Best Progressive Rock Drummers

I have the highest respect for Progressive Rock Drummers, as their songs have overly complex rhythms and odd time signatures!

That's why I decided to make a list about those drumming legends!

The Top Ten

1 Bill Bruford Bill Bruford William Scott "Bill" Bruford is an English retired drummer, percussionist, composer, producer, and record label owner.

There are a lot of great drummers on this list. I voted for Bill Bruford because he managed to play really complex rhythms and polyrhythms while remaining tasteful and serving the song. He is the only man who has worked with Yes, King Crimson, and Genesis. That says a lot. - Gg2000

Really glad to see him on this list. - IronSabbathPriest

Godfather of prog percussion

2 Carl Palmer Carl Palmer Carl Frederick Kendall Palmer is an English drummer and percussionist most famed for playing with the progressive rock bands Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Asia.

He is still playing great today with his legacy band. What is great about this you get to see a top notch musician in a small venue. Besided if Buddy Rich says your good, Your good.

In my opinion, Carl is in the top 5 best in the world. Saw live performance of Fanfare for the Common Man-remembering it still takes my breath away. But ELP is sadly under appreciated in my opinion

Just hear his unique drumming in "Brain Salad Sugery" studio album and in the live "Welcome Back My Friends To The Show that Never Ends". There is nothing like it! A genius!

An incredible drummer who rightly belongs on this list who demonstrated keen precision and creativity while complementing both Keith Emerson and Greg Lake's music. The solo on Karn Evil 9 live version is still one of the best ever...

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3 Neil Peart Neil Peart Neil Ellwood Peart (born September 12, 1952 in Hamilton, Canada) is a Canadian-American musician and author, best known as the drummer and primary lyricist for the rock band Rush. Peart has received numerous awards for his musical performances.

The younger drummers in this list probably looked up to Neil as a mentor, I know Mike Portnoy did.

He is the KING drummer

4 Alan White
5 Mike Portnoy 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.

Relentless with a Beathoven-like compositional understanding of exactly what is needed for any piece of music

No one plays like Mike Portnoy! He will always be the best!

He is my favorite Drummer...of all time..

A real legend!

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6 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.
7 Gavin Harrison

Has the cleanest drum notes I have ever heard. Makes excellent use of his whole drum set, especially his special small cymbals.
Has insanely good timing.

Best ever

This guy seems to always know the perfect fill and has an insane amount of creativity. Porcupine Tree became a heavyweight when he came on board.

A genius on drums.

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

Can make any odd time signature groove

The most lyrical of all drummers. I've never known a drummer that can enhance the song as Phil. For me he's the best.

9 Andy Ward

The rhythmic heartbeat of Camel!

10 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.

The Newcomers

? Graeme Edge

The Contenders

11 Danny Carey 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 Jell├┐, Pigface, Skinny more.

Just Wow's you behind the set!

He isn't a drummer. He's a percussionist.

12 Terry Bozzio Terry Bozzio Terry John "Ted" Bozzio is an American drummer best known for his work with Missing Persons and Frank Zappa.
13 Brann Dailor Brann Dailor Brann Timothy Dailor is an American drummer/singer best known as a member of the Atlanta, Georgia metal band Mastodon, in which he is the drummer, backing vocalist, lead vocalist and primary lyricist.
14 Martin Lopez

Martin lopez is awesome. Very underrated

Check out "April Ethereal" (Opeth) - IronSabbathPriest

15 Matt Garstka

Can't touch him

16 Tomas Haake Tomas Haake Tomas Haake is a Swedish drummer and main songwriter of the experimental metal band Meshuggah. He is known for his polyrhythms and technical ability. In 2012, he was named the 5th best Modern Metal drummer by He was named the number one drummer in the "Metal" category, in the July 2008 more.
17 Rob Bourdon Rob Bourdon Robert Gregory Bourdon is an American musician, best known as the drummer and one of the founding members of the American rock band Linkin Park.

Who added this? Linkin Park aren't prog.

Not progressive at all.

18 Michael Giles

In the court of the crimson king has some of the most amazing drum parts in prog rock ever made by Michael Giles

19 Scott Rockenfield
20 Jon Theodore
21 Craig Blundell
22 Phil Ehart
23 Lenny White
24 Jason Rullo
25 Steve Judd
26 Roger Taylor 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 more.
27 Christian Vander
28 Tim Alexander

One of the top ten greatest alternative metal drummers of all history

29 Blake Richardson
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Top Ten Best Progressive Metal Drummers Best Rock Drummers Best Hard Rock-Metal Drummers Best Japanese Rock Drummers Most Influential Rock Drummers

List Stats

300 votes
30 listings
3 years, 130 days old

Top Remixes

1. Carl Palmer
2. Bill Bruford
3. Alan White
1. Neil Peart
2. Mike Portnoy
3. Mike Mangini


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