In the best drummers of all time list; names like Tommy Aldrich, Virgil Donati, and Derek Roddy come on the top…
Drumming, for the most part, has to be stimulated than learned. It is just a matter of how well you can set your mind into four different controls for the rhythm in two hands and two legs. – Stephen Rampur
Just like lead singers, guitarists, and keyboardists, drummers too are significant members of a band. You can say that they are surely the driving force behind the band. These rhythm and beat controllers, along with bass guitarists, play a very important role in setting up a foundation of any song or music piece. Remember that the tempo of the song completely depends on the drummer. If you are wondering about the best drummers of all time, the choices are innumerable. This is because there are many different types of music, and each music genre demands a specific set of skills. Therefore, every drummer has some or the other skills that match their respective genre. As a result, you will find rock drummers, jazz drummers, heavy metal drummers, and so on. In addition, there are some drummers who are also trained in percussion, making them all the more versatile in the rhythm section.
Best Drummers of All Time
Tommy Aldrich is believed to be one of the best rock drummers of all time in the music scene. His technical proficiency has led him to work with many well-known bands and artists like Black Oak Arkansas, Ozzy Osbourne, Gary Moore, Motorhead, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, and many others. He is also considered as a virtuoso in double bass drumming technique and percussion. His ‘hands-only’ percussion technique is especially appreciated the world over. This American drummer generally plays Yamaha Drums and Paiste cymbals.
Virgil is another respected drummer in the music industry. He is a drummer from Australia who is mainly a drum clinician; adept in music genres such as instrumental rock, jazz fusion, and progressive metal. He is considered to be a drumming legend, owing to his fast and highly technical drumming skills. He is one of the drummers who uses the traditional grip. Along with being proficient in drums, he is also a good keyboardist. His instrument setup includes Pearl drums, Sabian cymbals, Remo skins, and Vater sticks.
Derek Roddy is a drummer from South Carolina, USA; who is renowned to record complete studio drumming pieces in just one or two takes. This quality is what gave him a nickname ‘One Take’. He has used his skills is different types of music like jazz, rock, metal, and blues. He is also comfortable playing the bass and rhythm guitar. Along with his career as a band member, he also is a drum clinician for music instrument companies like Meinl Cymbals, Vater Percussion, and Sonor drums and DW Drums.
John Bonham has been the drummer for the world-famous hard rock band ‘Led Zeppelin’. He is one of the most respected drummers of all time. This musician from England also serves as an inspiration to other reputed musicians and artists such as Neil Peart, Tommy Lee, Chad Smith, Stewart Copeland, etc. Known by nicknames ‘Bonzo’ and ‘The Beast’; he was popular for his fast speed, right foot technique, and a distinctive drum sound. John Bonham was also a percussionist along with being a drummer in the primary role.
Ian Paice is an English drummer recognized for his part in the hard rock band ‘Deep Purple’. A fact to note is that he is probably the best left-handed drummer. Apart from a music career in Deep Purple, he has been associated with other music bands and artists such as Whitesnake, Gary Moore, and Paul McCartney. Since the 80s, he has been a touring drum clinician around the world. He is reported to presently use Pearl drums, Paiste cymbals, and Pro-Mark sticks. Ian Paice is one of the drummers who does not prefer to use double bass pedals.
Ian Haugland is another well-known left-handed drummer hailing from Norway. He is the drummer for ‘Europe’, a rock and metal band from Sweden. In addition to his career in Europe, he also played for many artists and bands such as Rising Force, Brazen Abbot, Clockwise, and Glenn Hughes. In his drumming career he has used Tama and Yamaha Drums and Paiste cymbals. He is believed to have a good stage presence and a simple drum setup for songs performed by the band during live shows.
He is an English drummer, hailing from England, popular for his prominent role in the heavy metal band ‘Iron Maiden’. An interesting fact about Nicko McBrain is that he does not like to use double bass pedals in his work, which he considers ‘undrummerish’. Instead, he just uses a single pedal with barefoot for fast bass drum work. His drum setup is quite complicated and almost hides him when playing live. This drumming genius promotes Premier drums and Paiste cymbals. He has become a drumming idol for many drummers from music bands coming up recently.
This multi-talented person is associated with the world-renowned pianist ‘Yanni’. The skill of Charlie Adams extends much beyond his role as a drummer, percussionist, music producer, drum engineer, and composer. He is believed to be one of the best drummer soloists in the music industry. He works as a drummer and also participates in drum clinics. The main reason behind his proficiency is that he started to play drums when he was 13. He has collaborated with Yanni in nine major concert tours, some of which have gone multi-platinum.
Chad Smith is another drumming master in the industry. He mainly specializes in hard rock and punk rock music genres, but can play almost any drumming style. He is well known for his role in the alternative rock band ‘Red Hot Chili Peppers’ and the supergroup ‘Chickenfoot’. His drum work blends some of the most complicated as well as fundamental elements of the skill. As of now, he promotes Pearl drums, Sabian cymbals, and Vater sticks. He is undoubtedly considered as one of the top drummers of all time.
Carter Beauford is an American drummer and percussionist, mostly known for his rhythmic contribution to the Dave Matthews Band. With his open drumming technique and ambidextrous playing style, he can adapt to almost any kind of music genre; right from rock, jazz, fusion, or R&B. According to the Rolling Stone magazine, he is the tenth greatest drummer of all time. Carter Beauford started with his interest to play drums at a very tender age of just 3. He also has a music degree from the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music, Virginia. His standard setup includes Yamaha Drums, Zildjian cymbals, Remo skins, and Pro-Mark sticks.
Another drumming and percussion sensation worth mentioning is Neil Peart, a Canadian drummer for the band ‘Rush’. He is considered to be one of the best drummers ever due to his technical proficiency and considerable stamina in drumming. He can shift comfortably between genres such as hard rock, metal, jazz, swing, just to name a few. He is one of the few who uses a 360 degree drum kit. He has played on many kits throughout his career such as Tama Drums, Ludwig, DW Drums; with cymbals from Zildjian, Wuhan, and Sabian. He also uses electronic drums and a wide range of percussion instruments during his work on stage. Like Charlie Adams, he is also renowned to give extensive and intricate drum solos.
Tony Royster, Jr.
Tony Royster, Jr. is an American drumming prodigy, who learned to play the drums from the age of 3. Many modern drummers are shocked by his stunning leg-hand combination and speed. He is adept in genres such as funk, R&B, Latin, rock, and jazz. He promotes a wide range of products such as DW Drums, Sabian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, Evans heads, LP percussion, and Shure equipment. At present he is on tour with rapper Jay-Z. He has received many awards and appreciations throughout his career.
Lars Ulrich is also one of the most respected drummers in the music community. He is not only a drummer, but also a percussionist and a songwriter. He is well known for his fast speed, energetic on-stage performance, perfect heavy metal drumming style, and speed techniques. Lars’ distinguishing factor is his fast double bass beats and drum fills. He has used a variety of equipment from Tama Drums and Ludwig drums, Zildjian and Sabian cymbals, and Remo heads. His works can be heard in all Metallica music albums.
Louie Weaver is an American Christian drummer, notable for his part in the gospel rock band ‘Petra’. He was the drummer in Petra for almost 22 years. A majority of the albums from this band consists his trademark drumming style. Many believe that it was Louie Weaver who had given the band a new sound and direction. His music education includes a B.A. in percussion from Trevecca Nazarene College. His main endorsements comprise Paiste cymbals, Vater drumsticks, DW Drums, and Remo heads.
Rod Morgenstein is an American drummer famous for his role in the heavy metal band ‘Winger’ and jazz fusion band ‘Dixie Dregs’. He has even teamed up with keyboardist ‘Jordan Rudess’ for an album known as Rudess/Morgenstein Project. Just like Ian Paice, he is a left-handed drummer with a unique style. Along with being a musician in bands, he is employed as an associate professor of percussion in Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA. According to Rolling Stone magazine, he is rated the 18th best drummer of all time.
Matt Sorum is known as one of the best hard rock drummers of all time. He is an American drummer and percussionist who has led the rhythm section of the world-famous band ‘Guns N’ Roses’ and the supergroup ‘Velvet Revolver’. His hard rock touch to the music and notable live performance makes him stand out from other drummers. Sorum has worked with many artists and bands such as Motörhead, Sammy Hagar, and Glenn Hughes. Over his music career, he is known to play drum sets by Yamaha Drums, DW Drums, and Ludwig; and cymbal series by Zildjian.
Martin Lopez was a drummer of the death metal band from Sweden ‘Opeth. He is currently the drummer of the death metal band ‘Soen’. Since 1988, he has worked on six albums of Opeth. It is reported that he uses and promotes Premier drums and Sabian cymbals. His drumming styles basically blend death metal, heavy metal, and progressive rock together. Considering his proficiency in drumming, he is known to vary his playing styles in songs in a very impressive manner.
This drumming genius is believed to be the best drummer alive. He is basically a session and studio musician associated with many famous musicians; one of which is Steve Vai. This awesome drummer holds to his name five ‘World’s Fastest Drummer’ world records. Along with being a studio musician; he also works as a teacher in Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA. Many well-known musicians refer to his style as ‘highly technical drumming’. He uses Pearl drums, Zildjian cymbals, Remo heads, and other Roland electronic setups. His awesome techniques stuns many of the beginner drummers.
Mick Brown, also known as “Wild” Mick Brown, is a drummer for the metal and hard rock band ‘Dokken’. Mick’s work on the drums can be heard on all albums of the band. Though he plays rock and heavy metal, he is considered to have a very simple drum setup. Even with not too much of drum equipment, he varies his style a lot in songs. He is one of the drummers who uses vocals when playing. His energy and playing style has proven to be a trademark for the band’s sound over the years.
Alex Van Halen
Alex Van Halen is a drummer for the hard rock band Van Halen which he is also a co-founder of. He is a drummer who is believed to have invented a somewhat different kind of snare drum sound known as ‘brown sound’. He is also a music professional who loves to show off his skills in amazing drum solos. He has been a promoter of Ludwig drums and Paiste cymbals for a long time. In collaboration with Alex Van Halen, Paiste has launched a signature ride cymbal in 2010. His drum solos are surely considered in the greatest drum solos of all time.
Tico Torres is an American drummer for the hard rock band ‘Bon Jovi’. He is adept in playing any type of music ranging from hard rock, heavy metal, jazz, blues, etc. He is another drummer who provides backing vocals on songs of the band. He mainly uses Pearl drums and Paiste cymbals. Several drummers believe that Tico plays drums in a typical hard rock manner. In most of the songs, he uses the rough ride kind of tone for maintaining rhythm and beats. This is one thing that differentiates his drumming style from other drummers in the music industry.
Rick Allen is probably the best example of moving on in life when you have nothing on your side. He is a drummer who lost his arm due to a car accident, yet did not lose his passion for music. He proudly continues to carry on his drumming career in the English hard rock band ‘Def Leppard’. He uses customized drum kits made according to his comfort and playing requirements. Throughout the years in music; he has used Pearl, DW, and Ludwig drums and Paiste and Zildjian cymbals. He mainly uses electronic setup and percussion equipment. He is also known as ‘Thunder God’ and ‘Black Knight’.
Joey Kramer is a notable drummer in the music scene. He primarily specializes in genres such as hard rock and heavy metal, and is the drummer for the successful band ‘Aerosmith’. He is known to use cymbals from Zildjian and Ludwig drum kits. He likes to entertain his fans, and uses a unique way to do so. For entertainment during drum solos; he plays the drums with his forehead, elbows, and arms. He has been with the band since its inception in 1970, and his work can be heard on every album. He is believed to use Gretsch and DW Drums. Apart from his love for music, he is also fond of fast cars.
Due to his musical skillfulness in drumming and percussions, some believe that he is the best drummer in the world. He is an American multi-instrumentalist adept in playing the guitar, bass guitar, piano, and even the violin. He is even known as ‘#1’ and ‘Superball’ by his admirers and band members. He currently works as the drummer for the band ‘Slipknot’. His drumming mainly relates to all sub-genres of metal music. In his drum kit; he uses a wide range of equipment from Pearl drums, Paiste cymbals, and Roland electronics. He is rated as one of the fastest drummers of all time.
Scott Phillips is an American drummer of the hard rock bands ‘Alter Bridge’ and ‘Creed’. He not only is a drummer; but is also comfortable in playing the piano, keyboards, and saxophone. He has been inspired by many drumming legends such as John Bonham, Lars Ulrich, and Neil Peart. He is known to use Premier and DW Drums, Zildjian cymbals, Evans skins, and Vic Firth sticks. He is mostly liked due to the energy he shows while playing. He is also known as ‘Flip’ in the music industry.
Keith moon is recognized to be a drummer for the English band ‘The Who’. He is well known for his offbeat drumming style, ambidextrous double bass drumming, and wild cymbal hitting work. He mainly used drumming equipment from Premier and Paiste cymbals. Keith entertained his fans and music enthusiasts by destroying drum kits on live shows. In London on 5th September 1978, Keith died due to an overdose of pills. He was also called by the names ‘Moon the Loon’ and ‘Mad Moon’ due to his destructive behavior. Owing to his popularity, he is included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum.
This is a general best drummers of all time list. Almost all drummers mentioned above have been an inspiration to today’s drumming aspirants. Most of these drummers have even created unique drumming styles and techniques, which intermediate drummers use for improvisations in the skill. There are many other notable drummers which are not included in the list. You can always include your favorites in the comment field of this article. If you want to become a good drummer, it is suggested to practice playing along with the songs which these drumming aces have shown their work in.