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Buddy Rich
Neil Peart
John Bonham
Steve Gadd
Ringo Starr
Keith Moon
Carl Palmer
Gene Krupa
Max Roach
Elvin Jones
Ginger Baker
Billy Cobham
Stewart Copeland
Dennis Chambers
Jaki Leibezeit
Terry Bozzio
Bill Bruford
Hal Blaine
Mike Portnoy


The 100 Best Rock Drummers Ever!

Ok, here is the second half of The 100 Best Rock Drummers Ever! Now we are into the top 50. We'll work our way down to the number one spot at the bottom.

Note: this page has a lot of images and may take a few seconds to on your screen.

50. Gavin Harrison

Born - unknown | Nationality - British |
Group - Porcupine Tree, Sessions

Gavin Harrison

Starting off page 2 of the best rockers ever is Gavin Harrison. Gavin's intelligent, technical rhythms and tighter than tight sound have gained him a lot of fans. He's carved out a niche sound/style for himself and knows how to lay it down.


48. Jon Theodore

Born - 12/1973 | Nationality - American |
Group - Mars Volta, One Day As A Lion

Jon Theodore

Powerful and creative playing with the likes of Mars Volta has made Jon one of rock drumming's most recent idols. He's techically sound and can play odd time signatures with ease.


46. Max Weinberg

Born - 04/1951 | Nationality - American |
Group - Bruce Springsteen, E Street Band, The Max Weinberg 7

Max Weinberg

Max has held the drum seat with Bruce Springteen's E Street Band for many years now. why? Because Springsteen and the rest of us know that Max has the goods - a soild back beat, and colourful, explosive fills that breath added life into Springsteen's hit songs.


44. Simon Phillips

Born - 02/1957 | Nationality - British |
Group - Toto, The Who, Whitesnake, Judas Priest

Simon Phillips

Taking over the Toto drum seat from legend Jeff Porcaro isn't easy, but Phillips does it with style and class. His feel for a groove is impeccable, and his playing is always tasteful, making him one of the best drummers ever.


42. Gene Hoglan

Born - 08/1967 | Nationality - American |
Group - Death, Strapping Young Lad, Dark Angel

Gene Hoglan

Gene is well known for his very impressive double kick drum rhythms, and his amazingly creative drum arrangements including the use of some unusual objects for percussive effect. His playing is highly technical, accurate, and extremely fast earning the nickname "The Atomic Clock".



40. Bobby Jarzombeck

Born - 09/1963 | Nationality - American |
Group - Rob Halford, Iced Earth, Pain Museum, Demons And Wizzards

Bobby Jarzombeck

A hard hitting metal master, Bobby's double kicks and fast rolls are super tight, accurate, and are played with great musicality. His chops totally rock!


38. Lars Ulrich

Born - 12/1963 | Nationality - Danish |
Group - Metallica

Lars Ulrich

Metallica drummer, Lars Ulrich doesn't play over complicated, flashy drum parts. He doesn't need to. Instead, he uses his single stroke rolls and double kick drum skills to maximum effect and throws some interesting rhythms into the mix for good measure.



36. Vinnie Paul

Born - 03/1964 | Nationality - American |
Group - Pantera, Rebel Meets Rebel, Damageplan

Vinnie Paul

Woaaahhh! This guy is heavy! Vinnie is a hard hitting powerhouse that is always grooving hard too. That's why he has been so heavily copied - power with an iressitable pocket = a great sound.


34. Phil Collins

Born - 12/1951 | Nationality - British |
Group - Genesis, Phil Collins

Phil Collins

Ok, yes he's a sensitive singing kinda guy, but he is also one of the best rock drummers ever. His playing with Genesis alone would be awsome, but the creative drumming on his solo tunes like 'In The Air Tonight' further shows off why he's meant to be behind a kit.


32. Matt Cameron

Born - 11/1962 | Nationality - American |
Group - Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, QOTST, Skin Yard, Wellwater Conspiracy

Matt Cameron

Funky, Zeppelinesque beats with a good helping of ghost notes and odd time twists are what give Matt his extremely musical quality. Combined with dynamics and a deep groove, it's no wonder he's considered one of the best around.


30. Tim Alexander

Born - 04/1965 | Nationality - American |
Group - Primus, A Perfect Circle, Laundry, Fata Morgana, Puscifer

Tim Alexander

Tim has a tight and tasteful style of playing that is precise and groovy. Unlike many other players who also have some astounding chops, Tim only brings them out if the music requires it. Odd and complex rhythms are no problem either.


28. Nicko McBrain

Born - 06/1954 | Nationality - British |
Group - Iron Maiden, Pat Travers, Streetwalkers, Trust

Nicko McBrain

What makes Nicko McBrain a truly great drummer is his killer precision and tub thumping rolls. He's got the techinque and is relentless in suppyling a driving, hard-edged, groove.


26. Aynsley Dunbar

Born - 01/1946 | Nationality - British |
Group - Jeff Beck, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, UFO, Whitesnake, Lou Reed, Black Sabbath, and many more

Aynsley Dunbar

The list of top rock acts that Aynsley has played with is testament to his excellent drumming skills. Very adaptable, and able to play complex and odd drum parts, as well as keeping a killer groove ticking over. Whatever he plays, it's done with feel and passion.


24. David Garibaldi

Born - 11/1946 | Nationality - American |
Group - Tower Of Power

David Garibaldi

David has great taste and his magical beats are often much more complex than you might think. While very funky, he can also dish out a very mean rockin' beat too.


22. Steve Smith

Born - 08/1954 | Nationality - American |
Group - Journey, Vital Information

Steve Smith

Steve is like a jack of all trades when it comes to drumming - he can play any style excellently. His rock drumming demonstrates his ablity to play tight and often technically demanding grooves, with speed, great dynamics and perplexing time signatures.


20. Bernard Purdie

Born - 06/1939 | Nationality - American |
Group - Sessions

Bernard Purdie

Not lacking in confidence, Bernard was one of the session world's most in-demand drummers. Lending his tasteful playing to the likes of BB King, Roberta Flack and Steely Dan, his beats literally made songs into hits. Truly one of the top rock players ever.


18. Stewart Copeland

Born - 07/1952 | Nationality - American |
Group - The Police, Oysterhead

Stewart Copeland

Stewart's reggae/rock grooves, inventive fills, and textures helped make The Police's sound stand out as truly unique. He squeezes as many interesting little rhythmic touches, splashes, and fills into his playing as possible without ever over doing it. Very creative with a great ear.


16. Benny Benjamin

Born - 07/1925 | Nationality - American |
Group - Funk Brothers (Mowtown)

Benny Benjamin

Benny is one of the top rock drummers ever because he brought his swinging big band style to Mowtown's rock/pop sound and drove some of the best-loved tunes in the world with his lively beats. He totally understood how to play for the song, and he inspired thousands of others to do the same.


14. Carmine Appice

Born - 12/1946 | Nationality - American |
Group - Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, Beck, Bogert & Appice, DNA, Ozzy Osbourne, Rod Stewart

Carmine Appice

Carmine was one of the rock drummers who showed the way for today's big sounding, heavy hitters. He also influenced John Bonham, but is sometimes overlooked for his importance to the development of rock and rock drumming. Well, not here, as he takes a very respectable 14th on our best rock drummers ever list.



12. Danny Carey

Born - 05/1961 | Nationality - American |
Group - Tool, Pigmy Love Circus, VOLTO!, Green Jelly

Danny Carey

Founder of Tool, Danny brought his mega complex polyrhythms to the band's sound which helped set them apart from the likes of Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park. Solid grooves, power, and creativity are what make him one of the most popular players in the world.


10. Mike Portnoy

Born - 04/1967 | Nationality - American |
Group - Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, Neal Morse, Yellow Matter Custard, OSI

Mike Portnoy

With Dream Theater, Mike took techicality and complexity to new levels. The band are sometimes slated for concentrating on that instead of the song, but what they manage to come up with is exciting, inspirational, and mind-blowing.


8. Hal Blaine

Born - 02/1929 | Nationality - Australian |
Group - Sessions

Hal Blaine

Hal was a session legend and played on more hit rock tunes than you've had hot dinners. His genius is that he could turn a good song into a great song by finding the perfect beat.


6. Terry Bozzio

Born - 12/1950 | Nationality - American |
Group - Frank Zappa, Solo Artist, Sessions

Terry Bozzio

His playing with music giants like Frank Zappa would have been enough to put Terry this far up the list, but his own drum compositions on his huge kit further show off his killer technique, speed, musicality, dynamics, and creativity. He's got it all.


4. Keith Moon

Born - 08/1946 | Nationality - British |
Group - The Who

Keith Moon

He wasn't techically great. He wasn't amazingly precise. But, he was totally unique and came up with a style and sound that broke through boundaries. He didn't use hi-hats (often), and didn't play conventional beats, but rolled, splashed, and double bass drummed his way all over the kit giving an incredable sound and feel to The Who's music.


2. John Bonham

Born - 05/1948 | Nationality - Brtish |
Group - Led Zeppelin, Band Of Joy, Terry Web & The Spiders

John Bonham

Yes, it's John Bonham. The guy who taught us all how to play heavy, powerful rock drums that ooze feel. With awsome bass drum technique and a big open sound, he sent Zeppelin's tunes soaring. He embodies raw, emotional, rock drumming that comes straight from the soul. He's a rock god and undeniably one of the greatest ever.

49. Brian Downey

Born - 01/1951 | Nationality - Irish |
Group - Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore, Phil Lynott

Brian Downey

Brian is the man that put the strut in Thin Lizzy's step with his rockin' grooves. As the only member to stay in the band from start til finish, he made the band one of top hard rock acts around. His beats are driving and are played with creative flair. Superb.



47. Alex Van Halen

Born - 05/1953 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Van Halen

Alex Van Halen

Always solid at the back of Van Halen, Alex uses his ability to lay the foundation for his brother's guitar work. But, he is not sidelined and plays some killer double kicks and rolls, to earn his place on in the best rock drummers ever list.


45. Mike Giles

Born - 06/1945 | Nationality - American |
Group - King Crimson, Giles, Giles & Fripp

Mike Giles

As drummer with prog rock experimentalists King Crimson, Mike was confident playing grooves, creating sonic soundscapes, and coming up with intricate rolls and touches that were a delight to hear.


43. Martin Lopez

Born - 05/1978 | Nationality - Swedish |
Group - Opeth

Martin Lopez

One of the most impressive drummers to come out of Sweden, Martin and his band Opeth hit death metal lovers right between the eyes with their powerful, deep sound.


41. Rod Morgenstein

Born - 04/1953 | Nationality - American |
Group - Dixie Dreggs, Winger

Rod Morgenstein

Best known for his work with 80's rockers Winger and later jazz-fusion band Dixie Dreggs, Rod is comfortable showcasing his chops and grooves in many genres. Brilliant at keeping it steady or lighting up the kit.


39. Jimmy Chamberlin

Born - 06/1964 | Nationality - American |
Group - Smashing Pumkins, Zwan, Jimmy Chamberlin Complex

Jimmy Chamberlin

What makes Jimmy one of the top players ever? Well, his playing is very tasteful and full of intensely quick snare rolls and runs. He uses dynamics to maximum effect too, and keeps it all in a tight pocket. He was integral to the Smashing Pumkin's sound.


37. Topper Headon

Born - 05/1955 | Nationality - British |
Group - The Clash, Bobby Tench

Topper Headon

With his background in jazz and soul music, Topper brought many new dimensions to The Clash's punk sound. Reggae, rockabilly, funk and more can be heard in their songs, and Topper played them all with power and grace.


35. Al Jackson

Born - 11/1934 | Nationality - American |
Group - Booker T And The MG's

Al Jackson

If anyone could deliver rock steady beats that force you to pay attention, it's Al. He wrote the book on playing for the song, he was never the main attraction in the MG's but he sat back and blended the band together with his drum parts.


33. Joseph Zigaboo Modeliste

Born - unknown | Nationality - American |
Group - The Meters

Zigaboo Modeliste

The sharp, edgey beats played by Joseph combined with the angular riffs of The Meter's to make some super cool tunes. He opened the door for the funk-rock drummers of Prince and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers.


31. Roger Taylor

Born - 07/1949 | Nationality - British |
Group - Queen, The Cross, Smile

Roger Taylor

Big stadium filling riffs need big drums, and that's exactly what Roger brought to Queen. Some super fast rolls, a fat back beat, glorious cymbals, and great feel put him squarely in the top 100 best rock drummers ever.


29. Carter Beauford

Born - 11/1957 | Nationality - American |
Group - Dave Mathews Band, Santana

Carter Beauford

What makes Carter an undeniable great? Well, as drummer for the diverse Dave Mathews Band, Carter uses his intricate grooves and ability to play many styles, keeping listeners guessing. His ride cymbal and hi-hat work is awsome as it dances around the on and off beats.


27. Cozy Powell

Born - 12/1947 | Nationality - British |
Group - Rainbow, Jeff Beck Group, Emerson Lake & Powell, Black Sabbath

Cozy Powell

Amazing chops, and excellent grooves are what made Cozy one of the defining drummers of his time. He's played with some of the biggest acts in rock music, and is hugely charismatic and talented. A class act.



25. Mike Shrieve

Born - 07/1949 | Nationality - American |
Group - Santana

Mike Shrieve

Mike played the latin-rock rhythms that kept Santana ticking along nicely. He had plenty of limb indpendance, an ability to play polyrhythms and super cool grooves, but he also put a fat helping rock power into the mix as well.


23. Mitch Mitchell

Born - 07/1947 | Nationality - British |
Group - Jimi Hendrix

Mitch Mitchell

Mitch matched Hendrix's guitar with his lighting fast reflexes and thunderous rolls. He brought a jazz sensibility to rock and used it to improvise and respond to Hendrix's every move. He was very creative and had a sublime feel.


21. Bill Ward

Born - 1949 | Nationality - British |
Group - Black Sabbath

Bill Ward

One of the original heavy metal drummers who paved the way for those that followed. There's a dark, brooding quality to his playing that is matched with bursts of intense power.


19. Tommy Aldridge

Born - 08/1950 | Nationality - American |
Group - Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Pat Travers, Black Oak Arkansas

Tommy Aldridge

Tommy is one of the absolute legends to come through the 70's, 80's, 90's and beyond having played with some of the top rock acts in the world. He can be a blaze of rolls, cymbal crashes, and double kicks, but he's also a top groove player.


17. Jeff Porcaro

Born - 04/1954 | Nationality - American |
Group - Toto, Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Sessions

Jeff Porcaro

Jeff was capable of playing some delicate and flowing grooves as well as some smashing pop-rock beats with the likes of Michael Jackson and Toto. His style was solid but creative at the same time, often with flashes of absolute brilliance.


15. Earl Palmer

Born - 10/1924 | Nationality - American |
Group - Sessions

Earl Palmer

Earl Palmer basically invented modern rock drumming. When other drummers where playing shuffles and swing patterns he played straight eighth notes on the hi-hat and emphasied the back beat. His playing can found on classic rock 'n' roll tunes by Little Richard, Fats Domino and many more. One of the very top players from the 50's.


13. Ringo Starr

Born - 07/1940 | Nationality - British |
Group - The Beatles, Ringo's All-Star Band

Ringo Starr

Many people say that Ringo wasn't all that good, but that's because they don't truly understand what he did for The Beatles music. If you replaced Ringo's drum parts, countles Beatles songs would be only half as good. He was inventive, and was brilliant at finding the best groove to add something special to the music.


11. Dave Lombardo

Born - 02/1965 | Nationality - Cuba |
Group - Slayer, Voodoocult, Apocalyptica

Dave Lombardo

Dave is one hell of an extreme metal drummer and one of the best rock drummers ever without a doubt. He has buckets of power, groove, and feel. Plus, his fills are often astonishing and leave you wondering how on earth he just pulled that off.


9. Ian Paice

Born - 06/1948 | Nationality - British |
Group - Deep Purple, Whitesnake

Ian Paice

One of the speediest rockers we've seen, Ian combined his speed with spectular rolls, undeniable beats, and flair. His foot technique is also awsome and baffles mere mortals like us. He doesn't even look like he's trying...sigh...


7. Bill Bruford

Born - 05/1949 | Nationality - British |
Group - Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, and many more

Bill Bruford

Perhaps one of the main reasons that Bill is one of the coolest drummers we've had is that he always strives to evolve, grow, and change. He stays relevent and does it with an awsome technique and understanding of what works.


5. Ginger Baker

Born - 08/1939 | Nationality - British |
Group - Cream, Blues Incorporated, Ginger Baker's Air Force

Ginger Baker

With super-group Cream, Ginger pioneered double bass drums in rock, and always had a big untamed drum sound. His style was solid and seemed simple at times, yet it gave the songs exactly what they needed and then some. His delicate jazz skills are just as impressive, and show off his sublime technique even more.


3. Carl Palmer

Born - 03/1950 | Nationality - British |
Group - Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Asia, Atomic Rooster

Carl Palmer

Wow. The chops delivered by Carl are something to behold! He inspired countless drummers, including Neil Peart, with his magnificent stadium-filling rock and showmanship. He also used his classical training in tuned percussion to great effect. He defines the word spectacle, and is one of the greatest drummers to come from Britain.


1. Neil Peart

Born - 09/1952 | Nationality - Canadian | Group - Rush

Neil Peart

So, Mr. Peart takes the number one sport in The 100 Best Rock Drummers Ever!. With his band Rush, Neil has demonstrated extraordinary technical ability, musicality, creativity, groove, and feel. His drum solos and fills are exquisete, and he can switch up and down gears with ease. Stylistically, he can do so much that it's a little bit scary. His position at the top of our list is totally deserved!

And there we have it. Many great players didn't make the list, perhaps one of your personal favourites. All I can say is, there just isn't enough space for them all.

I hope you enjoyed the list. Keep it rocking!

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Neil is most definitely the top drummer. But let's not forget the late great Eric Carr. He is, and will always be second only to Neil Peart. When he …

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The best rock drummers you've never heard of (and a couple you have): Rick Marotta - the funkiest drummer I've ever heard Carl Radle - the early days …

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