Drumming may seem ordinary to the layman, but the spirit of music is a sacred art. The technicality required to manipulate these drumsticks to produce melodious sounds can only be achieved with great tenacity and a love for the art of drumming. We have compiled a list of the 10 greatest drummers of all time to show the high successes this art of drumming can bring to its dedicated and talented players.
10 greatest drummers of all time
1. rich buddy
Topping this list of the 10 greatest drummers of all time is the eminent American drummer Bernard Rich popularly known as Buddy Rich. The veteran drummer was born on September 30, 1917, in Brooklyn, New York. Buddy’s interest began in childhood, when he usually used forks and knives as chopsticks. Growing up he mastered the art of drumming and began his career in 1937 working with Joe Marsala.
Also, he worked with several other bands like Bunny Berigan and Artie Shaw, Dorsey band, and collaborated with artists like Harry James, Benny Carter, Led Brown, Charlie Packer and many more.
Throughout his career, Buddy has been considered one of the best drummers around due to his prowess, vigor and speed. However, he died on April 2, 1987, aged 69, from a brain tumor and heart failure. In September 2017, Buddy was posthumously awarded a star at the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. Previously, the drumming legend had also been honored with several concerts and two albums were produced in tribute to him in 1994 and 1997.
2. John Bonham
One of the greatest drummers in history is John Bonham was born John Henry Bonham in full name on May 31, 1948, in Redditch, Worcestershire, England. John started drumming at the age of five with local kits he made for himself out of tins and cans. When his mother saw his passion for the drum, she decided to buy him a snare drum at the age of ten. At the age of fifteen, he received his first full band as a surprise gift from his father.
Early in his career, John worked with several bands and movements such as Terry Webb and the Spiders, Nicky James Movement, Senators, Crawling King Snakes among others and his professional drumming was backed by the band’s famed band , Led Zeppelin. Considered the greatest rock drummer in history, John Bonham was notable for his low-speed drumming, acceleration, and punching speed.
Although his drumming career was cut short when he died at the age of thirty-two due to excessive alcohol consumption. His legacy is still alive. He was a role model for top drummers such as Mike Portnoy, Joey Kramer, Lee Kerslake, Tony Thompson, Dave Grohl, Tommy Lee and Phil Collins. In addition, his defeat was a blow for his group, the Led Zeppelin, which decided to disintegrate, unable to continue.
3. Gene Krupa
Another guru who is on our list of greatest drummers is American drummer Gene Krupa. He was born Eugène Bertram Krupa in 1909, on January 15 to be precise. He was born and raised in Chicago, although his heritage can be traced back to Poland.
The American drummer started playing drums as a professional in the 1920s, employed by the MCA, member of the famous American group Thelma Terry and Her Playboys. More so, he was a team member of the Benny Goodman band. His drum solo in the song “Sing Sing Sing” made him very famous nationally.
Besides being a professional drummer, Gene has made several appearances as an actor in Hollywood movies like The Benny Goodman Story, Gene Krupa movie biography and Glenn Miller story.
The light from this bright star was permanently reduced in 1973 after his death, when he suffered from leukemia, emphysema and heart failure.
4. Neil Peart
The famous Neil Peart whose full name is NeilEllwood Peart has not only done well as a drummer but also as a musician lyricist and writer. Neil was born on September 12, 1952 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Early in his career his playing style was hard rock, but as he grew he ventured into big band and jazz, learning from the likes of Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa among others.
Due to his skill and talent on the pitch, the Canadian-born drummer received several awards and accolades, including being officially inducted into the Modern Drumming Hall of Fame in 1983, becoming the first-ever young man to receive such an honor. He was named Drummer of the Year four consecutive times by Drum! magazine between 2007 and 2010. However, in 2015 Neil made it known that he was officially retiring from playing music due to health issues.
5. Stewart Copeland
Born July 16, 1952, Stewart Armstrong Copeland is an American drummer and songwriter. Stewart is one of the few musicians renowned for his excellent education, as he is proud to have graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and the United States International University. His initial work was recorded as a manager for the band Cured Air, after which he officially joined the band between 1975 and 1976.
Subsequently, he formed his own band which he named The Police, they were known for causing waves in the music industry between 1977 and their split in 1986. Stewart is also behind the release of several hits such as Don’t Worry About It although he used the Klark Kent name to release the song. He has also done many soundtracks for several movies and TV series over the years.
The legendary drummer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame and the Classical Drummer Hall of Fame in 2005 and 2013 respectively.
Tony is an American drummer born on December 12, 1945 in Chicago, Illinois, United States. He is of mixed ethnicity of Chinese, African and Portuguese descent.
Tony is said to have started his experience in the art of drumming when he was still a child and turned professional at the age of thirteen. At 17, he joined the Miles David Band Crew where he was launched into the limelight. Later, he founded the band team The New Tony William Lifetime and was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1986. Sadly, Tony died in California, USA on February 23, 1997, at the age of fifty. . one after he suffered chronic cardiac arrest.
7. Steve Gadd
Born Stephen Kendall Gadd on April 9, 1945, Steve Gadd is a well-known American drummer whose career spanned decades. During his growing years, this great drummer said he was influenced by drummers such as Buddy Rich, Elvin Jones, Tony Williams and Rick Marotta. He is also known for his orchestral blending with his percussion, which makes him a distinct drummer.
He was inducted into the Modern Temple of Drummer Fame in 1984, and in 2005 Berklee College awarded him an honorary Doctor of Music degree in recognition of his contributions to the music world.
8. Mitch Mitchell
Next on our list of greatest drummers is JohnGraham Mitchell, popularly known as Mitch Mitchell, an English drummer specializing in rock, psychedelic rock, blues rock, jazz fusion and hard rock. He was born in Middlesex, England on July 9, 1946.
Beginning with small roles in movies as a kid, little did Mitch know that one day he would dominate the music arena as a drummer. While honing his skills in a music store, he later honed his skills on a musical tour he embarked on in 1962. Later he started working as Georgie Fame, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Dirty Mac, Jack Bruce, Larry Coryell, Noel Redding and the Gypsy Sun Experience.
Mitch was known for working tirelessly during his career days touring and performing. He briefly retired in the 1970s to 1990s, then returned to active duty until his death in 2008 after battling alcoholism. He was then posthumously inducted into the Modern Drumming Hall of Fame in 2009.
9. Billy Cobham
Prominent American drummer William Emanuel “Billy” Cobham Jr., better known as Billy Cobham, was born on May 16, 1944 in Colón, Panama. His penchant for drums dates back to his early childhood. Billy is said to have started drumming at the age of four. and by the time he was 24 he had become a professional handler of the instrument.
Throughout his career, Billy is known for specializing in Jazz Fusion, Jazz Funk and Progressive Rock. He is also distinguished by his sustained work with musicians and groups such as Miles Davis, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jack Bruce, the New York Jazz Quartet, Jazz Is Dead, Bobby and the Midnite, as well as Mark-Almond. It has also been signed by renowned brands like Atlantic, Columbia, CTI, Elektra and GRP.
Tagged as one of the greatest drummers, Billy has received praise from fans and fellow musicians. Since the beginning of his career when he released his first album Spectrum, the drummer has always shown a lot of talent, passion and know-how. He even owns an online school where he teaches the art of drumming and to this day, Billy Cobham is still a big fan of his craft.
10. Keith Moon
Our list of greatest drummers cannot be complete without Keith Moon having a place. Keith John Moon is a British drummer from Westminster, London, England. He was born on August 23, 1946. This talent was renowned for his crazy drumming style, but he was still an acclaimed drummer whose talent suppressed. He is known for his work with The Who, the Plastic Ono Band and the Jeff Beck Group. Also, he was known to have sung many times and featured in movies.
Although it was hotly debated to honor the drummer given his unruly nature, he was eventually awarded a blue plaque as his contribution to the world of music cannot be overlooked, regardless of his personal life. Moon’s influence on today’s music icons such as Dave Grohl also shows that this man was an ace in his field.