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90.1k voters

The Best Drummers Of All Time

Updated November 1, 2020 500.5k votes 90.1k voters 1.3m views530 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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  • 1
    Buddy Rich
    10,931
    3,791
    Bernard "Buddy" Rich (September 30, 1917 – April 2, 1987) was an American jazz drummer and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 2
    Neil Peart
    18,501
    7,712
    Neil Ellwood Peart (September 12, 1952 – January 7, 2020) was a Canadian musician and writer... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #134 of 211 The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time#7 of 21 21 Most Notoriously Introverted Rock Stars Of All Time, Ranked By How Much They Rock

  • 3
    John Bonham
    16,328
    7,934
    John Henry Bonham (31 May 1948 – 25 September 1980) was an English musician and songwriter,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 4
    Danny Carey
    14,062
    6,743
    Daniel Edwin Carey (born May 10, 1961) is an American drummer and instrumentalist best known... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 5
    Gene Krupa
    5,005
    2,294
    Eugene Bertram Krupa (January 15, 1909 – October 16, 1973) was an American jazz drummer, band... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 6
    Keith Moon
    9,357
    6,344
    Keith John Moon (23 August 1946 – 7 September 1978) was an English drummer for the rock band... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 7
    Steve Gadd
    2,954
    1,619
    Stephen Kendall Gadd (born April 9, 1945) is an American drummer, percussionist, and session... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 8
    Cozy Powell
    2,945
    1,443
    Cozy Powell (Born Colin Trevor Flooks) (29 December 1947 – 5 April 1998) was an English rock... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 9
    Mitch Mitchell
    3,045
    2,146
    John Graham Mitchell (9 July 1946 – 12 November 2008) was an English drummer and former child... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 10
    Ginger Baker
    6,298
    4,598
    Peter Edward "Ginger" Baker (born 19 August 1939) is an English drummer and a founder of the... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 11
    Jeff Porcaro
    2,125
    1,487
    Jeffrey Thomas Porcaro (; April 1, 1954 – August 5, 1992) was an American drummer, songwriter,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 12
    Dave Lombardo
    3,788
    2,695
    David Lombardo (born February 16, 1965) is a Cuban-American drummer, best known as a... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 13
    Ian Paice
    3,216
    2,386
    Ian Anderson Paice (born 29 June 1948) is an English musician, best known as the drummer and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 14
    Roger Taylor
    2,571
    1,492
    Roger Andrew Taylor (born 26 April 1960) is an English musician, best known as the drummer of... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 15
    Stewart Copeland
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  • 16
    Chad Smith
    3,407
    2,530
    Chad Gaylord Smith (born October 25, 1961) is an American musician who is the current drummer... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 17
    Nick Mason
    3,356
    2,553
    Nicholas Berkeley Mason, (born 27 January 1944) is an English drummer, best known as a... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 18
    Carl Palmer
    2,878
    2,238
    Carl Frederick Kendall Palmer (born 20 March 1950) is an English drummer and percussionist,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 19
    Carter Beauford
    2,298
    1,709
    Carter Anthony Beauford (born November 2, 1958, in Charlottesville, Virginia) is an American... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 20
    Max Roach
    1,614
    1,184
    Maxwell Lemuel Roach (January 10, 1924 – August 16, 2007) was an American jazz drummer and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #1 of 25 The 25 Most Popular & Influential Black Drummers#58 of 105 The Best Musical Artists From North Carolina

  • 21
    Billy Cobham
    2,249
    1,732
    William Emanuel Cobham Jr. (born May 16, 1944) is a Panamanian-American jazz drummer who came... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 22
    Mick Fleetwood
    2,748
    2,072
    Michael John Kells Fleetwood (born 24 June 1947) is a British musician and actor, best known... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 23
    Jason Bonham
    1,101
    666
    Jason John Bonham (born 15 July 1966) is an English drummer. He is the son of the late Led... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 24
    Mike Portnoy
    6,017
    4,916
    Michael Stephen Portnoy (born April 20, 1967) is an American drummer and songwriter primarily... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 25
    Bill Ward
    3,021
    2,388
    William Thomas Ward (born 5 May 1948) is an English musician and visual artist, best known as... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button