Greatest Drummers of All Time


The Contenders: Page 2

21 Gene Krupa Gene Krupa Eugene Bertram "Gene" Krupa was an American jazz and big band drummer, band leader, actor, and composer.

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.

I saw the movie "THE GENE KRUPA STORY" that was the first time I had ever heard of him and in my opinion the best of the best

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22 Mike Mangini 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.

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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23 Thomas Lang

Only drummer capable of counting and playing overlapping series of 3, 5, 7, 13 notes, each series with each different hand and foot simultaneously. He is unbeatable, the only drummer who makes his colleagues feel weak and nervous. He will never be on the top of the list because he will never play with a monster band

He should be in the Top 5! He is the most technical and skilled drummer ever. All those lists are subjective, based on author's likes and dislikes, and all of them are different. But the truth is the only one!

An absolute monster. His independence is remarkable. I believe he is the most skilled drummer on the planet right now.

Unbelievable Hand- and Feetwork! Un-exceeded feel for hard-to-follow-fill-ins, just phantastic!

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24 Paul Whaley

He is a member of Blue Cheer and did drumming like the true Rock way. How can Blue Cheer be so underrated? Part of is because a lot of people do not know Blue Cheer. Blue Cheer should be spread more and Blue Cheer should be more like. Blue Cheer should be for every Rock fan just like Led Zeppelin can be for every Rock fan. Blue Cheer is like Jimi Hendrix, Cream, The Rolling Stones, and The Who for Hard rock. Blue Cheer sounds like those artists and really rocks, and rocks it out like those artists. Led Zeppelin can be like that too but not as much as Blue Cheer. Led Zeppelin has the fell as the other Hard rock from the 70s. No way an Alternative rock, Metal, Punk, Progressive rock, or Roots rock artist is better than Blue Cheer. Rock will always be better than Alternative rock, Metal, Punk, Progressive rock, or Roots rock. Rock rocks more than those types of Rock music. Paul Whaley should be higher. - BlueFuse

25 Roger Taylor Roger Taylor Roger Meddows Taylor is an English musician , multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter born on April 26th,1960 in Kings Lynn, Norfolk. He was the drummer of the band Queen and wrote few of many hits such as including Under Pressure, A Kind Of Magic and Radio Ga Ga. Despite being well known in Queen more.

I have almost a million reasons why Roger Taylor is the best Drummer, Musician, and Person ever, First of all, Listen to Breakthru and think how he did that amazing sound with only Drums?! Next find a live version of I'm In Love With My Car and think how he could play drums, and sing and still be able to breath after wards, and people, Ringo Starr, you barely know there are drums in Beatles songs, and after that's all sunk in listen to the back-up vocals on Somebody to love and then think about how ROGER TAYLOR IS TOTALLY NUMBER ONE! - Queen-aholic

Kicking ass at drumming and singing at the same time... That deserves higher than place 19. He may not be the fastest drummer, but his actual ability to hold a song together whilst backing up vocals and providing main vocals is a lot more than any of the other nominees can do.

Subtle, yet primal. Textured, yet walloping. Taylor simply oozes chops that no one else has, with a style all his own. Grandeur is perhaps a strange word to apply to drumming, but that's what Roger Taylor has. I'm in awe every time I hear him. #1, bar none.

Why is he not number 1?

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26 Steve Gadd

Gadd is a drummers drummer and like Buddy Rich, a natural talent with an innate ability to feel the music. He lives it, just look at his face when he plays. His drumming contributes, it doesn't dominate, but is it incredibly skilled in a very subtle way. Check out his playing with Chick Corea and of course, the legendary "50 ways to leave your lover" drum part...

style, finesse, control and metronomic time-keeping! It's no wonder everyone was after him. In Japan he was called Steve God. Period.

If you asked pro drummers across all genres to compile this list, Steve Gadd would be in the top ten easily.

He is a text book for drummers.

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27 Dave Weckl Dave Weckl

One of the best, most sophisticated, outstanding drummer I ever heard in my life, and I heard all of them. Absolutely a genius on the drums. A top ten must!

What is dave doing all the way down here? God help me!

Hands down the most versatile and musical drummer today. Voters on these lists should always do their homework and actually listen to everyone before voting.

Like Steve Gadd, has worked with Chick Corea and you should check him out in some of the live sessions with Chick. Stunning...and easily top 10...

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28 Nick Mason 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.

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 must feel the rhythm

Not an insane, crazy, drummer, but he set the mood for many of their greatest songs. - Darrell

He's an incredibly underrated drummer in my opinion. He deserves to be much higher on the list

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29 Bill Ward 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.

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.

There is no greatest drummer because there so so many but Lars shouldn't even be in the top million drummers and Bill Ward is the king of metal drummers. Death also has the greatest metal drummers. I think all Deaths drummers should be in the top 20.

Bill Ward should be in the top ten. A founding father of heavy metal drumming! He introduced power and speed that were unknown before his time. Lars isn't even close in talent or impact.

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30 Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Michael Henry "Nicko" McBrain is an English musician, best known as the drummer of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden, which he joined in 1982.

Mr. Octopus. THE KING OF SINGLE PEDAL, he prefers to employ a fast, bare foot technique using a single pedal, so why not he be the first...

Nicko deserves to be in top 5. Because he can easily beat John Bonham and kick his ass. Nicko is one of the greatest drummer of the legendary heavy metal band iron maiden. He is fast and skilled. I am very disappointed to see him in number 20. He deserves more.

The minimum that he deserves to be in the top 5. his extreme beats done with a single pedal and skills like the 14/8 riff that not any drummer can perform. I think the octupus Nicko McBrain is the best in his british heavy metal music.

A Top Ten in my estimation.

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31 Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan Jimmy 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 heavy metal band Avenged more.

You're right, it is too low on this list, seeing as how he's also at number seven.

His style was unique

To low on this list

he was god

32 Craig MacIntyre

Craig can really get the blood to going! Love to watch him play. Drummers fascinate me. I can multi-task online but drumming takes something else my brain just can't compute. Thanks Craig for giving out tips to those that occasionally sit in a song! - anetnut

This guy rocks!

Craig you deserve recognition for all the wonderful work you do. - Jerusha

Famous does equal the best.

Craig is a fantastic drummer and fun to watch. Drummers have always fascinated me. Talk about multi-tasking... Amazing! Before joining Josh Groban's band, Craig performed with Jackopierce, Toni Lynn Washington, Jess Klein, Johnny A, and the Swinging Steaks, among others. Thanks for sharing your drumkit with you know who Craig. - anetnut

33 Rick Allen 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.

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!

This guy is awesome even though he has an arm

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34 Virgil Donati

Donati has pushed well past the boundaries most drummers didn't know existed. His style is unique and his combination of precision, speed and complexity is an example of what someone can accomplish when they dedicate their lives to pushing the limits of what is achievable on a drum kit. BUT he doesn't play in a popular rock band and doesn't stay inside the limits of the basic 4/4 time signature and therefore most voters here won't even have heard of this master. This laughable list is far from accurate and is merely people's opinion on their favourite drummers, as evident in the comments for Tommy Lee. Being able to play without a shirt on or while spinning upside down does not make you an amazing drummer.

Virgil donati is not only the best and most complex drummer who has ever lived but will be the best long after he has gone. That's how far advanced this guy is. It will literally take many many years before earth see another Virgil donati! I have studied him my hole life met him and all. He should not only be number 1 on this list but there should be a big gap between 1 and 2 and 2 should definitely be weckl. But donati is number one by farr!

His drum solo on Cruise Missile while playing with Loose Change in Melbourne, is out of the world, 15 minutes of pure genius.

Virgil is outstanding in 4 way coordination, imagination, speed and power, sense of guess what comes next in a jam, among other skills, and inbuilt talent.
He arrived to new borders of the drums technique, all was achieved by hardworking along many years.

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35 Tommy Lee Tommy Lee Thomas Lee Bass, best known as Tommy Lee, is a Greek-American musician and founding member of heavy metal band Mötley Crüe.

In my opinion Tommy Lee has always been and always will be the best drummer in the world. Watching Tommy play amazing and unforgettable. He also has gorgeous tattoo's and I don't believe I have ever seen him play while wearing a shirt, for his age, lifestyle and the drugs he abused along with having Hepatitis C he looks amazing for his age. Anyone that misses out on seeing Tommy Lee perform has missed out on the chance of a lifetime to see a rock legend.

NUMBER 31! Who made this list, I'm sorry to say but Tommy should be at least in the top 10 I mean drumming while spinning upside down and all the other stuff. Come on you must be blind or something. Who ever made this list needs to be shot or giving a new pair of ears. Tommy is one of the best drummers in the World. PERIOD

He's the only drummer in the world who can play upside down/sideways/spinning/& puking all at the same time & never misses a beat.


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36 Chad Smith Chad Smith Chadwick "Chad" Smith is an American musician and current drummer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which he joined in 1988 and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Chad Smith is one of the most sought-after session drummers in the world - and probably one of the loudest. In the late 80s, he blew away the newly-formed Red Hot Chilli Peppers lineup, though his hard rock and hell's angels style appearance looked out of place, so singer Anthony Kiedis told him to ditch the bandana and come back the next day. Smith kept it on, but they admired his persistence. Today he's also touring with the supergroup Chickenfoot, when he gets a chance.

besides the fact that he was voted by drummer magazine the best drummer alive he also holds the world record for playing the worlds largest drum kit

Look up "RHCP-I Like Dirt, Rolling Rock Festival 2000". It's crazy. - Johannes9


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37 Travis Barker Travis Barker Travis Landon Barker is an American musician and producer, and the drummer for the American rock band Blink-182. Barker has also performed as a frequent collaborator with hip-hop artists, and with the alternative rock band +44, the rap rock group the Transplants, and the alternative rock band Box Car more.

Simply the best, the one with a unique style! Just because he is open to play every type of music, and he kicks ass!

If this is a list of human drummers Travis doesn't belong here. I mean he's like super human when he plays drums. I love his style hi's awesome. Blink

Are you kidding me? TRAVIS AT #37? His playing is great, and when he unleashes his full potential, it's unreal. I bet the half of the voters here didn't even hear Travis playing what he is capable of and at his best. Definitely deserves to be way higher.

Blinks always been my favorite and travis my favorite drummer

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38 Kenney Jones Kenney Jones Kenneth Thomas "Kenney" Jones is a veteran English musician and drummer best known for his work in the groups The Small Faces, The Faces and then The Who, after Keith Moon's death in 1978. Jones was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 as a member of The Small Faces/Faces.

He did a heck of a job playing for The Who after Keith's death, and given the fact he played for The Small faces, he deserves a A+ rep!

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39 Tico Torres

Even Gene Krupa rated Buddy as the greatest and that says it all. Not only was he fast, he also had a delicacy and variety of touch that placed him on a higher plane than both contemporary and younger drummers. Added to this he had a dry sense of humour which often came through during his playing. See him on the Muppet Show on YouTube.

Simply. Number 1. Greatest Drummer from the greatest ever band. No Band has ever performed live as well as Jovi. No band ever will do. Quite simply music perfection.

This is the only solid rock band that has made it this far without falling into the Hollywood lifestyle. Great music, Great concerts! Definitely the best drummer of all time!

No one plays the drums like tico

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40 Billy Cobham Billy Cobham William Emanuel "Billy" Cobham is a Panamanian American jazz drummer, composer and bandleader, who permanently relocated to Switzerland during the late 1970s.

Anyone who knows a thing about drumming for real would put Billy Cobham above the majority of the drummers listed here simply because he was their teacher, their rolemodel, the one all drummers looked up to. Just ask Dennis Chambers, Steve Smith, Sheila E. (she and her dad Pete Escovedo played together with Billy Cobham on his 1977 Magic album) Terry Bozzio, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl and all your other favorites. Either they were a fan of Billy Cobham or they were a fan of one of his many students. Billy Cobham is truly your favorite drummer's drummer! When you talk about drums there is a before Billy Cobham era and an after Billy Cobham era, that is probably the best indication as to why he is the absolute number 1 drummer. In the sixties he was a pure jazz drummer playing with George Benson (Billie's Bounce! ), Kenny Burrell, Ron Carter or Horace Silver in 1968 (check out the live track Nutville! ), invented jazzrock fusion drums with Miles Davis (Bitches Brew), Dreams (featuring ...more

People who have voted, probably did it out of popularity, Cobham is one of the best drummers in the World, and maybe of all time, just not the most popular unless your a renowned drummer, or follower that really understands what drumming is all about!

I saw Cobham twice in my life. He changed the way I listened to music from then on. Also got to meet him when he played with Dreams. Truly a great and humble man. So much talent. Also saw him with the late George Duke. Another historic performance. One of the best of all times.

Easily the best drummer of all time.

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List StatsUpdated 23 Jun 2017

31,000 votes
375 listings
9 years, 218 days old

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