No matter what genre you’re listening to, live music played well is truly special. It’s one thing to listen to recorded music but going and watching them perform live can show you another side to musician and their craft. Great live performances can be the true measure of the skill of a musician, whether it be a guitarist, vocalist or a drummer. Drum solos aren’t quite as common, but there have been some unforgettable throughout the history of rock music, and we’ve decided to compile a shortlist of some of our favourites.
Buddy Rich is often considered one of the greatest drummers of all time, and his performance in the Dominican Republic in 1982 stands as a testament to his. There are many different Rich performances that may have made the list, but this particular performance takes the cake given that it is steeped in drumming lore.
Not only is it rumoured to have been the main inspiration for the final drum solo in the Academy Award winning film Whiplash, but the story goes that the famous Jazz drummer actually experienced a heart attack mid solo. Even someone that has never played the drums can appreciate the skill on display here.
The Who´s drummer was known for destroying instruments for time to time, and interestingly the fact that he wasn’t a big fan of the drum solo. The Who´s style has been described as one where every musician takes the lead, so in many ways if you went to see them play you were going to see Keith Moon put on a performance.
As was his and the band’s trademark, this solo in 1967 resulted in the instruments being destroyed, but boy did Moon put on a show beforehand. This particular solo is rumoured to have left him deaf in one ear.
Another legend that belongs on the Mount Rushmore of drumming, Joe Morello had an understated style compared to some of the others you'll find on this list. This particular solo from 'Take Five' in 1959 showed off Morello's full repertoire, which was smooth, sophisticated and filled with complexity. He even played with his hands at one point, which was quite a surprise for the crowd. Interestingly, Joe Morello was born with very poor sight, which encouraged him to stay indoors and practice the drums, which could be played well on feel alone.
Led Zeppelin's Moby Dick included one of the more memorable drum solo in the recorded version, and when the band played it live it became even more impressive. John Bonham cemented himself in the drumming hall of fame with this performance in 1970, where the drummer's fierce and accurate playing style was on display like never before. Bonham was often praised for his ability to play aggressively and very quickly, but with great precision. In actual fact, it is said that in some renditions of this he would play so hard that the stick would break, and he's be forced to finish the solo with his hands.
So there you have it, some of the greatest drum solos of all time that won't be soon forgotten. If you're looking to start out on the drums or upgrade your set, speak to the team at Drummer's Paradise. We have a great range of drum kits available and a knowledgeable team that can help you find what you're looking for. Who knows, you might find yourself on this list one day!