double kick fills). Let's be realistic, the Rev and Shannon Leto are good, but shouldn't belong on this list above Keith Moon, Thomas Lang, and Mike Portnoy. Thank god Peart is number one or else I wouldn't see any hope for the future of drumming.
personally, I think its a tie between portnoy and mike mangini. look him up. lars ulrich sucks. portnoy is amazing. buddy rich is also an amazing and respectable drummer. those should be top 3. portnoy, mangini, and rich. - deadgrass27
The most complete drummer, besides Neil Peart. - blasphemianV 52 Comments
If this were a list for underrated musicians, Grohl would have my vote. But as it's a list for best drummer, he's my second place choice (Favouring Peart). I certainly don't think Grohl is the best drummer--but probably the most versatile and effortless in his style. Able to play any genre, with anybody, drumming for many different bands each who had a very unique style. He definitely knew how to work with what he had, however simple, and make it a masterpiece. This man does not get 1/billionth of the credit he deserves or should have.
People don't consider Dave to be an amazing drummer purely because in Nirvana his drum parts were energetic however simple. Yet if you listen to of his solo's or his work with queens of the stone age or them crooked vultures you'll get a completely different idea. Dave an animal and power house behind a drum kit
Dave has done the lot, Scream, Nirvana, Foo & Crooked Vultures, he has been a guitarist also on David Bowie's "Heathen" Tour and has even filled in guest drummer for a lot of other bands... he shows no signs of letting up and has just recently completed his new album with Foo in his garage. David is ace and a real nice dude too!
All of his drumming are so simple and boring. the drummers from ACDC are way better - Th3Zm0nst3rV 37 Comments
The best I ever heard and with the broadest scope in jazz, rock, African, Japanese etc. A true genius. Only the like of Buddy Rich compare and they weren't nearly as wide in scope or as fanatically dedicated to their craft. A crazy genius and a great artist met in one! The first time I heard him I mentioned to the band member, listening to one of his long solos while sitting next to me, that he was the greatest drummer I ever heard and he said that he thought so too. I found out later that I was speaking to Eric Clapton. My opinion has never changed and I seriously doubt if Eric's has either.
In a different rhythmic galaxy into which few other 20th century drummers/percussionists voyaged. Not technically proficient, but used his innate abilities to achieve an inimitable "sound". The Jackson Pollock of drumming. His irascible personality, egocentricity, and long- time heroin abuse, combined with an exaggerated sense of his abilities ( there were many drummers who had more "chops" than he) detracted from his uniqueness, which was a shame; nonetheless, Ginger blazed a path for up-and- coming drummers.
Ginger Baker at 80? Are you kidding? He invented the double-base and could play Jazz and Rock and was a GREAT musician. 90% of the names before him on this list, most of all, RINGO STARR make this list a joke. Ginger Baker could wipe the floor with Ringo. So could most drummers living today like Dave Grohl and Mike Starr.
What a terrible list.
Ginger should be higher than 7!V 27 Comments
I'm a fan of Avenged Sevenfold and I love jimmy but I don't think his the BEST drummer in the world but his drum cover is godlike although it is not the fastest but it sounds damn awesome with each and every song... as I said I don't think his the best drummer.. but he is 1 of the best drummer in the WORLD... the drum cover of a7x's first album is so godlike that it already beat most of the drummers! a 3rd position for jimmy is wonderful! he deserved it!
I think he is the beast of drumming because he has the speed and his own way of drumming
For me, he should be the no. 1 best drummer of all time, cause he makes his own way of drumming and own beat.. I also love the skill he always do, the "Double ride thing". It's why he is awesome.. FoREVer.. AVENGED SEVENFOLD FOREVER..
Who the hell even is yoshiki hayashi, if the rev were still her that guy would be dirt, foREVer R.I.P
foREVerV 189 Comments
Judging from the way the comments are written, it seems to me that those who voted for him are mainly Metallica fan boys who have probably never tried much of anything beyond Metallica. The guy is very sloppy and unoriginal. He is only at number 9 because he's the drummer of the biggest metal band in history yet easiest to listen to. It is a shame considering how many legends are beyond him in ranking... - RalphSaad
Lars revolutionized drumming. Listen to their first album. Whiplash motorbreath metal militia nobody played that fast in rock or metal bands before. On ride the lightning he proved he could make musical songs like fade to black and for whom the bell tolls work. On master of puppets he perfected his technique of thrash/speed metal while still playing songs Luke sanitarium and the thing that should not be... And justice for all saw his musical ability soar through the roof. Listen to one, dyers eve, blackened, you'll know what I'm talking about. On the black album he created great atmosphere with complementing all the other great players in Metallica's sound. Its about serving the song with Lars and the rest of Metallica. They proved this with load and reload. He didn't overplay. He let the other players do their thing. St. Anger is underrated in terms of his drumming. The title track heard him return partly to his thrash roots in the choruses. Frantic was also great. Death magnetic saw ...more
Shouldn't be anywhere near the top 100! He throws in random fills, he loses track of time, he replaced his ride cymbal with a China cymbal and uses it to mask his mistakes, he can't play double bass, he simplifies down a song painfully so take him off the list!
Is the bestV 80 Comments
This man was the first true, modern rock drummer. He modernized and changed the whole worlds drumming. As, a drummer with many influences, I know better than many people how important he has been to music. He didn't just invent fantastic drumfills and rythms, but he practically invented the rock drumming that EVERY single rock drummer knows today. Just one of all the things he did was to play with his half open hi hat. People didn't often do that in rock back in those days, not in the same way as he did it. This may sound rude, but I don't think you can fully understand what he did to the rock music if your nnot a drummer yourself. It took me some year s to actually understand what this man did for all of us. I'm still thinking about him every time I sit down by my drums to play.
"John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison have all said that Starr was the best rock and roll drummer in the world, although when asked in an interview once "Is Ringo Starr the best drummer in the world? " Lennon quipped "He's not the best drummer in The Beatles! " This was in reference to the songs on 1968's White Album "Back In The USSR" and "Dear Prudence", the first two tracks on the album, in which McCartney handled the drumming" LololI laughed so hard. By the way I love Ringo. He is the best.
Paul drummed well on those two tracks, but I doubt he would've been able to drum well on 150+ tracks like Ringo did - marmalade_skies
Virtuosity as a technician does not make one the best. Technicians will always be forgotten. The ones who blazed trails will be remembered in the long run - hundreds of years down the road. Ringo will be remembered and admired 100's of years from now for his creativity vis-a-vis drumming contributions. Quality of drumming is just a bonus. End of Story.
Ringo had perfect tempoV 50 Comments
Dave Lombardo is better, faster and more aggressive than Lars Ulrich.
He is in another level
Is the best and favorite metal drummer of all time
And SLAYER isn't as mainstream as many bands here
Slayer is true, rude and aggressive metal
some of the stuff that he does on the kit is just amazing. Lars Ulrich and Joey Jordison are WAY overated
1. John Bonham
2. Niel Peart
3. Kieth Moon
4. Dave Lombardo
5. Mike Portnoy
6. Danny Carey
7. Ginger Baker
9. Terry Bozzio
10. Ian Paice - evilchimpmunk566
This list includes some of the drummers that don't deserve to be in it. Then there's Dave Lombardo. He deserves to be among the top three drummers. Right after Bonham. Rest I don't care where you put them. If this guy would have been in a mainstream band, I wouldn't be writing this. Because then the world would have already done what I am trying to do, and this comment of mine wouldn't be needed. - 0rgasmatron
I like him but he is not as cool as tommy lee did this drummer do anything crazy like a rollcoster. my top two are
joey is the best drummer ever he speed and the rythem is awesome - sic(6)sic
He is my favorite and in my opinion #2, Peart is just to great, and Travis Barker isn't good at drumming, he is good at keeping rhythm and creating beats. He is a slow drummer - zack182daley
Why isn't he number one! He is clearly the best drummer out there. He can do speed and precision perfectly.
Just an ABSOLUTE godV 73 Comments
Eddie is the star in the family, but this guy is a monster. In addition to the method in which his drums are recorded (the sound is beautiful), his technique is flawless. His changes are dynamic and for the speed in which he plays, he is capable of downshifting in a nano-second. Very worthy of top 10 status. - AKPickin
Girl Gone Bad, Outta Love Again, Top Jimmy, Panama, Hot For Teacher. His touch and the way he finds the pocket of Eddies playing are paired with straight up showing off. He has a style like no other. Heavy Swing is the new category I'm inventing to put him in.
Dudes a beast but not number one but definitely top ten maybe even five behind Portnoy, The Rev, and Peart. Just listen to hot for teacher. Sounds like there are 4 drummers. But who in the hell put Ringo in this. He isn't the best drummer in the world, he wasn't even the best drummer in the Beatles.
Alex gets overshadowed by his guitar god brother and you can't hear all of his playing due to the guitars drowning his sound. Some people may say that he isn't as technical as others, but his pocket and groove are as good as Bonham. My favorite drummer!V 8 Comments
Bonham's really my favorite, but I had to vote Copeland to push him up a little in the polls. For me, when it comes to quintessential rock drumming, there are four names: John Bonham, Phil Collins, Stewart Copeland, and Keith Moon (who is really off in his own, unique category. )
Stewart Copeland's precision percussion, timing and rhythm must have this guy higher up this chart?
This guy is probably the most unique drummer out there. Combining reggae and ethnic beats into punk rock drumming, he has created some of the coolest licks out there. And he's a master at keeping time in a way no other drummer has ever done before (crashing on 4, bass drum on 2/3, etc.)
Drum genius.V 17 Comments
Most of this list is not about the best drummers, but the drummer of the band you love... Talking of Drummers Vinnie got the whole palette of a true artist, and any piece he plays, no matter in what group or genre, he pulls out the essence and makes it unique. He is in the top 3.
All of the drummers on top are the "popular" drummers that everyone knows. This guy is almost unknown yet he is far better than some of the drummers in the top ten
Truly a drummers drummer. Probably has played on more recordings than would fit on this page. Regarded as a god by many, including guys who have made this list themselves.
Ten Summoner's Tales says it all!V 12 Comments
Of all of the drummers out there, only Neal Peart and Mike Portnoy Can keep up with Danny's complex beats and just completely hellish time signatures. Danny's Beats are simply ridiculous.
Ticks and Leeches and Hooker with a Penis showed his ridiculous speed and intensiveness, Parabola and Schism show how fast he can play off the hi hats and such, to the point where they are like spasms but sound musical, Jambi and Lateralus show how he can make the weirdest time signatures sound fantastic and make them flow, Bottom and Jimmy show how he uses the continued switch between cross-stick rims and hi hats or bells into his patterns, The Grudge and AEnima show Danny's ability to make creative rhythms out of simply using Toms, Eulogy and Pushit show his ability to use speed and off beat snare or hi hat hits in complex beats, and Sober just shows that he can make a beat sound really simple, while actually playing it is 10x harder than it sounds.
All of these songs show how Danny ...more
First off, people like Ringo and Lars and even Keith Moon do not belong on this list. They are popular drummers, drummers that guitar players and non-musicians point to simply because of their name recognition. Their technical skill and creativity and routinely dwarfed by 12 year olds on YouTube. Lars is renowned for being the least talented member of his band, come on!
Danny Carey can absolutely play as fast as the other drummers on this list, listen to Hoover With A Penis live if you don't believe me. But that's not super important, anyone can speed train. What sets Danny apart is his creativity. Tool would be nothing without him, let alone all the other bands he's played with. His kit is so huge and varied that he makes up half of their sound by himself. He studies sacred geometry and the occult. I'm 100% sure Danny sold his soul to Satan. But going to school for drums and having 40 years of experience in multiple styles also helps.
I don't know why I voted in this list cause it has no credibility. The drummer from bon jovi is in the top ten. It has to be a joke, its like naming the backstreet boys drummer best drummer.
Jokes aside, there is a small number of very talented drummers in the world naming anyone among them is useless. My personal favorite is danny carey and he is among the top.
Either people haven't heard of him... Or they don't know Jack about Drumming... This guy deserves to be in the top 3. - blasphemianV 61 Comments
Most people don't know about this guy because Hendrix was always standing in front of him, and rightly so, it's his band, but this was still really, listen to Hey Joe, or Voodoo Child, because his fills are great.
I personally think that Mitch deserves to be way higher than 17 he was one of the greatest drummers in history he was the foundation for jazz fusion he should be at least 6
This guy was put with the greatest guitar player of all time. Best and favorite drummer in my book
Mitchell is not the best ever but he should be in the top 10, maybe even top 5! don't overlook him because Jimi was in front of him!V 6 Comments
The fact that Krupa is 22nd on this list proves that you can't ask this question without going genre-specific. I think you need to card some of these voters at the door too. Meaning no disrespect, in most cases a teenager is not going to have a wide enough scope to make a meaningful vote on something like this- hence, Leto at #2!!?? I guarantee 90% or more of the voters here don't listen to jazz or swing and have never seen this guy rip it up. I like a lot of the other guys on this list, but search up a couple of his videos on the web and just watch and "feel" this guy play. My #1 drummer in any category because he was a technical genius that still played with passion and flare. Truly awesome. - Kidkoffee
I am a young voter, 15, and I agree Gene Krupa is one of the best. I prefer his drumming over Buddy Rich's because Buddy's is mainly just "Hey, look how fast my hands go! ". Gene just puts a certain feeling into it that many drummers just can't.
Gene Krupa basically invented the idea of using tom toms. Without him, nobody would have even heard of Neil Peart. The only reason Peart is on top of the list is that no one appreciates swing music anymore. Krupa inspired Buddy Rich (who is, in my opinion, the best drummer) and should be at least in the top ten.
Don't care if he was 105 on the list - in my book THE BEST.
Agree with other comment that Buddy Rich just wants to show off how fast his hands are - but Krupa was a drummer with so much passion and style and a lot of "firsts" under his belt.
I loved Phil's playing with Genesis before he became a front man and solo artist. He's a very talented man and a drummer first...his 70's style was very different to his 80's style, partly because of the way music was being produced and partly because he adapted to influences. When he worked on the 3rd Peter Gabriel album, Peter told him there were to be no cymbals on the entire record (check it out). The drumming style he adopted as a result was a forerunner of the "In the Air Tonight" style that most people know him for...but I still love his much looser and busier progressive style of the 70's...plus of course, his jazz outlet through Brand X...all good stuff
This is a joke! Number #38? Whoever does not vote Phil Collins does not know what talent is. He NEEDS to be at his rightful place at #1! He is the greatest of the great, the coolest of the cool. He is far lower than he should be. Phil Collins isn't a rock god he IS the rock god! So please vote for Phil Collins!
John bonham, Neil peart, phil Collins, Keith moon, ringo, Dave grohl, and Chad smith should all be in the top ten!
In the Air Tonight, Mama, Don't Care Anymore,...just to name three incredible drum songs from an incredibly long list of his!V 46 Comments
There is no possible sequence of drumbeats that can't be played by him. Every style at every speed. Hardly comprehensible poly rhythms. Not only a top category drummer, he's also a good teacher using his former studies on human nervous system.
This guy is pure genius. Just hear him play, it is almost as if there are 4 people playing drums at the same time. He also at a time held the record of fastest drummer in a number of categories. He has rhythm and speed. He should be in the top ten for sure!
Quite possibly the most technically proficient drummer of all time. "Illumination Theory" is based on a polyrhythm that includes a subdivision of nineteen. Nineteen! His hands are the fastest ever (he has world record), he has an octopus-like coverage of the kit rivaled only by Kieth Moon, and there is, quite frankly, probably nothing he cannot play.
Can do anything and he proves again n again as the finest drummer in the world.
He has speed, technique, energy and power.
You cannot be a successful drummer for Extereme, Anihilator and now dream theater unless and only you a Mangini.
All the three bands he has played for are different styles in music.
As he joined Dream Theater he will only get much more opportunities to prove himself.
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List StatsUpdated 19 Aug 2017
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