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 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.

Really glad to see him on this list.

2 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

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

3 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.

An incredible drummer who rightly belongs on this list. He 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.

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

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

4 Alan White
5 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 can't think of a drummer who has done a better job of playing exactly the right things at exactly the right times than Phil Collins. He was quite the drummer back in the 70s and early 80s with Genesis. Not only a virtuoso technician, but also lent endless feeling to the song.

Incredibly inventive in any time signature. Check out "Dance on a Volcano". I'd say he's my favorite of all time, and it's because of the way he always enhances the songs so perfectly, every time, that he beats out Bill Bruford in my eyes.

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.

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

He is my favorite drummer of all time.

7 Nick Mason Nicholas Berkeley "Nick" Mason is an English musician and composer, best known as the drummer of legendary rock band Pink Floyd.
8 Graeme Edge
9 Gavin Harrison

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

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.

The best drummer in the world. He makes every song he plays in so much better.

10 Andy Ward

The rhythmic heartbeat of Camel!

The Contenders
11 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... read more

Danny is too low. The guy is a beast! He can switch between odd time signatures every other bar easily.

The polyrhythms on Lateralus and Eulogy alone should push Danny higher up the list.

Are y'all serious? This man should be number one and Neil Peart number two!

12 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.
13 Terry Bozzio Terry John "Ted" Bozzio is an American drummer best known for his work with Missing Persons and Frank Zappa.
14 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.
15 Martin Lopez

Martin Lopez is awesome. Very underrated.

16 Matt Garstka
17 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... read more
18 Michael Giles
19 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
20 Jon Theodore
21 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.
22 Christian Vander
23 Tim Alexander

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

24 Craig Blundell

Brilliant. Moving! Shows he loves the art and engages with the audience.

25 Phil Ehart
8Load More
PSearch List