Over the years, some people have influenced more than others when it comes to musical ability, style and sometimes overall character that made them stand the test of time. When it comes to drummers in particular, there is a long list of influential people that cannot be ignored for their overall gift to the percussive world. Here is a list of the 10 best drummers of all time.
10. Buddy Rich
This jazz drummer brought new levels of speed to drumming with his unparalleled ability to keep rock percussion in check. With lightning hand speed and a great ear for fills, Buddy brought jazz into the mainstream like no other really could.
9. Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
This drummer made a name for himself with the band The Roots and went on to create and recreate some of the best hip hop beats known to man. His canny ability to recreate different loops into a true live rap and hip hop drumming technique made him one of the pioneers of the scene.
8. Alex Van Halen
Whilst the name Van Halen may bring the general public to recognise his brother in the band, Alex was part and parcel of the new generation of music that his band created. With killer percussion and beats such as the lead in on “hot for teacher”, Alex provided the speed, agility and rhythm needed to keep up with Eddie’s immensely powerful solos and technique.
7. Neil Peart
This musically gifted drummer rates high amongst fellow drummers for his rhythm style at keeping a beat. His work in his time with Rush has been lauded for his perfect timing and his extravagant solos that can last as much as ten minutes in live versions. Whilst Rush may be an overrated band in many people’s eyes these days, there is no question about Neil’s gifted talents behind the music.
6. John Bonham
The drumming powerhouse that is behind Led Zeppelin has been idolised from the start. His breathtakingly large sound has been part and parcel of many copycats over the years, including the beastie boys sampling to name but a few. Big strong beats are his nature and he has influenced a whole generation with his technique.
5. Dave Grohl
Being part of a band that influenced an entire generation and sparked a whole ne scene in popular culture goes a long way when it comes to creating a modern legend. Dave Grohl influenced Nirvana, has appeared behind the bands of Queens of the Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails and his own band the Foo Fighters. Known for his immaculate technique, Dave is one of the most technically gifted drummers in history.
4. Phil Collins
Phil Collins came at a time when there was a change in popular music and in culture in general. Coming from progressive rock of the 70s and early 80s into the more pop-centric music that came later on, Phil has been influenced by tribal drumming, prog rock and classic rock to create a number of classic drum beats that live on to this day in popular culture.
3. Tony Williams
This Jazz drummer has above all made the grade to influence nearly every rock, metal, rock n roll and pop music that came after him. Being hired by Miles Davis as just a teenager, Tony Williams ripped up the 60s and 70s to create his own style, and basically reinvented jazz fusion for a new generation.
2. Ringo Starr
We couldn’t have a top ten list of the most popular, best and influential drummers in history without mentioning the drummer of the most successful band in history. While his drumming ability and even technique may have come into question by many, nobody can question Ringo’s ability to influence an entire generation of people into the world of drumming.
1. Keith Moon
No other drummer or musician for that matter has come and gone in such a short period of time and totally ripped up the rule book on how to drum and become a rock legend. “moon the loon” has such a dramatic, energetic and fantastical style that nobody can come close to what he brought to the drumming world.
Influential, Charismatic, gifted, genius and the entire idea of a rock and roll lifestyle can all be attributed to this once in a lifetime drumming personality.