Top 50 Rock Drummers - Classic Rock

  • In the new June edition of Classic Rock there is a list of "the 50 greatest drummers in rock".

    These were chosen by experts! - The Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, the Brighton Institute of Modern Music, Drumtech in London, Metal Hammer, Total Guitar, Rhythm, Classic Rock, some drum techs, and a host of drummers (including Chili Pepper Chad Smith - it says here).

    They had to nominate their top 10 drummers. Matt Sorum was disqualified because it was his idea and he did a lot of the writing in the mag on various drummers.

    Top Ten :

    • John Bonham

    • Dave Grohl

    • Keith Moon

    • Neil Peart

    • Chad Smith

    • Dave Lombardo

    • Mitch Mitchell

    • Ian Paice

    • Cozy Powell

    • Charlie Watts

    Not what I would have chosen, Grohl wouldn’t have made my top 20, and I think being dead helped Bonham & Moon - as it always does with any artist.

    James, Roger Taylor made number 37.

    This is what they said about Chad:

    Defining moment : Higher Ground.

    A modern drummer with a traditional attitude, Chad Smith is rarely noticed with the Chilis – he just gets on with the job in a quiet, unhurried manner that compliments the more flamboyant tendencies of his bandmates. Whether strutting thru funk, blazing across a rock groove or hitting the soul train, Smith takes it all in his stride. And his recent work on the Glenn Hughes album Soul Mover really proves the point that he is a world-class performer who deserves much more attention :clapper:

    Any comments Soulmover?

  • Not that anyone will be remotely interested, but here are my top 20, in no particular order:

    Neil Peart (saw him 5 times last year- outstanding!)
    Chad Smith (not seen him yet, but living in hope!)
    Prairie Prince (my favourite drummer of all time- sorry Chad!)
    Tommy Aldridge (first saw him in 1979 and he can still do it!)
    Dean Castronovo
    Mike Portnoy (arrogant Peart wannabe, but still fantastic)
    Cozy Powell (god rest his soul, a classic legend)
    Randy Cooke (worked with Kim Mitchell, my favourite Canadian)
    Ian Paice
    Ted McKenna
    Bobby Rondinelli (another legend, and a nice guy- no matter what they say!)
    Kelly Keagy
    Tony Thompson
    Steve Smith
    Eric Frates (Pat Travers Band- best young drummer I've seen in a very long time!)
    Scott Rockenfield
    John Bonham
    Gerry Mercer (April Wine- in his '60's, but still one of the best live drummers I've ever seen)
    Dennis Chambers
    Simon Phillips

    I know I could've added a load more (tommy Lee, Alex Van Halen, Virgil Donati), but the 20 are the ones who have inspired me to play and who I owe the most to I suppose. :bow:

    I hate when I'm at a show and the drum solo is about to begin and everyone goes "oh well this is when we go to the bar/ bathroom/ for a smoke." That's my favourite bit! Phil laughed at me last week when we were at the Dokken gig and I said that you couldn't make out Mick Brown's ride cymbal. To me, that was important!

    I'm interested to know if there are any on my list that someone else agrees with, other than the obvious ones?

  • Here are some of my favorites and influences.
    Ian Paice
    Cozy Powell
    Simon Phillips
    Praire Prince, nice to see someone else notice too.
    John Bonham
    Gary Ferguson, Solid, under-rated and versatile.
    Jeff Porcaro
    Chad Smith
    Brian Downey under-rated, very unique, a good friend.
    Terry Bozio

    These are just some of my favorites.
    Bob

  • i always liked ted mckenna i think i saw somewhere that he teaches at a university in scotland now i could be wrong i also see that no one has mentioned carl palmer

  • ian pace is great to me too i remember in the seventies every drummer had a huge kit - double bass was standard equipment i never saw deep purple on tv until california jam and here i see ian with what looked to me at the time like a little toy drum set ( i remember seeing a planet of the apes toy kit -im not kidding ) i remember thinking -how is he gonna make all that cool sound with just that? :eek: thats when i learned that it isnt what you have its what you do with it that counts

  • Any top drummer list that doesn't include my two idols, the God like Roger Taylor and the extremely skilled Pat Torpey can do one. So Classic Rock scores slightly higher than Sue's.... :D

    I've heard a lot of good things about Virgil Donati lately - be interesting to se if he lives up to the hype.

    JG

  • I think some of my favors are missed so far.

    Ex. Derringer, Dio : Vinny Appice
    Ex. Edgar Winter Group : Chuck Ruff
    Ex. Pat Travers, Iron Maiden :Nico Mc'brain
    Ex. Glenn Hughes, Yngwie, B'z : Shane Gallaas (Best among young drummers)

    And don't forget Ringo ;)

  • First, I whoelheartedly agree with the Bobby Rondinelli comments. He is a tremendous drummer and a great guy. Now for some other things.
    The original top ten list misses in my book by a long shot. Where is Bill Bruford ??? Gotta rank him at or near the top of any list. Billy Cobham is not mentioned,and he has done his share of rock (Jack Bruce and Friends) so he would figure into the mix. Ginger Baker, nuff said. Simon Phillips, Tommy Aldridge, Lee Kerslake, just to name a few off the top of my head make Dave Grohl look amateurish. Heck, Mickey Dee makes Grohl look mediocre.
    Of course I am not a professional and this is only my opinion which means very little in the scheme of things, I don't have a problem with Chad in the Top Ten or vicinity, but, as much as I enjoy Chad's work (especially with GH), I think fifth of ALL TIME is just a bit overboard. Anyway, sure makes for some good conversation.
    Just one last things... Charlie Watts ???? Now that is ridiculous.

    Frank:div27:
    "if only we'd turn around and notice the door to the cell is open"

  • "TOP _______ " lists are always a difficult choice, so I have tried to come down to two drummers only!

    For me "the best" are:

    technically: Virgil Donati - this guy is so good, it almost hurts.

    generally: Mark Nauseef - the most unusual, underrated drummer in Rock, has been doing Jazz and World Music for the last 20+ years. Listen to Ian Gillan Band at The Budokan (Live) for example.

  • I am really enjoying this thread, seems there are some true aficianados out there who could undoubtedly give us insight into drummers. You go to other "Forums", and this one always has the most knowledgable music people posting.

    Frank:div27:
    "if only we'd turn around and notice the door to the cell is open"

  • My choices would be Billy Cobham, Lenny White, Lee Keerslake, Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Ringo?, I dunno... that drummer for the Muppets.

  • Quote from lectrahors

    ........ that drummer for the Muppets.

    Certainly, one of the most "enthusiastic" drummers of all time.

    :lol: :lol: :lol:

    I'm definitely no expert on different drummer's techniques,
    but Brian Tichy at Glenn's appearance at Birch Hill (2001)
    was totally incredible.

    He and George Nastos (along with GH playing bass)
    created some fantastic music that night.

  • I think that what makes a drummer truly great is the influence they have on people in the audience...the spark and drive they have that makes that young kid in the audience or sitting in front of his TV set go "Yeah...I wanna do that!!" For that alone, Ringo Starr belongs on the list. It is too easy to poke fun at the fact that he supposedly couldn't do a proper roll....but George Harrison once said; "Ringo's the best backbeat in the business." And in the space of one night in February 1964, Ringo gave the Ludwig Drum Company the kind of exposure and publicity that a marketing executive could only dream about. On millions of TV screens from coast to coast, the Ludwig logo was front and center. Willaim Ludwig would later reflect on how tough it was to get players to use your gear...he spent many an evening in a smoky nightclub knocking back drinks and waiting for the drummer to take a break....then offer him a free kit just for the exposure knowing full well that Bud Slingerland was in the same club with the same goal in mind.... Ringo was a gift from heaven acording to Willam Ludwig; within days after the Ed Sullivan Show, Ludwig had 85,000 back orders for drum sets. That isn't a typo...EIGHTY FIVE THOUSAND drum sets!

    And what about Ginger Baker?? Ginger brought a jazz background and a deep understanding of African percussion styles to a rock arena and made the drum solo a staple of any rock show. He combined jazz chops, athleticism, and a bottomless feel for groove and really formed the mold for all who followed him.

    Charlie Watts and Bill Bruford are both jazzers to the bone who just happened to play in pretty damn good rock bands. Charlie Watts needs no introduction; simply the most famous backbeat in rock music. Most people know Bill for his work with Yes but he really blossomed as a player and hit his stride during his tenure with King Crimson. He didn't play like a rock drummer..but he certainly generated the power of one especially playing alongside the mighty bass of John Wetton. Bill once said that when he initally joined Yes, he was going to play jazz drums .....and after a twisting 35 year journey he is doing just that with Earthworks.

    Mitch Mitchell and his splashy jazz stylings were tailor made for Jimi Hendrix's music...theirs was a symbiotic musical realtionship that produced magic!

    Ten different writers could come up with 10 different lists but how is one "greater" than the next?? It comes down to this; any drummer who can make a kid run down to the nearest music store and buy a set of sticks and a practice pad....or make some teenager in his basement sit down at the kit, put on the headphones and cue up "Live At Leeds" and beat the crap out of his kit....now THAT is greatness!!

    Yours In The Funk
    Bill "Capt. Midnite" Redford

    :ghcp:

    www.facebook.com/bill.redford

    "Cause if you fake the FUNK..your nose got to grow!" Bootsy Collins

  • Hi all
    I'd like to add Narada Michael Walden to the mix , both his work with Tommy & solo, adding some funky beats.
    No-one mentioned Phil Collins ?! He & the likes of Jon Hiseman were ,imho ,lynchpins in the more commercial side of the Jazz Rock 'explosion' in the 70's .
    Cheers
    Ben

  • Sue,
    the other guy is Buddy Rich who kind of invented modern drumming. Fabulous. The clip shows clearly that Carl Palmer, who was mentioned earlier, has learned a lot from him (Palmer always mentions Buddy Rich being his biggest influence) - they even sound very likely!
    Nice clip - thanks for posting that link!
    Cheers,
    Christian

  • Quote from captmidnite1962

    Bill Bruford. Most people know Bill for his work with Yes but he really blossomed as a player and hit his stride during his tenure with King Crimson. He didn't play like a rock drummer..but he certainly generated the power of one especially playing alongside the mighty bass of John Wetton. Bill once said that when he initally joined Yes, he was going to play jazz drums .....and after a twisting 35 year journey he is doing just that with Earthworks.

    Ten different writers could come up with 10 different lists but how is one "greater" than the next?? It comes down to this; any drummer who can make a kid run down to the nearest music store and buy a set of sticks and a practice pad....or make some teenager in his basement sit down at the kit, put on the headphones and cue up "Live At Leeds" and beat the crap out of his kit....now THAT is greatness!!

    Bill, very well put!
    I was thinking about putting Bruford on that list too.
    Attached a 50 seconds clip!! King Crimson Live 1973. Genius drumming - and some mighty bass guitar work indeed.
    Enjoy!
    Christian

Join in now!

Don’t have an account yet? Register yourself now and be a part of our community!