10 Best Classic Rock Drummers In History

The 10 best classic rock drummers are not always the most famous rock stars because they hide behind a big set of drums. So while you may not always recognize their names, in many cases you are familiar with their distinctive styles.

  1. Keith Moon (The Who). Moon was one of the few "busy" drummers. He was all over his kit like a madman, but he stood out like few other drummers ever had. He's not just among the ten best classic rock drummers in history; he is the all-time best drummer.
  2. John Bonham (Led Zeppelin). Bonham was not as busy as Moon, but he was equally powerful. He is the foremost skin-pounder, which easily lands him in the ten best classic rock drummers in history list.
  3. Ginger Baker (Cream). Baker somehow mixed a jazz man's technique with this great trio's unique pre-metal sound. He helped invent classic rock.
  4. Stewart Copeland (The Police). This is the other "busy" drummer we love. Somehow trios–such as The Police–have so much musical space to fill.
    Copeland may have come along during the punk era, but he's respected by all who love classic rock drummers.
  5. Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix). Another trio drummer; one that helped propel Jimi Hendrix to greatness. He probably doesn't get nearly enough respect because he played with the best guitarist ever. But make no mistake about it, Mitchell is one of the ten best classic rock drummers in history.
  6. Max Weinberg (Springsteen). Bruce Springsteen's "The River" is what you want to hear how a great drummer can impact the overall feel of a stellar album. Weinberg could rock like a true rocker, yet bring out percussion sweetness that makes you fondly recall Phil Spector's "Wall Of Sound."
  7. Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac). The fact that Fleetwood Mac has evolved from a straight blues band to a more sophisticated rock band shows off Mick's diversity. Fleetwood may be one of the ten best classic rock drummers in history, but he's still just as relevant today.
  8. Hal Blaine (Session man). This one's the wild card as he was never with a famous band, Blaine was a part of the Wrecking Crew and session collective that played everything from The Beach Boys to Elvis. Blaine may be the best classic rock drummer few have even heard of.
  9. Larry Mullen Jr. (U2). What Mullen lacks in technique, he makes up with passion. The same can be said of all four U2 members. He also gets upstaged by both a guitarist and a singer.
  10. Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones). This man makes it look so easy and has done so for years. He has jazz chops. He also knows his way around the blues.
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