Greatest Drummers of All Time

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
1 Neil Peart Neil Ellwood Peart, (September 12, 1952 - January 7, 2020) was a Canadian musician and writer best known as the drummer and primary lyricist of the rock band Rush. Peart received numerous awards for his musical performances, including an induction into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1983, making ...read more.

Buddy Rich was the ultimate master of the quadruple paradiddle with step overs.

Keith Moon, the master of explosive-effortless fluidity.

John Bonham, the ultimate exponent of the driving single bass drum with explosive triplets

In fact, every other drummer on this list exceptional in their own ways, it is only Neil Peart who has the all round ability to equal each and all of them in the areas where they were singularly exceptional.

Neil Peart can play pretty much every style, Jazz/Big Band, Rock/Metal, I could go on extolling his virtuosity, but words fall to the level of poor poetry.

Every drummer on this list is great and I can think of a phalanx of other truly outstanding drummers and percussionists who merit the title "Great", but he is the master! Unquestionably, the greatest of them all.

Neil is, without doubt, the best modern drummer nowadays, even though I would give Buddy Rich the number one on this list. What people must understand is that, ok, you can work hard and perform nearly with perfection what Neil has already composed, but it is the pioneering at drumming composition that made him so great throughout the years, since the 70s until today. Take La Villa Strangiato, which is a drumming benchmark, and the brilliant introduction in Armor & Sword from Snakes & Arrows as some examples of stupendous combination of skill and precision, matching what Rush has proposed as progressive rock. I bet another drummer like him happens once in a generation.

Mr. Neal Peart makes mathematicians & athletes sit in quandary. Splitting beats, inserting accents, and timing all done in laser precision with athletic like endurance. I see that some if you mention Buddy Rich...well you should. Mr' Peart, as well as other incredible percussionists all pay homage to Buddy. He inspired them to get that his level...and maybe exceed his level. Just as Mr. Peart has inspired drummers and all of us who love drummers, and those who didn't, listen to Mr. Peart (and some others) and suddenly appreciate percussion instruments. By the way, address Neil Peart as Mr. Peart because I believe that he has earned that respect. All of this is cool!

I think there are two drummers that were the only people who could produce their exact sound. Buddy Rich, and Neil Peart. I don't care how many really good drummers could come close, they couldn't duplicate. It wasn't just his ability with the sticks... it was his innovation in how the drums should sound. He walked into an industry as a Canadian kid 'novice', but he had in his mind the perfect sound, and no drummer can argue that he didn't achieve a sound with his kit, let alone his almost computer/machine-like precision. As much as he was technically the best--at least by being the first in his genre, he envisioned how drums should sound.

2 John Bonham John Henry Bonham was born on May 31, 1948 in Redditch, United Kingdom. Bonham (nicknamed Bonzo) was a professional hard rock drummer who was best known for being the drummer in the band Led Zeppelin. Bonham was also one of the background singers in the band. His drumming is mainly displayed on the ...read more.

This is the same list that put Mike Portnoy over Dave Grohl. Wow.

There is no doubt John Bonham changed drumming. Sure, Neil Pearl is technically talented, but John is tiers more talented. His right foot is more impressive than Neil's hands and this is coming from a drummer. I learnt how to play those famous fills of his career like Tom Sawyer in under a year and I still can't play Good Times Bad Times the whole way. John was more talented and if you come to feel John takes that too. One of if not most sampled drum beat is When The Levee Breaks is Johns Beat. But Funky Drummer is first because Led Zeppelin are intense Copyrighters.

Simply the person who said Neil and Buddy Rich are the best drummers isn't a drummer.

The People's goat is Neil, but the drummers goat is John.

Achilles Last Stand
Kashmir
Immigrant Song
Moby Dick
Good Times Bad Times
When The Levee Breaks
Fool In The Rain
90% of drummers could only dream to be able to recreate the magic of those songs perfectly. Keith Moon was a crazy showman who used drums as a lead instrument. Neil Peart was a good drum soloist with great stick control. Ringo always knew exactly what to play and how it would fit the song. Buddy Holly was a great jazz drummer. But Bonzo, in my opinion, is the manliest drummer who ever lived. Rhythmic style? Check. Fast foot? Check. Technical gift? Check. Good showman? Check. Good drum solos? Well, he didn't have many, but the ones he did kicked ass. Creativity? Again, check. Bonham had diversity and a feel for groove, but he also had a menacing rocker in him that no other drummer could recreate. Rest in peace, man.

John Bonham, of Led Zeppelin, remains, (for over 40 years now) unquestionably the greatest rock drummer that ever lived. It doesn't matter how many Rush fanboys blitz these polls. Peart is great...and honest...because he has stated repeatedly in interviews that Bonham still has no equal. RollingStone magazine, after decades of notoriously biased coverage of Rock music (worshipping The Beatles, Dylan, Stones while ignoring Led Zeppelin for the full decade that they dominated rock, the 1970's) finally got the top spot correct on one of their "best of all time" lists. That would be their: 100 Greatest Drummers In Rock History.

There are only a couple that can even share his spotlight... The off beat by a billisecond he plays at sets all pace and direction like no other... We can only march when he beats... Only Ginger Baker is close... Most others only bang the gong... Not many drummers have true effect on the sound... I am not even a tap my hands on the desk guy... But when I hear Zeppelin or Cream - I am compelled to listen first to the Drums of these two geniuses... The expert background of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jack Bruce and Robert Plant are only supporting roles to these different drummers...

3 Keith Moon Keith John Moon was an English drummer for the rock band the Who. He was noted for his unique style and his eccentric, often self-destructive behaviour. His drumming continues to be praised by critics and musicians.

Clearly a lot of people involved in the voting are not drummers. I'm trying not to see this subjectively. Keith Moon is widely considered one of the best because of his natural creativity. He played the drums as a solo instrument, where as most other drummers of his era just kept the beat. Keith went above and beyond and decided to try something new. Ultimately, it influenced tons of people, even Neil Peart, and even more people idol Neil. So, the influence of Keith is literally everywhere in rock music. Technically speaking, he wasn't as musically educated as others like Bonzo or Peart. He made up for it through his weird technique and aggressive style of playing, which are things that simply cannot be taught. People commenting on this page are saying Tommy Lee is the best because he played upside down (which Buddy Rich did first) and Joey is the best because of his speed and precision. Well, drumming is about the sound and emotion behind it. Keith had insane charisma in his playing. ...more

Definitely MY favorite of the three drumming legends. I have nothing against Peart and Bonham or their bands (Actually The Who is my LEAST favorite out of Rush, Zeppelin, and The Who), Keith Moon's drumming just catches my ear the most out of the three. He had an incredible sense of rhythm, even when he was just seemingly slamming his drum sticks on anything in sight. He was destructive but still had control over everything he was doing. When he went crazy, he still kept perfect time and made it fun to listen to. It's just so sad that he died so young and we never got to hear what music would have evolved into if he had been around to continue influencing young musicians while he was alive. But maybe it's because he died so young that he's well known and that he's an influential drummer. I don't know. I'm digressing and I guess I'll just stop here.

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.

I believe that Peart is the best rock drummer active at this time. But the best goes to Keith. Its hard for me to choose between Keith and Bonham. The reason I picked Keith over Bonham is that Keith came first. Also Keith could get the job done thriving about all over the place while Bonham was very strict about his drumming. Somehow Moon does it all appearing as if he never even had a lesson. His drums solos like Bonhams NO one else, not even Peart could come close to. Thanks for the memories Keith (and Bonham too).

4 Buddy Rich Bernard "Buddy" Rich was an American jazz drummer and bandleader. Widely considered one of the most influential drummers of all time and known for his virtuoso technique, power, and speed, Rich was billed as "the world's greatest drummer" during his career.

Buddy Rich is the greatest drummer of all time. That is a fact. Having anyone in front of him is just poor humor. None of these guys could match his speed, precision, and feel. Lets look at some of the people in front of him on this list...
1. Shannon Leto. Drummer from 30 seconds to mars. I think his reviews and votes were all from the same 14 year old girl. I don't have a problem with him, but just playing with "energy" and "making your heart race" does not make you the greatest drummer.
2. John bonham. Needed a guy to help him come up with licks to frustrate kids. I can play a basic rock beat, so I am as good as bonham.

Buddy Rich is unmatched in any category. This list is insulting as is.

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

For those of you that voiced their opinion towards Buddy Rich... You are spot on! Rich was hands down the most technically proficient of any of these drummers listed. Actually after Rich there isn't even a close second. Gene Krupa doesn't even get a mention here? Chick Webb? Rich, with his blazing one handed drum roles was a sight to watch. He's far and away in a completely different category. A bit of trivia: Carmen Appice used to sponsor a annual ' Drum Battle ' for all the elite drummers of the day. It was said that at the ' drum battle ' Carmen's heart sank at the rare times Rich would show up to aggravate and school the group that was nowhere near in his league. Take care all.

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.

5 Dave Grohl David Eric "Dave" Grohl is an American rock musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, producer and film director. He is best known as the former drummer of the hugely popular 90s grunge band Nirvana and the vocalist/guitarist for the alternative rock band Foo Fighters. He has sat behind the ...read more.

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.

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!

What the hell is wrong with you people?! Dave Grohl will ALWAYS win, hands down, best drummer of all time. He's the most talented man out there. He's the most amazing person in the world, so kind and gentle yet wild and crazy. You gotta love Dave Grohl, he should definitely be number one on this list. Always.

A true rock legend that helped define an entirely new genre. Dave's drums were the biggest part of the biggest bands in the 90s. The intro to "Smells Like Teen Spirirt" announces their arrival: Kurts oddly melodic guitar riff then BAM Dave beats the skins off his set to usher hair bands right off the stage and out of work.

6 Mike Portnoy Michael Portnoy is an American drummer primarily known as the former drummer, backing vocalist, and a co-founder of the progressive metal/rock band Dream Theater. Known for his technical skill as a drummer, Portnoy has won 30 awards from the Modern Drummer magazine.

From classic rock, the winery dogs, to progressive metal, dream theater, to symphonic progressive rock, transatlantic, to instrumental, liquid tension experiment, to hard rock, Avenged Sevenfold... Mike portnoy is simply the busiest, best drummer in the world. The only modern drummer who comes close is marco minnemann! Portnoy blows commercial rock drummers like dave grohl and Chad Smith out of the water. Just listen to his fills on world without end by neal morse or sola scriptura, you'll see!

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.

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. I'm 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!

Mike Portnoy has the style, precision and skills that I enjoy listening to more than any other drummer. The progressive style of music and drumming lends to the superiority of guys like Peart and Portnoy.
I love Neil Peart, but I put Mike above him simply because I enjoy his music more.

7 James Sullivan James Owen Sullivan (February 9th, 1981 - December 28th 2009), better known by his stage name "The Rev" (Short for "The Reverend Tholomew Plague") was an American musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the former drummer, backing vocalist and co-founder of the American alternative metal/ metalcore ...read more.

He has nowhere near the recognition he deserves. His talent on the drums is second to none. I think the reason he is often overlooked is because the people who are often placed ahead of him were part of much bigger and more popular bands. I mean just look at Ringo Starr, he couldn't do any complex pieces and often stuck to simple, bland beats. If he wasn't part of the arguably biggest band of all time, I don't believe he would even be mentioned. The Rev, I believe stands at least in the top three of all time it's just a shame that people don't know who he is as Avenged Sevenfold aren't exactly a household name

The Rev is pretty epic. Don't think so? You haven't heard their album "Sounding The Seventh Trumpet". He was what? 18 when they made that? Darkness Surrounding's drum solo. Give that a shot and say he doesn't belong at #1. And don't think these votes are sympathy votes. He just has a lot of fans who know his talent. His skill while drumming and singing is absolutely phenomenal. Plus he wrote the majority of the songs so yeah. These votes aren't sympathy. They are pure fan votes.

This is a perfect ranking! I am a fan of a7x and the endearing/adorable jimmy, he may not be the best drummer ever but he's quiet good, you can really hear his talent in walking the fallen album, Avenged Sevenfold self titled album as well as the nightmare album and that "double ride thing" just proves how skillful he is, I mean who else can play with two drums sticks in each hand!? of course he's not the best drummer in the world but he certainly is 1 of the best drummers in the world.

Jimmy the rev sullivan should be the best drummer on this list. he has some of the most complex drumming rhythms I've ever heard. listen to beast and the harlot or natural born killer (even though mike portnoy played the track, jimmy wrote it originally). those are the most intense double-kick beats I've ever heard. and he's not just a drummer, he's a pianist, guitarist (slightly, did write some riffs from almost easy) and vocalist. he even had a side band called pinkly smooth. this guy deserved to be the number 1 drummer
R.I. P James Owen Sullivan or Jimmy The REV Sullivan

8 Glen Power

Glen is a versatile drummer who can drum to any music style. Not many drummers can sing such amazing harmonies and interact with the band and fans in the way he does while keeping a rhythm. Not only that, Glen is proficient in various other musical instruments including guitar and piano - he truly has a gift. As far as talent goes, he has bucket loads, turn that bucket upside down and he will give you a rhythm. Many of The Script songs have a powerful drum beat that is often simple yet effective. Always a clean sound and with a surname like Power - well it says it all! A very humble man and a truly underrated talent!

Glen Power - the name says it all. His drumming performance is full of power where it's needed but also pure grace when he wants to accentuate the perfromance of the lead singer. If there would be a list of the most underrated drummers then he would sure be at Nr. 1. His drumming has nothing to do with simply hitting surfaces, it's like a whole choreography of passion. He's even able to play blindfolded like at the gig of the Script in Munich. And not to speak from his just as underrated talent in singing - his high notes are true killers. And Glen also plays the guitar and the paino... Need I say more?

I can honestly say that Glen is one amazing drummer - talented on the drums yet versatile on various instruments too. I've seen The Script twice now and can also say this, he (as well as the rest of the band) gives all to his fans.
I wrote to the band last year and Glen took the time to phone me personally to thank me for my support as well as setting up a meet and greet with the entire band on their "Freedom Child tour" so, while I may be biased, I can say that Glen Power is one of the greatest drummers and nicest human beings of all time.

Glen Power is the only drummer who I can sit and watch doing his thing and be generally interested all the way through and that speaks volumes. Also he recently played live while being randomly blindfolded by his bandmate and never missed a beat. He not only plays but he sings and also has a versatile talent and can play piano as well. Need I give any more reasons why this man is a living legend and the best drummer to ever exist?

9 Joey Jordison Joey Jordison, was an American musician, songwriter, and record producer, best known for his work as the former drummer and co-songwriter for the heavy metal band Slipknot as well as guitarist in the Horror-punk band Murderdolls. He is the co-founder and drummer for the Blackened Death Metal band Sinsaenum ...read more.

R.I.P to an absolute legend. What a drummer, and an amazing guy as well. You'll always be remembered #1, and this world will never be the same without you

Joey Jordison is the best hammer and percussion have happen to listen to. There is much fondness in doing what loves most in music, and it shows. Since Slipknot of 1993 Joey Jordison won the fight with understanding sound, a great asset to any band in fact a fine persona as well. It might be odd however the character portray from Joey Jordison is that of Jesus except not in religion but of the musical scene. It is a relish when listening even if just in segments from Spotify and not the Albums bought with Slipknot as the band from anywhere of the 15 years from then to today. Good job to Joey Jordison!

Best drummer ever, am surprise is the same height and complexion in persona as well. Not only has the main band 'Slipknot' done great with Joey Jordison in music through most of their existence(5 main stages) but now is again the finest at the drums helm in self record. There is an improvement in the drums in use from Joey Jordison throughout progression of the musical career with self as well(5 more stages). Awesome to see at top ten at drummer list, though should be in the number one slot of course.

Joey Jordison was the drummer in Slipknot from 1995 to 2013 and he's incredible! His drum solos are so complex and his speed and rhythm is just flawless! Watch one of Slipknot's live performances and you'll see that Joey just gets lost in his drumming. It's impossible to hear one of Slipknot's songs and not have crazy drums pounding in your head for the next three days and that's all because of this rock legend.

10 Ginger Baker Peter Edward "Ginger" Baker (19 August 1939 – 6 October 2019) was an English drummer, best known as the founder of the rock band Cream. His work in the 1960s earned him the reputation of "rock's first superstar drummer," while his individual style melds a jazz background with African rhythms.

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.

Incredible drummer that did not overplay. His sense of "time" was unmatched.
Could play any style. That driving Hi-hat was always in absolute perfect time, no matter what else was going on.
Cream will never be matched...3 superstars forever enshrined as the best at their respective instruments.
Gruff exterior has cost him on the list of all time greats, but for me the greatest ever. 2005 Cream Reunion is some of the greatest music ever played.

Masterfully combining very heavy, rolling rock beats with jazz feel and fine nuances. He pioneered rock drumming by infusing jazz musical sense and sensibility: never the repetitive, boring stuff you get so much of in pop and rock drumming today. Always varied, creative, and in the tradition of jazz ensembles a soloist and equal co-creator to most of the classic Cream hit-songs.

The Newcomers

? Gary Mallaber
? John Steel
The Contenders
11 Dave Lombardo David "Dave" Lombardo is a Cuban American drummer, best known as a co-founding member of the American thrash metal band Slayer.

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.

Do I really need to go into why Dave Lombardo is just the greatest drummer who has ever lived?

Every song Dave has ever played on is just pure brilliance, and he has technique and precision as well as speed, which makes him just the greatest ever...

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

Dave Lombardo is something else. Not only can he play at a inhuman speed, but his drum beats are original and flow amazingly to every song. His drum solos are mind blowing, and his talent is far beyond this world.

12 Ringo Starr Richard Starkey known professionally as Ringo Starr, is an English musician, singer, songwriter and actor who gained worldwide fame as the drummer for the Beatles.

Sure he may not have gone ballistic on drum sets as lots of these other guys, but he was the perfect pop drummer. He knows exactly what to play for each song, and with his vast creativity, made many original drum beats. The beat from "In My Life" is a completely original beat, that to date, has not been known to be used in any other song. And if so, the song also probably just sounds like "In My Life." He was also, a human metronome. Had perfect rhythm. He seems to be underrated simply for the fact that his beats sound basic, but try playing some of The Beatles more complex songs like "Rain." You'll come to find that they are a lot harder to play than you'd realize.

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.

Drum is about rhythm and beat not just some idiot bashing it then saying "I got speed and I'm unique and talented blah blah blah" Ringo plays the drums FOR REAL. Him Keith Moon, John Bonham and Buddy Rich are the only people that should even be on this list. And I know people are gonna be like "Ringo has no skill, he's boring, he's overrated" so please get a brain before replying on this comment.

13 Lars Ulrich Lars Ulrich is a Danish drummer and one of the founding members of the American thrash metal band Metallica.

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

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...

I hear a lot of hate about Ulrich, but in my opinion, he should be listed higher. Ok, maybe he plays one beat for half of Metallica's songs, but he makes them work well. Plus, when he adds a little bit of double bass to a consistent beat on the ride and snare on "Motorbreath" and "Hit the Lights", it sounds really good. He's not the best, but he should be ranked higher than #9.

OK, Lars Ulrich is my favourite drummer ever! OK, I know, maybe he's not as good as my 2nd favourite drummer (Neil Peart) or my 3rd one (John Bonham), but Metallica is my favourite band ever and one of the reasons it's my favourite is because of the drumming, Lars is incredible, just listen to the first albums (specially Kill 'Em All) before complaining.

14 Danny Carey Daniel Edwin "Danny" Carey, born May 10, 1961 in Lawrence, Kansas, is an American drummer and instrumentalist best known for his work in American Grammy Award-winning progressive rock band Tool. He has also contributed to albums by and played with such artists as Zaum, Green Jellÿ, Pigface, Skinny ...read more.

As a fan of metal and drumming in general, Danny Carey has been one of the most influential and skilled drummers I could think of. He has pushed me to try harder and has caused me to expand my horizons throughout my drumming career. This man is an absolute legend and is quite underrated for the music genre he plays for. The skills to go in between 9/8 to 7/8 etc is absolutely astonishing. For people who think that these more mainstream drummers are better is just wrong, they are only up there due to their unbelievable fame. This dude doesn't need fame to drive him to be the best drummer ever, he is basically there already

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.

This dude is amazing. In the latest output of Tool, he demonstrates polyrhythmic drumming. Like Peart, he gives the drum its own voice in the song. I put him second only because Neil was the first to do it and has a wider range.

If each musical instrument had its own God, Danny would be the Alpha and Omega of drums. I'd like to know what bloated, cigar smoking, music industry douche bag made this list. Granted, there is talent in some of the other named drummers, but NONE of them could hold a match to Danny. HELL! Most of them couldn't hold a match in the bathroom after Danny took. Which even after a night of tacos and Diablo would still sound better than most on this list..

15 Alex Van Halen Alexander Arthur "Alex" Van Halen is a Dutch-born American musician, best known as the drummer and co-founder of the hard rock band Van Halen.

Eddie or Alex - Both are incredible and are Iconic in every sense of the word. Alex added a unique sound to the band that is unsurpassed and the reason Van Halen is one of the Best Rock Groups every. Eddie, David, and Alex made that happen!

Probably one of the most 'unique' drummers I've heard. I mean I cannot really say he's a powerhouse like Bonham, can't say he is as fast as Copeland, can't say he is as much as a badass like Adler...He's got a bit of everything and his drumming just sounds 'beautiful' and gives so much 'life' to the songs instead of just power or speed. I mean listen to songs like When its love, Dreams or Why can't this be love and you'll know what I mean

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.

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.

16 Vinnie Colaiuta

As a life-long drummer, I had developed morphing lists of "best" drummers based on favorite bands, styles, genres, etc. over the years. I had a standard kind of mish-mashed mixed-up list: Rich, Roach, Peart, Bonham, Moon, Copeland, Baker, Starr, etc.. Then I tried throwing out all pre-conceived notions and objectively started listening to drummers, and BOOM! Vinnie Colaiuta reigns supreme. There is no competition. He can play ALL styles better than anyone on any of my previous lists. The one possible exception is Buddy Rich at the height of his skills performing snare drum magic in solos. I'm sure Vinnie can do the same, but I just haven't found a recording. Yet.

What? Who are you crazy people to put Dave Grohl before Vinnie Colaiuta? I'd love to see him play what Vinnie plays. I wonder what he would say if we asked him to play all the polyrythms that Vinnie plays. I bet he

Can't even play a paradiddle. Seriously, go listen to Vinnie before you vote for Dave Grohl. He is such an amazing player. I can't believe how stupid you people are. Unbelievable.

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.

Rock's most underrated drummer. The bottomless pocket and unflappable technical mastery on display he showed working with Zappa is only equalled by Peart, In my opinion, but with deeper groove.

17 Bill Ward William Thomas "Bill" Ward is an English musician and visual artist, best known as the original drummer for the British heavy metal band Black Sabbath.

The thing about Bill Ward is that he was the drummer in THE FIRST metal band to ever exist. But I wouldn't say he's a metal drummer. He's more like a hip hop drummer mixed with a jazz drummer on steroids. He would lay down funky grooves with the kick pedal on songs like Hand of Doom and Behind the Wall of Sleep that could just as easily exist in a Biggie Smalls song as a metal song, and would then proceed to destroy your mind with lightning fast fills. The man had hands like a machine gun. And when you watch live footage of him, it's so amazing that the camera man practically focuses on him the whole time. He was an absolute maniac on the drums and his beats are among the grooviest ever written. 100% underrated. Probably due to the fact that Sabbath only really put out 3 amazing albums.

Any young drummer wood shedding to his favorite albums can figure out with a little hard work and understanding of syncopation, how to play any Led Zeppelin song, any Rush song, or any other popular music in their iPods. Yet I don't care who you are, or how good you think you are, Mike bordin, Tommy fluctose, it doesn't matter. None of us can play the Wizard, none of us can play Electric Funeral or any other Black Sabbath song because Bill Ward is on a different level. He is the 5th point of the alchemy star, the aetherial. His DNA is Black Sabbath and it birthed a new style of drumming where the open holes were as powerful as the notes on the drums. Sometimes his playing sounds like a marching band drum line falling down a flight of stairs. Yet as his notes land in a pile of rubble at the bottom of that stairwell, the chills go down your spine. This music was recorded over 40 years ago and sounds like it came from the depths of hell and played by the most powerful angels in heaven. ...more

If Black Sabbath were the founders of metal, Bill Ward is the father of metal drumming. Others on this list might outshine him from a technical standpoint, but they probably wouldn't even be on this list if he hadn't inspired them to pick up a pair of sticks in the first place. It's a real shame the newly reformed Black Sabbath couldn't find a way to get him involved in the current (and potentially final) reunion.

I have to give this man, Bill Ward, my vote.
Just listen to Fairies Wear Boots off the album Paranoid. There is absolutely no drummer on planet earth that can get anywhere near Bill.
There would be no Sabbath without this man. love ya Bill. xx

18 Phil Collins Philip David Charles "Phil" Collins is an English singer-songwriter and musician, who has also worked as a record producer and actor.

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

I've listened to the last half of "Cinema Show" a zillion times just to hear his touch. Incredibly smooth at juggling so many time signatures and always adding brilliant fills. Ingenious and unexpected.

Phil should be number one. He doesn't just play the drums, he has such an original style, that he makes them sing!
He is innovative, technically precise, and simply the BEST. He has the perfect balance between techique and feel.
Don't just judge him on his solo career. Check out "Supper's Ready" by Genesis, pay particular attention to the Apocalypse in 9/8 section. It's pure magic. If that isn't convincing enough, listen to Genesis, "The Musical Box." He holds back until around the 8:00 minute mark, and then he just explodes! Truly an amazing talent!

I will be brief. Apocalypse in 9/8, The Musical Box, and even a weird time signature in Turn it on Again. The man's talent speaks for itself, I don't need to defend him. He is simply the best. Peter Gabriel is quoted as saying that the moment Phil stepped behind the drum kit, he knew he was the best. And Peter Gabriel doesn't settle for less than perfect.
He is simply amazing!

19 Rick Allen Richard John Cyril "Rick" Allen is an English drummer who has played for the hard rock band Def Leppard since 1978. He overcame the amputation of his left arm in 1985 and continued to play with the band, which subsequently went on to its most commercially successful phase.

Say whatever you want but you cannot question this man's love of his instrument. He learned to play without his arm! Seems freaking very difficult but I suppose he must of felt like he HAD to play...

Rick Allen was a beast when he had two arms... Check out Pyromania and high n Dry! At the time, he was only about 20 years old... Had he matured and had both arms, think of all the legends he would've left behind. But alas, even with one arm, he'll destroy most of the drummers out there. I vote him as top 5 drummers of all time hands down!

Rick Allen is better than any other drummer on this list, and he only has one arm. You've got to admire his passion and all-out greatness. It is a shame that he's this far down on the list.

Even before he had one arm he was truly great at drums. Listen to "Rock of Ages" and he was one fantastic drummer! Yet he can still do that work with one arm!

20 Stewart Copeland Stewart Armstrong Copeland is an American musician, multi-instrumentalist and composer best known as the drummer for the English-American rock band The Police and for his film and video game soundtracks.

Apart from Neil Peart, Bonzo and Keith Moon being at 1, 2 and 3, this is the stupidest list I have ever seen. Stewart Copeland is unquestionably the 4th greatest drummer ever, behind them. And he's somehow at 18th? Meanwhile the majority of drummers ahead of him on this list are random metal drummers who don't have a feel or rhythm half as good as this machine of a man.

I don't think Dave Grohl took a trip to Africa to immerse himself in the music of the natives. Although, I do think Grohl is one of the most versatile drummers of our time, I think Copeland should be ahead of him and Ringo Starr. His impeccable skills with his instrument his instrument made the Police a reggae band, able to support their sound with unpredictable yet completely natural, jazz-influenced style and outstanding musical understanding�"he's also a composer.

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. )

Copeland kicked maximum ass composing and drumming the theme to the to show, The Equalizer. If you have ever watched the show, you know what I am talking about. Pure talent and pure perfection.

21 Roger Taylor Roger Meddows Taylor is an English musician , multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter born on July 26th, 1949 in Kings Lynn, Norfolk. He was the drummer of the band Queen and wrote few of many hits such as "Under Pressure", "A Kind Of Magic" and "Radio Ga Ga". Despite being well known in Queen ...read more.

He's the drummer of Queen! And Queen was voted number 2 on this same website on the greatest bands of all time, Queen's song Bohemian Rhapsody number 1 on this same website for greatest songs of all time, Queen's lead vocalist Freddie Mercury voted number 1 on this same website for greatest singer of all time. And just listen to the drums on some of their songs, absolutely amazing! And he can sing very nice. I am surprised he isn't higher, he should be at least in the top 3!

Roger Taylor should be at least in the top 3.. he is an amazing drummer with so much talent and his vocals are wow! I'm 33 and am a massive fan of roger and his music he deserves better than this

Whoever made this list must be deaf or not have ears! What is Roger doing all the way down here?! How is he not even in the top #20?! 40?! This list is messed up! Roger is the king (or queen) of drumming! He can also sing really good! I'm In Love With My Car is underrated and needs more attention! same with his other songs such as The Loser In The End and Modern Times Rock 'N' Roll! His drumming is badass especially in Fat Bottomed Girls and I Want It All! I demand you put him at #1! Queen rules!

Extremely underrated - even though he is always generally in top 15. But his amazing vocals, song writing, and showmanship tend to make the average person think he is more of a "show", than the incredible savant he was. In fact, Neil Peart often has been quoted naming Roger Taylor as one of his rock contemporaries who continually work at their craft, as well as his technical proficiency.
Too often underrated by common folk.

22 Nick Mason Nicholas Berkeley "Nick" Mason is an English musician and composer, best known as the drummer of legendary rock band Pink Floyd.

Being a drummer does not mean that you need to be loud, need to be fast and crazy. Drummers are the backbone of most songs. Nick Mason was not only the backbone for Pink Floyd's songs, but he was the beauty and soul of their music. His drumming is an expression of his inner being and inner soul, and you can hear this in their music. It is not just the passion that you can hear in his drumming, but you can hear the expression of his inner being. His drumming show what is means to be human. Complete freedom, let your inner self be free, no restraint.

A very recognizable drummer with great style and identity. Not saying he's the best but he sure surpasses posers like Shannon Leto, James Sullivan, Lars Ulrich or Yoshiki Hayashi. The drums are a musical instrument that should be used with brilliance, not just mindlessly banged.

How come he is number 30? Why such a good drummer is that underrated? He is not an insane drummer but look at his sense man...listen to "live at Pompeii" stuffs..You will understand.. Banging the drums isn't about everything..you must feel the rhythm

Pink Floyd is a precision program rock band. Your leader of precision of time is always the dummer. I seriously doubt that any body else could have filled the role as well as nick mason.

23 Vinnie Paul Abbott Vincent Paul Abbott, better known as "Vinnie Paul" (March 11, 1964 - June 22nd, 2018) was an American professional drummer and producer. Alongside his late brother Dimebag Darrell, he co-founded the Heavy Metal Bands Pantera and Damageplan, with whom he would find success with in the former. After the ...read more.

One of the greatest drummer in history!
Should be in first 10. Just listen some song of Pantera.

Should be way closer to the top of this list.

Why is this man not in the top 10?

24 Mike Mangini Mike Mangini is an American drummer. Since 2010, he has been a member of progressive metal band Dream Theater, following the departure of founding drummer Mike Portnoy.

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.

How the hell is Portnoy 4 and Mangini 24 right now? Mangini isn't any lesser of a drummer than Portnoy and he's way back here behind schmucks like Lars Ulrich? People should look up some of Mangini's live playing. I guess the mix really does screw up his sound on the albums.

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!

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.

25 Tre Cool Frank Edwin Wright III, known professionally as Tré Cool, is a German-born American drummer, best known as the drummer for the American punk rock/pop punk band Green Day. He replaced the band's former drummer John Kiffmeyer in 1990.

He is the best drummer ever because there is so much variety in his drum playing. he has the most energy of any drummer and puts so much effort into his drumming. he always makes sure he puts on a good concert with Green Day and he is the most lively spirited person I know haha. if you listen to homecoming in a part he plays the drums while singing. that's pretty hard to do considering that he's doing hard rolls and has a huge drum set(kit) s=and has to be able to move around to all of them while singing. he's amazing and will always be a big part of Green Day's fan's hearts.

I am a big Green Day fan but Green Day would be nothing without Tre Cool. All those great songs would not be so great. American Idiot would be really bad. But The how crew is amazing and they are going in the hall fame in the next few years maybe this year. Love yah Green Day. Best of the best. They are the punk rock kings.

The most dangerous drummer in the world. He takes simple beats and plays them even better. His faces are hilarious, and his energy is ridiculous. Now I can't argue with legends like John Bonham and Neal Peart being atop this list, but I think Tre deserves top 15 at least, maybe even top 10

Why isn't he at least in the top 10!? He puts so much effort into his drums that he is absolutely phenomenal! He has inspired so many people and he's generally a great guy, always making people laugh, you can't help but love him. He deserves more than No. 19!

8Load More
PSearch List