Sitting behind other members of the band on the stage, drummers are usually overshadowed by the front guys with electric guitars. But it would be a mistake to overlook them. It´s hard to imagine modern music without drums. After all, drums can be considered as one of the oldest music instruments. Our ancestors who took small pieces of wood and started to smash the first rock they found can be considered to be the first drummers. The discipline, they unconsciously helped establish, evolved into an indispensable part of the mosaic of music. In the following list of all time great drummers, few of the most prominent performers are remembered. But don´t forget that music is not athletics. You can´t have absolute rankings in this field. So, if you will not find your favorite drummer here, don´t be sad. Your own list is as good as this one.
Photo Credit: Music radar
10. Ringo Starr
Photo Credit: Drummer world
Honestly, you can´t have a list of the best rock drummers without Ringo. Paul McCartney once said that the first time him, John and George played with Ringo was the real beginning of the Beatles. Ringo has created his own unique style as a left-handed drummer playing right-handed kit. Now 76 years old, he is still the symbol of a drummer for many people.
9. Charlie Watts
Photo Credit: Drummerworld
“You’re great, man, but you need a fucking good drummer.” This sentence, which entered into history, was told by Watts to Keith Richards. And from that moment, the Rolling Stones were complete. His contribution to hits like “Satisfaction” or “Sympathy for the Devil” was unmistakable and Watts´ place in Top 10 of the best rock drummers is perfectly appropriate.
8. Yoshiki Hayashi
Photo Credit: Total drum sets
Using mainly his stage name Yoshiki, this Japanese musician is recognized by his leader role in the heavy metal band “X Japan”. Yoshiki, co-founder of the group, was the drummer, pianist, and songwriter for the band. He puts incredible energy and passion into every hit of his drums. He deserves the place among the best drummers!
7. Shannon Leto
Photo Credit: Therockriff
Shannon is an American singer, songwriter, and drummer for the Thirty Seconds to Mars, the band he co-founded altogether with his brother Jared in 1998. His performance is also a great show, watching him drumming is as inspirational as listening to him. He has already secured his place among all time great drummers!
6. Dave Grohl
Photo Credit: Tonedeaf
As a drummer for legendary grunge band Nirvana, he is the part of musical history. In Nirvana songs, drums were often simple. Maybe it is the reason why Grohl is sometimes underrated. But he has proven many times that he is a true master of drums. He is also a great singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. Although his engagement with Nirvana is the most famous, he has also appeared on stage with names like Scream, Foo & Crooked Vultures or David Bowie.
5. Mike Portnoy
Photo Credit: Music Players
Mike Portnoy is famous mainly as a drummer of the progressive metal/rock band Dream Theater. His technical skills make him one of the best rock drummers in history. He was awarded many times and is included in the majority of all time great drummers lists published in music magazines or web pages.
4. John Bonham
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John “Bonzo” Bonham was a British drummer best known for his engagement with the Led Zeppelin. Bonham was known for using unusually long and heavy sticks, which he called “trees.” Outside Led Zeppelin, he worked with many other big names in the industry including Paul McCartney, Maurice Gibb or Roy Wood. John Bonham has died in 1980.
3. Keith Moon
Photo Credit: Rollingstone
The drummer for the English rock band the Who was voted to be the second-best drummer in history by a 2011 Rolling Stone readers’ poll. His talent and unique style secured his place in the history. Unfortunately, his behavior outside the stage was often inappropriate and harming himself. Addiction to alcohol or fondness for the destruction of hotel rooms makes him the typical example of the frequent decadent behavior of rock musicians. Keith Moon died in 1978 from an overdose.
2. Buddy Rich
Photo Credit: Drummerworld
Bernard “Buddy” Rich was an American jazz and big band drummer active from the 1920s to his death in 1987. For the first time, he appeared on stage at the age of 18 months and he founded his first band at the age of 11. He used his great talent for solo projects as well as in co-operation with names like Ella Fitzgerald or Louis Armstrong.
1. Neil Peart
Photo Credit: ProMark
Frequent winner of best rock drummers in history polls, Canadian drummer Neil Peart was awarded numerous times. Among other awards, he was honored as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1996. He is best known for being the drummer and songwriter for the rock band Rush. In 201, Peart announced his retirement from music.
As mentioned above, this list is only a pick-up. Although these few names definitely deserve to be in it, there are much more great drummers who proved great skills. Probably, drummers will be overshadowed by singers and guitarists forever, but is doesn´t mean that they don´t deserve recognition for their contribution to the music we love!