Music
90.5k voters

The Best Drummers Of All Time

Updated December 27, 2020 491.1k votes 90.5k voters 1.3m views532 items

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

Update: Follow Ranker's official New Rock 2020 playlist on Spotify!

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.

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  • Buddy Rich1
    10,772
    3,742
    Bernard "Buddy" Rich (September 30, 1917 – April 2, 1987) was an American jazz drummer and...  more
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  • Neil Peart2
    18,054
    7,658
    Neil Ellwood Peart (September 12, 1952 – January 7, 2020) was a Canadian musician and writer...  more
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  • John Bonham3
    15,942
    7,845
    John Henry Bonham (31 May 1948 – 25 September 1980) was an English musician and songwriter,...  more
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  • Danny Carey4
    13,910
    6,653
    Daniel Edwin Carey (born May 10, 1961) is an American drummer and instrumentalist best known...  more
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  • Gene Krupa5
    4,920
    2,249
    Eugene Bertram Krupa (January 15, 1909 – October 16, 1973) was an American jazz drummer, band...  more
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  • Keith Moon6
    9,083
    6,235
    Keith John Moon (23 August 1946 – 7 September 1978) was an English drummer for the rock band...  more
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  • Steve Gadd7
    2,938
    1,593
    Stephen Kendall Gadd (born April 9, 1945) is an American drummer, percussionist, and session...  more
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  • Cozy Powell8
    2,861
    1,440
    Cozy Powell (Born Colin Trevor Flooks) (29 December 1947 – 5 April 1998) was an English rock...  more
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  • Ginger Baker9
    6,135
    4,463
    Peter Edward "Ginger" Baker (born 19 August 1939) is an English drummer and a founder of the...  more
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  • Mitch Mitchell10
    2,964
    2,106
    John Graham Mitchell (9 July 1946 – 12 November 2008) was an English drummer and former child...  more
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  • Stewart Copeland11
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  • Dave Lombardo12
    3,719
    2,622
    David Lombardo (born February 16, 1965) is a Cuban-American drummer, best known as a...  more
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  • Ian Paice13
    3,129
    2,325
    Ian Anderson Paice (born 29 June 1948) is an English musician, best known as the drummer and...  more
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  • Jeff Porcaro14
    2,080
    1,466
    Jeffrey Thomas Porcaro (; April 1, 1954 – August 5, 1992) was an American drummer, songwriter,...  more
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  • Roger Taylor15
    2,483
    1,479
    Roger Andrew Taylor (born 26 April 1960) is an English musician, best known as the drummer of...  more
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  • Chad Smith16
    3,339
    2,473
    Chad Gaylord Smith (born October 25, 1961) is an American musician who is the current drummer...  more
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  • Nick Mason17
    3,264
    2,492
    Nicholas Berkeley Mason, (born 27 January 1944) is an English drummer, best known as a...  more
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  • Billy Cobham18
    2,211
    1,686
    William Emanuel Cobham Jr. (born May 16, 1944) is a Panamanian-American jazz drummer who came...  more
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  • Max Roach19
    1,591
    1,161
    Maxwell Lemuel Roach (January 10, 1924 – August 16, 2007) was an American jazz drummer and...  more
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  • Carter Beauford20
    2,242
    1,676
    Carter Anthony Beauford (born November 2, 1958, in Charlottesville, Virginia) is an American...  more
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  • Carl Palmer21
    2,794
    2,186
    Carl Frederick Kendall Palmer (born 20 March 1950) is an English drummer and percussionist,...  more
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  • Mick Fleetwood22
    2,676
    2,043
    Michael John Kells Fleetwood (born 24 June 1947) is a British musician and actor, best known...  more
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  • Mike Portnoy23
    5,893
    4,767
    Michael Stephen Portnoy (born April 20, 1967) is an American drummer and songwriter primarily...  more
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  • Jason Bonham24
    1,081
    655
    Jason John Bonham (born 15 July 1966) is an English drummer. He is the son of the late Led...  more
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  • Bill Ward25
    2,947
    2,332
    William Thomas Ward (born 5 May 1948) is an English musician and visual artist, best known as...  more
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