Music

The Best Drummers Of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated June 5, 2020 677.2k votes 89k voters 1.2M views 576 items

List Rules Vote on the most skilled drummers who predominately played the drums in a band; all genres of music are acceptable

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Who is the greatest drummer ever? This is a list of the best drummers of all time, voted on and ranked by music lovers worldwide. Add your own list or vote on the greatest drummers of all time here. Although many of the top drummers in history are rock drummers, this list is not restricted to just rock music. It covers all genres, so feel free to add anyone you think is missing.

Need some ideas for the best drummers of all time? Check out this list of the best female drummers - many of them are outstanding and certainly worthy of inclusion here.

Debate about who is truly the best drummer ever can get heated. Once you start looking at the legendary drummers like John Bonham, Neil Peart, Keith Moon, and Buddy Rich, well, it's hard to rank one over the other. Many of the drummers listed here are also singers and songwriters, and some are/were band leaders as well. If you need examples, check out this list of the best singing drummers for inspiration.

What made these famous drummers so amazing? An incredible sense of time and meter, for one thing. But it's more than just technical prowess: it's an overall presence, as well. Being a drummer is about skill, first and foremost, but it's also about showmanship, particularly in the rock genre. Disagree? That's totally fine. Just make sure you vote on these best drummers in the world, one way or the other.

list ordered by
1
Buddy Rich is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
Bernard "Buddy" Rich (September 30, 1917 – April 2, 1987) was an American jazz drummer and bandleader. He is considered one of the most influential drummers of all time and was known ...more

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The Best Buddy Rich Albums of All Time The Best Buddy Rich Songs #1,821 of 2,444 The Most Influential People of All Time

2
Neil Peart is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
Neil Ellwood Peart (September 12, 1952 – January 7, 2020) was a Canadian musician and writer best known as the drummer and primary lyricist of the rock band Rush. Peart received numerous awards ...more

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#136 of 232 The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time #1 of 77 The Best Metal Drummers of All Time #156 of 432 Famous Tall Men Over 6'2

3
Danny Carey is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
Daniel Edwin Carey (born May 10, 1961) is an American drummer and instrumentalist best known for his work in American Grammy Award-winning progressive metal band Tool. He has also contributed to ...more

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#9 of 77 The Best Metal Drummers of All Time #48 of 103 The Best Musical Artists From Kansas

4
John Bonham is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
John Henry Bonham (31 May 1948 – 25 September 1980) was an English musician and songwriter, best known as the drummer for the British rock band Led Zeppelin. Esteemed for his speed, power, fast ...more

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#365 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #17 of 200 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely #14 of 152 The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 40

5
Keith Moon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
Keith John Moon (23 August 1946 – 7 September 1978) was an English drummer for the rock band the Who. He was noted for his unique style and his eccentric, often self-destructive behaviour. His ...more

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#324 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #24 of 200 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely #27 of 152 The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 40

6
Gene Krupa is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
Eugene Bertram Krupa (January 15, 1909 – October 16, 1973) was an American jazz drummer, band leader, actor, and composer known for his energetic style and showmanship. His drum solo on ...more

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#1,320 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #930 of 2,444 The Most Influential People of All Time #278 of 527 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?

7
Stewart Copeland is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
Stewart Armstrong Copeland (born July 16, 1952) is an American musician and composer. He was the drummer for the British rock band the Police, has produced film and video game soundtracks and ...more

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#672 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #265 of 367 The Best Pop Artists of the 1980s #14 of 64 The Most Musically Gifted Children of Musicians

8
Mike Portnoy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
Michael Stephen Portnoy (born April 20, 1967) is an American drummer and songwriter primarily known as the former drummer, backing vocalist, and a co-founder of the progressive metal/rock band ...more

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#199 of 204 The Druggiest Rock Stars of All Time #377 of 846 These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time #21 of 54 The Best Singing Drummers

9
Ginger Baker is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
Peter Edward "Ginger" Baker (born 19 August 1939) is an English drummer and a founder of the rock band Cream. His work in the 1960s earned him the reputation of "rock's first ...more

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10
Steve Gadd is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
Stephen Kendall Gadd (born April 9, 1945) is an American drummer, percussionist, and session musician. Gadd is one of the most well-known and highly regarded session and studio drummers in the ...more

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#69 of 252 The Very Best Jazz Musicians & Artists #198 of 226 Famous Jazz Drummers

11
Cozy Powell is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
Cozy Powell (Born Colin Trevor Flooks) (29 December 1947 – 5 April 1998) was an English rock drummer, who made his name with many major rock bands and artists like The Jeff Beck Group, Rainbow, ...more

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#142 of 200 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely #172 of 183 The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band #2 of 77 The Best Metal Drummers of All Time

12
Dave Lombardo is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
David Lombardo (born February 16, 1965) is a Cuban-American drummer, best known as a co-founding member of American thrash metal band Slayer. Lombardo played drums on nine Slayer albums, ...more

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#3 of 77 The Best Metal Drummers of All Time #55 of 116 Famous Atheist Musicians #12 of 28 People Who Got Fired From Huge Rock Bands

13
Chad Smith is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
Chad Gaylord Smith (born October 25, 1961) is an American musician who is the current drummer of the band Red Hot Chili Peppers, which he joined in 1988. The group was inducted into the Rock and ...more

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14
Mitch Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
John Graham Mitchell (9 July 1946 – 12 November 2008) was an English drummer and former child actor, who was best known for his work in the Jimi Hendrix Experience. He was inducted into the ...more

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#133 of 200 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely #328 of 527 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?

15
Dave Grohl is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
David Eric Grohl (born January 14, 1969) is an American singer, songwriter, musician and director. He is the founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and primary songwriter of the rock band Foo ...more

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15 Crazy But True Stories About Nirvana #18 of 265 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #70 of 668 The Best Rock Vocalists

16
Ian Paice is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
Ian Anderson Paice (born 29 June 1948) is an English musician, best known as the drummer and last constant original member of the English rock band Deep Purple.
17
Jeff Porcaro is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
Jeffrey Thomas Porcaro (; April 1, 1954 – August 5, 1992) was an American drummer, songwriter, and record producer. In a career that spanned more than 20 years, Porcaro was best known for his ...more

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#1,445 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #167 of 200 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely #209 of 527 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?

18
Carter Beauford is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
Carter Anthony Beauford (born November 2, 1958, in Charlottesville, Virginia) is an American drummer, percussionist, and founding member of Dave Matthews Band. He is known for his ability to ...more
19
Roger Taylor is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
Roger Andrew Taylor (born 26 April 1960) is an English musician, best known as the drummer of the new wave music band Duran Duran from their inception until 1985, and again from 2001 onwards. ...more

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#52 of 54 The Best Singing Drummers #314 of 370 340+ Uncircumcised Celebrities #20 of 49 25+ Celebrities Born On April 26

20
Vinnie Paul is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
Vincent Paul Abbott (March 11, 1964 – June 22, 2018), also known as Vinnie Paul, was an American musician, songwriter and producer, best known for being the drummer and co-founder of the heavy ...more

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#10 of 77 The Best Metal Drummers of All Time #40 of 40 The Coolest Celebrities Who Play Fantasy Football #49 of 144 Celebrities Who Died In 2018

21
Nick Mason is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
Nicholas Berkeley Mason, (born 27 January 1944) is an English drummer, best known as a founder member of the progressive rock band Pink Floyd. Mason is the only Pink Floyd member to have been ...more
22
Billy Cobham is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
William Emanuel Cobham Jr. (born May 16, 1944) is a Panamanian-American jazz drummer who came to prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s with trumpeter Miles Davis and then with the ...more

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The Best Billy Cobham Albums of All Time #922 of 2,042 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #5 of 25 The 25 Most Popular & Influential Black Drummers

23
Dave Weckl is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
Dave Weckl (born January 8, 1960) is an American jazz fusion drummer and leader of the Dave Weckl Band. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2000.

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#113 of 192 The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time #27 of 196 The Best Jazz Fusion Bands/Artists #131 of 145 The Best Bebop Artists of All Time

24
Bill Ward is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
William Thomas Ward (born 5 May 1948) is an English musician and visual artist, best known as the original drummer of the British heavy metal band Black Sabbath. He also performed lead vocals on ...more
25
Vinnie Colaiuta is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Drummers Of All Time
Vincent Peter Colaiuta (born February 5, 1956) is an American drummer who has worked as a session musician in many genres. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1996, and the ...more

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#48 of 196 The Best Jazz Fusion Bands/Artists #219 of 226 Famous Jazz Drummers