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BEST DRUMMER EVER?

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

Articles

The 100 Most Influential Drummers Ever!

The 100 Most Influential Drummers Ever!

There have been many good players over the years. There have also been many who were truly excellent. But, above all of them, are those whose playing and music has influenced countless thousands of us around the world.

Here we have The 100 Most Influential Drummers Ever and their 5 top tracks to download. From Jazz to Heavy Metal, and from Hip Hop to Funk, these players have had a huge impact and left a an enduring legacy.

The list isn't in order of most influential, it'd be impossible to rank these players from 1 to 100 that way. Instead, the list starts with the guys who were born furthest back in time, starting with the 1890's and early 1900's.

Note: this page has a lot of images and may take a few seconds to load on your screen. Now dig in!

Warren 'Baby' Dodds

Born - 12/1898 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Jazz

Warren 'Baby' Dodds

He was the first important drummer of New Orleans Jazz. A master of percussion and effects, the tap dancing style, and the press roll before hi-hats and ride cymbals came along. He was widely considered to be the first major player of the drums. He directly influenced Gene Krupa, and Buddy Rich.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Dipper Mouth Blues (King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band)
2. Beale Street Blues (Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers)
3. Sobbin' Blues (Louis Armstrong & King Oliver's Jazz Band)
4. Wild Man Blues (Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Pepper's)
5. China Boy drum solo (Sidney Bechet Quartet)

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'Papa' Jo Jones

Born - 10/1911 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Jazz/Swing

Jo Jones

One of the most cool, elegant cats to ever play the drums. It's impossible to watch Jo without smiling. His taste, swing, and solos are just joyful. He formed the first real rhythm section in Count Baise's Orchestra and he was the original and greatest hi-hat artist.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Lullaby Of Birdland (Lester Young)
2. One O'Clock Jump (Count Basie Orchestra)
3. Rockin' The Blues (Count Basie Orchestra)
4. Liza (Jo Jones)
Caravan (Jo Jones)

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Buddy Rich

Born - 09/1917 | % American |
Genre - Jazz

Buddy Rich

Superman, a drumming god, the mozart of the drums. For nearly 70 years Buddy has been acclaimed as tha world's most naturally talented kit drummer. Decades after his death, today's drummers queue up to pay homage, wanting to achieve a lifetime dream of depping in his jazz orchestra. Building on the early triumphs of Chick Webb, Jo Jones, and Gene Krupa, Buddy made a leap into a whole different level of virtuosity. In big bands, small bands, as a soloist and accompanist, he is the greatest.

Top 5 tracks:
1. West Side Storey Medley (Buddy Rich Orchestra)<`r> 2. Channel One Suit! (Buddy Rich Orchebtra)8`r> 3. New Blues (Buddy Rich Orchestra)
4. Brainwashed (Buddy Rich)
5. The Monster (Buddy Rich)

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Max Roach

Born - 01/1924 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Jazz

Max Roach

The most precise and musical of theĀ beboppars, Maz Roach demanded equal respect for the drummer as a musician. With Kenny Clarke he transferred the pulse to the ride cymbal, then mastered previously unheard of tempos and four-limb coordination. His solos always closely followed the song structure, and his melodic playing was demonstrated with some excellent drum set compositions.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Salt Peanuts (Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker)
2. Money Jungle (Ellington, Mingus, Roach)
3. Birth Of The Cool (Miles Davis)
4. The Drum Also Waltzes (Max Roach)
5. Drums Unlimited (Max Roach)

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Earl Palmer

Born - 10/1924 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Rock 'n' Roll, Jazz, Sessions, Tv.

Earl Palmer

Back in the 1950's Earl Palmer played on the timeless hits of Little Richard and Eddie Cochran. Hits that define rock 'n' roll. Before Earl, beatsmiths played shuffles or swing, but Earl straightend out the eight notes and then emphasised the backbeat. He just about invented modern rock drumming!

Top 5 tracks:
1. I'm Walkin' (Fats Domino)
2. Tutti Frutti (Little Richard)
3. Lucille (Little Richard)
4. Summertime Blues (Eddie Cochran)
5. You've Lost That Loving Feeling (The Righteous Brothers)

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Fred Below

Born - 09/1926 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Jazz and Blues

Fred Below

The electrified Chicago blues of the 1950's and 1960's was the foundation that bands like the Rolling Stones and led Zeppelin based their riffs, feel, and attitude on. The pioneering blues players are quite poorly recognised for their contribution. Fred, a trained jazz drummer, was one of the most skillful, important, and influential.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Mean Old World (Little Walter)
2. (I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man (Muddy Waters)
3. One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer (John Lee Hooker)
4. Don't Laugh At Me (Howlin' Wolf)
5. School Days (Chuck Berry)

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Louie Bellson

Born - 07/1924 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Jazz

Louie Bellson

Italian-American renaissance man, louie is not only one of the greatest drummers ever, but also a composer, bandleader, poet, and an all round nice guy. He was first to play with two bass drums a couple of decade before Keith Moon, and his drum features with Duke Ellington's Orchestra are legendary.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Skin Deep (Duke Ellington Orchestra)
2. The Hawk Talks (Duke Ellignton Orchestra)
3. Concerto For Jazz Drummer (Harold Faberman)
4. Black Brown And Beige (Louie Bellson)
5. Are You Ready For This? (Louie Bellson and Buddy Rich)

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Phil Seaman

Born - 08/1926 | Nationality - British |
Genre - Modern Jazz

Phil Seaman

A revered big band and small group drummer, Seaman spanned the bop to rock eras. Phil's charasmatic American feel sparkled in a range of settings, from the Jack Parnell Orchestra to Ronnie Scott's Jazz Couriers. A major influence on Ginger Baker, Phil played with Ginger's Airforce as well as backing US stars Stan Getz and Zoot Sims.

Top 5 tracks:
1. The Champ (Jack Parnell Orchestra)
2. Skin Deep (Jack Parnell Orchestra)
3. The Hawk Talks (Jack Parnell Orchetsra)
4. Can't By Me Love (Tony Lee Trio)
5. Toad (Ginger Baker's Airforce)

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Sonny Payne

Born - 05/1926 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Big Band

Sonny Payne

One of Count Basie's most dynamic beatsmiths, Payne was a dazzling showman who powered up the 1957 Atomic Mr Basie album. He was also a significant influence on rockers such as John Bonham and Nicko McBrain. Noted for a speedy bass drum foot, great brushwork and snare rolls, Sonny frequently wowed audiences with his show piece - 'Old Man River'.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Whirly Birds (Count Basie Orchetsra)
2. The Kid From Redbank (Count Basie Orchetsra)
3. Fantail (Count Basie Orchetsra)
4. Cute (Count Basie Orchetsra)
5. Ol' man River (Count Basie Orchetsra)

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Philly Joe Jones

Born - 07/1923 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Modern Jazz

Philly Joe Jones

Miles Davis once refered to him as "the fire that makes things happen". Playing with Mile's group in the late 1950's, Philly Joe proved to be a great accompanist who anticipated every possible direction of a horn player's mind. The telepathy between him and miles alone ensured his place in the modern jazz drummer's hall of fame.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Blues No.2 (Miles Davis Sextet)
2. Billy Boy (Miles Davis Quintet)
3. Philly Twist (Kenny Dorham)
4. Wee Dot (Art Blakey)
5. Tenor Madness (Sonny Rollins)

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Eric Delaney

Born - 05/1924 | Nationality - British |
Genre - Jazz, Film, Tv

Eric Delaney

Eric was Britain's major pre-rock drumming star. His 1954 hit 'Oranges and lemons' thrust him reluctantly into the limelight. Ever since he's fronted his own band, playing tuned percussion, timps, and drums with flashing lights. A Freeman of the city of London, Eric is a true Legend.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Oranges and Lemons (Eric Delaney)
2. Big Noise From Winetka (Eric Delaney)
3. Rockin The Timps (Eric Delaney)
4. Swinging The Blues (Eric Delaney)
5. Bass Drum Boogie (Eric Delaney)

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Tony Meehan

Born - 03/1943 | Nationality - British |
Genre - Pop

Tony Meehan

The influence of Tony Meehan, drummer for the Shadows, stretches quite far. Many British drummers who went on to achieve world fame took their lead from Tony. A a teenager, Tony was the very first British rock drummer to become a major star, doing so with great skill and style.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Apache (The Shadows)
2. See you In My Drums (The Shadows)
3. Flingel Bunt (The Shadows)
4. Little B (The Shadows)
5. Diamonds (Jet Harris and Tony Meehan)

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Hal Blaine

Born - 02/1929 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Pop, Sessions

hal Blaine

As drummer with 'The Wrecking Crew', the first wave of rock-savvy LA musicians, Hal dominated the LA studios of the 1960's and beyond. His list of credits runs into the thousands and includes 40 No.1 hits. He also started the fashion for long rows of single headed toms in the late 1960's.

Top 5 tracks:
1. He's A Rebel (The Crystals)
2. Good Vibrations (The Beach Boys)
3. Mr Tambourine Man (The Byrds)
4. Monday, Monday (The Mamas and The Papas)
5. I Got You Babe (Sonny and Cher)

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Ringo Starr

Born - 07/1940 | Nationality - British |
Genre - Pop/Rock

Ringo Starr

Ringo has inspired more people to take up the drums than any other single drummer. What he did didn't look that hard and he was obviously having a good time doing it. As rock got more complex through the 1960's it was routine to write off Ringo's beats as easy and therefore brand him as an avergae drummer - the one who got lucky. Many people knew better. Today his contribution and influence are widely recognised - the ultimate fat groove, perfect playing for the song, the unique sound of Ringo's beats tied to the greatest rock tunes fo all time.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Long Tall Sally (The Beatles)
2. Rain (The Beatles)
3. She Said, She Said (The Beatles)
4. A Day In The Life (The Beatles)
5. Something (The Beatles)

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Sandy Nelson

Born - 12/1938 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Pop

Sandy Nelson

Back in the late 1950's, even singles featuring drum solos made it. The drum solo in pop and rock starts with Sandy Nelson and Ron Wilson (of the Surfaris). The songs 'Let There Be Drums' and 'Wipeout' launched a million school desk players.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Let There Be Drums (Sandy Nelson)
2. Teen Beat (Sandy Nelson)
3. Drums Are My Beat (Sandy Nelson)
4. Drumming Up A Storm (Sandy Nelson)
5. Wipeout (The Surfaris)

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Keith Moon

Born - 08/1946 | Nationality - British |
Genre - Pop/Rock

Keith Moon

Keith and The Who were the bridge from cheeky, jaunty pop music to outrageous loud rock. Before Keith came along, most of rock drumming consisted of a steady beat punctuated by small regualr fills. Keith's ideas where a little more unusual - a wave of cymbals and rolling drums, occasionally flooding over the chorus before bringing it back to the start again in the verse. His rollacoster style suited guitarist Pete Townsends flailing lead-rhythm playing brilliantly. Keith was wonderfully musical, ans surely the most original rock drummer to ever walk the planet.

Top 5 tracks:
1. My Generation (The Who)
2. The Kids Are Alright (The Who)
3. I Can See For Miles (The Who)
4. Young Man Blues (The Who)
5. Won't Get Fooed Again (The Who)

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Joseph 'Zigaboo' Modeliste

Born - Unkown | Nationality - American |
Genre - Funk

Joseph

The Meter's New Orleans instrumental funk may not have reached as many ears as James Brown's. but their sparing style is just as crucial. 'Godfather of Groove' Zig Modeliste's hard-edged second line funk and The Meter's angular riffs influenced everyone from Little Feat and Funkadelic to Prince and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Cissy Strut (The Meters)
2. Hey Poky-A-Way (The Meters)
3. Just Kissed My Baby (The Meters)
4. People Say (The Meters)
5. Shoo Fly Marches On (Dr. John)

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Carmine Appice

Born - 12/1946 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Heavy Rock

Carmine Appice

One of the first heavy rock drummers, Carmine's full blooded sound and awsome power gave his band 'Vanilla Fudge', and others like 'Cactus' and 'BB and A' a huge boost. Carmine greatly influenced the young John Bonham, in particular with his ankle busting bass drum triplets and battering Ludwig snare drum attack.

Top 5 tracks:
1. You Keep Me Hangin' On (Vanilla Fudge)
2. Shotgun (Vanilla Fudge)
3. Black Cat Moan (Beck, Bogert & Appice)
4. Superstition (Beck, Bogert & Appice)
5. Long Tall Sally (Cactus)

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Tony Williams

Born - 12/1945 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Jazz/Fusion

Tony Williams

Tony was the first star of jazz-rock, Vinnie Coliuta's hero, just about everone's hero. Joining Miles Davis's Quintet at 17 (in 1963) he was already a shockingly mature jazz talent and those early recordings ensure him jazz immortality. But he simultaneously ushered in a new era which by the late 1960's led to jazz-rock - a music with jazz complexity and rock power. Although he later returned to acoustic instrumets, he kept the big drums, big cymbals, loud sound attitude. Miles summed it up: "There aint but one Tony Williams when it comes to playing the drums."

Top 5 tracks:
1. Walkin' (Miles Davis Quintet)
2. Maiden Voyage (Herbie Hancock)
3. Vashkar (Tony Williams)
4. Echo (Tony Williams)
5. Byrdlike (V.S.O.P)

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Ian Paice

Born - 05/1948 | Nationality - British |
Genre - Rock

Ian Paice

This magnificently fast and emotive self-taught drummer provided both showmanship and creative support for bands such as Deep Purple and Whitesnake. A Buddy Rich fan, Ian's playing involves dazzling speed on tracks such as Deep purples's 'Speed king', inspiring generations of young players.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Fireball (Deep Puprle)
2. The Mule (Deep Puprle)
3. Black Night (Deep Puprle)
4. Speed king (Deep Puprle)
5. Wring That Neck (Deep Puprle)

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Gregg Errico

Born - 09/1946 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Funk/Soul

Gregg Errico

Laying it down for Sly & The Family Stone, Gregg Errico had more pocket than a giant in dungarees. The band busted down musical barriers at will, blending soul, funk and even physedelic rock. Underpinning it all was Errico's impeccable syncopation and dance floor friendly grooves.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Dance To The Music (Sly And The Family Stone)
2. Love City (Sly And The Family Stone)
3. Hot Fun In The Summertime (Sly And The Family Stone)
4. Everyday People (Sly And The Family Stone)
5. Family Affair (Sly And The Family Stone)

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Carlton Barrett

Born - 12/1950 | Nationality - Jamaican |
Genre - Reggae

Carlton Barrett

As drummer with Bob Marley and the Wailers, Carlton's beat is heard on the best-loved reggae recordings of all time. Relentlessly rehearsed by Marley, the Wailers became an excellent group with Carlton partnering his brother Aston 'Family Man' Barrett on bass. Carlton's distinctive broken triplet hi-hat style was copied wholesale by The Police drummer Stewart Copeland.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Could You Be Loved (Bob Marley and The Wailers)
2. Get Up, Stand Up (Bob Marley and The Wailers)
3. I Shot The Sheriff (Bob Marley and The Wailers)
4. Jamming (Bob Marley and The Wailers)
5. Stir It Up (Bob Marley and The Wailers)

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Phil Collins

Born - 01/1951 | Nationality - British |
Genre - Rock and Pop

Phil Collins

Singer, composer, big band leader, and drummer. Phil Collins is a fine example of a drummer who was a true musician. His work with the band 'Genesis' alone would have ensured his fame, but his vocal hits also have plenty of rhythmic dash and vigour too. An example being 'In The Air Tonight' which features a super, bombastic drum sound. Phil is influenced by the likes of Sonny Payne, Sid Catlett and Buddy Rich. He is an outstanding rock and jazz drummer, who is comfortable spanning genres and styles with ease.

Top 5 tracks:
1. The Musical Box (Genesis)
2. Watcher Of The Skies (Genesis)
3. Mama (Genesis)
4. In The Air Tonight (Phil Collins)
5. The Los Endos Suite (Phil Collins Big Band)

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Carl Palmer

Born - 03/1950 | Nationality - British |
Genre - Prog Rock

Carl Palmer

With Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Carl turned 70's classical rock into a massive stadium filler. Carl combined showmanship with fearsome chops and used his classical tuned percussion training to maximum effect. He also had some of the most stunning custom drum kits ever seen, and heavily influenced players like Neil Peart from 'Rush'.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Jerusalem (ELP)
2. Toccata (ELP)
3. Tank (ELP)
4. Fanfare For The Common Man (ELP)
5. Bullfrog (The Carl Palmer Band)

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Sonny Greer

Born - 12/1895 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Big Band Swing

sonny greer

Greer gave tremendous 'lift' and subtle swing to the Duke Ellignton Orchestra from the early 1920's until his departure in 1951. His snare drum backbeat on 'Cotton Tial' and other 1940 classic recordings was super. Greer used percussion effects but rarely played solo's, preferring to drive the band instead.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Cotton Tial (Duke Ellington Orchestra)
2. Ko-Ko (Duke Ellington Orchestra)
3. Conga Brava (Duke Ellington Orchestra)
4. Harlem Air-Shaft (Duke Ellington Orchestra)
5. Take The A train (Duke Ellington Orchestra)

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William 'Chick' Webb

Born - 02/1905 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Jazz/Swing

Chick Webb

William 'Chick' Webb was the first virtuoso of jazz drumming abd pioneer of the swing movement with his own orchestra. Gene Krupa famously bowed to Chick's greater mastery and Buddy Rich borrowed heavily from Webb's musical innovations. Sadly Chick was afflicted by tuberculosis of the spine and died aged just 34.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Liza, All The Clouds'll Roll Away (Chick Webb Orchestra)
2. Harlem Congo (Chick Webb Orchestra)
3. Spinnin'The Webb (Chick Webb Orchestra)
4. Stomping At The Savoy (Chick Webb Orchestra)
5. T'aint What You Do, It's The Way That You Do It (Chick Webb Orchestra)

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Gene Krupa

Born - 01/1909 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Jazz/Swing

Gene Krupa

The orginal, one of the most inspirational of all. Gene put the kit drummer into the limelight in massive fashion, dominating the screen in several Hollywood movies. Totally mesmerising, he sparked the trend for crowd-pleasing drum solos that continues today. Gene is remembered as a showman and - as is with Keith Moon - sometimes this has obscured the fact that he was a great drummer and accompanist. He was also an innovator, responsible for shaping the modern drum kit with tunable double headed toms.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Tiger Rag (Benny Goodman)
2. Swing, Swing, Swing(Benny Goodman)
3. Drum Boogie (Gene Krupa Orchestra)
4. No Name Drive (Gene Krupa Orchestra)
5. Lover (Gene Krupa Orchestra)

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Kenny Clarke

Born - 01/1914 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Bebop

Kenny Clarke

Kenneth 'Klook' Clarke originally played for dancers in nightclubs, giving him a great sense of time. In the early 1940's he pioneered a revolutionary new jazz style that switched time keeping to the ride cymbal. His left hand snare drum independance and bass drum accents became the basis of Bebop.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Swing To Bop (Charlie Christian)
2. Now's The Time (Kenny Clarke)
3. Django (MJQ)
4. Airegin (Miles Davis Jazz Giants)
5. Milkshake (Clarke-Boland Big Band)

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Art Blakey

Born - 10/1919 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Jazz

Art Blakey

While Kenny Clarke and Max Roach led bebop, Blakey was the powerhouse behind 'hard bop' with his earthy, bluesy, african vibe. Bop musician, Dizzy Gillespie described Blakey as the 'Volcano'. Art devoted his life to jazz, which he described as "The only true American art form".

Top 5 tracks:
1. A Night In Tunisia (Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers)
2. The Drum Thunder Suite(Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers)
3. Blues March (Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers)
4. Quicksilver (Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers)
5. Lou's Blues (Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers)

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DJ Fontana

Born - 03/1931 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Rock'n'Roll

DJ Fontana

A true pioneer, DJ Fontana started his professional career as the house drummer for the Louisiana Hayride radio show. Playing with a young up-start called Elvis Presley, DJ transformed the r'n'b shuffle into the rocking backbeat that shook the world. An original rock'n'roll drummer.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Jailhouse rock (Elvis Presley)
2. Hound Dog (Elvis Presley)
3. Heartbreak Hotel (Elvis Presley)
4. Blue Suede Shoes (Elvis Presley)
5. King Creole (Elvis Presley)

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Buddy Harmon

Born - 12/1928 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Country/Rock'n'Roll

Buddy Harmon

After cutting his teeth as the house drummer for the Grand Old Opry, Buddy Harmon defined the Nashville sound by playing on 18,000 recording sessions beginning in 1951. He was vital in creating a place for drums in country music with his smooth shuffle and matchless feel.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Pretty Woman (Roy Orbison)
2. Little Sister (Elvis Presley)
3. Ring Of Fire (Johhny Cash)
4. King Of The Road (Roger Miller)
5. Crazy (Patsy Cline)

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Ronnie Verrell

Born - 02/1926 | Nationality - British |
Genre - Jazz and sessions

Ronnie Verrell

Ronnie was the best-loved big band drummer to come out of Britain. His style was economical, and clean with a perfect swing. He was also a top session drummer playing on records by Tom Jones and Dusty Springfield. He famously played 'Animal' on The Muppet Show, in a drum battle with Buddy Rich.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Hawaiian War Chant (Ted Heath Orchestra)
2. Kings Cross Climax (Ted Heath Orchestra)
3. Concerto For Verrel (Ted Heath Orchestra)
4. Flying Home (Ted Heath Orchestra)
5. It's Not Unusual (Tom Jones)

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Joe Morello

Born - 07/1928 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Jazz

Joe Morello

Fusing European classical with cool jazz, Dave Brubeck's Quartet top world charts with 'Take Five', a jazz single in 5/4 time that also featued a drum solo. Joe's fabulous technique made him a jazz great, while his mastery of odd time signatures inspired later prog rock and fusion players.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Take Five (Dave Brubeck Quartet)
2. It's A Raggy Waltz (Dave Brubeck Quartet)
3. Blue Rondo A La Turk (Dave Brubeck Quartet)
4. Castillian Drums (Dave Brubeck Quartet)
5. SoundsOf The Loop (Dave Brubeck Quartet)

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Elvin Jones

Born - 09/1927 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Jazz

Elvin Jones

Elvin was probably the most exciting, innovative, and passionate drummer of all time. His relentless, circular style took the driving 4/4 of swing and bebop and turned it into a maelstrom of tumbling triplets. He played beats polyrhythmically all over the drum kit, showing his great independance. His four limbs and all parts of his kit seemed to be equally important in his playing. He sometimes looked chaotic, but he was always in control. Jazz at the highest form of art.

Top 5 tracks:
1. A Love Supreme, Part 1: Acknowledgment (John Coltrane)
2. Afro-Blue (John Coltrane)
3. Chasin' The Trane (John Coltrane Quartet)
4. Beau-ty (philly Joe and Elvin Jones)
5. Monk's Dream (Larry Young)

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Mel Lewis

Born - 05/1929 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Big Band

Mel lewis

Nicknamed 'The Tailor' Mel Lewis was a subtle, non-flashy player who supported rather than pushing brash groups like The Stan Kenton Orchetsra and Thad Jones-Mel Lewis big band. Able to play fast tempos without tiring, Mel developed his own distinctive sound by using Turkish ride cymbals and wooden Gretsch drums.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Artistry Jump (Stan Kenton Orchestra)
2. The Peanut Vendor (Stan Kenton Orchestra)
3. Lover (Stan Kenton Orchestra)
4. Eager Beaver (Stan Kenton Orchestra)
5. Blueport (Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band)

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Benny Benjamin

Born - 07/1925 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Soul/Funk

Benny Benjamin

Benny, together with Pistol Allen and Uriel Jones, were members of the funk brothers, the house band at Mowtown's Detroit recoring studio. Benjamin led the way in 1958, adapting his hard-swinging big band style to suit Berry Gordy's pop sound. The reslut was a new sound that had the whole world dancing in the streets.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Money, That's What I Want (Barrett Strong)
2. Do You Love Me (The Contours)
3. Get Ready (The Temptations)
4. Love Is Like A Heat Wave (Martha and The Vandellas)
5. The Tracks Of My Tears (The Miracles)

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Roy Haynes

Born - 03/1925 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Jazz/Fusion

Roy Haynes

Often referred to as the farther of modern jazz, Roy's long career has included stints with many of the greats, notably Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Chick Corea and Pat Metheny. Roy pioneered the flat ride cymbal and his cracking style has managed to keep sounding modern up to the present day.

Top 5 tracks:
1. One Down, One Up (John Coltrane)
2. Shulie A Bop (Roy Haynes Trio)
3. Snap Crackle (Roy Haynes Quartet)
4. Samba Yantra (Chick Corea)
5. Solar (Pat Metheny)

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Al Jackson Jr

Born - 11/1935 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Soul, R'n'B

Al Jackson Jr

As drummer in Booker T and the MG's, house band of the Memphis-based Stax/Volt label, Al Jackson provided the perfect rock steady beats behind the greatest sixties soul recordings. Classic songs that are still pounded out by a thousand bands every night. Jackson wrote the book on playing for the song.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Green Onions (Booker T and The MG's)
2. In The Midnight Hour (Wilson Pickett)
3. Knock On Wood (Eddie Floyd)
4. Soul Man (Sam & Dave)
5. Shake (Otis Redding)

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Jim Keltner

Born - 04/1942 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Rock/Pop

Jim Keltner

If you have naything more than the most passing interest in popular music, Tulsa born Jim Keltner is undoubtably somewhere in your record collection. He's played with everbody from Eric Clapton and Steely Dan to the Travelling Wilburys. Keltner was a successful session player when his participation on John Lennon's 'Imagine' shot his reputation into the stratosphere. He also played at rock's first charity concert, the Concert for Bangladesh. You'll have heard his sweet grooves before, it's time to dig out those records and hear them again.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Delta lady (Joe Cocker)
2. End Of The Line (Travelling Wilbury's)
3. Runnin' Down A Dream (Tom Petty)
4. The Confessor (Joe Walsh)
5. Thing Called love (John Hiatt)

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Bobby Elliot

Born - 12/1941 | Nationality - British |
Genre - Pop/Rock

Bobby Elliot

One of the most admired of the 1960's drummers who headed down south from the north of England immediately after The Beatles. Flamboyant and accomplished, Bobby fired off incisive snare rolls and inspired Charlie Watts, Ian Paice, Cozy Powell, and turned Mitch Mitchell from jazz to rock.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Just One Look (The Hollies)
2. Stay (The Hollies)
3. Here I Go Again (The Hollies)
4. I'm Alive (The Hollies)
5. Too Much Monkey Business (The Hollies)

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Charlie Watts

Born - 06/1941 | Nationality - British |
Genre - Rock

Charlie Watts

The bedrock under The Rolling Stones, Charlie watts gambled on giving up his career as a comercial artist to join the band in 1963. So far, it's worked out pretty well I'd say. He brought a jazz lovers refinement to rock'n'roll and can lend the simplest backbeat an unequalled elegance and infectious energy.

Top 5 tracks:
1. I Can't Get No, Satisfaction (The Rolling Stones)
2. Jumping Jack Flash (The Rolling Stones)
3. Honky Tonk Woman (The Rolling Stones)
4. Tumbling Dice (The Rolling Stones)
5. Start Me Up (The Rolling Stones)

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Mitch Mitchell

Born - 07/1947 | Nationality - British |
Genre - Rock/Fusion

Mitch Mitchell

Mitch's legacy is staggering when you think it all happened between 1967 and Hendrix's death in 1970, including arguably three of the greatest rock albums ever. Mitch brought a jazz sensiblity to rock, reacting with lighting reflexes to Hendrix's every move. In this way Mitch influenced every jazz-rock-fusion drummer who followed.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix)
2. Fire (Jimi Hendrix)
3. Manic Depression (Jimi Hendrix)
4. Third Stone From The Sun (Jimi Hendrix)
5. Little Wing (Jimi Hendrix)

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Maureen 'Moe' Tucker

Born - 08/1944 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Alternative

Maureen 'Moe' Tucker

Tucker being a woman was revolutionary enough when she joined The Velvet Underground in 1965. But, it was her standing stance at a minimalist kit and preference for mallets over sticks that truly blazed her trail. Very unique, very talented.

Top 5 tracks:
1. I'm Waitng For The Man (Velvet Underground)
2. Heroin (Velvet Underground)
3. Sunday Morning (Velvet Underground)
4. Venus In Furs (Velvet Underground)
5. All Tomorrow's Parties (Velvet Underground)

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Ginger Baker

Born - 08/1939 | Nationality - British |
Genre - Jazz, Rock

Ginger Baker

Ginger formed the original supergroup 'Cream' in 1966 alongside bassist Jack bruce and guitarist Eric Clapton. He pioneered the use of double bass drums in rock, particularly in his monumental solo 'Toad' which set a whole new standard. Although committed to jazz, ginger laid the foundations for today's rock.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Toad (Cream)
2. Sunshine Of Your love (Cream)
3. Politician (Cream)
4. Crossroads (Cream)
5. Do What You like (Blind Faith)

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Clyde Stubblefield

Born - 04/1943 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Funk

Stubblefield

The mainstay of James Brown's greatest period, Clyde's considerable ability influenced legions of beatsmiths, partially due to the fact that his incredible 'Funky Drummer' performance was used by many 1980's producers, making Clyde the most sampled drummer ever. His silky, ghost note laden groove is funk perfection.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Cold Sweat (James Brown)
2. The Funky Drummer (James Brown)
3. I Got The Feelin' (James Brown)
4. Ain't It Funky Now (James Brown)
5. Mother Popcorn (James Brown)

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John Bonham

Born - 05/1948 | Nationality - British |
Genre - Rock

John Bonham

John "Bonzo" Bonham is universally acclaimed as the most influential rock drummer ever. He's renowned for his peerless bass drum technique, his momumental open sound and unique groove. Led Zeppelin were progenitors of heavy metal, but they also included elements of blues, folk, jazz, physchedelia and progressive rock. And Bonzo was much more than just a heavy drummer. In his playing you can hear the swing of Buddy Rich, Max Roach and Joe Morello allied with the rocking power of Ginger Baker and Camine Appice. It's then rounded out with some Motown pop and the soul grooves of Al Jackson and Bernard Purdie.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Good Times, Bad Times (Led Zeppelin)
2. Rock And Roll (Led Zeppelin)
3. When The Levee Breaks (Led Zeppelin)
4. Kashmir (Led Zeppelin)
5. Fool In The Rain (Led Zeppelin)

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Bill Bruford

Born - 05/1949 | Nationality - British |
Genre - Prog Rock and Jazz

Bill Bruford

Of the famous british drummers who stunned the world in the 1960's, Bill has been most successful at continuing to evolve, taking chances and staying relevant. Leaving the band 'Yes' at the height of their popularity took guts. He conqured electronic drums in the 1980's before settling back to acoustic jazz.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Close To The Edge (Yes)
2. One More Red Nightmare (King Crimson)
3. Beelzebub (Bill Bruford)
4. Previous Man (David Torn)
5. Stromboli Kicks (Earthworks)

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Jaki Liebezeit

Born - 05/1938 | Nationality - German |
Genre - Kraut Rock

Jaki

The influence of European bands in often overlooked, German 1970's band 'Can' (Communism, Anarchism, Nihilism) stretched the boundaries of experimental rock, mixing elements of underground, electronic, ambient, avant-garde with typically German intellectualism. Erstwhile jazz drummer Jaki held it all together with stark, pummelling, and hypnotic grooves.

Top 5 tracks:
1. Halleluhwah (Can)
2. Paperhouse (Can)
3. Mushroom (Can)
4. Future days (Can)
5. Mother Sky (Can)

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Jack Dejohnette

Born - 08/1942 | Nationality - American |
Genre - Jazz

Jack DeJohnette

Jack's inspired drumming has been sought after since he first gained fame playing with Miles Davis in the late 1960's. His polyrhythmic approach combines elements of swing, beat and more far-flung styles into a singularly driving force. A brilliant improviser, his playing is at once instinctive and committed, yet musical and intelligent.

Top 5 tracks:
1. What I Say (Miles Davis)
2. Emergency (Trio Beyond)
3. The Buccaneers (John Surman)
4. Slings And Arrows (Michael Brecker)
5. The Elephant Sleeps But Still Remembers (Jack DeJohnette & Bill Frisell)

Well, that's the first half of the list done. There have been some great players so far, but there are even more to come. Want to see the next half, and find out which drummers narrowlly missed being included in the list? Of Course you do, let's continue...

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