10 Best Drummers of All Time

From pop drummers who play for the song to over-the-top madmen, the 10 best drummers of all time helped bring the songs of their respective bands to life. Each man in this list offered a playing style all his own that earned him respect from music fans and musicians alike.

  1. Ringo Starr. When the other members in your band include two of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century, its hard to measure up, but Richard Starkey, better known to the world as Ringo Starr, kept up and kept time. His restraint for the sake of the pop tune and creativity in more experimental songs made him one of the best drummers of all time.
  2. Stewart Copeland. The Police broke up in the early 1980’s due mostly to ego clashes: each member of the band possessed immeasurable talent of which they were all personally aware. Stewart Copeland introduced a sharp jazz element to The Police’s punky reggae pop, bringing a new dimension to pop songs like “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.”
  3. John Bonham. When John Bonham died, Led Zeppelin essentially died with it. Bonham's playing was the sound of heavy metal unleashed. John Bonham. He made Led Zeppelin one of the biggest bands in the world with his mix of pummeling and creative beats that drew from jazz, blues and Latin influences. Bonzo's certainly one of the most known rock drummers and one of the best drummers of all time.
  4. Keith Moon. Keith Moon may just be the first punk rock drummer. Moon brought a frantic energy to The Who’s mod-rock that inspired other bands to try to top The Who's chaos. Apparently Paul McCartney was inspired to write The Beatles' “Helter Skelter” after hearing something about the Who being the wildest band ever.  Moon helped make songs like “My Generation” into rough-around-the-edges rock and roll anthems.
  5. Charlie Watts. Charlie Watts is a jazz fan that doesn’t care too much for rock and roll. So, it comes as a surprise that he’s wielded sticks for the “World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band,” The Rolling Stones, for decades. Watts has carried the Stones from blues-rock to psychadelia to pseudo-punk, making him one of the best drummers of all time.
  6. Dave Grohl. Before he was a member of two of the biggest rock bands of the last 25 years, Dave Grohl played in hardcore bands in Washington, D.C. Grohl’s brutal fury on the skins lead to his recruitment into Nirvana, where he brought an arena-size intensity to Kurt Cobain’s pop songs.
  7. Neil Peart. Peart’s insane complexity and technicaly helped make Rush one of the most popular progressive rock bands of the 1970’s and 1980’s. His precision and mastery of various time signatures worked perfectly with Geddy Lee’s geeky anthems. Ask any drummer who are the best drummers of all time and Neil Peart will almost certainly be included.
  8. Max Weinberg. Who else could play four hour sets backing The Boss and bash out pop tune snippets “Late Night with Conan O'Brien” and do it with such gusto? One of the best drummers of all time, Weinberg helped make Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band into a rock and roll juggernaut with his smooth, yet bombastic playing style.
  9. Josh Freese. Josh Freese is the guy-to go for rock drumming. His no-nonsense approach has landed him permanent gigs with bands as diverse as the Vandals, Devo and A Pefect Circle. He’s also done countless sessions and work for bands like Nine Inch Nails, Weezer, Guns N' Roses, Queens of the Stone Age and many more. If you’ve listened to music in the last couple decades, you’ve probably banged your head a few times to a song drummed by Freese.
  10. Marky Ramone. Sure, it may seem like the same beat over and over again, but it's not too easy to play a whirlwind mega-speed beat for 30 minutes straight. Marky Ramone’s endurance helped make The Ramones one of the best rock bands of all time, making him one of the best drummers of all time.
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