Do you have a favorite band? Whether you’re a fan of classic rock, 90s pop, or R&B, the world’s best bands all have one thing in common: a great drummer who helps to keep the beat.
Although many drummers seem to fade into the background, others have gone down in history. These players may have sat at the back of the stage, but they’re no stranger to the spotlight when it comes to wowing their audience.
In this post, we’ve ranked four of the greatest drummers the world has ever seen. From the swinging 60s to 90s’ punk rock, these performers are famous for their flair, skill, and speed.
If you’re feeling inspired, read on – or why not join their ranks and learn how to read drum tabs yourself?
1. Keith Moon, The Who
Keith Moon may have been infamous for kicking over his drum kits on stage, but that wasn’t the only notable thing about his performances. Many people describe Moon’s drumming style as one of the most unique in rock music history.
While playing, Moon favored tom-toms, cymbals, and intricate drum riffs. He was one of the first rock drummers to add double bass drums to his kit, which grew bigger and bigger as the Who became more successful.
In 1982, following his tragic death at the age of 32, Moon made it to the Modern Drummer magazine’s Hall of Fame. At the time, he was only the second rock musician ever to have been on the list!
2. Dave Grohl, Nirvana
If you know Dave Grohl better for being the founder and lead singer of Foo Fighters, you need to listen to more Nirvana. Grohl’s drumming embodies the high energy that made Nirvana great, standing out for its explosive riffs and distinctive snare roll.
Despite performing tricks such as spinning (or even throwing) his drumsticks mid-play, Grohl never misses a beat. He entered into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, 20 years after Nirvana’s end. Many musicians consider him one of the most influential musicians of the last two decades.
3. Jon Bonham, Led Zeppelin
No list of the world’s greatest drummers would be complete without Jon Bonham. The drummer for the London-based rock band Led Zeppelin, Bonham was famous for his fast-paced bass drumming and the extended solos, which often featured on the band’s albums.
He was mostly self-taught, but that didn’t stop him from catching the attention of Jimmy Page (the founder of Led Zeppelin) in a club in London.
Bonham was initially reluctant to join the band. Luckily for Page and the rest of the music world, he eventually decided to accept.
4. Buddy Rich, Buddy Rich Big Band
In 1919, the jazz drummer Buddy Rich started drumming when he was just two years old. He was self-taught and never learned how to read traditional sheet music, preferring instead to play rhythms from memory.
Rich’s jazz career started in 1937, but it wasn’t until 1967 that he found lasting fame with the Buddy Rich Big Band. While playing, he used to perform tricks such as the ‘stick trick,’ which involved slapping his drumsticks together in a circle.
Many other drummers have cited Rich as their inspiration over the years, including Jon Bonham, Bill Ward (Black Sabbath), Roger Taylor (Queen), and Travis Barker (Blink-182). He paved the way for some of the most impressive drummers of the late 20th century – and that’s a true testament to his greatness.
These four drummers are some of the most inspiring musicians in the world. If you want to learn the drums yourself, we can think of no better footsteps to follow than theirs.