Top 10 Best Drummers of All TimeA 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.
Possibly the purest of the drummers on this list. Ingenuity. There was a true collaboration between his mind, hands, feet, and his drums.
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 is 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.
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 of being 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.
This is the same list that put Mike Portnoy over Dave Grohl. Wow.
There is no doubt John Bonham changed drumming. Sure, Neil Peart 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 learned how to play those famous fills from his career, like Tom Sawyer, in under a year, and I still can't play Good Times Bad Times all the way through. John was more talented, and if you compare feeling, John takes that too. One of, if not the most, sampled drum beats is When the Levee Breaks, which is John's 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.
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, whereas 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 idolize 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. Take a beat or fill from a song by The Who. Have another drummer play it the same, then listen to Moon play it. The notes are the same, but Keith's drum swagger makes it sound different. Keith was also a very creative player when it came to double bass. The way he does flams on the double bass while doing fills on top of it (look for the Won't Get Fooled Again isolated drums on YouTube) was something I never even thought about doing. I could go on for sure, but there are a few of my reasons. I'd write more, but I'm in a rush.
A god. He is the alpha and the omega. I was fortunate to see Buddy Rich. Although he was older, his tenacity of purpose and skill set had not slowed. "Awe" does not begin to define the feeling of watching Buddy Rich.
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. Let's 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. Anyone 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 that his music will sustain forever. Buddy Rich was right on time when he said that. You listen to Buddy Rich today, and all of his drumming sounds just as fresh and unbelievable 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's drum solos were like a good book. They had a beginning, a middle that kept you engaged, and of course, Buddy would give you a breathtaking finish. Today's drum solos are just like the grand finale of a fireworks show: all noise and all loud. Man, Buddy Rich, we miss you big time.
If this were a list for underrated musicians, Grohl would have my vote. But as it's a list for the best drummer, he's my second-place choice (favoring 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 of which had a very unique style. He definitely knew how to work with what he had, however simple, and make it a masterpiece. This man doesn't get one-billionth of the credit he deserves or should have.
Dave has done it all: Scream, Nirvana, Foo Fighters & Them Crooked Vultures. He has also been a guitarist on David Bowie's "Heathen" tour and has even filled in as a 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 Fighters in his garage. David is ace and a really nice dude too!
What the hell is wrong with you people?! Dave Grohl will ALWAYS win, hands down, as the 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.
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.
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 that 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 arguably the 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? Try 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 in 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.
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 are 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 the drums pounding in your head for the next three days, and that's all because of this rock legend.
I'm a huge JJ fan. He's just too fast and has insane drum fills and double bass kicks! One of the greatest and best drummers ever! Just listen to Slipknot's songs "All Hope Is Gone" and "The Blister Exists," and you'll know why! Neil Peart is still the best, of course. There's something about his drumming that separates him from other great drummers. No need to explain further.
What? Yoshiki Hayashi number 1? I don't get this. I would understand if Lars or Neil Peart were up there, but what? Guys, Joey Jordison's skills are really effing good. You should see his drum solo. It's really fast with his double bass and his fast stroking/blasting technique, which is amazing. He should at least be in the top 3!
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 bucketloads. 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 performance of the lead singer. If there were a list of the most underrated drummers, he would surely be at No. 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 mention his just as underrated talent in singing - his high notes are true killers. Glen also plays the guitar and the piano. Need I say more?
This list includes some of the drummers who don't deserve to be on it. Then there's Dave Lombardo. He deserves to be among the top three drummers, right after Bonham. The rest, I don't care where you put them. If this guy had 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, 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 on another level.
He 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.
Generally, drummers come from rock to jazz. Here we have the inverse path. The result is intricate, asymmetric bars that we can hear in excellent Tool albums. Bravo!
First off, people like Ringo, Lars, and even Keith Moon do not belong on this list. They are popular drummers that guitar players and non-musicians point to simply because of their name recognition. Their technical skill and creativity are 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 Hooker 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 large 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.
The best I ever heard, and with the broadest scope in jazz, rock, African, Japanese, etc. A true genius. Only the likes 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 sitting next to me, while listening to one of his long solos, that he was the greatest drummer I'd ever heard. 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 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.
Sure, he may not have gone ballistic on drum sets like many 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, has 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 probably just sounds like "In My Life." He was also a human metronome, with perfect rhythm. He seems to be underrated simply because 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 world's 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 drum fills and rhythms, but he practically invented the rock drumming that every single rock drummer knows today. Just one of the many 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. This may sound rude, but I don't think you can fully understand what he did for rock music unless you're a drummer yourself. It took me some years to actually understand what this man did for all of us. I'm still thinking about him every time I sit down at my drums to play.
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 like 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 a great atmosphere by complementing all the other great players in Metallica's sound. It's 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 a full-on return to his thrash sound. My Apocalypse, All Nightmare Long, and That Was Just Your Life are thrash. The Day That Never Comes saw him show that he still has the musical ability he had with One, Sanitarium, etc. Lars is the greatest rock/metal drummer there ever was, is, or ever will be and deserves to be known as such. Long live Metallica!
Probably one of the most 'unique' drummers I've heard. I mean, I can't really say he's a powerhouse like Bonham, can't say he's as fast as Copeland, and can't say he's as much of a badass as Adler. He's got a bit of everything, and his drumming just sounds 'beautiful' and adds so much 'life' to the songs instead of just power or speed. I mean, listen to songs like When It's 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 at which he plays, he is capable of downshifting in a nanosecond. Very worthy of top 10 status.
Dude's a beast but not number one. Definitely top ten, maybe even top five, behind Portnoy, The Rev, and Peart. Just listen to Hot for Teacher. Sounds like there are four drummers. But who in the world put Ringo in this? He isn't the best drummer in the world. He wasn't even the best drummer in The Beatles.
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 believe Copeland should be ahead of him and Ringo Starr. His impeccable skills on his instrument made the Police a reggae band, able to support their sound with an unpredictable yet completely natural, jazz-influenced style and outstanding musical understanding. He's also a composer.
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.
Bonham's really my favorite, but I had to vote for 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.
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 mishmashed, mixed-up list: Rich, Roach, Peart, Bonham, Moon, Copeland, Baker, Starr, etc. Then I tried throwing out all preconceived 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.
Easily the best drummer I have ever heard. Listen to Joe's Garage by Frank Zappa. Even if you don't like the rest of the songs, just listen to the drums. It's nuts.
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 polyrhythms 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.
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 in 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 cameraman 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 three amazing albums.
Any young drummer woodshedding 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 on 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 fifth 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 drumline 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 was played by the most powerful angels in heaven. Give respect! Bill Ward is the greatest heavy metal drummer that ever walked the Earth. A true accompanist. 100% feel and heart. Any working professional drummer should give respect to Bill for never being sold out or marginalized every time Sharon Osbourne or someone in the Black Sabbath camp decided he wasn't worth the money and just grabbed some fill-in drummer. Bill did it for all of us because drummers are worth every penny, and if you don't have a good drummer in your band or on your track, forget it! You've got no chance. This man is a legend. God bless Bill Ward.
I loved Phil's playing with Genesis before he became a frontman and solo artist. He's a very talented man and a drummer first. His '70s style was very different from his '80s 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 '70s, plus, of course, his jazz outlet through Brand X. All good stuff.
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 technique and feel.
Don't just judge him on his solo career. Check out "Supper's Ready" by Genesis, paying particular attention to the Apocalypse in 9/8 section. It's pure magic. If that isn't convincing enough, listen to Genesis's "The Musical Box." He holds back until around the 8:00-minute mark, and then he just explodes! Truly an amazing talent.
Rick Allen has to be one of the greatest drummers of all time and definitely is the best in my book. Drumming with one arm really caught my eye when finding out about Def Leppard, and now that I'm actually into the band, I respect that even more. Still managing to play the songs from On Through the Night to Pyromania, in which he played with both arms, with just one arm is just beyond impressive.
What this guy overcame - losing an arm and still drumming today with an adapted kit - is phenomenal. He overcame adversity after going through the wringer.
Say whatever you want, but you cannot question this man's love for his instrument. He learned to play without his arm! It seems incredibly difficult, but I suppose he must have felt like he HAD to play.
Being a drummer doesn't mean that you need to be loud, fast, or crazy. Drummers are the backbone of most songs. Nick Mason was not only the backbone of Pink Floyd's songs but also the beauty and soul of their music. His drumming is an expression of his inner being and soul, and you can hear this in their music. It's not just the passion that you can hear in his drumming. You can also hear the expression of his inner being. His drumming shows what it means to be human - complete freedom, letting your inner self be free, with no restraint.
A very recognizable drummer with great style and identity. I'm not saying he's the best, but he certainly surpasses posers like Shannon Leto, James Sullivan, Lars Ulrich, and Yoshiki Hayashi. Drums are a musical instrument that should be used with brilliance, not just mindlessly banged on.
How come he is number 30? Why is such a good drummer so underrated? He is not an insane drummer, but look at his sense, man. Listen to the "Live at Pompeii" tracks. You will understand. Banging the drums isn't everything. You must feel the rhythm.
He's the drummer of Queen! And Queen was voted number 2 on this same website as the greatest band of all time. Queen's song Bohemian Rhapsody was voted number 1 on this same website as the greatest song of all time. Queen's lead vocalist, Freddie Mercury, was voted number 1 on this same website as the greatest singer of all time. And just listen to the drums on some of their songs. They're absolutely amazing! He can also sing very well. I am surprised he isn't higher. He should be at least in the top 3!
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 well! I'm In Love With My Car is underrated and needs more attention, as do 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 number 1! Queen rules!
Pantera was one of the first metal bands I ever listened to, and it was this band that got me into metal. I wasn't really focused on Vinnie, but now I realize that Vinnie is a legend. R.I.P. Vinnie.
One of the greatest drummers in history! Should be in the top 10. Just listen to some songs by Pantera.
Should be way closer to the top of this list.
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.
Nicko deserves to be in the top 5. He can easily outperform John Bonham. Nicko is one of the greatest drummers of the legendary heavy metal band Iron Maiden. He is fast and skilled. I am very disappointed to see him at number 20. He deserves more.
He deserves to be in the top 5 at a minimum. His extreme beats are executed with a single pedal, and he has skills like the 14/8 riff that not just any drummer can perform. I think Nicko McBrain is the best in his genre of British heavy metal music.
How is Nicko ranked at 42? The guy plays endless triplets and gallops through the entire Maiden set, doing it flawlessly! Unlike Mr. Peart, Maiden doesn't take days off. They play every day, all day, rocking wherever Flight 666 can land. UP THE IRONS!